Durham schools superintendent apologizes for personal use of activity bus


The bus was used to transport Dr. Becoats' friends and family to private events over the course of the weekend, including a trip to Southpoint Mall.

The school board found that the activity bus use violated board policy. The investigation did not find that Becoats intended to violate policy or law. In arranging for use of the bus, Becoats asked to be billed for the cost of the activity bus and driver.  He paid the invoiced amount.  

The investigation showed that the invoiced amount did not cover the full cost of the driver. Becoats was issued a revised invoice, which he has paid.

"I contracted for use of an activity bus and paid in full the invoices provided to me. After the use of the activity bus on the contracted dates, I was informed of the local and state policy," said Becoats. "I apologize for my mistake. As Superintendent, I will continue to build on the progress that we have made in the district (decrease in dropout rates, increase in graduation rates, increases in student proficiency rates, etc.). Additional work remains to be accomplished and I look forward to completing the task with our Board of Education, staff, families and community."

School officials say there weren't any other district employees on the bus, but add the incident could have created a liability issue.

This is the second public reprimand in Becoats' career.

During his tenure as an assistant superintendent in Charlotte, the board there reprimanded him for allegedly conducting personal business with district resources for a consulting company he owned. He was suspended for a day and had to repay about $4,000. He later resigned in 2004.

Durham Public Schools hired Becoats in 2010 under a six-year contract for an annual salary for $195,000.

Members of the school board declined comment to ABC11 on advice of their legal counsel, but the chairwoman said on the phone that they are taking the matter very seriously.

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