MILWAUKEE – The late President Ronald Reagan would probably not be pleased.
The employees of Ronald Reagan High School easily led the entire district in travel spending in the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to records provided by Milwaukee Public Schools. A total of 43 Reagan High School employees made 77 excursions for a total cost of $81,690.47.
That’s a little over one-fifth of the $396,474.97 that employees from the 53 Milwaukee schools collectively spent on travel in 2015-16.
The Milwaukee school district is facing a projected budget deficit of at least $50 million in the next fiscal year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. We assume six-figure travel spending will be on the table when budget cuts are considered.
If some of the travel money came from state or federal grants, we assume district officials will tell state and federal officials that they could use the money for more pressing needs.
The trips appear to have been mostly for school employee professional development, at various education conventions and conferences across the nation.
The records did not separate travel costs by types of expense, like air fare or hotel fees. They simply listed names of employees with dates, destinations and short abbreviations of events.
Eleven schools on the list had total travel tabs of at least $10,000.
The staff at Reagan High School led the pack with its $81,690.47 grand total. A lot of trips taken by Reagan employees were pricey. Of the 77 trips, 31 cost the school district at least $1,000.
An employee named Mike Roemer made two trips to Chicago – one at a cost of $2,177.50 and one for $1,630.50., for a total of $3,808.
An employee named Calie Herbst made a single trip to Austin, Texas that cost $2,327.
An employee named Jessica Overland made a trip that cost $2,217, with no destination was listed.
An employee named Daysi Jazmin Perez Soto made a trip to Memphis, Tennessee that cost $2,197.17.
The list goes on and on.
The second highest-spending school was the James Madison Academic Campus, which had a travel tab of $42,793.04.
Sixteen employees took a total of 22 trips, and every trip cost the district at least $1,000.
An employee named Timothy Meyer took three trips, to Anaheim, California ($2,150), Albuquerque, New Mexico ($1,498.20) and Orlando, Florida (1,987.30) for a total of $5,635.50.
An employee named Keywana Battle made two tips – to Anaheim ($2,150) and Orlando (1,897.80) for a total of $4,047.80.
Other Milwaukee schools spending at least $10,000 on travel were Rufus King High School ($31,600.45), North Division High School ($25,728.23), Washington High School of Information
Technology ($21,316.93), Bay View High School ($18,858.56), Hamilton High School ($16,060.20), Pulaski High School ($14,855.93), Wedgewood Park International School ($17,340.12) Morse Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented ($13,295.67) and Lowell Elementary ($10,405.47).
Curiously, six schools on the list had no travel costs at all – Cooper Elementary, the Milwaukee German Immersion School, the Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School, Hampton Elementary, Hi Mount Community School and Humboldt Park School.
Here are the documents EAGnews received from the school district to produce this report: