THE LONGER Frank Shaffer-Corona remains a member of the District's school board, the less responsible a public official he shows himself to be. Although elected to help improve the public schools, Mr. Shaffer-Corona has been more concerned with other matters - trying to travel to Mexico at public expense, supposedly to meet with the country's president; writing a letter on school-board stationery to the secretary of state denouncing the administration's policy toward Mexico, undocumented workers and migrant farm workers; and publicly calling the president "a racist peanut farmer."
Mr. Shaffer-Corona's latest escapade was his attendance last week at the 11th International Youth Festival in Havana - at a cost to local taxpayers of $784. Since its inception, this boring left-wing hootenanny has been stridently anti-American and anti-Western. Predictably, this year's session followed the pattern. Yet, Mr. Shaffer-Corona would have the public believe that his participation in so-called educational seminars at this conference would somehow - get this - benefit Washington's public school students.
School Board President Conrad Smith rightly was distressed about this abuse of the annual $1,350 travel allowance granted to each board member. His objections to the public's paying for a junket to the propaganda event in Havana kept Mr. Shaffer-Corona from getting the $784 in advance. But city officials say that he will be reimbursed for the trip because the travel guidelines for District government employees are, alas, drawn broadly enough to cover this kind of boondoggle.
There is no need to surrender so easily. Mr. Shaffer-Corona should not be reimbursed for his junket to Havana. And the city's travel guidelines should be revised to prevent this kind of abuse from recurring.