Parents question Encinitas Union School District leadership retreat

Taxpayer funded retreat held at luxury resort

ENCINITAS, Calif. - Parents are questioning a recent management training trip taken by Encinitas Union School District leaders.

The 2014 EUSD retreat was held in early August at La Quinta Resort and Club in Palm Springs. According to the company's website, the property is a four-star luxury resort. It is described as a perfect getaway for Hollywood stars. 

Nancy Ciepley's son goes to Mission Estancia Elementary. She told 10News parents are often asked to help pay for basic supplies. She said that last year her son's class ran out of paper.

"I found it all very concerning that the board is spending significant monies on entertaining themselves," said Ciepley.

The three-day agenda included two four-hour sessions entitled "management retreat." The rest of the schedule included time for drinking, dining and relaxing.

Encinitas School Board Member Maureen "Mo" Muir said she was shocked when she read the agenda.

"Then right away, have happy hour at Tim's suite. Tim got a suite, not a regular room..... Evening libations, more cocktails … I didn't see any work done that first day," said Muir. 

Muir did not go on the retreat and does not support the use of taxpayer money to pay for it. 

"That money, all the money should go to the kids, 100 percent," said Muir.

10News talked to Encinitas Union School District Superintendent Timothy Baird on Wednesday afternoon. He stands by the retreat.

Baird says the trip cost about $240 for each of the roughly 35 school leaders who attended. He said the whole retreat cost approximately $8,000. Baird told 10News he is not going to "apologize" for training his leaders. He called it an efficient use of district money. 

Muir does not agree. She is demanding the superintendent release an itemized list of expenses.

"We could use this money for a million things," she said.

Ciepley said, "Driving all the way to Palm Springs, Palm Desert doesn't seem like a good use of time or money given the cost of gas. It's not their money, it's my money."

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