I am a fiscal conservative, so I vote to spend our billion dollar budget on classroom teaching and learning -- NOT on unaccountable consultants, lawyers, poorly designed programs, and an expensive land deal.
There has been profligate spending on unaccountable consultants:
- $500,000 for a Florida-based advisor who was a go-fer for the superintendent, a facilitator of "private/public collaboratives" and a moderator of "board/superintendent dialogues" on superintendent performance evaluations, bonuses and annual goal-setting
- $99,900 for A.U.S.S.I.E., Inc. (a consultant group from Australia!), to teach our teachers reading strategies without benefit of phonics
- $636,500 for all-expense-paid four-day junkets to the University of Pittsburgh for 33 district employees, plus reciprocal visits from two Pittsburgh consultants who came to San Diego in the cold mid-winter
COSTLY POOR PROGRAMS
- The Board voted 3-2 to use controversial "job-order contracting" (JOC) practices for work funded by the PROP MM bond issue to repair and build schools. A lawsuit ensued and defending against it cost us a year-and-a-half delay in implementing badly needed projects, and damaged community confidence and good faith in our word. SETTLEMENT COST: $95,000 in fees for the other side.
- One politically-connected outside law firm was hired to write the bonus-bearing contract for the Superindendent as well as the contract for the Chancellor of Instruction. COST: $ 10,042 and $13,913, respectively. In addition, the same firm was used to defend the Superintendent in a lawsuit stemming from alleged improper use of school mail during the 1998 Prop MM campaign. COST: $18,465.
EXPENSIVE LAND DEAL
- The District continues to use exquisitely expensive one-on-one Reading Recovery programs to remediate shaky first-grade readers at a cost of about $8,000/student. Data presented in a report to the Board indicate that Reading Recovery is not only expensive, but less efficacious than other nationally-proven programs which can be used for students at all grade levels. Furthermore, Reading Recovery is weak on phonics.
- Board voted 4-1 to spend more than $16 million for 20 acres of land on Kearny Mesa at the peak of a hot real estate market, when only 8 acres were needed for a proposed food services center.