California School Districts Send Employees on Pricey Trips, Courtesy of the Taxpayers

sweep money
(entrepreneur.com)

California taxpayers are starting to realize a sad reality about public education that EAGnews has harped on for years: public schools spend millions on employee travel, much of it to luxurious out-of-state destinations.

The Sacramento Bee reports that school districts in the Sacramento area alone spent $10 million on employee travel in the 2012-13 school year, a substantial increase over previous years that was fueled by a massive 2012 tax hike.

In other words, California’s public schools are using their increase in school funds to send teachers and administrators all across the United States for “professional development conferences” and other training at high-end resorts.

“District leaders said the trips were necessary to prepare teachers and administrators for the new Common Core State Standards, as well as advanced programs such as the International Baccalaureate track that some schools have added to attract high-caliber students,” the Bee reports. “They also said they had to address a backlog of training needs after slashing travel budgets during the state budget crisis.”

The total travel expenses for several districts in the Sacramento area are astounding.

The San Juan Unified School District, for example, spent about $1.1 million on employee travel to conferences. In the Twin Rivers district, it was $894,000. Sacramento City Unified spent $744,000. At Elk Grove Unified – $655,000.

Even smaller districts like El Dorado Union High School District shelled out big bucks for employee travel. That district, while only spending a measly $340,000, topped the Bee’s list for the most travel spending relative to the student population at $54 per pupil.

Other big spending districts, according to the Sacramento Bee:
[Read more…]