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Archive for Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Corkins blasted over spending, comments

November 9, 2005

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— New Education Commissioner Bob Corkins was blasted Tuesday by several State Board of Education members over his spending and comments made in favor of vouchers and charter school changes.

Bill Wagnon, D-Topeka, whose district includes Lawrence, criticized Corkins for hiring consultants to help him with his transition.

"When we had a vacancy, we didn't hire a consultant," Wagnon said referring to the time period after the previous commissioner Andy Tompkins left the job.

Corkins, hired last month by a 6-4 conservative board majority to the $140,000 job, has hired conservative consultant Dan Harden for $2,500 per month for up to three months to lead his transition. He defended the expense as necessary to help him do a review of the education agency.

He also has hired a consultant to handle media services for $5,000 per month until a permanent replacement can be found for the former communications director who recently resigned.

Corkins said he has advertised for the post and sought out individual candidates to fill that position.

Corkins also was taken to task by Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat, after he visited her district and spoke in favor of vouchers and charter school changes.

"Are you speaking for the board or are you speaking for yourself?" she asked.

"I would never advocate anything I would think inconsistent with the board's goals and objectives," Corkins said.

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