Pittsburgh school district to review contracting, ethics policies after vendor took Hamlet, administrators to Cuba

Now there are three official probes into the propriety of a vendor-paid trip to Cuba taken by Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and four other administrators. On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing solicitor Ira Weiss to conduct a review of district policies relating to procurement, contracts, ethics and conflicts of interest. This review compounds another prompted by the district and one launched by the state auditor general. The inquiries come in the wake of media reports about an April trip to Cuba on the tab of an educational technology company called Flying Classrooms.

The company had a one-year $73,000 contract with the district, which had expired at the time of the trip. Board member Sala Udin, City Controller Michael Lamb and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale have questioned whether the trip violated the state ethics law that prevents district officials from accepting gifts from vendors.