Private Business Reacts to School Credit Card Controversy

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

Two principals in Palm Beach County have come under scrutiny for improper use of school district credit cards.

One, Jonathan Prince at Palm Beach Gardens High, was demoted and received a 20 day suspension this week.  Another, Jack Thompson of Boca Raton Community Middle School, was cleared.  Prince spent about $4000 on a district credit card, Thompson spent nearly $7000.

So does their use of credit cards, to wine and dine their staff, seem okay to you?

Principals have a school district credit card, which they can use to provide awards for employees who do an exceptional job. That means taking them out to lunch, for example.

Some people we talked with such as  the folks at one private business MAC Fabrics say the whole thing doesn't seem right.   MAC Fabrics has been doing business in West Palm Beach for about 50 years, much of that time on Clematis Street.

Employees at the fabric store say they don't see the need for a principal at a public school to be spending thousands of dollars of his school's money to treat the staff to luncheons or buying them gifts such as candy and perfume and cologne to boost morale.

"They probably shouldn't be doing it because there's so many budget cuts right now. They're cutting out a lot of good programs for schools and you know, I mean if you really want to take someone out to lunch it should come out of your own pocket.  Do not use school funds to do it," said April Pollock, MAC Fabrics manager.

"I think that money they're taking and using that way should go for the classroom," said Daisy Cross, a MAC Fabrics employee for 41 years.   Employees at MAC Fabrics say the money that principals spend on dinners and lunches and gifts to boost morale might be better spent on books and computers for the children, even teacher salaries.

One said take the credit cards away from the principals, entirely. Another said let them keep the credit card, but much tighter restrictions are needed on what charges are okay and what charges are unacceptable.