No money…no trip

Published 8:30 am Thursday, December 24, 2009

JACKSON — One board member on the Northampton County Board of Education is giving up her seat to the National School Board’s Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, Erica Smith-Ingram opted not to take the trip to Chicago, citing the economic recession and cut backs suffered by Northampton County Schools’ staff. Conference fees alone range from $695-$860 for attendees who registered prior to December 30.

The three-day annual conference will be held on January 5 and features an array of topics, workshops and guest speakers for board members to bring back to the district in order to improve their school system.

As Board Chairwoman Grace Edwards informed her colleagues about the trip and asked them to tell her if they desired to attended, Ingram said she would not attend due to the “exorbitant amount of money” the trip costs.

“We have riffed people,” she said. “I will sacrifice the trip for people who have worked hard.”

Ingram took it a step further by asking the board to instead use the money to recognize teachers assistants, custodians and bus drivers.

“We have a teacher of the year, why isn’t there a bus driver of the year or a custodian of the year,” she said.

Ingram’s decision was met with a little criticism when fellow school board member Lott Majette said he would attend the national conference with his wife on his own funds.