School District 43 is unapologetic about some of its staff and trustees accepting grants from Hanban, China’s education and cultural ministry to enable them to travel to China for free.
It argues that the work done there is important and boosts the district’s international eduction program, now boasting enrolment of more than 4,000 students, including summer school programs, and accounting for 10% of the district’s operating budget.
But surely if the program is so strong, some funds could be found to cover these trips if they are necessary. The optics are such that trustees could be seen to be getting a benefit from the Chinese government, and while this largesse are unlikely to make the elected officials pro-communist agitators, it would also be naive not to believe the Chinese government hopes to get more out of this arrangement than local taxpayers.
If these trips are important, SD43 should pay trustees' way. Let’s not be beholden to the government of China, no matter how well-meaning its gesture appears to be.