Lindenstrauss AJ 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has been asked by a community advocacy group to look into the Education Ministry's policy of offering free tickets on school trips to Poland without any apparent criteria.
At issue are tickets obtained for free by the Education Ministry, using frequent-flyer miles accumulated when participants purchase their own tickets. For every nine tickets purchased, an additional one is given free, according to the ministry.
On individual trips in which the number of tickets is not a multiple of 10, the extra credit is credited to the ministry. This produces 50 to 70 free tickets to Poland each year that are not connected to a specific trip or school.
According to the Ashkelon branch of the nationwide advocacy group Yedid, there are no proper criteria for the distribution of these tickets, which the group says should go to students, "witnesses" (usually Holocaust survivors who accompany the trips) or parents and helpers of disabled children.
According to Ran Melamed, deputy director of Yedid, in a recent meeting he held with Education Minister Yuli Tamir and the ministry official in charge of the Poland trips, Yossi Levy, the ministry acknowledged the problem and said it would correct it.
The ministry, however, denies it ever acknowledged there was a gap in criteria for the extra tickets.
"This is wildly incorrect," a ministry representative said. "Eighty percent of these extra tickets are given to kids, and 20% to parents and helpers. There aren't any spare tickets, and there are specific criteria for how they're used."
Nevertheless, Yedid turned to Lindenstrauss in a letter dated Tuesday, calling on him to investigate the matter.