Frank Shaffer-Corona, the lame-duck D.C. school board member with a penchant for international travel on school system funds, said yesterday that he intends to visit Seattle, San Francisco and Miami for discussions with Hispanics in those cities before he leaves office in January.
He said his expenses for the trip will come from his allotment of approximately $1,600 that each board member is given annually for travel.
"I intend to serve the people of this city to the very last minute of my term," Shaffer-Corona said in justification of the $815 he has received for air fare. He also has asked for, but not yet received, per diem expenses of about $50 for each day he will spend in the three cities. He plans to be out of town for about six days.
School board administrative staffers said they granted his request for the travel funds since Shaffer-Corona said he would be attending "educational conferences and meetings" in the three cities. This is considered a legitimate reason for disbursement of travel funds.
But in an interview yesterday, Shaffer-Corona said he merely intends to talk about bilingual education with Chicanos in Seattle and San Francisco and with Cubans and Haitians in Miami. He added that no meetings have been formally scheduled so far.
"I want to talk with anybody who will talk with me," Shaffer-Corona said.
Shaffer-Corona has used school board money in the past to travel to Cuba and Mexico and pay for phone calls to Iran during his single term in office.
Shaffer-Corona was censured by his fellow board members last year for using school system funds to place $1,900 worth of phone calls to Iran in his individual attempt to free the American hostages. And the school board tried to prevent him from traveling to Cuba in 1978 on school system money. But this time, tha board does not appear likely to take any action to prevent his trips.
"We can't prove he's not going to be where he says he is," said Clara Stevenson, chief assistant to Board President Eugene Kinlow.
His travel plans nevertheless drew criticism from some board members.
"I'm appalled," said Carol Schwartz (Ward 3), who also will leave the board in January. "This is typical of the antics he has used in the past."