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School board member responds to questions about costly out-of-town trips

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Each Richmond school board member is given $15,000 a year to spend on travel or services for people in their district.

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.

10 comments

  • Liz

    Wow – we had such high hopes for this new school board. Sounds like they are doing the same that we are used to – evading issues, pointing fingers. What a shame.

  • Sammy

    Did you see that wombat ducking out of the interview in the video?? Yeah go vote for that thing. Everyday all the time go democrats!!!

  • R Moffett

    If there is any justification, and given the well-documented deficiencies in school facilities and academics I doubt there is, those attending conferences should be operational personnel, not school board members. So long as service on school boards and other government-created entities is viewed as an opportunity for taxpayer-financed travel with little real benefit, there will never be significant improvement in academic performance. City government is rife with fraud, abuse, waste, inefficiencies, ineffective programs and people, secrecy, back-room deals made out of the public eye, and people serving their own personal agendas rather than the best interests of Richmond’s citizens.

  • marie

    WOW….NOW, she wants to respond after she’s had ample time to come up with some “cute” to say. FRAUDS! Pretend to want to help the citizens but they are not solutions, they are problems!

Comments are closed.