In 2014, the Cobb County, Georgia school district spent $466,000 on employee travel.
By 2016, that total ballooned to $738,000, according to a February news report from WSBT.
And that money was spent after the Cobb County district denied a salary increase for classroom teachers, according to the report.
“A source within the district told Channel 2 Action News that travel spending among administrators was on the rise, so we decided to take a look into where the money was being spent,” the news story said.
“(A TV station reporter) looked through several years of records that show district administrators and some teachers attending a growing list of conferences from coast to coast.”
One example was a teacher traveling to Vermont for a seven-week course on speaking Portugese, at a cost of nearly $10,000.
The district told the reporter that the expense was necessary to allow communication with a growing number of Portugese-speaking students, the story said. But when asked how many of those students were enrolled, the district did not respond, the news story said.
Another example was a school district administrator staying in a hotel room in Austin, Texas with a skyline view, which cost more than $300 per night.
“In an email, the district told (the reporter) that much of the travel is paid for with state and federal money earmarked for the kind of professional enhancement faculty can receive by attending everything from technology to mathematics conferences, but the district also acknowledges that money does not have to be spent on travel,” the news story said.
The story went on to say that a Cobb County school spokesperson promised that the “district will look to see if there’s any fat that needs trimming in their travel budget.”
Will WSBT follow up, to see if that promise was ever kept?