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St. Louis area public school district blowing tax dollars.

Missouri is notorious for its disparity between the funding of majority black schools and majority white schools. Majority black schools routinely get as much as double the per student funding that poor white schools get, even though blacks on average pay far less in taxes.

Here is a perfect example. Jennings, MO is an 80% black town in St. Louis County. It’s school district is listed as 99% black. 58% of the students qualify for free lunch. The per pupil funding is over $10,000. This is over 20% higher than the state average. It is double what poor white pupils in the Missouri Ozarks get.

The excessive funding is coming from white taxpayers living in other parts of the state.

So what does Jennings do with all this extra cash?

From St. Louis Post Dispatch…

The Jennings School Board voted Monday night to sell off for a fraction of their cost several hundred of the hand-held computers the district bought for more than $1 million three years ago. Others will be given away to students.

The district bought 2,572 Palm T/X computers for about several hundred dollars each in a program touted at the time as giving students the latest technology, but which has since been criticized as mismanaged and wasteful. Many sit in storage and others are used only occasionally.

Jennings bought the machines, one for each third- through 12th-grader, for $1.25 million. The total cost included fold-up keyboards, protective cases, software, other equipment and about $200,000 in teacher training. When they were purchased, it was hoped students could use them to graph math equations, take notes, draw charts and assist in science experiments. The superintendent at the time said the purchase put Jennings on the cutting edge.

This summer, the Missouri auditor’s office released a scathing report on Jennings, critiquing administrative costs, accounting practices and spending. The Palm computer plan came in for particular criticism. The project went overbudget by nearly $300,000 and the district failed to take advantage of $77,500 in rebates. Mistakes rendered a $16,700 server useless.

The Jennings District administrators were so wasteful, so arrogant, and so careless that on top of blowing $1.25 million on shiny rocks, they didn’t even bother to mail back rebate coupons worth $77,500!