Who Works For Who?

During a Beaumont school board meeting in July, the board struggled with approving a $50,000 contract with Action Learning Systems (ALS),  the district's favorite 3rd party training consultant. After the board asked for more information to help them with their decision, Dr. Maureen Latham, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, offered to prepare a report detailing the district's expenditures on all third party training over the previous three school years. The board approved the $50,000 ALS contract without any additional information but with the promise of a full report.

In September, I learned at least one board member had yet to receive a report. I asked Dr. Latham if a copy of the report existed, I'd like to see it. In her response email, she wrote:

I sent the Board a spreadsheet prepared from the Purchasing Department listing the dates/amounts of expenditures for ALS.  I have not prepared a complete report of all professional development services for a Board Workshop or Instructional Presentation due to the priorities of other items on the agenda.  I will ask Dr. Kayrell for direction on when the information will be presented to the Board and let you know the date. 

After the September 3rd board meeting, I wrote on my blog about the failure of the board to provide the oversight and hold the administration accountable to follow through. At the end of the next board meeting, Board President Mrs. Lara thanked Dr. Latham for the 3rd Party training report.

The next day I sent Dr. Latham a request for the report Mrs. Lara had received. She sent me the ALS spreadsheet she had mentioned earlier but, as she had already told me, there was no complete report to present. The spreadsheet listed about $1,240,000 in contracts the district had completed with ALS. There was no information for any other third party training.

I wonder if this means the administration will not provide the complete report they promised to the board. I guess if President Lara is ok with the partial report and no other board member will hold the administration accountable, the issue is closed. I guess the administration believes since they hired three full time "educational coaches", they no longer need to comply with a direct request from the board.

I find it disappointing that not one of our board members feels a duty to demand the full report and hold their administration accountable to public promises made in a board meeting. Even if the board is no longer interested in the training report they requested and were promised, I am. I believe the administration will be telling us we'll need to cut transportation to meet budget shortages. I believe the amount the district has been spending on 3rd party training, and plan to spend, could easily cover the transportation services costs. 

I have some questions that need to be asked and answered... 

  • Why is the administration so reluctant to provide a complete accounting of cost for training over the last three years?
  • What is the total cost going forward for the salaries of the new educational coaches?
  • Why do teachers with degrees in teaching, who continue to advance their educational training in order to earn increased income, need full time coaches?
  • If BUSD is able, during difficult economic times, to find more than $400,000 (that we know about) a year for training, why can't they fund transportation for all our kids? 

These are questions no one is asking but I believe should be answered before we throw transportation under the bus.