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‘EAA caught overspending on travel, gas, new furniture’

EAA Chancellor John Covington

EAA Chancellor John Covington

Staff report

DETROIT — A “waste and abuse of power,” is what Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson called spending done by officials at the Educational Achievement Authority

Following a May 12, Detroit News report on Gov. Snyder’s state-created experimental district exposing excess spending by the cash-strapped district, Johnson said, “Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like personal chauffeurs and new IKEA furniture, while kids go to schools without heat or air conditioning, shows Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s risky school takeover district is continuing to fail our kids.”

The report revealed the EAA staff spent nearly $240,000 on travel, gas for Chancellor John Covington’s personal chauffeur and IKEA furniture, since 2010.

“This waste and abuse of power is exactly why the EAA is opposed by members of the state Board of Education, current and former teachers in the district, and professional educators all over our state and country,” Johnson said in a recently released statement. “Michigan schools need more leaders in Lansing who will once again invest in our public schools, not force a school takeover meant to enrich Gov. Snyder’s friends and allies.”

Among the findings: $178,000 was spent on hotel and airfare traveling to 36 cities from April 2012 to February, while another $10,000 was spent on gas for Covington’s chauffeured car, $25,000 for IKEA furniture for Covington’s office and $8,000 combined at Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Meijer, Home Depot and Lowe’s, according to the report.

The EAA came under criticism last week when a video went viral showing a teacher using a broom to beat back one student fighting with another at Pershing High. The EAA promptly fired the teacher, although, as reported here exclusively, (“EAA teacher is collateral damage.”)   the student initiating the fight had been improperly readmitted to school by the principal, who came from Seattle after being dismissed there. The teacher has since been reinstated.

Detroit parents and community have battled against the EAA since it was created with 15 DPS buildings and contents by former Emergency Manager Roy Roberts.

EAA enrollment fell this year as parents took children out of the failing district. In February, it was revealed through MEAP scores students in the EAA were performing at lower levels than when they entered the district.

When EAA Chancellor John Covington was superintendent of Kansas City Schools, the district lost its accreditation.

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