Commentary and Opinion By Linda Sutter – March 24, 2022
Open Letter to School Board Member Angela Greenough
Since you are on the Board of Trustees for the DNUSD, It is my intention to apprise you of some information. On October 1, 2020 during a Citizen’s oversight Committee meeting the following was stated,
“The COVID-19 economic crisis required the postponement of some projects to help provide funds for the District to pay its regular expenses. “
As you know Prop 39 funds are bonds for restrictive purposes of construction, rehabilitation, modernization of schools. Although I have sent Mr. Napier a CPRA request regarding this matter, I have reason to believe he will not fulfill that request.
Additionally, $44,000 was apparently spent on Propane, and since the COC was reviewing documents One can only surmise that was paid with bond money. my concerns of School Bond Waste are not without merit, nor were they developed from thin air. The mere fact this and many other situations came from meeting minutes, internal emails, and spreadsheets is very CONCERNING.
What is extremely concerning is when I read that YOU along with the other “TRUSTEES” prevented adequate training for the COC members, several times. Even when Attorney Don Henion was involved training was denied, which by the way was free. Are you ok with fraud?
So what in your perspective? What would you do if you discovered fraud? Would you continue to cover it up like it has been? OR, would you investigate it and then cover it up? Afterall, you have made sure no training was available to these board members for a reason.
Just so you know, I have contacted authorities in Sacramento and have presented the evidence. Will a compliance team come to Del Norte? I don’t know. I was able to get an audit team from Sacramento to investigate the Fair Grounds and that report was not glowing, however, it did stop Kim Floyd from spending taxpayers money.
I think you might want to consider what will happen to this organization if a compliance team comes up and verifies the truth. What do you think will happen? Afterall, from February 2009- May 30, 2012 there were only fake agendas no meeting minutes and no COC oversight. What is concerning is according to the Prop 39 which is a California Constitutional Amendment, it states the COC must generate a report once a year, somehow that was construed to mean the COC only needs to meet once a year which is inaccurate. The COC needs to be a working unit throughout the year in order to provide the public with an accurate report.
In 2017, 2018, and February 2019 the COC met one time. Laughable. And then they did not meet at all until September 2020 after the 2019 meeting. In essence there has been no oversight. If it were not for Angelina Countess-Bieber bringing this to the attention to the public, the public would not have known how negligent the District Trustees had been.
Good luck with all that explaining you and the trustees will be doing in the future. Mr. Napier needs to be terminated, Jeff Harris replaced. As for you and the Trustees, I have lost all respect for the ignorance of an educational institution who doesn’t even abide by the rules they write
5 thoughts on “$25 Million School Bond Waste”
I do not ordinarily check this site for news, but today, looking for information on Bob Berkowitz’s memorial, I found what I needed on that topic and then noticed this column. I feel I need to correct misinformation published here. It may be that the DNCUSD website, which was revised sometime after I left in 2011, does not currently display the original Citizens Oversight Committee agendas and reports from 2009-2011. I assure you, those meetings did take place. The board solicited applications to the COC. 25 community members applied and were interviewed, and the required number were seated. (It may have been 11?) Among those were Paul Dillard, who was a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, one of the requirements for all COCs. Jim Maready was elected by the members to serve as the first chair. Also serving were Joy Lara, Bob Dytewski, and Frank Magarino, among others. The COC met quarterly, posted agendas according to the Brown Act requirements, held open meetings (and members of the public did attend), kept and published minutes, and produced a report annually. I attended every meeting and listened to questions and concerns attentively, considering it an enormous public trust to shepherd these funds into promised projects. The COC also reported to the school board, which at that time consisted of Francis Costello, Bob Berkowitz, Bill Parker, Faith Crist, and Bill Maffett. I departed DNCUSD in June 2011 and did not have further contact with the COC after that date, but as a member through today of this community, I, too, pay the fee with my property tax bill every year. I am in hopes that the two superintendents who followed me were equally judicious in shepherding school bond funds through the appropriate steps and utilized the funds on the specified projects the voters approved in the original vote in 2008.
Clearly former District Superintendent Jan Moorehouse has taken the opportunity to spread more Unified School District misinformation to paper over what was “sold” to the public when the $25 million Bonds were proposed. Other than the Gymnasium at Smith River and the boiler replacement at the high school, nothing the district did with the funding matches what was promised and for what reason the funding “was” necessary. See the article in the CCTimes for further details. See “Jan Moorehouse Surfaces”
Well Ms. MOOREHOUSE, sadly, there is no evidence of these meetings which you speak of, which is required and mandated by law. Hundreds of thousands of dollars unaccounted for. The current chair is less smart than a goat. The entire matter has been placed with the SCO of California. Hopefully an audit will be conducted. In fact there was no information obtainable to the public until October 7, 2021. This is negligence of the superintendents and the elected school board who were never properly trained on what to look for as a COC member. After Dillard and the rest left things went downhill. But no one chose to listen to community members concerns. Instead we were chastised, belittled, with complete lack of respect or dignity. These past years have been filling pockets of project managers and contractors with no follow up whatsoever.
Thanks for the most informative article. Del Norte Taxpayers need to wake up and research how their tax dollars are being spent. As to Measure A: it was a disaster from the onset, in the respect that the Oversight Committee never did execute their responsibilities; and the School Board never has insisted that Measure A funds be accounted for. I applaud Angelina Countess-Bieber for her diligence and determination in watchdogging the taxpayers’ monies; and to those other community folks who have worked so hard to get to the truth of the non-workings of the Oversight Committee.
“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”–Mark Twain