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The Lewiston-Porter School Board voted 5-1 last week to spend an undetermined amount of money to send the board president to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the state School Boards Association.

President Heather A. DeCastro defended the trip after member Edward M. Lilly questioned whether she should be attending the conference when the group could be spending the money on school programs.

"Last year I paid $1,000 out of my own pocket to go on the trip," said Mrs. DeCastro, adding that a representative of the state School Boards Association asked her to go again this year. Last year, Mrs. DeCastro said she lobbied for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as well as ENET Access, which would be the educational equivalent of the internet, saving the district $6,000 this year on internet access.

Mrs. DeCastro also said that the state School Boards Association would pay for a portion of her trip, but that she wanted help from the local School Board to pay her airline ticket.

Member R. Nils Olsen Jr. said, "I'm more than willing to use my share, whatever my share is, to support this." The board members budgeted $2,500 in the 1997-98 plan for travel and conferences. "It ultimately saves more money, not less."

Mrs. DeCastro said, "This is Washington, D.C., at the end of January. We're not talking about Miami Beach at the end of April." The trip is a good way to meet with state legislators, she said. "I really think it is an excellent trip, but I don't think that I should be spending that money out of my pocket."

In another matter, the board voted 5-1, with Lilly saying "no," to appoint Judith A. Condino as director of special education and instructional services.

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