Oversight Report Card -- California Bond Defense Clearinghouse
Are you a good listener? Keep your ear to the ground and let us know. Sign Up                                        Do you have an oversight or transparency nightmare to report about your district? Let the whole world know! Oversight Report Card                                        Every week districts are misusing bond funds for purposes not permitted by Proposition 39. Can you stop it? Find out on the weekly call. Sign Up                                        
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Oversight and Transparency Report Card

2017 Report Cards (click)
Also learn how to report abuse of bond funds (click)

Embarrass Your District Into Following the Law

With the scathing findings of the Borrowed Money: Opportunities For Stronger Bond Oversight report from the Little Hoover Commission just published in February 2017, there is a golden opportunity to put a spotlight on your school and college district oversight shenanigans.

Ok. That was a joke. There is no oversight. ... Yet.

That's where you come in. This page will report on real abuse and misuse of bond funds -- past, present, and future. (Yes, you can determine in advance that your district is about to break the law.)

Our guideline is very simple. Are the funds being used in accordance with Proposition 39 or Proposition 46 (the California Constitution)? That is also the exact same guideline that the fake citizens' bond oversight committee (CBOC) is required to use as well.

From the information that you provide about your district and from my own independent investigation, we will create a report card on how well the district is really doing, not on how well the fake citizens' bond oversight committee (CBOC) says it's doing.

How Is Your District About to Break the Law?

That's pretty simple too. It tells you in the bond measure how it's going to spend the bond funds. All you have to do is watch (board agendas) or ask directly.

Proposition 39 requires:

"To ensure that before they vote, voters will be given a list of specific projects their bond money will be used for"
See: Proposition 39 Section Three (c) (emphasis added)

Almost everything on which your district will spend it is a misuse of bond funds, primarily because it didn't provide a "list of the specific school facility projects to be funded" in the measure. But even more than that, it listed items that it will spend it on that violate the limited (although pretty broad) uses allowed under Proposition 39. Much of these abuses can be categorized under the constitutional prohibition on using bond funds for "teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses".

For example, maintenance, deferred or otherwise, is not one of the listed allowed uses of Proposition 39 bond funds. Maintenance isn't a capital expense. It's an operating expense.

Likewise, modernization is a term found in the Education Code. It has a specific meaning. The state is responsible for modernization and the State Allocation Board doles it out under a whole set of statutes and regulations to make sure that it is not abused. It is not one of the listed allowed uses of Proposition 39 bond funds.

How about leases? The favorite scheme that the school bonds cartel promotes to avoid competitive bidding for its members is the lease-leaseback. Leases are operating expenses prohibited by Proposition 39. If the district claims it's a delivery method, then it's not really a lease at all, is it?

But those are just the tip of the iceberg. Read the ballot measure. (Site members can read them all on this site.) Does it include costs of the election? Election costs are operating expenses that your district must pay to have its trustees elected. It's not even a capital expenditure that improves a school facility. It's not allowed. There are dozens of other items like this that are flat-out prohibited under Proposition 39.


2017 Oversight and Transparency Report Cards

State Center Community College District F
Oversight and Transparency Report Card

Share on Twitter There must be something in the water in Fresno County. Last year, at the height of the controversy regarding the FBI investigation at Fresno Unified, I discovered that Fresno Unified prevented search engines like Google from indexing its web site. Today, I found that State Center CCD which got voters to approve $485,000,000 in bonds last year [Measure C (June 2016)] doesn't want you to find out what's on its web site. See robots.txt. What flavor of Kool-Aid are the staff drinking? What is the district hiding? Perhaps the FBI should investigate.

Kern Community College District F
Oversight and Transparency Report Card

Share on Twitter After getting voters to approve $502,821,000 in bonds [Measure J (November 2016)], the Kern County Treasurer reveals that around $1,000,000 has been stolen from the college account. How did this happen? Because the district hasn't reconciled its checkbook with the county in over 10 years. See County uncovers suspected fraud in Superintendent of Schools, college district accounts (2017-02-07) and Lack of oversight kept at least $1 million of taxpayer losses hidden (2017-02-19). It gets better. The district demanded that the county maintain a separate checkbook for it, otherwise the county treasurer would have been doing the reconciliation on a daily basis. These people shouldn't be let near anything with a dollar sign attached to it. What do they do when they're caught? Why look for someone else to blame, of course.

Kern County Office of Education F
Oversight and Transparency Report Card

Share on Twitter The Kern COE is in the same boat as Kern CCD. All Kern County school districts are required to get their warrants (requests for payment) approved by the COE which sends them on to the county treasurer for payment. This is the office of Jenny Hannah, the C.A.S.H. Chair (2015-2016). She's been running around the state for 18 months promoting the state-wide school bond [Proposition 51 (November 2016)]. Jenny got a new job with Kern High School District in January to help it spend the $280,000,000 [Measure J (November 2016)] with her buds in the school bonds cartel. Has anyone audited her calendar to see how many times she violated Education Code 7054?

Santa Barbara Unified F
Oversight and Transparency Report Card

Share on Twitter At its January meeting, on the recommendation of the superintendent, the governing board of Santa Barbara Unified, authorized $5,000,000 [Measure I (November 2016)] to be applied to the rebuilding of its football stadium. The stadium project had been on a previous bond measure, but its cost overruns have been so great that the district is now dipping into its new source of funds. Where's the fake citizens' bond oversight committee (CBOC) on this? Who's going to make the criminal complaint to the district attorney for misuse of bond funds?


How To Report Your Bond Oversight Horror Story?

If you were a site member (sign up here), you could directly report the misuse of bond funds or the violation of the citizens' bond oversight committee (CBOC) statutes or the violation of the public records act or of the public meetings act right here. If not, you can contact me directly at 909-378-5401 and you can go over what you've found. Either way, you need to have gathered a few facts (evidence) to support a public claim of misuse. I will not publish your identity anywhere on this site or reveal it to anyone.

Generally, these are also the facts that would support a criminal complaint. So, you're almost there with that as well.


Dispute Resolution Process

Unlike the districts that run rough-shod over the due process rights of the voters, I've a set up a process whereby you may dispute your grade. I may clarify or revise the process if you think it's unfair in any way. Since the grades are assigned both for transparency and for oversight, there are two, different sets of criteria.

If you don't intend to change the behavior for which you've been cited, then there's really no point in going any further. Claiming that the state doesn't require something is not going to get you a review. Let's face it, you only comply with the statutes that suit you or with which you've been forced to comply.

Over time, I'll create a detailed list of objective and qualitative criteria.

Oversight Grade Criteria

Anyone with a brain knows that oversight, in any meaningful sense, is non-existent in California. If there's a statute or a regulation connected with proposing, passing, or issuing bonds, or spending bond funds, you can presume that it's on the list. While the oversight grade covers, primarily, the oversight of bond expenditures and the activity of the citizens' bond oversight committee (CBOC), it neither starts nor ends there. If your attitude is "We don't have to ...", then your head is not in the place.

Transparency Grade Criteria

The transparency grade covers, primarily, public records and public meetings. It also covers any activity that is intended to avoid disclosure to the public or the press. N.B. (for all you Ph.D. types): Unless you are explicitly prohibited by a statutory provision, a discretionary decision against public access is a fail. In other words, just because you or your lawyers have come up with some excuse, doesn't mean it's acceptable.

General Dispute Resolution Requirements

All communications surrounding a dispute resolution, except the deliberations, are public record.

Lawyers are not permitted to participate in any part of the process. If either party is getting direction from a lawyer or is using a lawyer to bully the other party, it's over.

All communications will be in writing (e-mail) except where clarification in a telephone conversation will save time.

Dispute Resolution Process

The process doesn't have to go to the end. At any point, one side or the other may find there is an agreeable basis for resolution.

Unless there is an express request for more time, the whole process is intended to take no more than 10 business days. If no resolution is forthcoming within that time, the process will end for lack of agreement or prosecution.

  1. District sends a brief statement disputing the grade to walnutwatchdogs+dispute @ gmail . com without supporting documentation.
  2. On receipt of the brief statement opening the process, the web site will reflect the date on which the dispute resolution process was opened.
  3. Other (confidential) party, which may be me, replies with a rebuttal or a request for more documentation.
  4. Documentation exchange continues to take place until finished or stalled.
  5. District makes a proposed resolution.
  6. Other party makes a counter-proposal, if warranted.
  7. Each party may recommend up to three people, not connected with the parties, to review the materials.
  8. All materials are presented to reviewers for consideration and recommendation.
  9. If both parties agree to the recommendation, each party takes the agreed-upon actions.
  10. The web site will reflect the outcome of the process.

 


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