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Told Ya So: Berman Wasting Your Money

November 3rd, 2009 by jake · 13 Comments

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman loves to spend your tax dollars (and grant money) on fancy travel around the world.

Places like Austin, Boston, Orlando, Washington, California, Canada, South Africa.

  • He spent time in Manitoba, Canada with the director of the Louisville Zoo to visit polar bears. Berman says the trip was important because it drew attention to an endangered species. He got appointed to the zoo board after the trip.
  • He attended a lengthy conference in Cape Town, South Africa (with his “late night running buddy Natalie Stiglitz from UofL – of Robert Felner fame) during the last week of school, missing every single graduation. Berman said he didn’t alter his travel plans because it coincided with a personal vacation.

WHAS11′s Adam Walser had the skinny this evening. And he’ll detail Berman’s fancy credit card spending tonight at 11.

JCTA doesn’t think all of his travel is worth his $1,000-per-day salary.

Isn’t it a bit excessive?

Told you so.

I’ll update with a link to WHAS once the story is live.

UPDATE:

Click here for the story.

UPDATE:

Walser updated his story with details of Berman’s outlandish spending on the school district’s dime.

Laying off dozens upon dozens of employees while dining at the hottest restaurants around? Yeah, great job.

Highlights:

  • High-end dinners at Seviche, Lilly’s, Napa River Grill, Le Relais
  • $1,400+ at these joints?
  • Crusted sea bass, snapper, trout?

Niiiice.

Tags: Bad Behavior · Education · JCPS · WHAS

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JJMan // Nov 3, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    JCTA doesn’t think his travel is worth his $1,000 a day salary?? — I don’t know anyone who thinks that the salaries of the JCTA’s hypocrites are worth anything at all! And where exactly is “Orldano”?

  • 2 JasonL // Nov 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Clearly JJMan is much smarter than the teachers of the public school system. Or perhaps he is just happy his tax dollars are paying for the superintendent’s trips.
    I think the children and teachers in Jefferson county should wear new uniforms. A blue shirt that says “my superintendent went to Manitoba and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and fleeced by a charlatain”
    he’s an embarrassment.

  • 3 citizen // Nov 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Then after his long, tired days of traveling all over the world to proclaim the successes of his full blown, cough, cough, implementation of Care for Kids, #1 on the NY Times bestsellers fiction list, he can relax in his $500,000 home in Fisherville. When’s the pool party Shell?

  • 4 Rob Mattheu // Nov 4, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Here’s my question. When are parents going to start holding him accountable? I found his statements offensive and puzzling.

    Do job applicants really choose their place of employment by going with the one that serves them the nicest dinner? How is he getting grants for all of this travel so he can go get more grants? And what are those grants paying for?

    He touts the fact that he works 260 days a year and didn’t want to miss his vacation? Really? Try working in the real world where leaders and managers making far less than Berman work more 60 to 80 hour weeks and often have to miss vacation or cut it short.

    As for him giving up a raise. Wow. There are many of his constituents who got a pink slip this year. And many who didn’t saw their wages stagnant or cut.

    If Berman thinks his job is to put JCPS in the national spotlight and increase its prominence, I’d like to point out two things.

    1) The only people who care that we have quality schools are the people who live here or who might move or work here. Impressing anyone else is nice, but completely unnecessary.

    2) National prominence is most easily gained by having great schools. Why not visit a few of them each day instead of seeing how polar bears live?

  • 5 EdenSprings // Nov 4, 2009 at 7:34 am

    OMG! A Jefferson County official that’s pompous, shirks his duties and lives high off the hog at taxpayer expense? Say it’s not so!!!

    Right now, my favorite mental image: the scene from Frankenstein when the villagers gather in a mob with their pitchforks and flaming torches and drive the ‘monster/s’ out of town.

    Oh, wait…didn’t that just happen in New Jersey?

  • 6 Davi // Nov 4, 2009 at 9:07 am

    On the surface, it seems Dr. Berman has problems in his personal life, and would rather be anywhere but Louisville.

    The restaurant meals would be understandable if he were recruiting some high level employee to JCPS from another city (but who would that be?), and NOT forgivable if he had been entertaining Ms. Stiglitz.
    Is there a legitimate way to find out the name of his dinner partner/s? (It seems that would be the key and should be in his record keeping, since these were “work” dinners and he should be required to explain before reimbursement or bills paid through JCPS).
    And did Dr. Berman have a travel partner on most of these trips? Again, who was it?
    Since the trips, meals and who knows what else were purchased by the taxpayers or with grant money (from donor/donors intended for EDUCATION), the public has a right to know.
    It seems there is a multitude of educators with histories of high level jobs making the circuit of big bucks and high livin’ on the public dole–being passed around from University to Public Education to Colleges…and rarely challenged, even where criminal acts (Felner and others–not implying Berman is a criminal) are concerned. It is not right to pass people on to another unsuspecting system. It would be wise to check with Berman’s previous employers and read between the lines, because they obviously will not be forthcoming.

  • 7 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Nov 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Why is it that JCPS continually seems to get stuck with the most arrogant individuals imaginable for the superintendent position? Why does our school board keep selecting people like this?

  • 8 NoTemperance // Nov 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Why would WHAS do a piece that was bound to “inspire” and then turn off the comments section? Also, not a peep from the CJ on the subject. Where are Konz or Kenning on this?

    Also, when is someone going to FINALLY going to shed some light on Mr. Berman’s time spent with ESR (Educator’s for Social Responsibility)? ESR is an social justice organization (Cambridge/Boston) started in the 80′s to fight for the reduction of nuclear arms. These days, it works to implement “social justice” in the classroom. Mr. Berman still sits on the board and the advisory council. Just a parent here, who has wandered off of the reservation. But some of the downloadable teacher’s materials from the site (esrnational.org) would set your hair on fire if you belong to the conservative set.

    Do your job people!

  • 9 jake // Nov 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Hold on, here. Don’t attack Toni or Chris.

    I know for a fact that several Courier-Journal reporters have tried to do stories on JCPS. And they always get shot down by their bosses.

  • 10 NoTemperance // Nov 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Not attacking them…I’ve called Toni personally to try and get her to look into the ESR angle. It is something that I think the majority of JCPS parents (formerly myself) would be interested in/incensed by. I understand the politics of it. However, am disgusted by it all the same.

    On the same note, we (parents) very much appreciate this site. A lot of information can be gleened from it. That being said, please look into the stories the others are afraid/kept from digging into.

    Thanks…

  • 11 jake // Nov 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    If anyone has evidence of something, feel free to pass it along.

    As far as ESR? I think you’re wasting your time. I couldn’t give two blips about what someone thinks about a supe’s politics.

    Try VHS, though. An organization I caught him admitting to funneling money toward (his reason for remaining on the board). That’s corrupt and unethical.

  • 12 CasualObserver // Nov 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Perhaps Ryan Alessi of the Lexington Herald-Leader could get on the story. He’s done a fab job on the KaCO, KY League of Cities and other investigations. It seems the H-L is not so timid…

  • 13 Novena // Nov 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    “Lush, Slush, Crush Shellie”

    Berman devours the nectar in ugly, wasteful gulps. One day it will become his poison (if there is justice on earth).

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