Broward County

Broward Teacher's Union Questions Reimbursement of Principals' Trip to Naples Ritz Carlton

"Going to an event and saying it was professional development is the concern," Ana Fusco said.

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The images on the Broward County Principal and Assistants Twitter page show what it looked like at the end of July when the principals gathered at the Ritz Carlton in Naples. The professional association they belong to said they did more than 11 hours of required professional training in those seminars.

But the head of the Broward Teachers Union questioned Wednesday why the association was asking for the school board to reimburse a large share of the expenses.

"Going to an event and saying it was professional development is the concern," Ana Fusco said. "They have to call it what it is. It was a retreat, a getaway for the weekend."

Fusco said she respects the principals and works well with them, but believed many of the other images on social media show more fun than work.

“And I know that many of our educators right now are in professional development ... they're actually doing true work to get themselves ready for this upcoming school year,” Fusco told us via Zoom.

Fusco says traditionally the school board had reimbursed the association for the seminars and that the principals have requested the same thing this time.

The Board sent us a statement saying in part, “For the retreat, the District pays up to two nights at the hotel venue – at a rate of approximately $259 per night – for approximately 180 administrators. It's standard practice in many school districts to cover the cost of professional development for their administrators. The total investment for the District for this professional development opportunity is about $100,000.”

The principals say they paid for their meals and incidental expenses and in their statement to us said in part, “Our association (BPAA) reached out to 106 hotels outside of the 50-mile limit imposed by the district. 83 hotels responded and only 24 were open to our room rate limit of 259.00 per night. Of the 24, the Ritz Carlton was the only hotel that accepted our room rate limit of 259.00 per night."

NBC 6 was told that while the request for the recent trip was submitted the funds to reimburse them have not actually been sent to them yet.

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