• Investigation finds Cobb school administrators spent more than $700K on travel

    By: Justin Wilfon

    Updated:

    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A Channel 2 Action News investigation has found the Cobb County School District has spent more than $700,000 on pricey travel, all while denying raises for teachers.

    Some of that money was spent on expensive hotel rooms.

    Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon obtained documents showing how the school system has spent its money.

    A source within the district told Channel 2 Action News that travel spending among administrators was on the rise, so we decided to take a look into where the money was being spent.

    Cobb County Schools rejected raises for teachers last year, but we found the district had plenty of money to spend on travel.

    Wilfon looked through several years of records that show district administrators and some teachers attending a growing list of conferences from coast to coast.


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    Their total travel bill cost $466,000 in 2014. That number ballooned to $738,000 just two years later.

    Parent Rick Ellis told Wilfon that is too much.

    “I think Cobb County has some of the best educational programs, but from what you just told me, that sounds a bit overboard,” Ellis said. 

    In 2015, records show the district sent an instructional specialist to Vermont for a seven-week training course in speaking Portuguese. The final bill totaled nearly $10,000.

    The documents reveal the district felt it was necessary, to deal with an increase in Portuguese-speaking students. But so far, the district has not revealed how many Portuguese students attend the district.

    On another trip to Austin, Texas, a different administrator paid more than $300 a night to stay in a hotel room with a skyline view.

    “I’m pretty much disturbed by hearing that," Ellis said. 

    In an email, the district told Wilfon that much of the travel is paid for with state and federal money earmarked for the kind of professional enhancement faculty can receive by attending everything from technology to mathematics conferences, but the district also acknowledges that money does not have to be spent on travel.

    A district spokesperson also told Wilfon the district will look to see if there’s any fat that needs trimming in their travel budget.

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