Living Well on Taxpayer Funds

From the Palatine Tea Party…

(Palatine, Illinois) – Do school board members need to travel to national conferences in sunny California, stay in expensive hotels, and eat at high end restaurants in order to be well-educated board members? Dr. Chapman (currently a District 15 School Board member and former District 211 Superintendent) thinks overnight stays in $300 per night hotels in downtown Chicago are necessary.

“Part of it is convenience, part of it is the timing of the meetings,” said Chapman in 1998, as Superintendent of District 211. “The meetings start early in the morning, and in most cases, there’s some activity in the evening. The travel downtown and back seems simpler than it is.” Somehow, tens of thousands of suburban residents, who pay taxes to support Chapman’s travel habits, manage to commute into the city every day.

Chapman doesn’t limit himself to overnight stays in downtown Chicago. As superintendent of District 211, Chapman spent $24,000 to send administrators and board members to New Orleans, while the district’s educational fund fell nearly $12 million in the red.

Now Chapman is a board member in District 15, but his spending habits are the same. Over the last two years, as District 15 Board President, he has authorized $25,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for board member travel, with half going toward airfare and hotels, including a 2009 trip to San Diego and an upcoming April 2011 trip to San Francisco. All while District 15 is $5 million in the red for the current budget year, and projected to deficit spend through all their reserves in the next five years.

But apparently that’s no reason to stop the party.

At the February 2011 board meeting, Chapman and his supporters on the District 15 Board (Ekeberg, Bokor, Babcock) voted to continue unlimited travel spending, including the April 2011 trip to San Francisco for Bokor and Babcock.

With annual conferences in the Chicago area, and many resources on-line and in professional magazines, board members have ample opportunity to educate themselves about how to best serve their school districts. But on-line seminars don’t have after-party hospitality suites or sunny locales to brighten a snowy Chicago winter day. Apparently, Chapman believes the taxpayers should write a blank check for his travel expenses.

We think the voters should return that check stamped “Insufficient Funds Available.”

Contact your school board members, click here and let them know it is not acceptable and to revise their policy in the best interest of the community they serve.

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Tags: Palatine Tea Party, Taxes

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