Our federal stimulus dollars at work:
Columbus City Schools have more than 120 buildings designed for teaching.
But in a three-day effort to teach its teachers, the district is renting banquet halls, high-end hotels and conference centers -- using almost $145,000 in federal grant dollars.
Many schools also will be used as sites for workshops, but the external locations were needed because sessions will go on all day and cafeteria benches would have been uncomfortable, spokeswoman Kim Norris said. Also, classroom desks might have been too small for adults, she said.
The district will pay up to $8,000 to rent Villa Milano, a marble-clad banquet hall with enough "classic elegance" that "you will think you have been transported to a romantic Italian Villa," according to the hall's Web site.
Other sites include: the Hyatt Regency ($23,000); the Greater Columbus Convention Center and the Hyatt on Capitol Square ($25,000 each); the Quest Business and Conference Center at Polaris ($17,000); and the Aladdin Temple near Easton ($12,500).
The district will pay the speakers more than $1.4 million in federal stimulus money, part of $64.2 million that Columbus schools have been awarded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
It warms my heart to know that I am making it possible for those school officials to avoid those terrible cafeteria benches whtat "would have been uncomfortable." (And they won't have to eat the cafeteria food!)