Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death
Friday, January 11, 2008
People of Gary:

Could you please, please PLEASE not vote for candidates who spend your money like the thieves that they are and then flaunt in your faces? How much more does this woman and her family have to rip off from the Gary Community School Corp. before people become horrified that their tax dollars are going toward expensive vacations that have nothing to do with the students? And ESL as a second language, my ass. The native tongue of Creole, or Pidgin English, doesn’t necessitate ESL.

Taxpayers on hook for trip to Hawaii

January 11, 2008

By Sharlonda L. Waterhouse and Carole Carlson
Post-Tribune staff writers

Gary School Board member Andrea Ledbetter defended her trip to the Hawaii International Conference on Education earlier this week saying Hawaii shares many of the same urban ills as Gary. She termed the state a “tropical Gary.”

While Ledbetter declined to say if the cash-strapped school district paid for the trip, she said she planned to turn in expenses for reimbursement. Sources confirmed the school district would receive the bill that Ledbetter estimated at about $1,500.

Ledbetter flew to Hawaii and stayed at the Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, operated by Marriott. She was joined by her father, Andrew Ledbetter, who she said attended the conference also but paid his own way.

In 2005, Ledbetter took a $3,144 school-paid trip to Okinawa, Japan. She said the visit was for educational and professional enlightenment. The district ordered her to repay trip expenses she placed on her school district credit card.

Ledbetter said she submitted a proposal to participate in the Hawaii conference and she plans to share insight gleaned there with board members.

She said she gained “perspective on what the school district needs.”

Ledbetter criticized the newspaper for writing about her trip. “You always try to make something negative out of it,” she said.

The Ledbetters stayed past the Jan. 5 to 8 conference dates.

On Jan. 9, Ledbetter’s father, Andrew, answered a call to the family hotel room but hung up when asked about the trip.

Upon returning to Gary on Thursday, Ledbetter discussed the trip, but declined to say how she paid for it: “Ask public information,” she said.

The public information office is awaiting the receipt of official credit card statements.

School Board President Nellie Moore, who ran for office under the pledge of ensuring greater financial accountability for the district, did not return numerous calls or respond to a request for information on how the trip was paid for.

According to the official conference site, registration was $440. The room cost was $205 to $245 per night, for a minimum of three nights. Airfare was estimated at $1,500.

Ledbetter, however, said the trip was not that expensive—only $1,500 total. She said she bought discounted first-class tickets and walked most places.

Superintendent Mary Steele-Agee was scheduled to present at the conference, according to a brochure listing her as a chairwoman for a workshop titled: “Turning Around a Failing District: Setting a Course for High Achievement.”

That was scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 6. Steele-Agee did not attend, however.

“What I saw down there is that school districts from all over the country invite the youngest teachers, bringing new perspective. Hawaii suffers from a lot of issues that we have ... . English as second language classes was the biggest topic,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter is up for re-election this year and is expected to be challenged by educator and businessman Marion Williams.

Contact Sharlonda L. Waterhouse at 648-3085 or

Posted by Broad7:36 PM
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This explains that large bit of type at the top.

Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.


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