So remember the brouhaha months ago about the District contract with Thomson-Reuters to target families the district found to be “questionable” residents – you know, the people who don’t have expensive houses and mortgages, the people who might be insecurely housed, with addresses that change as they attempt to survive in an eclipsing rental market, who live in apartments and with friends – or wherever they can to keep their lives together, and a roof over their families’ heads and at least a consistent school for their kids to attend?
Remember how when it finally came under public scrutiny, Bagley said that the contract was already in use? That it was just coming to the RVSD Board on the consent agenda for post-contract approval?
We do. And that’s why we’re now paying attention to this latest boondoggle for spending discretionary funds out of reserve spending — precious dollars from YOUR children’s classroom (but more on that in future posts) — simply to keep the war against RVC weaponized and your attention derailed from fiscal mismanagement on the part of the Bagley/Capron magic duo.
We know now that’s how board business is done…and why it looks like so many boards – or maybe this board in particular- rubber stamp ill-advised administrative decision-making and manage to work around the public transparency and scrutiny required or intended by the Brown Act.
The devil is in the details.
Here’s how it works as we now know from the Reuters contract and how we’re about to find out from the Hanover Research contract. A contract is proposed for discussion. The board may or may not have questions. If the administration wants to, apparently, then it just goes ahead and enters into a contract. Two weeks, four weeks, six weeks later – whatever – it shows up on the “consent agenda” and the board approves it. If the public questions it (because this board can’t be relied upon to), the Superintendent just says “Oh, we’ve already entered into that contract, this is just a formality for you to ratify it.”
Check it out yourself. You can see how this game is played.
In the 1/29 RVSD Board agenda, posted online, look under the “consent agenda” item for “Recommended Ratification of District Contracts Under/Over $15K (Business/Financials)” with the following bullets:
- The attached reports summarize all such agreements signed. Supporting documentation for each agreement is on file and available for review in the Business Office.
- All contracts are funded in either the Unrestricted General Fund, the Restricted General Fund or the Capital Facilities (Developer Fee) Fund.
Contracts entered into in December are just now being approved by the Board, for example, yesterday, 1/29:
In January. Why? Why aren’t publicly funded contracts formally approved by the Board BEFORE they are entered into by the administration.
Take the latest contract referenced in this blog yesterday:
On the 1/15 RVSD board agenda, an outrageous contract (in our opinion) is discussed for work with Hanover Research. Two attachments are provided on the Board agenda – one is a draft contract dated 2/1/2019 – the other describes the scope of work. In the minutes from 1/15 that show up on yesterday’s agenda, trustees ask that the contract be brought back at the 1/29 meeting, and appear to ask no substantive questions about the contract (questions NOT asked: “why now? why this focus on the charter? why not a broader focus on teacher retention issues? is this the best use of discretionary funds from our dwindling reserves?” etc).
But — poof — where’s the revised contract? Bagley’s a magician and Capron & Co his trusty assistants: so where’d it go?
And when and where will it reappear? Only the magician knows for sure.
But we’re guessing if it shows at all, it will be a done deal and the board will blithely, retroactively approve it.
All from your kids’ classroom budgets and teacher salaries.
This is how business is routinely handled in the RVSD. So much for sunshine.