Commentary: More questionable spending in Logan County Schools

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Commentary: More questionable spending in Logan County Schools
By Hoppy Kercheval, WV MetroNews

More questionable purchases by the Logan County Board of Education from last year have surfaced.

Last week I wrote that Logan County School Board President Paul Hardesty, who just took office last month, confirmed a report in the Logan Banner newspaper that the school system’s purchasing card was used last year to buy $4,800 worth of wedding supplies.

Now new documents obtained by MetroNews through a Freedom of Information Request suggest other wedding purchases were made by the Board.

One document is a purchase order signed by Phyllis Doty, who was Logan County School Superintendent at the time, lists $1,844.46 worth of items ordered from Displays2Go, a Bristol, Rhode Island company that sells trade show products.

The Board bought beverage dispensers, bread baskets, easels and markers.  The bill came to $2,069.90 and on March 26th, 2015, the Board approved a check for that amount to Displays2Go.

A note on the purchase order indicates the items would be used for “math field day” and the items should be shipped to the Ralph Willis Vocational School to the attention of Scott Justice, Logan County’s Director of Elementary Curriculum who is in charge of math field day.

However, in an interview with MetroNews, Justice said he had no knowledge of the order.  “They were not ordered or used for math field day,” he told me.

On May 14, 2015, the Board issued another check to Displays2Go, this time for $2,318.27.  That corresponds with another order by the Logan County Board of Education for a variety of things, including four flip cover domes used in food service, a cookie bin, serving tongs, display risers, black cloth napkins, and two luggage racks.

Again, the items were shipped to the Willis Vocational Center.

The earlier Logan Banner story documented $4,800 worth of wedding supplies including two Doric style pedestal columns and a Tuscan half oval colonnade.  The newspaper linked those purchases to Doty, whose son was married last year.

School Board President Paul Hardesty said he’s not surprised questionable spending is being revealed, and he places the blame on Doty.  “She purchased these items,” Hardesty said.  “The requisitions are in her handwriting.”

Hardesty added that prior to the 2015 orders the school system had never bought anything from Displays2Go before.  “It’s embarrassing, but we have to get it cleaned up,” Hardesty said. “We can’t spend taxpayer dollars to subsidize a private wedding.”

Doty retired from her job last month.

The State Commission on Special Investigations started a probe last year into the Logan County School Board spending, and investigators have questioned several individuals.