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Durham Public Schools cancels district credit cards

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DURHAM, N.C. -

The Durham County School Board canceled all district-issued credit cards Monday just a month after the district suspended the card issued to the superintendent

Superintendent Eric Becoats was accused of running up more than $21,000 in charges deemed to be excessive, with charges including out-of-town travel and meals. In October, the school board canceled Becoats' system-issued credit card.

In addition to suspending the card, the board unanimously directed the school attorney to continually review credit card use and whether Becoats should reimburse the district for any of the charges.

On Monday, the chief financial officer for the district made the recommendation to the board to cancel all district-issued credit cards.

"We wanted to assure ourselves and the public that we are being good safeguards of those resources," said board chair Heidi Carter in an interview with WNCN.

She said Becoats had no visible reaction when the decision was made by the board.

Only a small handful of district employees and departments had the cards, including the school board.

Earlier this month, Durham Public Schools elected not to give Becoats a raise or extend his contract beyond 2016.

Becoats has a base salary of $195,700 a year. In addition, he receives $600 a month in exchange for using his personal vehicle for in-county travel. Because of that travel pay, Becoats does not receive any reimbursement for his in-county travel costs.

He is reimbursed for out-of-town travel in his vehicle, unless he uses a DPS vehicle.

Becoats also receives an additional $100 a month for cellphone expenses.

The district provides him with a laptop, Internet connection and printer at his home.

Last year, the school board extended Becoats' contract end date from June 30, 2014, to June 30, 2016.

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