Who Goes to Vegas, Learns in Vegas
With fuel costs and general expenses at an all time high, school districts across the country are being forced to save money by cutting teaching positions, raising the cost of school lunches, and curtailing school-bus expenditures. However, Liberty Park Elementary in Greenacres, Florida, which is a low-income school that did not meet federal academic benchmarks, will be sending 15 teachers and their principal to the National Conference for Differentiated Instruction at a cost of $17,000 courtesy of a grant. The 5-day professional development teacher-training excursion to Las Vegas is a use-it-or-lose-it deal. If the school doesn’t use the grant, they can’t use the money for anything else.
The district, which is running a $36 million budget shortfall—it’s worst in two decades, has tightened its purse strings, including cancelling an annual recruiting trip to Orlando in June. Principal Miriam Williams admits that she would rather have spent the money on supplies or other school expenses, but professional development is one of her biggest priorities. Despite its hefty cost, the trip will be strictly business, said Williams, “When we go, we are going to work…This is a business trip.”