On Friday, March 20th, Mr. Steve Simon, Director, MCPS Public Information office, confirmed via email that the taxpayers bore the cost of this junket:
Mr. Collette attended the Interactive Technology in Education Conference in London, England October 6 through October 7, 2008, as a representative of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). His airfare and two night stay at the conference were paid by MCPS.
The Parents Coalition wants to know: What was the purpose of this trip? To enlighten people overseas about what's happening in MCPS? or to help the sponsor of the conference sell more product? And how did Montgomery County Public Schools find the money to buy plane tickets and accommodations for a trip overseas, when there was supposed to be budget cutbacks, a travel freeze, and talk about the teachers' union foregoing their cost-of-living adjustment? Was it really so important to fly a representative of Montgomery County Public Schools to London, England?