PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh School Board held an emergency session Monday to discuss an unauthorized trip to Cuba taken by the superintendent and four administrators.

The school board is demanding answers and trying to determine if the trip violated district policy on out-of-the-country travel and accepting gifts from vendors.

In April, superintendent Anthony Hamlet and administrators Minika Jenkins, Jamie Griffin, Kendra Wester and Vince Scotto were guests of a district vendor for a two-day excursion to Cuba.

The group of Pittsburgh educators flew to Miami at district expense and from there were flown down to Havana and parts beyond.

School board president Lynda Wrenn told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan she signed off on the trip but was not aware that the group would be leaving the country, which would have required the approval of the full board.

KDKA’s Lisa Washington Reports:


 

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School board members convened late Monday afternoon behind closed doors to discuss the trip.

“I’m concerned about it. I’m looking forward to gathering more facts about it,” one school board member said.

“I would say they were concerned about all aspects of it, including the apparent lack of approval, the fact that it was paid for by a vendor,” board solicitor Ira Weiss said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Weiss said the board has authorized him to conduct an in-depth investigation.

“I’ve been directed to conduct an investigation of all those issues, how the trip came to be, who paid for it,” he said.

Weiss said this would take a week or more.

Sheehan: “Are any sanctions being considered against the superintendent?”
Weiss: “I think it’s premature to get into that. We have to determine as a fact what happened here, what the circumstances were leading up to it, what roles various people played in it and compare all of that against these policies and state laws that I’ve referenced.”

Hamlet says he cannot comment on the matter at this time.

“Right now, I can’t make no comment on that. It’s being reviewed by the solicitor and you’ll get information soon,” Hamlet said.