Thursday, November 04, 2010

Board meeting turns ugly

The ugly started when School Board Member Robert Lucero patted himself on the back for "setting an example" by not going on the Tampa junket. That in stark contrast to other board members defending the "value" of their participation.

The most pathetic justification came from Board Member David Robbins who argued that the proportion that the $20K they spent on the junket, compared to APS $1.25B budget was the same as a typical family spending one penny. His logic, as usual is flawed.

The largest part by far, of APS' budget is non-discretionary. The discretionary use of $20K to jet to Florida, must be compared to the discretionary budget. In that light, it is much more than a typical family spending a penny.

Further, if you buy his argument, then APS should be hiring many more instructional aides to help children learn, because they only cost a penny.

School Board Member Paula Maes chastised the board members who "apologized" for the junket, arguing that they too are "elected officials" and every other elected official gets to go to conferences without having to justify having gone.

Board Member David Peercy's justification was interesting. He argued that APS had been given a number of laptop computers at the conference (which are going to be passed along to unspecified students) that cumulatively are worth more than $20K, making the trip a relative financial windfall.

A number of board members argued that because the Council of the Great City Schools were planning a future conference in Albuquerque, the return on investment (tourist dollars) amounted to more than the $20 the APS "invested".

Several burned some bridges with the Journal, taking exception to a Journal editorial calling the conference a "junket". Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, Journal Editor Kent Walz is offering them an invaluable service through his steadfast refusal to investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, and they called him out for using the word junket?

Surprise, surprise; the video of the meeting is not yet available, should you want to watch it, link.

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