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ONLY ON 3: Columbus Co. Schools spend thousands on conference at posh resort

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Columbus Co. Schools spend thousands on conference at posh resort

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Smack in the middle of education cuts, and budget belt-tightening, some area educators have just returned from a conference at one of the country's ritziest resorts. Nineteen administrators, including principals and instructional directors, from Columbus County Schools attended the Summer Leadership Conference at the Grove Park Inn last week. The Asheville resort has played host to the president and a number of celebrities.

In total, the conference and the rooms cost the school district at least $6,000. Columbus County Schools Superintendent Dan Strickland says the whole trip was paid for by a federal grant that could only be used for professional development.

"We debated, honestly, we did, about possibly cancelling the trip. We did," Strickland said. "My leadership team, we talked to principals about it, and we said, 'You know, we're losing positions,' but again, even if we lose positions, which is dreadful and terrifying to our county, we have to make sure that what's left, what we have left is the best possible education for our kids."

We know at least two other area superintendents from different districts attended the conference. One opted out of staying at the Grove Park Inn, saying while the rate was only slightly more expensive than other area hotels, perception matters, especially in a struggling economy.

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