WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Last week I did a "My Turn" segment about three New Hanover County school board members who, in these tough economic times, have decided to spend $7,500 of tax payer money to go to a meeting in San Diego.
We received plenty of comments. Jo Ann, citing California as a positive example, thought it was a good idea for them to go.
Here' what she said:
"I say we need to get any and all input from other states that are successful."
But Jo Ann appears to be alone with this line of thinking.
"Sounds like a boondoggle paid for with our hard earned tax dollars. One attending may be OK, but three? Let's all remember who these people are when we vote for school board again."
And Scot responded:
"I agree. It is a waste. But what else is new? Why do you think taxes keep going up? So we can pay for these very items."
We even heard from a New Hanover County school employee who wishes to remain anonymous:
"Within the school system, we are being told to look at everything and find ways to cut expenses. Since we have been told that all travel needs to be "critical and essential" then the cancellation of this trip would be a good place to start."
Well the report card is in - and you are clearly giving those board members an F on this subject.
That's Your Turn on the board member field trip. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Response from viewers:
I don't think that the trip would be that important. The city and the county are hurting to bad financially to be going on these trips. When you go on that trip and come back and have to cut salaries, cut school supplies, stop picking up the garbage or layoff someone tell me how much you have learned. Have you learned what it is to balance a budget when there is no money?
I would love to provide a suggestion for our three board members who are planning to travel to sunny San Diego this April. If they truly would like to acquire the latest and cutting edge movements in education, I suggest Newark , New Jersey, where they can visit the Hawthorne Avenue School. My sister in law has just sent me a wonderful article about Hawthorne School and it's same sex classes, and the dramatic increase in the test scores. Or perhaps they could travel to Harlem, the south side of Chicago or any of the urban city schools that are quietly and steadily making small, but significant growth by really listening to teachers and administrators' needs and suggestions.
I realize Newark, New Jersey may not be quite as nice as San Diego, but if the trip is truly about growing and learning-it's alot closer, and I would dare say- a bit cheaper.