Grant Nichols gets paid pauper's wages as a Columbia Heights School Board member. Like his four peers, Nichols, who's gained notoriety for an early September online blurb that disparaged Muslims' lavatory habits, receives a $6,000 yearly stipend to attend Tuesday meetings and "listening sessions."
Board members may also get up to $100 a day in per deim for such expenses as parking and conference fees.
But the gig does have its perks, namely trips to cool places.
According to information obtained from Columbia Heights Public Schools through a Freedom of Information request, Nichols is scheduled to enjoy a springtime junket to the National School Boards Association Annual Conference in Boston come April. The cost to taxpayers is anticipated to be almost $3,400, which includes $1,800 for lodging and $675 in airfare.
Someone must have neglected to check Southwest.
"Talking points" provided by the association explain why it's a must gathering for the likes of Nichols. "Our children benefit from board members attending and then using their knowledge to make well-informed decisions about school policy, finance, personnel, or curriculum," reads one.
What will taxpayers enjoy vicariously through their attending representative?
A choice in plush accommodations, including Marriott Copley Place that's located in the city's stylish Back Bay neighborhood. Towels are free for the lap pool. If Nichols prefers staying closer to the action, he may decide on the four-star Westin Boston Waterfront that's serving as event headquarters. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness studio and the hotel's "Vertical Garden," where greenery not only serves to calm the nervous system after a harried day of learning, but also "serves to purify the air we share."
Once settled in at his hotel for the conference that runs April 9 through 11, Nichols can glean valuable knowledge from hundreds of vendors. At the National Peanut Board booth, he could learn "delicious recipes, reliable nutrition information, and myth-busting facts about food safety and peanut allergy."
Stopping by the D.A.R.E. display may be of personal interest. That's where Nichols could learn about "the resistance skills necessary" to avoid drugs and other "harmful behaviors."
If learning and networking weren't enough, Nichols can pay extra to attend one of the "Meal Events," like the one featuring the “Warhol of Wall Street,” a presentation about "on-stage painting as a visual metaphor" that's impossible not to spur "organizational innovations and superior levels of performance."
When Columbia Heights' chosen son is pooped and requires a well-earned respite from the expo action, complimentary 30-minute massages will be available at the "Relaxation Station."