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Clay County school district pays thousands for conference no one attended

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Updated: 4/25/2013 7:58 pm
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Action News uncovered tax payer dollars wasted in the Clay County school district.

Carol Studdard has served on the Clay County school board with four different superintendents spanning two decades. She tells Action News, it’s never been this contentious between the board and the district’s top leader.

“Never seen anything like this in my life,” said Studdard.

That’s why she wanted to send the superintendent and school board members to a team building retreat in Ocala earlier this month called Master Board sponsored by the Florida Association of School Boards.

Studdard says the district agreed to fork over $3,000 for the conference. That’s when she says superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. bailed out because two of five board members declined to go.

According to emails obtained by Action News between Van Zant and Studdard, the board chair says the state school board association told them they could come as long as the majority of members attended. Still, Van Zant refused to go.

Now the district is getting charged for a conference no one attended.

"That's $3,000,” said Studdard. “Think of what we could do with $3,000."

Action News Ryan Smith tracked down Van Zant at a luncheon Thursday. He declined to comment and told us to turn our camera off when we tried to ask him questions.

After no answers from the superintendent, board members are left wondering how they can move forward without wasting your money.

“So we've got to stop this wasteful spending,” said board member Janice Kerekes.
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