Several D.C. school board members yesterday criticized board vice president Nathaniel Bush (Ward 7) for mailing literature to the public indicating school board support for a privately sponsored computer festival that the board never discussed or voted on.
Some 1,419 copies of pamphlets promoting the festival, called "Catch on to Computers," described Atari and Post Cereals as sponsors. The pamphlets were mailed at school board expense in board envelopes, according to board memorandums, and carried as the return address the board's offices and its Educational Programs Committee, according to board memorandums.
"This was not an action officially taken by the board," Bush said yesterday. "It was a matter of oversight."
"In retrospect maybe I should have done things a little differently," Bush added.
Board President David Eaton said the Educational Programs Committee and then the full board would have had to have approved the plan for the board's name to have been legitimately used.
Bush, who is up for reelection this year, also was quoted in a press release for the computer festival to be held Oct. 5-14 at the George Washington University Academic Center. The press release listed the board's Educational Programs Committee, chaired by board member Linda Cropp (Ward 4), as the host for the festival.
In a memo to Eaton, board member Wanda Washburn (Ward 3), a member of the Educational Programs Committee, wrote, "I seriously object to this and demand an explanation to me and to my fellow committee members as to why this action was permitted."
In a letter back to Washburn, Eaton yesterday said: "I too question the propriety of listing the Educational Programs Committee as host without approval of the Board of Education." Eaton also said yesterday that he was recommending that Bush reimburse the board for the costs of mailing the pamphlets. "I think he made an honest mistake," Eaton said.
Said Cropp: "I would hope that it's a mistake. The committee did not give its permission."