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updated: 2/21/2013 2:26 PM

Hard to grasp school seminar outrage

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I read with interest, Jake Griffin's Feb. 13 Tax Watchdog column since he started out with Batavia Unit District 101 in which I am a resident and taxpayer. I was looking for the bomb to drop on our school board in that the subtitle of his article said "Taxpayer's burden for teachers to attend conference adds up."

As I read on, I already knew that a New York strip steak dinner at Morton's costs $57 and lobster bisque was $15, so what's the point? In these economic times, maybe Jake's point was that the expenses for this dinner should be deducted from the board's pay. I went to the website and found that "No board member may receive compensation for services, except that a board member serving as the board secretary may be paid ..." I know you can't deduct $57 from their paycheck because they don't get a paycheck but I read on.

He covered several other districts with the same zeal but equally unearth shattering information. It wasn't until the last two paragraphs of the article that I found what the article should have been about. As stated by a District 48 official, "the value of the conference exceeds the actual cost to the taxpayers." What an interesting concept, value verses cost? However, writing about community volunteers who were giving up their time and energy to improve their views and enhance their knowledge of issues affecting their district isn't as eye catching as the nickel and dime article in which Jake tried to incite your readership. If the conference was on a cruise ship, I could understand the issue. I am proud that District 101 leaders attended this valuable event. Drinks are on me.

David A. Brooke


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