Board business?

Public officials certainly are entitled to pursue private interests - but not on the taxpayers' dime.

The amount of money state taxpayers will reimburse state school board member John Bacon for a recent trip to McPherson isn’t significant, but the precedent it sets certainly could be.

Members of the Kansas Board of Education this week approved paying expenses totalling about $500 that Bacon incurred while attending an event that focused on making the Bible the foundation of public life. The two-day meeting featured a number of Christian activist speakers from such groups as the American Family Assn. and “Answers in Genesis.”

The only apparent relevance of the meeting to any issue facing the state school board was the appearance of Ron Carlson, a minister and anti-evolution speaker. Bacon, a Republican from Olathe, is among the six-member state board majority that approved public school science standards that support teaching alternatives to the theory of evolution.

It certainly is Bacon’s right to attend meetings about religion or any other topic that interests him, but it’s wrong to expect state taxpayers to pay board members to pursue personal interests that have no direct relevance to Kansas schools