- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

A company car or car allowance is now a standard part of the compensation package for area public-school superintendents, a survey by The Washington Times shows, but in the District, the free ride also comes with a chauffeur.

Superintendent Clifford B. Janey, 59, is taken to and from many school engagements by a support-services assistant who makes $28,711 to $36,939 a year, school officials said.

The driver “serves as the main point of contact to ensure the superintendent’s timely attendance to various functions,” said Erika L. Pierson, deputy general counsel for D.C. public schools.

“As superintendent, I have myriad responsibilities and engagements to attend,” Mr. Janey told The Times. “Having a driver on staff makes things more efficient, as well as alleviates the complicated parking situation in the District.”

The driver’s salary comes out of the school system’s personal-services budget.

Mr. Janey shares the driver with senior executive officers in the system, Miss Pierson said.

The driver transports Mr. Janey using one of the school system’s 11 leased vehicles — midsize sedans and four-wheel drive vehicles that cost the system $89,948 a year. The cost of using and maintaining each vehicle ranges from $558 to $861 a month.

In Fairfax County, schools Superintendent Jack D. Dale drives an Acura sedan provided by the school system. Officials said the car cost $35,409 and is part of the school system’s budget.

“It’s part of the contract negotiated between the School Board up in VA and superintendent,” spokeswoman Mary Shaw said. “Part of [Mr. Dale’s] job is working with a lot of different groups in our community, and he is on the road a fair amount.

“So is the car justified? I think it is, and obviously, the School Board thinks it is,” she said.

John White, a spokesman for Prince George’s County public schools, said the system’s interim chief executive officer, Howard A. Burnett, does not have a personal driver but has access to one, if needed.

Mr. White said that Mr. Burnett is driven in a Chevrolet sedan upon his request and that former CEOs Andre J. Hornsby and Iris T. Metts had drivers approved by the Board of Education.

“A member of our security staff drove them in a school system vehicle,” Mr. White said.

Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith, who abruptly announced his resignation last month and will leave his position on Nov. 23, is provided a 2001 Ford Taurus for business use as part of his contract.

Greg Nourse, assistant superintendent for business and management services, said officials take a small amount out of Mr. Smith’s wages to pay for gas and other expenses associated with the superintendent’s travel.

Mr. Nourse said Mr. Smith is not reimbursed for mileage, and the car cost about $16,000.

“We don’t put any bells and whistles on it,” he said. “It’s just a regular package.”

Montgomery County Superintendent Jerry D. Weast does not have a personal driver but is provided with 2005 Toyota Avalon to use on school business, spokesman Brian Edwards said. The school system leases the vehicle for $460 a month.

Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry and Arlington County schools Superintendent Robert G. Smith do not have personal drivers or vehicles supplied by the school system, officials said.

Both superintendents can apply for mileage reimbursements for out-of-town travel, officials said. Arlington schools spokeswoman Linda Erdos said Mr. Smith receives an automobile allowance of $600 a month, a reimbursement for in-county and nearby travel.

Alexandria schools spokesman Jay Johnson said Miss Perry is provided a $650-a-month travel allowance.

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