Bibb County school superintendent Romain Dallemand wrote a detailed defense of his scheduled to trip to Belgium to address an international conference.
In an article on his blog, Dallemand wrote: "For the first time as far as people can remember, the world actually wants to hear what Bibb County is doing that is positive."
He said he was invited to the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium to share how thousands of school district employees were involved in planning that led to the Macon Miracle strategic plan. Two other school officials are also attending the conference, to be held next week.
Dallemand said the trip would allow Bibb County to learn from educators and business leaders in 40 countries "things that we can bring back in order to improve our current condition."
Also attending are Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement and Redesign Susanne Griffin-Ziebart and Director of Professional Learning Judy Godfrey.
Dallemand's post did not say how much the trip to Belgium would cost. When we asked schools spokeswoman Stephanie Hartley about that earlier this week, she said she could not immediately say.
She referred questions about the trip to school board attorney Randy Howard, who could not be reached for comment.
But Macon Republican activist Bill Knowles shared an email from Howard that said the school district had paid registration fees for the three Bibb employees. Howard wrote that no further records on the trip's cost were available.
According to the website, registration for Dallemand and his colleagues would cost at least 590 euros each. At current exchange rates, that's equivalent to $773 each.
Dallemand wrote: "The District was invited to this prestigious event because of the hard work and dedication of leadership, staff, and community members. Not only were we invited to present at this conference, our work will be highlighted in two professional publications."
The convention website lists 35 attendees from the United States.