At the March 12th School Board meeting on the topic of School Start time changes we discussed the survey that was being created, I said that I wanted all costs to be included in the survey in order for the public to make and educated decision. The Superintendent said that he would include the costs.
The survey was put out and costs for buses were not included. When I questioned the Superintendent he said that they are not yet certain of costs so they didn't want to put out the information.
This is a lack of transparency. If costs are not yet known then they should not have put out the survey.
Cost is a very important factor in this decision (at least it is for me).
According to the workshop presentation, Options A and B will have transportation costs of $3,240,000. Option C will be $1,560,000. Option D will not have any additional transportation costs.
These costs do not include field lighting costs that were published in the survey.
Over the last couple of years I have received a large number of reports regarding student discipline problems in our schools. Some of these I have seen first hand. I have consistently been telling my colleagues and the Superintendent that teachers need more support from administration for student discipline problems and consequences must be enforced.
The new method of discipline in some schools is to reward for positive behavior rather than give consequences for bad behavior (PBIS). I believe this method has been a factor in increased discipline problems.
These surveys had many questions, but I have highlighted a few results from discipline specific questions on my website. Not all school results have been provided to me but I will update my website as they are received.
I would like to give a shout out to several of the schools who received high marks from teachers on the following statement:
"This School's rules for student behavior are effective"
Elementary High Marks (95% and above agreement rating by teachers): College Park, Landstown ES, Linkhorn Park, North Landing, Providence.
Middle School High Marks (85% & above): Great Neck, Bayside 6th grade, Salem MS--100%
High School: Salem High-- 87%
At the elementary level 17 of 39 schools scored less than 70% agreement.
At the middle school level 5 of 11 schools scored less than 70% agreement
At the high school level 6 of 8 schools scored less than 70% agreement.
These discipline problems have been a concern of mine for a couple of years and in my opinion, these surveys indicate that we do not have effective discipline practices in many of our schools.
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A VB Citizen through FOIA recently asked for out of town travel expenses for the superintendent. The citizen had to pay hundreds of dollars to receive the information. Among the documents were credit card statements for the Superintendent and Chief of Staff. The citizen shared some of the documents with me. After reviewing the information, I have requested our School Board Auditor to conduct an audit on credit card expenditures. This request must be approved by the audit committee, so I do not yet know if it will happen.
Spending at local restaurants also appears excessive. School Board policy/regulation states that "reimbursement for meals while traveling within the city limits is discouraged..."
This isn't just about the amount of money being spent, but the fact that taxpayers are footing the restaurant and travel bills for VBCPS leadership making $175,000 and $250,000.
I'm guessing teachers don't go out to the Lynnhaven Fish house on the taxpayer dime.
It is my firm belief that we do not have a funding problem, we have a spending problem.
Superintendent Travel out of the area paid for on the taxpayer dime.
Why does VBCPS need to pay high dollar consultants when we already have some of the best employees in the country?
*****KLK Consulting (Kathy Kennedy) was hired at the cost of $3000.00 per day. ($43,500)
Sole Source contract was approved on 11/17/17; however, her work began before approval on 10/6/17. Why was work approved AFTER it had already begun?
Kathy Kennedy worked for Superintendent Spence in Moore Cty NC: https://www.ncmcs.org/cms/lib/NC01001076/Centricity/Domain/5/Board%20Minutes_March10_2014.pdf
Why was this a sole source contract and not bid through an RFP process?
******Fran Prolman: paid $36,000 for 12 days of work:
Another Sole Source contract.
Initially denied by procurement officer on 10/20/17. Work began on 10/25/17. Contract later approved on 11/17/17.
SEE DOCUMENTS BELOW
At the School Board meeting on 4/9/19, the School Board had to vote on budget transfers of approx $2 million from various accounts into the "computer equipment" account. I questioned this transfer and was informed that the money would be used toward the replacement of 18,000 Chromebooks which would be occurring every year. I discovered that the Chromebooks are on a 4 year replacement cycle. I had no knowledge of this and after the meeting I realized that I need to be more knowledgeable about the contracts of which the School Board has entered into agreements through the Superintendent.
Yesterday I asked the Superintendent for the information and was told that he would not provide it to me unless the full Board approved the request. I then instructed him to provide it to me under the Freedom of Information Act. Now he says I will be charged for providing the information.
It should be noted that on the city side, they publish all of their expenditures through an online checkbook: https://openspending.vbgov.com/#!/year/All%20Years/explore/1/fund
I have no idea why it would take 100 hours of staff time to provide me with the contract documents which I have requested.
See my e-mail correspondence with the Superintendent and reply by the School Board chair. We will be receiving a workshop on the 30th regarding a "technology update" but I have no knowledge that the Board will be provided contract details at that meeting, nor do I anticipate we will.
These e-mails were provided to me by a citizen who made a FOIA request. School Board members report directly to the public, so it is up to you the citizens of VB to determine the consequences of their actions.
These show an intent to deceive not only city council but also VB Citizens. These Board members (at the last minute) pushed for a tax increase to accelerate the implementation of full day kindergarten--FDK (which was going to happen anyway they just wanted to speed it up). I KNOW we could have done it within our current budget and that is why I voted NO to the tax increase request.
Board Member Dan Edwards was right in the attached e-mail when he said that it was going to be a "tough sell to both to CC (city council) and the general public why it takes almost $7 million to add 8 more schools"
He further said that "we need some creative tools to explain this message".
Chair Anderson is asking for a tax increase for FDK but deceptively planning to use it for something else.
This deceit is why citizens do NOT trust their governments and I will NOT be a part of the deceit. I hope city council takes these e-mails into consideration when they are voting on whether or not to increase VB taxes.