Out of Control Policy Blog

Less money for classrooms

No, not budget cuts.

From the LA Daily News:

Despite a budget crisis, Los Angeles Unified officials spent $16 million on conference centers and top hotels for training and seminars in the last fiscal year rather than using dozens of available district facilities, the Daily News has learned.

At least half the money was spent locally and the rest, including $2.5 million for air fares, hotels and car rentals, on out-of-town programs, according to LAUSD officials.

The loose spending practice was uncovered by LAUSD's new Chief Operating Officer Tim Buresh, who warned local district superintendents and division heads last month that the practice must be curbed.

Most everyone has agreed to be outraged. Said one school board member, "While teachers were struggling to get chalk, they were eating stuffed chicken in air-conditioned hotels." Said another, "When we don't have materials for our classrooms, we cannot use money for conferences out of state and to pay for hotels." The district's inspector general joined the outrage, "With a budget crisis facing (the district), this is a significant amount of money to be spending when there are a number of district facilities available."

So we're going to get to the bottom of this–punish the wrongdoers? Not exactly.

Buresh said there was no person or department to blame, because the expenses were buried in so many different accounts.

Yeah, on second thought it's really no one's fault and it sure would be tough to look through all those accounts. Plus I'm sure they've learned their lesson.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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