Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

School Board reviewing travel request violations

In April School Board members Martha Ross and Lynn Costic attended the National School Board Association annual conference, which was held at the Hilton San Fransisco, Union Square.

Controversy abounds, since the money came from the Education Fund before being approved by the full Board. Now the question is should Costic and Ross have to pay the $5,000 in travel expenses back to the District (i.e. taxpayer)?

Would the public be wrong in assuming that Ross should have known better, given that she has been on the Board continuously for what the pjstar terms "nearly a decade"? Shouldn't she be a wonderful mentor for the recently appointed Costic to learn from?

I must admit, it is somewhat surprising that after being on the Board for so long, that this makes Ross appear that she does not know the ins and outs of School Board Policy. Surely, they go over these type of things in School Board Training - right?

Does this decision mean that they will also review the recent approval by the Board to allow Butler and Wolfmeyer to travel to DC? Most believe they should have not been able to vote for their own travel request and should have abstained. I believe the vote should be revisited.

District 150 board will review travel policy after violation.
The Peoria District 150 School Board will review procedures this summer after technically violating its own travel policy earlier this year.

In April, board members Martha Ross and M. Lynne Costic went to the National School Board Association's annual conference in San Francisco without the travel request going to the board for approval.

The district made the travel arrangements, but other board members did not learn about the travel until about a week prior.

Ross, who has been on the School Board nearly a decade, maintained she believed the board did not need to vote on board travel that was specifically for School Board training, saying Tuesday that "normally, board travel never had to before."

Costic, who joined the board in January, said she was not aware of the policy.

School Board policy notes "board members should seek pre-approval of expenses, except in situations when the expense is diminutive."

Also, when nearly all the School Board traveled to Chicago in November for annual conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the board voted on the travel request.

The cost of the trip to California for Ross and Costic was about $5,000.

The technicality resurfaced last month with a travel request. Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer and board Vice President Linda Butler brought to the board a request that they and Superintendent Grenita Lathan go to Washington, D.C., at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.

That travel request, at a cost of about $7,500 for all three, barely passed, by a 4-3 vote. Ross, Jim Stowell and Laura Petelle voted no.

Ross said she voted against the Washington, D.C., travel because she didn't see it as an instructional benefit for a School Board member. "I didn't necessarily see it as board training," Ross said, but added, "I'm sure it is educational to some degree."

Stowell said he didn't believe the money should come from the Education Fund and that another funding source should have been sought.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Suggested itinerary should you find yourself in Washington DC, the week of June 12 - 17 without one after completing a couple of meet and greets

DC Jazz Festival
June 1-13, 2011. Enjoy more than 100 jazz performances at concert venues and clubs throughout Washington, DC.

La Dolce DC
Through July 31, 2011. Washington, DC will celebrate all things Italian this spring a citywide festival that coincides with the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The event showcases Italian culture through architecture, art, dance, design, fashion, music, theatre, film, food and wine.

The Source Theater Festival
June 10–July 3, 2011. Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, NW Washington, DC. See new works in theater, dance, music, visual art, film, puppetry, spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. Performances include eighteen 10-Minute Plays, four one act plays, eight “Mash-Ups,” Project 24/7, three staged readings and a one-of-a-kind opening night event.

U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club
June 13-19, 2011. The U.S. Open, which was first conducted in 1895, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. Apparently this is sold out - perhaps the good Congressman Schock could get you in.

Should you find yourself near or on the National Mall you must visit Jefferson Pier the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Located directly south of the mall, is the Tidal Basin featuring rows of Japanese cherry blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the District of Columbia War Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

When you get to the Smithsonian Institution go directly to the Sackler and Freer galleries, which both focus on Asian art and culture; but make sure you save time to spend hours in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall near the Capitol, but is not a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The East Building of the National Gallery of Art houses the modern art collection. Allow yourself plenty of time to just roam.

D150 Board split on D.C. trip
Two Peoria District 150 School Board members and the superintendent will travel next month to Washington, D.C.

But approval for travel to the nation's capital, when the school district will again finish out the year in the red and is looking ahead to yet further cuts next year, only narrowly gained support Monday night. Afterward, one board member said the $7,500 cost out of the Education Fund "comes on the backs of students."
The vote was 4-3.

Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer and board Vice President Linda Butler will travel to Washington, D.C., between June 12 and June 17. Superintendent Grenita Lathan will go from June 12 to June 16.

There was no discussion or comment during the meeting regarding the travel and nearly split vote.

"It's an opportunity to meet with legislators and hopefully Department of Education personnel to voice concerns we have and also to get information from them on the future of what's going to happen with schools," Wolfmeyer said after the board meeting.

Wolfmeyer said there currently is no itinerary.

The trip is being sponsored by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria. The entire School Board was invited, in addition to area union leaders, business leaders and heads of social service agencies.

Dissenting votes were cast by Jim Stowell, Laura Petelle and Martha Ross. Approving the measure were Wolfmeyer, Butler and board members Chris Crawford and M. Lynne Costic.

Petelle said she would have liked more discussion on the matter.

"What I hope to get is some information on where the government is headed with helping school districts - it's also an opportunity in small group settings ... to share some concerns we have in our district," Wolfmeyer said, adding that she believed having more of the district's leadership represented could be beneficial.

But the approved travel also comes less than one month before the School Board will hold its annual reorganization meeting, which could mean a change in leadership on the board.

Two School Board members, Ross and Costic, traveled to the National School Board Association's national conference in San Francisco in April. The cost of that trip was unknown Monday night.