Seven Districit of Columbia school board members are preparing to attend a conference in San Francisco this week with $5,500 in school system funds that are intended to be used primarily for such educational pruposes as purchasing textbooks or paying salaries.
The members -- Board President R. Calvin Lockridge, Vice President Barbara Lett Simmons, Eugene Kinlow, Lida Cropp, Nate Bush, John Warren and Frank Shafer-Corona -- will be attending the annual conference of the National School Boards Association.
Board member Carol Schwartz said she decided not to attend this year's conference when she learned that federal impact aid funds were being used to finance the trip. These funds are given to school districts that have large numbers of federal or military property that cannot be taxed.
Schwartz said she had found past conferences "relatively worthwhile . . . But I had to weigh that against a $23 million deflicit" in the school system's budget for the coming school year.
Superintendent Vincent E. Reed has recommended cutting 700 teaching positions and reducing adult education and prekindergarten programs to deal with the cutbacks the mayor and the City Council made in the school budget.
"I don't think we have to send that big a delegation to anything, given the school system's financial state," Schwartz said.
Lockridge said the board members can learn about problems facing school boards across the United States at conferences. Such issues are discussed as declining school enrollment, new ways of increasing school funding and how to better use school space, he said.
The board members receive a per diem allotment of $50, but in most cases, this is not enough even to cover the hotel fee, said board member Alaire B. Rieffel, who chose not to attend the conference this year because of family commitments.
Rieffel said she attended the conference two years ago and participated in workshops dealing with special education, how to get more federal funds for schools, how to hire and fire superintendents and how to improve a school board's public image.
Board member Frank Smith said he will not be attending because he cannot afford the personal expenses. Bettie Benjamin is the other board member who is not attending.
Board member Shaffer-Corona, who will attend, has spent the last month s in the Middle East visiting members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He returned to Washington late last week.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 officials attend the conference each year.
Lockridge said it is important for the D.C. board to represented in San Francisco since they are members of the "big city boards." John Warren is on the board of directors of the National School Boards Association and Barbara Simmons is chairman of its black caucus.
In the evenings, board members can attend a Johnny Mathis concert or a Bob Hope show, according to the conference schedule.
In another matter, school board officials recently acquired a $7,000 telephone system. This system permits school officials to speak to callers and to each other on an intercom system. Lockridge said the new system, which includes 60 new phones, will give callers to the school board faster service in getting in touch with school officials.
Reed, who has one of these intercome phones, and other school officials have criticized the board for ordering the new system in the middle of a budget crisis.
In other action, the board on Monday accepted the resignation of its executive secretary, Patricia Evans Miner.
Rieffel said that Miner was "hounded" from her job by certain board members. Most of Miner's problems were with Shaffer-Corona and Warren, school sources said.
One source said Shaffer-Corona would call Miner "in the middle of the night over the most ridiculous things." Warren once circulated a three-page memo criticizing Miner for failing to take the office Christmas tree down quickly enough, not ordering a new Xerox machine and not setting up enough staff development programs.
"I have watched in my years on the board certain board members treat not just the superintendent's staff, but the school board's own staff, in an inhumane fashion and I think it's just disgusting," Schwartz said.
Warren said he has expressed his concerns many times about Miner's competency and the quality of her work.
Miner said she wants to seek "a more creative, less administrative work experience."