When Barge was accused of breaking the rules, he tried to change the rules.
Restoring a Culture of Corruption. John Barge.
While Georgia’s education system was crumbling under the weight of high-stakes testing, Common Core, and deep funding cuts, John Barge paid himself a monthly travel allowance plus mileage. He also declared mileage for driving to and from work every day.
He “[collected] a state car allowance worth more than $7,000 a year -- even though the state stopped offering the allowance to officials several years before he took office.”
While collecting the car allowance, Barge “…regularly billed drives to and from his home in northwest Georgia as business travel.”
What happened when state officials began questioning Barge’s unethical practices? Barge tried to change the rules.
“State education officials then began to craft an internal travel policy for the superintendent. At one point, they sought to have Barge's home in Kingston, Ga. - 60 miles northwest of Atlanta - designated as a state Department of Education office so he could collect mileage on trips he made from there.”
State School Superintendent has implemented strict ethical standards for the agency he leads. For over eight years, his campaign hasn't taken contributions from education PACs, for-profit education companies, or out-of-state special interests -- this ethical standard is the highest of any statewide elected official in Georgia. He's also placed tight restrictions on monetary gifts for leadership and staff -- enacting policies and practices that exceed the state's ethics guidelines.