Before all you educational folks go ga-ga for President-elect Obama's pick for secretary of education, Arne Duncan, head of the Chicago Public Schools system, perhaps you missed this story from last week. With all the glare over Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris, the story about CPS employees who bent district rules to spend $67,000 for 30 cappuccino machines that mainly weren't used was overlooked by many of us.
Yup, the school district always complaining suburban Chicago districts spend more in per-pupil education and how it's sooooo unfair (Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago, where are you on this one?), bought these coolio coffee machines for a culinary arts program. Since the fine coffee machines were purchased, 22 hadn't been opened, one mysteriously disappeared and three were in use --- but not in the culinary arts program!
The Hound has to note that the CPS inspector general uncovered this obvious waste of Chicago taxpayers' money and determined that CPS employees split the purchases to stay under the district's level for competitive bids. On top of that, the school district overpaid for the machines by $12,000. Now that's some expensive cups of joe.
One worker was fired and three others are facing disciplinary action for the purchases. But, consider this when you hear the yearly lament after classes start next fall that Chicago schools get shortchanged.when it comes to school funding. Coffee, anyone?