Workshop Part 2 - In Their Own Words

Following are portions of the transcript from the April 24th Budget Workshop which I found interesting, my comments are in red.

Next to each topic, is a time value in hours and minutesto designate at what point in the district’s audio minutes the discussion took place. I am sure some people might find other comments interesting but the meeting went on for more than two hours; I wasn’t about to transcribe the whole thing.

Click her if you want to listen to the entire workshop.

Cast of Characters

Kayrell - Superintendent
Elatar – Assistant Superintendent of Business Services
Latham – Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Lara – Board President
Hackney – Board Member
Orozco – Board Member
Poulter – Board Member
De Longchamp – Board Member

1:02 – Budget Review Committee (BRC) Recommendations – Should we make publically available
Latham - “It’s not finished work”
Lara - “Just a guideline to help us” “generate conversation” “This won’t even be on our next board agenda”
Poulter - “so when do we get to make cuts?”
Kayrell – “We have to finish our process and then we will make our recommendations.”
Lara - “This is a little premature because the BRC is not done, that whole process is not finished yet.”
Lara - “All of these are things we’ve (the BRC) made agreement to cut”
Lara - “We’re not making decisions tonight, this is just a workshop for discussion, and we’re not making decisions”

What was the point of holding a workshop now?

1:05 – Transportation – Eliminate home to school transportation for elementary schools
Orozco – “Did we end up doing a survey?”
Elatar – “No the board elected not to.”
Orozco – When we opened it up (busing) to more people did we see a change?
Poulter – “Didn’t we expand the areas?”
Lara – “We never did that”

In October 2011, the board unanimously instructed Mr. Elatar to bring back a proposal to expand ridership and they never held him accountable when he didn't fulfill their request. 

1:11 - Eliminate the district paying for volunteer background checks and TB testing ($52 per volunteer)
De Longchamp – “I’m fine with that.”
Lara – “I can’t see making parents pay so they can volunteer in the classroom.”
Hackney – “I wouldn’t think, myself, that it would be worth it to pay $52 to go on one field trip”
Hackney – “I can’t see…to expect volunteers to volunteer all those hours then to have to pay for it”
De Longchamp – “I know the kids sporting things in town…(volunteers) have to pay for their own background checks”
De Longchamp – “I did it for them to play sports and I would have done it to volunteer in the classroom.”
Orozco – “Parents have to pay for it for baseball”

During a week where many school districts around the nation are recognizing National Public School Volunteer Week, Beaumont Unified is considering passing the cost of background checks and TB tests ($52) on to the volunteers.

1:29 - This is taking forever
Latham – “Tonight we were not expecting that you needed details on all these items.”
Lara – “I think what we need to do is to change our direction, this will take forever…I suggest that we look at each item and ask if we need further information and if we are interested in addressing it at a future board meeting. And, if we need information we can get it later.”

Why weren’t the details prepared for the workshop? Didn’t the Budget Review Committee have the details when they were making their recommendations?

1:33 - Shift facilities management cost on bond funded projects to Measure Z funds
Lara – “For me this is a Measure Z issue and we promised not to spend the money on salaries and this is a very dangerous road to go down.”
Kayrell – When I called parents and we had people working those phone banks, we told people there would be no administrative costs.”
Lara - “Let’s take that one off.”

Mrs. Lara and Dr. Kayrell used a single sentence about improving physical education to build a $15 million sports complex, I am encouraged they have now found a conscience?

1:37 – Eliminate district contributions to Employee Recognition Dinner - $9k
Orozco – “Are we allowed bargaining units, thru negotiations, to pay a little more of that?”
Kayrell – “You can ask for corporate sponsorship, you can ask for donations.”
Kayrell- “Even when we charge a nominal fee to employees we are still short.”

Every time this issue has been approved by the board, the supporting documentation has indicated there was no net cost to the district. We were told the administration was reimbursed by fees charged to the attendees. Am I the only who remembers this?

1:41 – Suspend middle school and high school freshman athletic programs
L ara - “Instead of picking on the athletic programs, this is an extracurricular activity, I don’t think it’s fair to just do it to the athletic programs, I think we should look across the board at all extracurricular activities. I believe all these extracurricular activities are very important.”
Orozco – “Should we ask them (the administration) to come back with a list?”
Lara – “It should be all or nothing, I think, you can’t just eliminate one (activity) and not the other.”
Hackney – “Athletics is more visible in the community, whereas your freshman, and I’m just talking freshman, and all the other activities are separated out,…I think you got to look at freshman as part of the entire athletic program.”
Poulter- “It would be interesting to see how many extra freshman teams there are”
Latham – “It’s a staffing issue (coaches and teachers) when you eliminate (activities) you eliminate stipends as well. It’s not just the kids’ part of it.”

1:48 Team concept cleaning – Eliminate two custodial positions
E – “What team concept means is…you gonna still have the morning custodial staff at each site… teams go from one site to another, 3 to 4 sites per day.”
Orozco- “Just from experience, it’s not a great concept…you won’t like what you see…”

1:58 - Eliminate district paid field trips
Lara - “Field trips that are not paid by PTA and boosters…these are site funds”
Poulter – “I think we should have sites use their money for what they want.”
Lara – “They’re (BRC) are asking to cut the site money.”

Over the last few years the site councils have had more and more money withheld by the district. Without the PTAs and booster clubs there wouldn’t be any field trips. This item needs to be renamed. How about something like "Reduce School Site Council Funds"?

2:03 - In conclusion
Lara – “Are there any other areas you guys would like to look at in the budget?”
Poulter – “I would like to revisit the cell phones stipend”
Orozco – “I would love to hear from the community.”
Lara – “We need to keep in mind that we have a large problem, I don’t think the solutions we look at here tonight are going to eliminate having to ask staff to take cuts…I don’t want the general public to think if we do all this it’s going to save anybody, we still need to do the negotiating…”

This was a waste of time and I am glad I didn't stay but you have to listen to the last five minutes. Click here to listen