Liddell makes no apologies for time away

If you have tried to reach Columbus Schools Superintendent Martha Liddell at her office this school year, there’s a one-in-three chance you were told she was not in the office. In fact, there’s a one-in-three chance that Liddell wasn’t even in town.

So far during the 2012-13 school year Liddell has taken 21 trips that kept her out of the district for at least 60 of the 180 school days this year. Her contemporaries in Starkville, Lewis Holloway, and Lowndes County, Lynn Wright, have made 17 trips between them and have been away from their districts a combined 23 days.

And in a school year in which the superintendent put all “non-essential spending” on hold in January, Liddell’s extensive travels have cost the district $8,058, twice as much as Holloway has spent ($4,037 on 11 trips) and roughly four times as much as Wright has spent ($2,177 on six trips). […]