However, some CBS 6 viewers reached out to us to find out why board members are still spending your tax dollars on out of town trips, even though there’s a great need for money locally.
CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall recently told you about board members Mamie Taylor and Tichi Pinkney-Eppes spending thousands of dollars on out-of-town conferences to Miami, New Orleans and Portland. Since taking office, Taylor has spent $ 9, 915 on travel expenses. Pinkney-Eppes has already spent $ 10, 617.
Since our original CBS 6 investigation aired two weeks ago, Pinkney-Eppes had another trip planned and at Monday night’s school board meeting, Taylor requested more money to attend another conference.
Hall caught up with Taylor and Pinkney-Eppes before Monday’s school board meeting.
Pinkney-Eppes walked away mid-interview, but Taylor says these trips are needed.
She’s attending conferences centered on conversations about race and equality.
“It's something that allows me to get more information so I can speak to my constituency in an informed manner,” says Taylor.
However, Taylor says these trips don't cost nearly as much as the documents and receipts from the school board clerk suggest.
She even reiterated that point on a local radio show when questioned about our investigation.
“Our clerk said she mistakenly counted my expense report twice. That's what she said,” Taylor told WCLM Radio.
The school board clerk, Angela Lewis, tells CBS 6 a different story. Lewis says the numbers are accurate and the receipts we obtained verify the figures.
More importantly, one question Taylor could not answer is how she is benefiting from these costly trips. Instead, she put the focus on another school board member's spending.
“I know one board member in particular, Ms. Kristen Larson, is taking a year-long leadership course. Was that in the report, the data you received? That started in September and ends in March,” said Taylor.
According to reports from the clerk’s office, Kristen Larson’s yearlong leadership course is local and adds up to a little more than $700.
As for Taylor, she was granted permission by the board to attend another out of town conference and the board will decide in December if Pinkney-Eppes should be banned from taking out of town trips on your dime.