“All over the United States, people are having difficulties fixing their budgets,” Banks said Wednesday. “The biggest thing I’m hoping to get out of (the conference) is some feedback with how they’re addressing their problems. What are some of the options that I haven’t even thought about?”
The trip, which includes registration for a four-day conference from Friday to Monday at the Boston Convention and Exhibit Center, airfare and three nights at a hotel, will cost about $4,100. The board is budgeted $10,000 annually for training and travel.
“In my 18 years of being a superintendent, I’ve been about a dozen (times),” Hinojosa said Wednesday.
He said a lot of board members go to the national conference, but only Banks has chosen to participate this year.
“I don’t know that it’s absolutely necessary,” Hinojosa said about the trip. “I don’t think it’s that big of an expense.”
For the first time since being elected in 2008, Banks has decided to attend the conference.
“We need to start listening to other people, get their concepts, see how it fits into Cobb County’s system,” Banks said. “Being the 25th largest district in the nation, someone should be there to represent Cobb County.”
Banks said he’s also interested in finding out how other districts are going from using physical textbooks to digital devices and how they are implementing virtual classrooms.
“It’s something we really need to get started on,” he said. “We need to find the funding for it. I need to know how they did it, what the problems are.”
Banks said he might attend the conference annually “as long as I gain some knowledge and information and concepts that I’m not aware of that would benefit the citizens of Cobb County.”
“For me personally, it does nothing, but I think there’s probably a wealth of information that we’ll tap into it,” he said. “As large as we are, we need to be leaders.”
Banks said he would probably write up what he learns and include it in his weekly newsletter, David Banks’ Grapevine.
Board Chair Scott Sweeney said he just learned about Banks’ plan to attend the conference and that no other board members were going.
“I think (other board members) are all trying to be mindful of the budget,” he said.
Sweeney said expenses for training and travel in the school board’s budget are typically used for the Georgia School Board Association Annual Conference in fall and sometimes a summer conference.
“Aside from that, it’s usually used for ancillary training,” Sweeney said.