PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet has been reprimanded by the board for an unauthorized trip to Cuba.
When KDKA exposed the trip to Cuba by Hamlet and four of his top administrators, it sparked a wave of criticism.
“It was obviously a junket that they took, and the school board should be dealing very severely with that,” said Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.
Six months later, the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board has taken action, drafting and unanimously approving a letter to Hamlet strongly reprimanding him for taking an unauthorized out-of-the-country trip with a school district vendor.
WATCH: KDKA’s Andy Sheehan has more on the decision to reprimand Dr. Anthony Hamlet.
Last year, the district paid the company — Flying Classroom — $73,000 for inspirational talks and programing at Brashear and Langley High Schools.
Early this year, its founder — Barrington Irving — offered to fly Hamlet and the others on a “secret expedition” at no cost to the district.
Hamlet and the others flew to Miami at the district’s expense, and Irving flew them to Cuba for two days and nights, including meals, hotels, snorkeling, and trips to the beach.
The board hired an independent investigator to review the trip.
Her report has not been made public, but sources on the board said it found that Hamlet and his administrators violated two district policies: failing to get board approval to leave the country and failing to file a report.
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The investigation left it up to the board to decide if they violated a third policy of accepting gifts from a district vendor.
“They knew they were leaving the country and that should have been disclosed to the board before the trip and they should have reported it after the trip. And they didn’t do that either,” said Lamb.
Still, Lamb said a mere letter of reprimand falls short.
“It’s the weakest form of discipline, and this kind of action, it seems to me, would require something more severe,” Lamb said.
Board president Lynda Wrenn told KDKA, “This is a personnel matter and it has been addressed.”