Who Are the Latest Public Employees Going on Vacation at "Training" Resorts on the Taxpayer Dime? Arizona Teachers

When are they going to get it?

In what is becoming a sickening trend, Arizona teachers are now the latest group to use and abuse taxpayer money to pay for lavish vacations under the veil of "training seminars."

In July, hundreds of teachers from across Arizona, some of whom even brought their families on the taxpayers dime, spent six days at two of Tucson's finest four-star resorts, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (pictured), and the Westin LaPaLoma Resort, for "training seminars."

The average cost for each of the 1,200 teacher was roughly $1,600, and the money came from guess who? The taxpayer.

Tom Horne, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Education, who is usually one of the most accessible public officials in Phoenix, conveniently declined comment today, but says in an email it was paid for with all federal money, including a Carl D. Perkins grant, which requires that part of the money be used for training.

 Carl D. Perkins probably didn't think that the "training" would occur at a place with the word "resort" in its title.

There were several training sessions held at the resorts, but many of the teachers opted to lounge by the pool rather than attend.

"I felt guilty because the one [class] I paid for yesterday was $40," one teacher caught at the pool told

Her guilt stemmed from the fact that her district gave her $900 to spend on training classes. She then admitted that while she paid for the class, she didn't even go to it.

"It sends a horrible message," says John Huppenthal, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "How in the world could they think this was appropriate to go to a four-star resort?"

Teachers need training, especially here in Arizona, where the education system is the laughing stock of the country (though Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississipp make us look good).

If the true purpose of the retreat is to train people, why not do it somewhere with a few less distractions. There is a gorgeous Comfort Inn in Mesa; conference room and all, that would probably love to have them. Oh sorry teachers, no pool. Shucks!