Archive for Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Morris’ expenses raise eyebrows

June 15, 2005


— State Board of Education member Connie Morris attended a conference in April in Miami Beach, Fla., billing taxpayers $339 per night for her hotel, state records show.

Morris stayed six nights at the Fountainebleau Hilton Resort to attend a conference on magnet schools.

According to her travel voucher, the hotel cost $339 per night, $150 was spent on meals, and two taxi rides cost $147.

Morris, a conservative Republican from St. Francis, defended her expenses on Tuesday, saying that the Magnet Schools of America conference was being held in the Fountainebleau. The organization is based in Washington, D.C., and is an advocate for magnet schools.

"Magnet schools is about school choice, and that is what I'm hoping to pursue in Kansas is school choice," Morris said.

She said she couldn't get the less expensive conference rate for the meeting. And she didn't want to stay at a nearby hotel.

"I wanted to be within walking distance of the conference," she said.

Her hotel accommodations were the most expensive of any board member's travel this year. Records show that Bill Wagnon, a Democrat from Topeka, spent $147 for a night spent in a hotel in Salem, Mass., where he went to a presentation on transferring research into action.

Board member Kenneth Willard, a Republican from Hutchinson, spent $165 per night for two nights at the Hilton Old Town in Alexandria, Va., where he attended the National Association of State Boards of Education meeting.

Karl Peterjohn, director of the Kansas Taxpayer Network, said that Morris' expenses were excessive.

"We should be able to get better value for our dollars," Peterjohn said.


lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

"better value for our dollars" should also apply to the dismal educational programs that are NOT improving our childrens' education.

throwing money at an issue is NOT the answer. these trips pale in comparison to the waste spent on education in this state and country.

does the united states still get an "F" in education (even though we spend more per pupil) than every other industrialized nation?

getreal 12 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Ms. Morris sure knows how to use taxpayer's dollars for her luxury mini vacation. Hard to believe that she couldn't find another hotel that was less expensive. Six nights at $339 each plus taxi, and meal equates to more than one half of the base state aid per pupil. What was the airfare?

Oh well, just one less kid educated in Kansas this year thanks to Ms. Morris' extravagant travels.

getreal 12 years, 11 months ago

Oh one more thing check out the hotel, not that most working Kansans could afford it :

foodcritic 12 years, 11 months ago

Quite frankly, this is what the people of Kansas deserve for electing her. Keep it up Ms. Morris - you're doing your party proud!

opinionated 12 years, 11 months ago

To me all of their travel expenses seem to be a little excessive. There are a lot of hotels that are half that cost. For instance super 8 and other similar hotels, but I guess when you are used to living of an enormous salary paid by the taxpayers you are used to living the life of luxary. Sure would be nice to stay in a place like that when your the one paying the bill.

jhawksm 12 years, 11 months ago

Oh please. Those expenses are not unreasonable for the time, place and event. If there was a legitimate "gouging" it would be different, but this is a lot of effort and verbiage for a $337 night hotel room!

Is there no better thing for citizens to get up in arms about?

usaschools 12 years, 11 months ago

Mr/Ms. Lunacy detector, you need a fact detector! Our schools are not failing. In fact, Lawrence schools were recently ranked 4th in the nation by a business publication! We have outstanding schools, although I feel certain you know little or nothing about what is going on in them today. Your "Throwing money at the issue is not the answer" cliche is such a tired old sophism that you lose all credibility by repeating it once again! I am sure you will be unable to cite specific examples of how the Lawrence schools, or schools in Kansas in general, waste money. Please provide specifics and dollar amounts, as well as detailed suggestions for how to improve the situation.

Our schools DO NEED MORE MONEY. What we do NOT need is the repetition of meaningless rhetoric and inaccurate assertions that fairly characterize your message.

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

when will your rhetoric ever stop, usa schools? please enlighten us on the amount spent per pupil in kansas? i know the answer.

money won't fix the problems. i like the b.s. half days kids get once a week.

the magnate school in inner city k.c. is the primo example of why throwing money at the education problem does NOT work. the dropout rates actually increased after they finished their state-of-the-art school.

i attended a parochial school that didn't have any money. we had the best test scores in my community. i wonder why, since we didn't have a dime?

...and that business magazine you mention has ZERO credibility. i've read that magazine -ZZzzzzzz. it is a fluff magazine with articles on communities that advertise in their publication. every economic development chamber organization advertises in it. it justifies their spending that they are trying to recruit business, but it is essentially a waste, and NOBODY reads it, except other so-called eco-devo people who are all competitors. it makes good p.r. but it's all b.s.

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