Hawaii trip 'sends the wrong message' as schools face budget cuts

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene 4J School District regrets approving travel to a conference in Hawaii at a time when schools face further potential cuts in teaching staff.

"It just sends the wrong message," said Barb Bellamy with Eugene 4J. "We recognize that to the community, it doesn't send the message that you're going someplace for an academic reason."

Bellamy said the three staff members were approved to go to training for AVID, a program that targets students in the academic middle. The program helps teachers coach students to improve their study habits, note taking and post-high school plans.

The form used to request and approve training includes a line for "destination." In this case, the destination line was filled in as "AVID" but didn't mention the conference was being held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"It's an unfortunate decision and it's a mistake, not that it cost the district any more from sending people to a similar institute that's in San Diego," Bellamy said. She said the district agreed to pay only as much as the equivalent San Diego trip would have cost.

"So it's a mistake, and we are going to change our process so that when people make a request it's clear that when it gets signed off on by the superintendent that the location is clear, and our forms didn't have that there."