Topeka 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.