Educational Experience Or Junket?

Three Mashpee School Committee members spent last weekend in New Orleans attending a National School Boards Association conference at a cost of $6,000, which came out of the schools budget. Was it money well spent? The school committee approved the expenditure but it is very difficult to believe that the money wouldn’t have been better spent another way.


School committee chairman Scott McGee said they got a lot out of the meeting. They got new ideas about how to run the school committee and how to more effectively communicate with the public and get more residents involved with the committee’s work.

Those are good things to work on for sure, but does anyone really need to go to New Orleans to do it? Almost certainly not.

Running committee meetings is not rocket science. It requires an ability to “read the room,” or understand what is happening, and an ability to control the room without being overbearing. Communicating with the public is not rocket science, either.

Some 6,000 school committee members attended the conference, which is in its 74th year. That might be interpreted as demonstrating that the conference is a valuable educational experience. It might also be interpreted as an opportunity for a junket.

New Orleans is a very nice place to go this time of year. The weather is near perfect and it is a fun city. But it probably shouldn’t be visited on the public’s dime.


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