School District Credit Statements Show Trips, Sports Games

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

CAMPBELL (CBSDFW.COM) – The Campbell ISD has hired an independent auditor to research credit statements that show thousands of dollars in questionable expenses charged to a former superintendent’s district-supplied credit card.

According to credit statements acquired through the Freedom of Information Act, former superintendent Strike Franklin’s district-provided American Express card included charges of more than $10,000 spent on overnight stays in Austin, San Antonio and Lake Texoma at high-end hotels and a resort.

The documents show another charge for nearly $1,500 on a family trip to New York. The card was also charged for more than $1,300 toward Dallas Mavericks tickets, the statements show.

The American Express card was used for $300 worth of doctor’s visits and $80 was charged at a liquor store, according to the credit statements.

Franklin, who resigned abruptly in early February after 11 years with the district, said he was advised not to comment on the charges.

“He told me to say no comment,” Franklin said, referring to his attorney. “I asked him if I could talk, because I told him I would like to say something and he said, ‘no.’”

Brian Fox is one of the Hunt County town’s 734 residents. The former IRS auditor took it upon himself to audit the district last year.

Campbell ISD currently has one school for students of all ages. Fox said he started asking questions when a proposal for a new $5 million school arose.

“I was amazed at how much money they were spending,” he said. “I attended some meetings, had lots of questions asked. Several questions, they weren’t answered.”

Fox began filing Freedom of Information requests in November and found evidence, he said, of “a lot of unnecessary expenses.”

“These seven or eight folders were part of the documents I received,” he said. “There are charges in there where he bought TVs and digital cameras.”

Current superintendent Ernie Phelps said there’s an explanation for some of the curious charges.

“There was one trip, I believe to New York, where the points were used on the American Express card,” he said. “They give you reward points, and I believe the points were used.”

Phelps said Franklin began returning some items – such as lawn equipment – and that he reimbursed the district for $3,900, which Phelps said Franklin charged toward a treadmill.

The district has hired an independent auditor to research the charges. The auditor is also researching a new administration building, which was built from scratch and cost $426,000.

Taxpayers complained about the high cost of the building, and many compared it to a basic one-story home. According to the appraisal district, the land it sits on is worth about $4,400.

While Phelps said transparency is one of the district’s priorities, he wouldn’t go into details about the statements because of the looming audit.

When asked if there was any wrongdoing in how the money was spent, Phelps said, “I tend to hope not, I will be shocked if there were.”

One teacher, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, said she was sometimes told the district could not afford to pay for some of her classroom projects.

“It’s really frustrating,” she said. “There were times when I wanted to do an art project and it was emphasized that there was no money.”

Fox said he doesn’t want to see the district go bankrupt.

“I can’t imagine the teachers working as hard as they do and not be able to get supplies and stuff they need and see an administration waste so much money,” he said.

Franklin’s attorney would not issue a statement to CBS 11 News. There is no criminal investigation currently underway.

  • a concerned parent...

    we moved her three years ago I thought it would be a good community to live in, my children go to this school I have never seen such mess.. Who would in their right mind would steal money from children, it makes me sick to think someone would do something like this.. I’m glad you got involved now maby just maby something will be done.. Thank you.

    • Hardcopy

      Now that Strike Franklin has been exposed I want to get on about the exposing the rest of “the gang.” I want to know about Rosenburg’s most recent position which I heard paid him a six-figure salary as a “consultant” for the Campbell ISD. I want Earnie Phelps investigated as I would bet my last dime that he is up to his ears in funny busiiness – of all sorts.

      I would also like to take this time to thank Mr, Fox and all the brave citizens who still have integrity, for the great start we now have to expose abusers of our children, parents in the community, tax payers and the teachers. It’s been a long time coming.

      • We are watching

        YOU GOT THAT RIGHT, EARNIE needs to be looked at EXTRA CLOSE, because he is now our current supertendent, And we don’t need a repeat of what we just had. The School Board is just as guilty, if not more. I was their job to supervise Strike, Ernie, & Rosenburg as well as all the other employees. They had to be up to their ears also. Any fool can look those American Express receipt and tell that they were not for school releated items. They didn’t even now that Strike had bought all that equiptment with the schools A/E card until he brought them up to the school, some of which was returned after dark.

    • It Takes A Village........

      “It takes a village to raise a child”- African Proverb. We must all work together to see that our children are educated and will become productive citizens. We must be the example so they will see right and will not lead wrong. We must learn from the mistakes of others so that mistakes are not repeated. We must have pride in our upbringing, it made us who we are today. Regrets must be left in the past, so as to bring a better future. We must have faith in others so they will have faith in themselves. We must search daily for a more righteous way, and be most loyal to the True One.

  • Brandon Mitchell

    well my family has lived here for 30 years and more and i’ve know strike and his wife(who died a while back, thank you cbs for mentioning that) and they would never do anything like this. this is just a bunch of bull.

  • Another "Concerned" Parent

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? The audit is not even finished yet and you are ready to hang someone via media. Justice will be served I’m sure and that goes both ways.

  • Concerned citizen

    All this began when Fox accused the ag teacher at that time of wrong doing. He didn’t get his way and then moved his kid to another school;. They have since jumped from issue to issue in trying to hang the school and school officials on issue after issue. They may have found something on the ol supt. but jeez folks can you not accept that the school didn’t fire the old ag teacher. He is a good man. They have since driven people to the polls, telling them God only knows what while on the way. There were almost 1000 people vote on the bond issue in a town that only has a population of about 800.

  • Campbell Rancher

    My next tractor will be green!

    • Poor as dirt

      I’ll take a blue one and I want one of those bush hogs on back of mine!

  • Oh so funny

    Morton??? Are you kidding me!! Talk about a snake in the bushes.

  • Captain Yowza

    So, are all this man’s defenders claiming that there are no charges for Mavs tickets, etc? Either the charges exist or they don’t. It’s hard to imagine a legitimate use for basketball tickets or a treadmill in a school district’s budget.

  • CBS11fan

    I don’t care if you are in Dallas ISD or Podunk ISD. $109 at Hooter’s on the tax payer’s dime is enough to lose your job. Add to it the rest of the charges for vacations and sports tickets. There should be a criminal investigation for extortion. Here is a good joke for you. How many tax payers does it take to pay for the superintendent’s vacation and liquor store trips? 800! Our country is being flushed down the toilet financially because guys like this stay fat off of the working man’s dollar. I say let him burn and let’s get someone in there to give the kids the opportunities. God bless the few people out of 800 that brought light on the subject. Brave souls risking their necks for better education and public official accountability.

    • Parents For Kids

      I say turn the whole school board over and start fresh because this happening on the current school boards watch is just inexcusable. Did they turn a blind eye or somehow benefit from the expenditures? Who hires whom? And if the schoool board doesn’t hold these administrators accountable – who in the heck does? I guess it has come down to the citizens of Campbell to do that.

    • The Truth

      Extortion!!!!! Was there violence too!!!! I didn’t hear that.

      • Trolling

        Stay tuned we may find out soon enough.

  • READ!

    I am to a former student from Campbell ISD. I agree with Marcelo’s comment 100%.
    I for one do believe Campbell is getting what they deserve. I’ve been waiting for this for almost ten years now. I am one of the kids that got deprived of an education and i cant help but to feel as if i was robbed. Campbell school doesnt even have an art class…Hasn’t had one since maybe 2000. Mrs. Jackson was the last art teacher to work there. Sadly she left cause “they didnt have enough money for the supplies.” Never had a music class. If it wasn’t basketball, baseball, or track they didnt have the money. They also built a new gym but they cant play basketball in it cause someone got the measurements wrong. WASTE OF MONEY. Yes, Mrs.Franklin did pass away. Yes, she was a wonderful teacher but that doesnt take away the fact that her husband is a thief. I also heard of kids putting pine-sol in Mrs. Franklins coffee… I wonder if that had anything to do with her being so ill.. Also… We should ask Mr. Ernie Phelps why he gives girls spankings without their parents approval or without another female present in the room with him while doing so. The parent wasnt notified at all. The parent only found out because of a note found in the daughters bedroom … weeks after it accured. When the parent confronted Mr. Ernie Phelps he said “Shes lying and that no one will ever believe you.”
    There is so much more I could say. These are only the things that popped up in my head first. I hope the system rips them a new one :D

    • Anonymous

      I’m a former student of Campbell, too. You heard of students putting Pine-Sol in Mrs. Franklin’s coffee??!!!! Did you tell anyone? If you knew about that and you didn’t say anything, you’re SICK. I would bet money that Ernie never said that to anyone. You weren’t robbed of an education. Take some responsibility. If you did nothing with your life, that’s on YOU.

  • wow

    Wow is all i can say…..and this is where i had my great school years at? this is where i played basketball at…this is where i met the most amazing friends and teachers ever????….wow i love campbell and even tho i moved to cooper campbell and all the good times i had there still won my heart and it breaks my heart to hear about this i praying hope everything gets fixed it brings tears to my eyes to hear bad things about this school but im sure things will be fixed.

  • Mother and former resident

    Glad to say I have left this god forsaking town…
    .I was there during the time in the comment (read) is talking about!
    Never let your kid go to school here if you want them to do something
    with their life.
    These are a few of the many things that has happened in this racist town!
    If you are not Caucasian or from Campbell you got real special treatment….Called Harassment PEOPLE!!! A real nightmare for many!
    They would run you out of town if possible.
    And if these kids told their parents about the things that was
    going down..more punishment from the school! Hush little baby…..
    Only a hand full of races there and who never got any or very little help from teachers or the school board!
    You can only be on the board or PTA if you have money…Wonder why?
    A student teacher and someone who worked in the office might have used the credit card for the liquor..just sayin….
    A few of the kids use to drink with these ladies too. Great skills ladies!
    ESL class (nice lady) was a joke these kids can’t even spell or really read..
    It is very sad…
    The kids can’t even get into college without lots of extra help!
    Ask PJC of Greenville or TAMU-Commerce how many Campbell students are getting help now because they can’t spell or do simple math.
    Of course I guess most of them don’t care too! No one ever cared enough about their education.
    Most of their brain cells have been wasted on drugs, drinking, and popping pills!
    I mean they have nothing else to do there and your not cool if you don’t do them too….(during school hours) And by the way ask those parents of Campbell how many of the kids who graduated from there or not?
    If their kids have jobs or even go to college?
    If I was given all the the answers on the TAAS test before it became TAKS test why try we don’t have too! I guess who needs education anyway?
    This teacher knew the kids would not pass so let me give them the answers!!!
    I had tried to contact the state back when these things was happening but no help there. Thank you State of Texas!
    Guess I should have called CBS 11 News!
    Depending on who you are is to what you got away with in school such as skipping, drugs on campus, etc….It does not matter we will pass you anyway!
    All we care about is Basketball!
    If you don’t play you can sit on the sidelines and watch others and doing nothing for the next 45 mins of class…We don’t care about your health either! P.E. or Athletics is not a real class here unless you play a sport forget all the others they are losers anyway huh Coach Guffey or Mr. Phelps? Mr. Phelps was a coach before he became principal of the school when Mr. Baber ran things ask him a few questions….
    Come to think of it Mr Phelps built a very nice home not but a mile or two from the school and since the Admin building does not look like 426,000 dollars to me but his house does…..just a thought…..
    Dear Mr. Phelps,
    If the parent fills out the paperwork for the student and asked you to call first before you spank little girls maybe you should do so you think?
    Or maybe he can’t read either!!
    I hope this child files child abuse and harassment on you someday!
    (she was not Caucasian) hint hint!!
    What a joke people and our tax dollars go to pay him and many
    others who are in on this scam too and have been for years.
    This has been a long time coming for this place so glad to see someone cares!
    2 thumbs Mr. Fox for taking the time to care about others and the kids!!
    Many people kept things quiet in this town and you know who you are and should be ashamed of yourselves for the way these kids turned out with all your great help!
    This place is a total disgrace and the school should be closed permanently and all kids send somewhere they may learn something other than the following: drugs, drinking, pill popping, thieving, and embezzlement just to name a few.
    Am I angry or sad about these things?
    Yes I am!! Some of these kids were my kids!
    Just a few things I could think of at the moment..
    GIt er’ done Indians! (the shirt logos…. back in the day)

  • Leading Off (5/11/11) | FrontBurner

    […] Franklin — and let’s pause a moment to take in the greatness of that name — allegedly charged trips to resorts, family vacations, Dallas Mavericks games, and pretty much anything else he wanted […]

  • the truth

    Funny, I have never seen it where the school was rated unacceptable, in the past. From the grammar and sentence structure of these posts it looks like these folks get it naturally. These past posts must come from troubled chldren with troubled pasts hahahahahahaha.

    • Parents For Kids

      You might want to check your own sentence structure. Those folks you say “get it naturally” were probably Campbell ISD students past and present. For another human being to mock another who may have had a troubled past is exactly the kind of people some of the administrators are. I know this to be a fact as they had no interest in helping children with troubled pasts. They isolated and ridiculed them because they did not know how to or did not want to try and reach them. You should be ashamed for mocking anyone who you believe may have had a troubled past.

  • old warwhoop

    At this point its going to be FACTS or FICTION vs FEELINGS…….I think we can agree for the most part we have a good little school with good kids and good teachers.Most of us have been here a long time and there is a long line of generations that go here.We still have a job to do and thats to take care of the kids.So while everyone goes in mad happy angry or confused pray & just think of the kids who need all of us.Let the legal people take care of the legal stuff.
    As the school song says “WE”LL BE FAIRFULL_WE”LL BE TRUE”….

    • Parents For Kids

      There was questionable spending by a lot of people connected to the school. Mr. Franklin even returned some of the items and reimbursed for his treadmill. So what is it that people are having a hard time understanding here? Thank goodness the bond wasn’t passed or there would have been 5 million dollars of taxpayer money being used for personal gains instead of investing it in the education of Campbell students. I hope the legal system does take care of this. No one is against the students at Campbell ISD. If anything the information that has come to light will help the students of Campbell ISD. They were cheated and they deserved better.

  • old warwhoop

    and just incase the spell checkers are awake that would be “FAITHFUL” ..eyes arent working this early

  • Slanderlaw

    Those leaving unfounded and slanderous comments beware. IP addresses are able to be tracked and the “anonymous” posters can be identified.


    1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
    2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
    3. Law . defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

    • Rhubarb

      Those adminstrators have slandered quite a few over the years.

    • I Miss Mr Julian

      What the hell ever. Call me We will talk about it

  • wondering

    Why was the school board not doing their job?

    • Campbell Parent

      yeah I think they were there job was to help Strike spend the schools money… the school board has to ok the spendings where were they? right beside him buying tv’s liquor and fine meals and no telling what else.. While teachers are having to live off of hot we know why Campbell teachers got turkeys for christmas insted of christmas bonuses that they look forward to to buy there children nice gifts.. I wonder what Striks family got for Christmas this year!!!!

    • I wonder too

      My question exactly. Did members of the school board benefit from the miss use of school funds perhaps?

      • Hardcopy

        I wonder too

        My question exactly. Did members of the school board benefit from the miss use of school funds perhaps?

        Good question and I would love to have an answer to it. Maybe as we slowly start “cleaning house” of “the gang” we’ll get an answer. Seems highly unlikely that all of these expenditures could go unnoticed but this is Campbell and Campbell is in Hunt County.
        Maybe the new school board will look into getting Campbell a Superindendent that can pass the Superintendent’s exam by at least the fourth try.

  • To Mr Fox the non Campbell Resident

    If wrong was done let the person pay for it! I went to Campbell and have been lived there for over 13 years! Mr Fox has a right to question those charges by Mr Franklin, and to bring it up to the proper authorities and let them investigate. However, What he has done is set out to embarrass the whole community and Its School. Shame on you Mr Fox! I hope you realize that this mess with the news makes you just as bad as the person who made those charges! I hope you realize that you are messing with Good peoples jobs and there lives! Like i said if something illegal was done that person be punished! But just because you and your wife got mad about a teacher not getting fired when you thought they should have been does not give you the right to go in and make a town, its people and its School look incompentent because of one person! Some of those charges are no doubt needing to be looked into, But your pushing it big time! I know for a FACT that those TVs are in that school! I know that those boat seats are sitting in the gym for the scorekeepers! The antiques are for one act play! So much of what you say is fuled by a chip on your sholder and i would be watching myself if i were you!!!!!

    • Justified

      The article explicitly places the blame on the superintendent and of course the school board ought to be scrutinized as well, it’s not an attempt to make the entire community look bad at all.
      Don’t you realize these efforts are to help make Campbell ISD a better place? How can you be angry about that? How do you explain the Mavs tickets, the liquor purchases, the vacations? It needs to be out in the open, not only for the betterment of Campbell ISD but also to raise awareness everywhere about the wrongdoings that can go on in upper administration when nobody pays attention. Taking money from the school and taking advantage of the community is absolutely deplorable. Mr. Fox is part of that community and has every right to speak out.
      You want to talk about ruining lives, how about all the kids who are being deprived of a quality education partially because of what has been going on?

  • Slander

    It’s only “slander” if it is false. What if it is true????????? Have fun tracking IP’s.



  • Kim Dar

    Small town politics at its best.

  • RJB's Dad

    Whiners keep whining, losers keep losing, but please let the teachers keep teaching and the students keep learning. Find a way to get the school back on track. Name calling, sensless mudslinging from troubled adults who were also troubled students from years ago take those sour grapes and make sour wine and get drunk so you can try to make a little sense. Good job of hiding on this virtual grassy knoll called cyber world.

  • jenny

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, we need to be concerned how this will hurt the students in the near and far future. Remember , there are good people at that school working for the best interest of your childrens education.

    • old warwhoop


  • Mariah Davis Former 8th grader

    Maybe, Everyone needs to hit there knee’s and pray. There is a great church that my family attends, First Baptist Church of Campbell, Youth Service 7 o’clock Wednesday night, and Sunday mornings at 10.

    • old warwhoop


  • student in campbell

    We are trying are hardest

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