By: Diane Benjamin
Taxpayers in Bloomington paid thousands of dollars for District 87 school officials to enjoy a weekend of high-end hotels and restaurants in downtown Chicago. In doing this, it appears that they broke their own rules on spending.
Twelve district officials spent approximately $18,511.39 while attending the Illinois Association of School Boards’ annual three-day convention in Chicago last November. Some brought their spouses.
In its response to Illinois News Network’s initial Freedom Of Information Act request, the district claimed to have spent $17,152.30 in total on the conference, $1,540.01 of that being food expenses. Further review of the itemized receipts by INN showed significantly higher food receipts, totaling $2,570.71.
The majority of the District 87 party stayed in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. Their stay cost taxpayers $8,354.26, the bulk of the total expense.
Among the expenses was an $1,800 restaurant tab costing taxpayers more than $100 per official. The 18 Bloomington school officials dined on filets, oysters, and lobster.
Repeated calls for a response from district superintendent Barry Reilly were not answered until late Tuesday, when his office said it is working to reconcile some expenses with the board secretary.
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