Jim Thorpe board member plans to pay back ticket upgrade costs
A departing Jim Thorpe School Board member says he will pay back the district for a first-class upgrade he received while flying to a conference representing the district.
Dr. Michael Principe did not seek re-election this year. On Wednesday, during the final meeting of his term, Principe explained that he planned to pay the district $199 for the upgrade.
“I found out the tickets were purchased coach, and that morning they were updated to first class for $199 each. I’m going to reimburse the school district,” he said.
In May, a reporter brought to light that three school officials flew first class to the conference. The revelation came after residents obtained statements for a district credit card which showed that the district had spent thousands of dollars on meals for board members and administrators.
In May, after the expenses were revealed, Principe admitted he used one of the tickets. He said he didn’t know his ticket was first class until he checked in for the flight. He said he asked the other travelers why they were flying first class and was told that the first-class tickets were cheaper than coach at the time.
Principe said Wednesday that he recently learned that he was misinformed, which prompted him to want to pay back the district.
The residents who investigated the credit card found that the district credit card was used for first-class plane tickets and thousands of dollars worth of meals.
“Sometimes I stick my neck out and make mistakes because I trust people,” Principe said.
Principe admitted in May that he attended the meals as well, which were meetings between board members and former Superintendent Brian Gasper.