A Knox County school superintendent is accused of spending nearly $25,000 on trips and restaurants.
Knox County Career Center Superintendent Bernie Pachmayer used her work VISA card to charge thousands. She said it was in the name of education.
Former Career Center teacher Emily Hoar said that she collected records of the spending.
“To try to make sense of what’s going on with our tax money,” Hoar said. “I just think she’s using the credit card carelessly.”
Watchdog 10 sifted through credit card statements and receipts and found nearly $25,000 placed on the Visa during a two-year period.
Records show some of the expenses were at warehouse and supply stores. However, more of the expenditures were related to travel and dining.
Watchdog 10 turned up receipts for all kinds of restaurants, such as places like Columbus’ Due Amici.
According to Pachmayer, she often signed the bill for other school employees.
Pachmayer said that the school benefitted from her travel to places like Dallas, San Antonio, Orlando and Phoenix – even China.
The superintendent said that she sometimes travels with her husband, and when she does, she said that he pays his own way.
Hoar said that she thought there were some added perks to be able to travel on the school’s dime.
According to documents, Pachmeyer charged $1,800 for the trip to China, for which she said the purpose was to establish a Chinese sister school.
Pachmayer and several others also traveled to Las Vegas and casinos in Indiana and Michigan.
During one of the trips, which she said was for personal reasons, she met up with a professor to discuss school business and charged the school district for the meal. Pachmayer said the meal only cost the district $15; a receipt shows the meal cost $42.
Pachmayer said that the reason for the trips to the casinos was to establish a curriculum that would teach gaming courses. She said Ohio’s budding casino business spurred the travel.
“Vegas is actually where the gaming education piece takes place,” Pachmayer said. “If you go to Michigan, if you go to Indiana, you don’t have the colleges that teach it.”
According to Pachmayer, the proposed gaming curriculum never materialized.
“We just didn’t have the clientele, so we never ran the program,” Pachmayer said.
Though the school did not start a gaming program, Pachmayer said that the trips did provide the school valuable information about a culinary program, which is slated to launch in January.
Hoar said that the travel was a waste.
“I don’t’ think it’s necessary when people are struggling with their money, especially in this small community,” Hoar said.
Pachmayer said that she believed her school was spending money “to the best of our abilities.”
“I think we judge and weigh everything that we do, if we can,” Pachmayer said. “We just spend it the way we need to spend it.”
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