School board members spend thousands on meals and local hotel stay.

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UPPER MARLBORO – Prince George’s County Board of Education members used their county-issued credit cards on hundreds of meals and a local hotel stay, according to receipts and expense reports obtained by The Sentinel. Some parents in the community say they think board members should be more frugal, and one board member said expenses should be reviewed by the Ethics Board. However, some board members defended their spending habits.

According to receipts and expense reports obtained by The Sentinel through a Maryland Public Information Act request, board members used their cards for meals both locally and outside of the state. According to the school system’s internal audit department, 10 of the 14 board members have credit cards. Board members Edward Burroughs, Peggy Higgins, Segun Eubanks and Sonya Williams chose not to have cards.

Locally, some board members frequently eat at locations around the county such as Ruby Tuesday, Jerry’s Seafood and the Olde Towne Inn.

“We spend a lot of money on local meals. We need to look at it closely and see what the data says and what our constituents tell us,” Eubanks, chair of the board, said. “We listen to our constituents so we know they are paying a lot more attention. We know that we have our ears open to what our constituents are saying and making sure they continue to maintain a level of trust in us.”

The board’s current policy limits board members to $7,000 per fiscal year for expenses related to board business, including meals, cell phone data plans and other costs. The policy does not allow members to be reimbursed for personal uses.

However, board members’ spending varied, according to the credit card statements and expense reports. Between January 2013 and May 2014, Board member Carolyn Boston used her card for the most meals—114—totaling more than $5,500. Verjeana Jacobs used her card for 87 meals and spent more than $6,200. Patricia Eubanks went on 43 meals for more than $4,000. >>> Read more Prince George’s County sentinel.

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