Metro Nashville Public Schools spent $4.1 million on travel expenses in 2022, including at least $1.2 million on hotels.
Almost 4,400 transactions include almost $760,000 on airfare, almost $288,000 on per diem spending, and more than $272,000 on other transportation and parking, according to school district spending records provided through a Tennessee Public Records Act request.
Not all of the $4 million in spending included detailed records of how the funds were spent.
Staff took trips to Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, St. Louis, MO, Salem, OR and Alexandria, VA, among others.
The most expensive trip cost more than $418,000, spent for staff to attend AVID Summer Institute educator training events in San Antonio and Tampa, spending on airfare, hotels, ground transportation, per diem and conference fees.
Almost $50,000 was spent to send staff to Ron Clark Academy Conference in Atlanta, including on flights, lodging, conference fees, parking, per diem and mileage.
Almost $47,000 was spent on staff attending the 2022 Innovative Schools Summit in Las Vegas, of which about $37,000 was spent at Caesar’s Palace, with about $10,000 spent on conference registration and fees.
Another $29,425 was spent at Cosmopolitan Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, although it’s unclear if it was for the same event.
IB training, or International Baccalaureate professional development for educators, in St. Petersburg, FL cost the school district more than $39,000 for flights, lodging, other travel, per diem and conference fees.
Almost $22,000 was spent on stays at the 4-star Loews Atlanta Hotel for the National Career Academy Coalition annual conference in November 2022, among other travel.
A local conference in Nashville in December 2022, Learning Forward’s annual conference, cost the district almost $24,000 on membership fees, registration, per diem, mileage, gas and parking.
A spokesperson for the school district said, “MNPS has a large portfolio of schools with unique academic programs and needs. Professional learning and development are important for continuous improvement by gaining skills and knowledge for teachers and staff that can be used for the benefit of students. Conferences and related travel expenses are part of the budgeting process and are common for school systems to learn from each other and from experts in their fields. Conference hotel locations are typically chosen by the conference organizers with discounted room rates for attendees. MNPS is committed to learning from educators leading this complex work across the U.S. and we charge our educators to bring those research-based practices to our district and implement them in our schools.”