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School District Spends $21,000 for Top Administrators to Attend Conference

By Bob Conrad
Washoe County School District administration building. Image: Carla O'Day.
Washoe County School District administration building. Image: Carla O’Day.

Washoe County School District’s top administrators got to attend an annual superintendents’ conference in February for a total of $21,563.08. The expense, part of which was paid from a federal fund, comes as the district is facing “terrible” budget cuts that last week more than doubled to $17.5 million. School trustees said at a recent budget workshop that they are looking for every way to cut expenses.

WCSD defended the expense.

“[The conference] was out of the ordinary because it served multiple purposes,” said district spokesperson Megan Downs. “It served as a professional development for three of our staff members who are enrolled in special Superintendent academy training.

Traci Davis
Traci Davis,
Washoe County
School District
Superintendent

“Additionally, four District staff members presented in sessions or conducted roundtables discussions at the event. Lastly, Superintendent Traci Davis received a nationally renowned award as part of the event, the Dr. Effie H Jones Humanitarian Award.”

The School Superintendents Association conference was in Los Angeles from February 14-16. Public records show that one staff member’s travel and conference expenses totaled $3,000.

Some district officials went early and stayed late. Three attended the “Aspiring Superintendents Academy” held prior to the main conference.

Of the $21,00 spent on the district’s leadership team, $9,000 came from a federal fund, and the remaining $12,000 came from the general fund, Downs said.

Area superintendents booked flights and hotels but at last minute could not attend the conference. Their flights remain paid for but will be credited for future travel, Downs said.

Two trustees, Angie Taylor and Malena Raymond, also attended the conference. Both only claimed airfare for reimbursement.

Clark County School District, a considerably larger district, spent less than $2,000 to attend the same conference. It’s superintendent, Jesus Jara, spent just under $1,800 to attend.

WCSD said that travel budgets “were cut by the Board of Trustees by 50 percent during the last budget cycle.”

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