Seminole teacher training costs questioned



 The Seminole County School Board says it had no choice but to shut down the Hopper Center, a school for emotionally disabled students, to save $500,000 next year. News that the district is sending teachers to a Disney resort for training has taxpayer Howie Appel scratching his head.

”I think they could have found a better way to train their teachers,” said Appel.

The district, which expects to have a $16 million shortfall next school year, is using $100,000 in grant money to send 165 teachers to the training, hosted by Kagan Structures, the teaching method the county has used for years.

The company, on its website, calls it "a magical training and dream vacation all in one."

“For that cost, could the district not have purchased software and trained everyone in the district?” WFTV reporter Bianca Castro asked school board chair Tina Calderone.

“Actually, Kagan does not allow that,” said Calderone.

Calderone said that teachers won't stay overnight at the resort and have agreed to teach other teachers what they learn.

“This is the most economic way to make sure that our teachers have that skillset,” said Calderone.

But all of this comes as the board considers asking voters to approve a one mil property tax increase as early as August.

Appel says he supports the tax, but not the training.

“Anything it takes; in-house training, bring people in. It's going be a lot less expensive than bringing them to Disney.

The school board will meet with county commissioners in early April month to talk about the proposed millage increase.