No more credit card for DPS superintendent
Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats’ district-issued credit card has been terminated.
That was the message delivered Monday by Board of Education Chairwoman Heidi Carter after a nearly four-hour, closed-door meeting with board members and Becoats to discuss the superintendent’s use of the credit card and his pace of travel.
“The credit card assigned to the superintendent’s office has been terminated by the board, and the board does plan to have an open session in the near future to consider additional financial control policies and procedures,” Carter said.
Carter, speaking for the board, would not elaborate on what led to the decision to terminate the credit card.
She already had suspended Becoats’ use of the card in the wake of reports that he rang up more than $20,000 in charges over the span of 12 months, mostly for travel to out-of-state professional conferences, hotel stays and meals (including appreciation dinners for school district employees).
In a brief interview with reporters, Becoats said he will continue to focus on students.
“We will continue to work on policies and procedures to enhance operations in the districts, and I’m going to continue to focus on academic achievement, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important: making sure our children are progressing,” Becoats said.
He declined to answer questions about his use of the credit card.
Carter has said that Becoats’ travel must be well-documented and have a clear purpose that benefits the school district.
It has been unclear whether Becoats’ travel has been properly approved by Carter as spelled out in the superintendent’s contract.
District employees are required to complete a business travel form detailing travel plans, anticipated costs and reason for the trip.
Carter said last week that she cannot recall signing any such form for Becoats and no one has been able to provide her with a copy of such a form with her signature.
Still, she couldn’t say definitively whether she had ever signed a business travel form for Becoats.
She does recall signing leave forms for Becoats on which he noted the request for leave was for professional development.