Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
You don’t say

Gotta say, I’m a little surprised the GCSC released it, unless of course the paper FOIA’ed the shit out of them. And you’d think that if she was in such a gorgeous locale, her food choices would be a little less bouzhie. Oh wait, I’ll bet she was trying to save the district money, because Ms. Ledbetter is nothing if not conscientious of what she spends:

School official’s Hawaii trip expenses detailed

By Sharlonda L. Waterhouse
Post-Tribune staff writer

GARY—The Visa bill for Gary School Board member Andrea Ledbetter’s recent trip to Hawaii was mailed to the district last week, with a total due of $2,501—$1,000 more than she said her trip cost.

It could be among the last credit card statements paid by the School Board, which is reconsidering its credit card policy.

First Financial Bank records turned over by the school district show Ledbetter spent $1,264 to stay at the Waikiki Beach Resort Hotel operated by Marriott, for the Jan. 5-8 Hawaii International Conference on Education.

While there, she dined at Lulu’s Surf Club Waikiki for $36.49, Cheesecake Honolulu for $61.81, a Honolulu Red Lobster for $41.65 and Jamba Juice Makai for $4.97.

She also made a purchase at ABC Stores in Honolulu for $19.65.

Her USA Airways plane ticket cost the district $600 plus $5 for online registration. Ledbetter also spent an additional $36.49 at O’Hare airport on the day of take-off, records show.

No paperwork or documents to support the business nature of the trip have been submitted to the accounting office, notations on district records show.

A history of trips

A look back at Ledbetter’s expenses over the past year show more than $5,000 to other trips in Las Vegas; San Francisco; and Orlando, Fla.

For example, the January 2007 bill for Ledbetter’s credit card included two $236 airline tickets—one for Ledbetter and one for a J. Woodson. Her husband is James Woodson.

The two charged $843 to stay at the Rosen Hotel & Resorts in Orlando in November 2006.

The district requested reimbursement for Woodson’s ticket but did not receive it.

In April 2007, records show Ledbetter spent $1,500 on restaurants, cabs and a hotel in San Francisco.

In November 2007, Ledbetter spent $1,373 on a trip to Las Vegas, which included a room and meals at the Bellagio, as well as $45 dinners at a steakhouse and a $74 dinner at Cheesecake Las Vegas.

No receipts or paperwork was turned in for that trip either.

‘It’s embarrassing’

Gary School Board president Nellie Moore and vice president Michael Scott refused district credit cards.

Moore said it’s a vow she made when she campaigned, and she has stuck to it.

School Board member Darren Washington, head of the policy committee, said the board must take steps to ensure that’s the routine for everyone. Washington is drafting a policy that would discontinue the use of individual credit cards by board members. Washington said when news of members spending thousands in luxury locations reach legislators across the state, it’s hard to make the case to the General Assembly that the district needs more money.

“It’s embarrassing,” Washington said. “It sends the message that we’re just going out and doing anything at taxpayers’ expense no matter how much it may cost. That’s a disrespect for other people’s money.”

Drop the cards

Washington uses a personal card and seeks reimbursement.

Moore said board members are elected on the assumption that they will do what’s good for students and the district and don’t need censoring by peers.

Moore said she did not feel it was necessary to require public announcements of board trips.

“I don’t see the benefit of that. I do think as a board we should look very carefully at conferences that benefit our district and have some order in which board members attend. Some conferences are very beneficial.”

Contact Sharlonda L. Waterhouse at 648-3085 or


Hawaiian trip

Airfare $600
Conference $440
Honolulu beach hotel $1,260

Total $2,500

And Ms. Moore, no one has said that conferences aren’t beneficial nor that board members shouldn’t go anywhere. But is it really too much to ask to make sure the people elected are doing what they’re supposed to and not spending the public’s money so they can go on a vacation they can’t afford otherwise? Come on, now.

Posted by Broad3:02 PM
It is the job of a good person to be honest. To be self-aware. To deliberately explore the fault lines of your character and try desperately to not inflict suffering in this strange, ghost-ridden world of worked and fabricated objects. Sometimes the jobs of writer and good person coincide. But more often they don’t. There are way more writers in the world than there are good people.

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