NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Controversy is brewing at a Long Island school over a recent school trip to Disney World.
Some taxpayers want to know why they went there, and why it cost more than $100,000.
Seniors from Shoreham-Wading River High School say they had a great time on their class trip last month, and made a presentation to the school board on why the trip was educational.
“We showed Epcot and the world in various different culture, the unique cultures they have there,” senior Robbie Joannou tells CBS2’s Cindy Hsu. “We showed time management, money management, so for a lot of us it’s the first time being away from our families.”
It’s a senior class trip students have been taking for years, but for the first time the school district nearly paid the whole bill for the four day trip to Orlando.
Out of a class of more than 200 students, 181 of them went on the trip. Each student paid about $200 and the district paid nearly $153,000.
In 2016, only 73 seniors took the trip and each of them paid about $930. The district contributed only $10,000 towards the trip.
CBS2 went to the school district office to ask why it used more than $150,000 of taxpayer money for this year’s trip, but they claimed they were not giving interviews on the matter. Instead, they provided a statement saying in part “… the district has allotted significantly less funding in the 2017-2018 budget for school sponsored trips.”
Some taxpayers couldn’t believe it.
“I was kind of shocked,” resident Marie Gallo said. “I don’t know why they would have done that. We don’t have to pay for it. Our taxes are high enough.”
Sandy Fayette is a former teacher who says the only thing the trip taught the students was that “if you come up with the right reasons that you can have anything you want for free.
Senior Emily Ginley agrees the district shouldn’t have to pay so much, but there still should be the yearly trip.
She adds the trip had been canceled after a group of seniors had a disciplinary issue, so they went before board members to convince them why the trip was educational and should be reinstated — which it was.
“We just wanted the trip,” she said, adding they at no point asked for all that money.
After all the uproar, the students say they just hope the seniors next year will still get to go to Disney.
The school board has backed off on paying so much next year, and says they’ve allocated $40,000 for the class trip. Residents will get a chance to vote on the proposed budget on May 16th.