What makes this different than a prior year educational "budget crisis"?
Original post made
by Tony E., Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 27, 2009
I think a critical question is what makes this different than a prior year educational "budget crisis"?
1) Simply the sheer amount of the state's revenue shortfall and the rapid pace at which the amount of the shortfall has gotten worse.
2) The state budget passed in February, 2009 actually takes back money that was committed to school districts in the state Budget Act of September 2008.
3) California's revenue continues to deteriorate. As of March 13, 2009, the California Legislative Analyst's Office predicts an additional $8 billion shortfall on top of the $41 billion that the February '09 budget sought to address.
I remember in December of 2007, the state's shortfall was at $14 billion. One year later, in December of 2008 that number was $28 billion. By January 2009, $40-$41 billion. By March, the independent Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) predicted an additional $8 billion shortfall. Our Governor, last I read a week ago, is stating that if the May 19 election initiatives fail (and the critical ones involving extending taxation are polling badly), tack on another $6 billion to that number.
For more information please visit Web Link
Posted by Ann Martin
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm
To Facts Please:
There is a contract between PUSD and Lew Edwards Group dated May 10, 2006.
Here's what the contract says are the services to be provided:
Consultant shall, with consultation from Client, provide bond feasibility and communications services related to a potential March 2007 Parcel Tax Measure. Consultant services may include the following:
(a) strategic advice and planning, including a timeline for communications services, benchmark dates, and a project budget;
(b) assisting and overseeing Clients' designated polling firm in the design and implementation of survey research and assessment for Client;
(c) communications services, including - with the input of Client - conceiving, writing and producing direct mail to external and internal audiences;
(d) developing nonpartisan public information materials issued by the District to describe its student support, class size reduction, technology, and curriculum advancement needs;
(e) reviewing the proposed Parcel Tax Expenditure list and making recommendations as to the characterization, appeal or weaknesses of specific funding items; and
(f) working with Client's other professionals and vendors such as district bond counsel or financial advisors in developing a potential ballot question, other voter handbook materials, and a coordinated strategy.
The fee is $37,500 payable in monthly increments of $5,357.14 due on the last business day of each month commencing May 2006 thru November 2006. The only payments I see that have been made are showing (on the Vendor History Report) that they were "last paid 9/24/07" and one payment is for $16,064.28 and the other is $5,357.14. The reports show a last edit date of 6/6/2006. I haven't seen any other payments that would bring PUSD payments to the total amount of the contract.
I will ask PUSD if there are any addendums or change orders to the Lew Edwards Group contract. I will also ask if PUSD contracted with any other companies recommended by Lew Edwards Group to provide parcel tax related services.
I will ask the School Board members if any consulting group, attorney, or vendor has been hired by PUSD to provide any services related to Measure G.
Generally speaking, I have to ask very specific questions to elicit the records I'm looking for. For example, I was curious if PUSD still was paying Lozano Smith, the legal firm PUSD is suing for malpractice.
According to the Vendor History Report, a date of 1/27/09 is shown as the last paid date, but there's also a last edit date of 1/25.05. The amount showing paid is $55,029.54 I thought I could answer my own question by requesting a copy of the contract between PUSD and Lozano Smith.
The contract I received is dated August 1, 2006 and a letter dated June 6, 2007 thanks PUSD for its ongoing relationship with Lozano Smith and indicates that legal fees charged to PUSD will not increase. The scope of work in the contract is whatever matters the Client (PUSD) refers to the Attorney (Lozano Smith).
So I'm still unclear on whether or not PUSD is still paying Lozano Smith, and if so for what.
So I've asked to see the bills submitted to PUSD by Lozano Smith from 2005 to date. When I see the actual bills, I will know what legal matters Lozano Smith has billed PUSD for.
The Vendor History Report is useful in identifying vendors. Besides Lozano Smith, the Vendor History Report identifies the following legal firms: Kinglsey, Bogard Thompson, Stubbs & Leone, and Jon Hudak. However, all legal counsel fees are categorized under legal counsel, not under the issue for which counseling was provided (e.g. special ed, facilities, etc.) So to determine why PUSD was billed, the actual bills have to be pulled.
When I hear back from PUSD, I will post the information, or you can email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will forward on to you any information I receive.