Everyone likes to know where their money is going and for good reason.

When the Cumberland County Board of Education discovered where funds allotted for unemployment compensation were going, concerns were raised by board members and Central Office administrative staff.

For the 2008-'09 proposed budget, unemployment compensation is listed at $55,000. Unemployment compensation fluctuated from $30,452 in 2005-'06 to $18,681 in 2006-'07, and then in 2007-'08 to $55,500 budgeted amount. Year-to-date, more than $52,000 of that amount has been spent.

The BOE was alarmed to find out who has been drawing compensation, namely substitute teachers.

"We've got several teachers who were not rehired," said Cindy Randol, business manager.

"They didn't look for jobs anywhere else or didn't get a job anywhere else," said Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle.

"Then we had substitute teachers who drew off of it," she added.

"That's not legal though," said Robert Safdie, 2nd District representative.

"Yes, it is," responded VanWinkle. "We've questioned [it]. We've called and appealed about it."

"This is not right," Safdie said. "Do we have to get a personnel service to contract these teachers for us? This could get worse."

"We called the department of labor and they said, 'Yes, they can draw as long as they do not refuse to work,'" said Randol.

Randol said the substitute teachers had to have worked a certain amount of hours in a quarter to be eligible to draw unemployment compensation.

"We have notified all the schools to document any time they call a substitute when they cannot work," said Randol.

"If we call them and they say they can't come in, then they can't draw [unemployment]," added VanWinkle.

VanWinkle explained, "The two [substitutes] who drew did exceed [the number of hours]. We used them pretty regularly up until a time and then we quit using them. One of them was certified."

The DOS explained how the amount drawn from last year affected the rest of the BOE department budget in having budgeted $55,500 for 2007-'08 and having already spent $52,000 for this year.

"We had to amend money into unemployment compensation because we didn't budget enough money last year," said VanWinkle.

The DOS commented interim positions can also draw.

"They started drawing unemployment in June and they still received a check from us in June and July," VanWinkle said, adding she has brought it to the board's attention on a prior occasion.

VanWinkle informed the board most of the $55,000 is on account of interim teachers who weren't hired back and teachers who weren't given tenure. The school system didn't have but one of those teachers who applied for a job anywhere else, she said.

"Are you telling me that many of our 10-month employees are eligible for unemployment during the two months they're off?" asked Orville Hale, 8th District representative.

"No, not in the summer," Randol responded. "You hire them before the summer begins."

VanWinkle added, "But if you don't hire them, they can draw unemployment for June and July."

"I think that's the reason they are rehired before school is out, so they are employed for the next year," Randol added.

The DOS told the board the schools are now keeping track of substitutes in effort to prevent this from happening.

The board voiced some concerns with worker's compensation with an increase from $284,264 in 2007-'08 to $315,000 proposed for 2008-'09.

Randol said the amount is based on payroll percentage rather than how many claims the employer has.

The BOE discussed the option of opening bids for a better contract as they did in 2005-'06. Hale also brought up the option of sending a resolution to the state legislature concerning the the trustee's commission.

For both the 2007-'08 and 2008-'09 proposed budgets, the amount given for trustee's commission was at $250,000.