Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another reason to vote "NO" on the Tech Levy.

Several months ago, the blog requested any and all information related to the final round of Capital Partnerships. We were provided, as I suspected, a summary of the last round of projects - which were not intended to be the final round. There was $150,000.00 of matchable funds left on the table as of June 2007. These funds would have resulted in $300,000.00 in Capital Partnership project value, but alas, the money was swept under the rug.

The justification for this must be related to a sense of reasonable overhead for the Capital Projects Office, but alas, the projects were managed by Property Management and Athletics - not Capital Projects. When the last round (now final round) of projects were handed off to CPO to monitor, they swept more than $300,000.00 of project value under their administrative rug. Is that right? No, it isn't.

The public passed the last Tech Levy with the understanding that one million dollars would be utilized to enhance our schools through community partnerships. The money was provided and $850,000.00 was directed to projects while $150,000.00 vaporized. In my world, that constitutes a lie. A big fat lie. The 2008 Tech Levy earmarks an additional one million dollars, but a substantial percentage will likely never make it out of the District's accounts - thereby penalizing the public with a doubling effect.

Until June 2007, Capital Partnerships used to be managed by Property Management. This created a situation where the District absorbed the cost of managing projects in return for a huge infusion of public funds. Under the current project management model, CPO will manage the projects and take a cut of the remaining funds for the inconvenience.

We should save these parasites the headache of watching projects flourish and vote "NO" on the 2008 Tech Levy.

Here is the latest scam. Don't be duped by the Supe.

In Capital Facilities, these funds will allow the District to better support district-wide safety and emergency preparedness, district-wide energy efficiency improvements, system upgrades and asset protection, and outdoor facilities/partnerships.

Mentioning "safety", "emergency preparedness", "efficiency", "protection" and "upgrades" is just a feeble attempt to appeal to our community's sensitivities. As one contributor mentioned earlier, these improvements should result in a direct reduction in actual expenditures and therefore pay for themselves. Why ask the public for an infusion of capital funds to subsidize the general fund? Utility bills, losses from theft and staff training are all general fund expenses.

The replacement levy also continues our longstanding practice of the Capital Partnership Program. This is where schools, community groups, and organizations can submit applications to receive matching funds. This practice has resulted in the completion of many projects, including outdoor playground equipment and field work. $1 million is again included in the replacement levy to be available for matching funds and another $500,000 is designated to be part of necessary improvements to the former Woodway High School fields project being pursued cooperatively and jointly with several community organizations.

Scam. Plain and simple. Now that project management has moved away from general fund staff and landed in a capital funded department, expect to pay 15% or more for management services. Of course, this 15% has twice the impact in reducing the total value of projects by 30% since it takes 15% of the funds off the table and out of reach of matchable dollars from the community.

Salt in the wound: Most of the playground projects are totally coordinated and installed by parents and volunteers. Having managed most of the District's past partnership projects, I can readily profess that parents have always stepped up and carried a lot of the weight - from unloading trucks and site preparation to full installation and final completion.

Editorial: Remember that the "engineered playchip" option is not the District standard and therefore would be an unnecessary expense. When your quantities run low, your enclosures will be topped off by the much cheaper, non-engineered playchips.


Anonymous said...

After reading your blog and comments for many months, I am inspired to finally respond.

With this entry today, you are once again misleading blog readers with your fabricated ideas about what "might be happening” at the district.

You are suffering from sour grapes when it comes to your former position at the district and the saintly ways you went about your job functions. But you seem to only want to point out things that are untrue at many levels.

No doubt you have a following with your blog, but people are like sheep and believe most anything in writing.

How come people get all fired up about the negative but are so passive about the positive? Mark, you could find something wrong with the actions of the late Mother Teresa in your blog and construe the facts so that others have the same negative opinion if it served your purpose.

Good people abound at the district but it seems so easy for you and others to point a finger at a person or group and tell outright lies about things about which you can only speculate.

Many people I have spoken with over the months have simply stopped reading the blog because it is such a downer. Although you ask for positive feedback about the district, the only thing anyone wants to belabor is negative aspects. Those attacked in the blog have done things in their life they can be proud about just like you and me. They have worked hard, helped the community, volunteered their time, played with their kids, and so on. It is easier to demonize people than to think they are just like you and me. They have hopes and dreams. They cry when they are hurt; red blood pumps through their veins and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like you and me.

The only thing your blog and the comments of your readers show is that you and your readers/supporters need to judge others.

But of course, it's all a matter of interpretation. I only read the blog to gain insight on how people interpret different situations. It saddens me that no one has spoken up specifically about all the good people and the good work being done.

"All that you are against weakens you; all that you are for empowers you."

Anonymous said...

what a line of BULL! I only read the blog to gain insight what a line of crap!