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

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.

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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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Bob Conrad
About Bob Conrad 1067 Articles
Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.

4 Comments

  1. Wow, you really want to be mad at the School District, don’t you?
    You are ignoring very obvious things..
    1. Clark County sent 1 person. The superintendent. How do I know that? They spent less than 2000 dollars and the superintendent cost 1800. Basic logic dictates its the same amount of money.
    2. This conference was to train NEW superintendents. Maybe Clark County didn’t have to train any new ones, you don’t know.
    3. Vegas is CONSIDERABLY closer to LA, flights are 100 dollars each way cheaper and they don’t have a layover. (cheapest is 38 dollars vs 138 dollars each way.. most cheap tickets are actually around $80 for LV to LA and $210 from Reno to LA both ways)
    4. The Clark County superintendent could have very easily driven. It’s 4 hour drive from LV to LA.
    5. You say that the Clark County superintendent was the least expensive (only) person and spent less than 2000, but the most expensive person in Washoe spent 3000. How about comparing the average conference attendee in Washoe?
    6, That person that spent 3000 dollars could have been a last minute addition, costing more for the flight. They could have been carrying large amounts of materials with them which costs more money. You don’t know.

    I understand that we are in a budget crunch. But you have absolutely NO BASIS IN FACT that there was any wasteful spending in this instance.

    • The conference expenses do fall in line with what might be expected, generally; although, by WCSD’s own admission, employees by choice spent more on parking when they could’ve taken less expensive Uber rides, essentially because they can.

      Clark County said they’ve never sent other employees, other than a superintendent, to the conference.

      The point as I see it: when the school board claims they’re looking under ever rock for ways to cut spending, their travel items don’t seem to get prime time treatment as other items. Please watch the budget workshop videos so you can hear for yourselve how dire they’re portraying their situation to be.

      The district itself has advocated these items as matters of public interest. Journalism’s job is to provide more context, especially in areas some would prefer to stay behind closed doors. Most of our readers appear very keen on these issues, especially when WCSD has been caught repeatedly playing fast and loose with facts and repeatedly violating the law.

  2. Traci Davis needs to cut her salary and perks, along with other BS expenditures – which our tax dollars are supposed to go to the schools not their pockets, again!!!

  3. Today I received notice that we ( the support staff ) had to pay more of a percentage to PERS.,so our pay checks will be less this year. REALLY? To hear that money is being Spent this way is a slap in the face!

Comments are closed.