EAA under fire for teacher travel expenses

(WXYZ) - The school district the state created to take over failing schools is under fire for its credit card spending.

The EAA sent 7 Action News a list of credit card charges made for travel expenses.  It shows more than $170,000 was spent.

"This is the type of waste and fraud that people should not put up with," said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson. "This is the type of waste and fraud that is hurting our students."

Johnson says when funds are limited, schools shouldn't spend money on trips.  They should invest in local education opportunities, making class sizes smaller, and materials for students.

7 Action News took the criticism to EAA Chancelor John Covington, the man allowing the trips.

Covington says he knows that most schools don't send dozens of teachers and staff all over the country for training, but that doesn't mean he did something wrong when he allowed it.

He says he took opportunities to help teachers learn and students succeed, and more than half of the cost was reimbursed by grants and/or federal dollars.

"The training has helped our teachers benefit our students," said Covington.

"The EAA began its work with large numbers of new teachers who were being tasked with helping children who had been failed for years by their public schools," said a statement released by the EAA.  "Rigorous and regular professional development was absolutely essential for teachers and administrators of the EAA as they worked to help these children who are in greatest need improve their learning."

The Michigan Democrats are calling for an investigation.

Covington says he is open to an investigation because there has been no wrong-doing.  He says he knows the EAA is under the microscope because it is new and was formed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Michigan). 

He says he is comfortable under the microscope because he sees improvements in kids at EAA schools. ‚Äč

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