The superintendent of Durham Public Schools had been reprimanded for using a school bus and driver for personal use, the Durham Board of Education said Thursday.
Eric Becoats used a Durham Public Schools activity bus and driver on June 7 and 8 to go to private events with friends and family, the system said in a news release. Part of that included a trip to Southpoint Mall.
Becoats asked to be billed for the cost of the bus and driver and paid the invoice, but an investigation ruled the invoice amount did not cover the full cost. Becoats paid a revised invoice.
The school board, however, said, "School employees and, in particular, school leaders must not use public resources for private benefit."
In a statement, Becoats said, "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. 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."
The board determined the violations were unintentional, saying Becoats paid the billed amount of $559 for the bus. But the invoice didn't cover the full cost. He has since paid an additional $168.
Becoats has been the superintendent of Durham schools since July 2010.
Becoats was previously reprimanded for misusing district resources in 2004, when he was an assistance superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. He resigned after being suspended one day without pay, and ordered to reimburse $3,600, for making private consulting calls at work.