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Bladen Co. school board members reportedly overspend on California trip

READ MORE: Bladen Co. school board members reportedly overspend on California trip
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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Two Bladen County School Board members reportedly overspent more than $1,000 of tax payers' money during an out-of-state conference.

In April, the two board members attended a national school board conference in California. According to spending records from the trip, the two spent much more than they were allotted.

With limited funding from the state allocated to public schools, parents are outraged that something like this could happen.

“We've got two board members that spent $5,500 on a trip, or as I look at it, a vacation with their families,” said Rufus Duckworth, a Bladen County tax payer and West Bladen parent.

According to the records, Bladen County School Board members Mike Cogdell and Vinston Rozier spent nearly $600 more each than what was allotted for four nights in a San Francisco hotel. Rozier reportedly spent an extra night's stay at a cost of about $100.

“Each one of their bills for lodging was $896 or approximately three times what was allowed by their own guidelines,” said Duckworth.

According to the records, both board members also spent more than what was allotted on meals during their trip.

Another parent of a West Bladen High School student, Paula Hester, says she doesn't understand how this could happen when teachers and students are having such a hard time getting by with what they have.

“We've got kids in the school system that are suffering,” said Hester. “We've got teachers that are taking money out of their pocket and buying supplies and providing supplies in their classroom because the fund are not there to make it available.”

Hester says her daughter was asked to bring her own paper to school because the school could not provide it. She says the overspending by board members it's unacceptable.

“If they are going and getting training, that's great, but don't abuse the system,” said Hester. “Don't abuse the funds.”

Duckworth says he wants pay back.

“This money needs to be reimbursed,” said Duckworth. “If not, then there needs to be an investigation into the illegal use of tax payer money.”

After several rumors about Bladen County School employees facing cuts, county commissioners agreed to increase the amount of funds they allot to the school system so that no jobs will be eliminated.

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