Merry Christmas, bureaucrats! Plus: Progress and Setbacks

Christmas came a little early for the superintendent and his cabinet as the trustees voted to give them more of your tax dollars. Here’s the breakdown from the Daily Pilot story:

Supt. Fred Navarro’s salary will increase to $282,844 in the 2017-18 school year and $289,915 in 2018-19.

Deputy Supt. Russell Lee-Sung’s salary will increase to $230,625 in 2017-18 and $236,391 in 2018-19. (Lee-Sung earned an additional $227.43 per day for 45 full days as acting superintendent while Navarro was on leave after being injured in a fall in August. Navarro received his regular compensation while on medical leave.)

Timothy Holcomb, assistant superintendent and chief operating officer, will receive $228,575 for 2017-18. His salary will increase to $234,289 in 2018-19.

Sara Jocham, assistant superintendent of student support services, will receive $228,575 for 2017-18 and $234,289 in 2018-19.

Luis Camarena, assistant superintendent and chief human resources officer, will receive $220,756 for 2017-18 and $226,275 for 2018-19.

Salaries for executive directors Kirk Bauermeister, Kurt Suhr and Jeff Trader will increase to $213,144 in 2017-18 and $218,473 for 2018-19.

In addition, district spokeswoman Annette Franco will receive a 2.5% increase this year to $137,000 and a 6.6% raise next year to $146,042.

According to Transparent California, there are at least 13 other Bear St. bureaucrats whose 2016 salaries are over $150,000. See them here: https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/school-districts/orange/newport-mesa-unified/?&s=-base

There’s nothing wrong with pay raises. But administrative pay raises that are not tied to any performance improvement or accountability are fiscally irresponsible and help create complacency in the workplace. After all, goes the thinking, I get a fat salary regardless of how much I have contributed so why work hard or stick my neck out?

I saw this mentality at a well-known Fortune 100 company for which I consulted several years ago. That company is now in the news for its spectacular fall from the top of the heap.

So the brass get more money, even though they are responsible for:

  • Swun Math mess.
  • Wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on 80′ poles at Estancia that had to come down
  • Locating solar panels at Estancia in prim foul ball territory where damage to panels was inevitable
  • Seven- year stink at Estancia
  • Estancia swimming pool debacle
  • Rodent infestations so bad that they have been seen in classrooms
  • The incredible, amazing, stupefying, horrible handling of the new sports complex at CdM (Has a lawsuit been filed yet? If not, wait for it.)
  • Continued low scores at CM schools (83% of Estancia’s 11th graders failed to meet 2017 standards for math)
  • The third-world conditions at Costa Mesa High
  • The in-your-face vote for new area Map G, the least favorite of the public
  • The upcoming in-your-face approval of the new Collegiate Calendar, despite not one shred of evidence showing that it will improve anything. (Wait for it.)
  • Most important: The toxic work environment that compels teachers to remain silent when they see something wrong
  • And so much more…

This administration doesn’t deserve raises, they should be returning wages to taxpayers for these and other examples of mismanagement.

Here’s the link to the Pilot story: http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-salary-increase-20171117-story.html

Progress is as progress does

At the school board meeting last week, three members of the cabinet were using electronic devices to take notes instead of using the old school pen and paper method. This is a good development, particularly since the first 30 or so minutes are attended by many students who represent their schools and give reports. Teaching them to become part of the 21 [C]entury economy or society or whatever rings hollow when they see the decision-makers failing to set the example. Plus, it costs taxpayers more.

The superintendent should insist that everyone use a laptop or mobile device to take notes, but that would mean exhibiting some leadership and we don’t have that right now.

And finally…

I forgot to  tell you… Those fat salaries? Those are for 224 days of work per year.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

P.S. Note to a certain Bear St. employee: It’s “pique” interest, not “peek.”

Advertisements

Setting the Record Straight

There’s a school board meeting tonight. No need to attend because it’ll be the usual trustee rubber-stamping of whatever is presented to them and the usual indifference during the public speaker section, even though the board claims repeatedly to want community input they really don’t and if you need proof, just watch what the trustees do when people speak. Hint: Most of them are not paying attention most of the time.

But there is also item 18.3, which is:

Approve Service Agreement with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) for Elementary Principals and Bridges Leader Support

And here’s the astonishing detail from the agenda:

Background:
“On May 23, 2017, the Board of Education approved Bridges in Mathematics by Math Learning Center as the Kindergarten through Grade 5 core instructional materials adoption. Bridges is a comprehensive K-5 curriculum that equips teachers to fully implement the California State Standards in a manner that is rigorous, coherent, engaging and accessible to all learners.

“The curriculum focuses on developing students’ deep understandings of mathematical concepts, proficiency with key skills, and ability to solve complex and novel problems. Bridges blends direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration. It taps into the intelligence and strengths of all students by presenting material that is linguistically, visually and kinesthetically rich as it is mathematically powerful.

“This curriculum replaces Swun Math, which was a flawed program that we’d still be using if we hadn’t had all those annoying complaints from parents, led by Erica Roberts and her husband, Jeff. We can’t give them any credit for this change, however, because that would mean admitting that we made a monster mistake and – duh – that will never happen here.”

OK, so I made up the last paragraph. But it is a fact that parents and teachers had to drag this administration kicking and screaming to the change. Despite years of teacher complaints, the only action taken to fix Swun Math was to throw more tax dollars at the problem. When that didn’t work, the voices became too loud to ignore.

There are a number of teachers who read this blog and I want them to know that the change in the elementary math program did not come about because the administration had an epiphany. A public records request revealed a long period of mismanagement and stalling on the math program. They can try to sweep this, too, under the rug, but there are at least a few folks who know what really went down.

The bureaucracy marches on

Then there is the approval of the contract for yet another assistant superintendent – How many does that make now??? – for $228,000 for 224 days of service. That doesn’t include all the other stuff, like 12 sick days a year, 12 months of pay if terminated without cause, a transportation allowance of $650 per month and a communication allowance of $100 per month.

I’ve left out the name because it’s not important – you could switch this name with many of the other bureaucrats and the result would be the same: High pay, low accountability. For example, which assistant superintendent reviewed the placement of expensive solar panels in prime foul ball territory at Estancia before it was presented for approval?

Which assistant superintendent then reviewed the construction of 80′ poles to stop said foul balls, then had to take it all down because – gee whiz – they forgot to advise the homeowners on the other side of the fence?

Which assistant superintendent is responsible for mismanaging the Gold Ribbon mess at Mariners? A mess, by the wall, that saw a principal thrown under the bus while everyone else ran for cover.

Which assistant superintendent reviewed Swun Math and thought it was a good program?

And so much more, but you get the picture. Actually, no, I’m not done: When was the last time you heard ANYONE in the administration or on the board take responsibility for any mistake?

Nothing has changed and nothing will change until and unless we get some new people on the school board. There are four seats up for grabs next year.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

The Collegiate Calendar as a Term Paper

The last term paper I ever wrote was for a political science class many years ago at USC. We had to answer the question, “What was the most significant event of the 20th century and why?”

Our papers could not be opinions – we had to provide supporting evidence and connect the dots to make our cases. For my event, I chose the discovery of penicillin, made a powerful case, and got an A-.

At some point in the life of everyone reading this, we had to write a term paper or other substantial document for a class in high school or college. These were not opinion pieces, they were supposed to have citations, footnotes, sources, etc. to back up whatever we were claiming. No support, no passing grade.

I thought of these term papers as I pondered the upcoming rubber stamping of the district’s Calendar Committee recommendation to change to the so-called Collegiate Calendar and the four presentations that were made across the N-M community over the past couple of weeks.

The presentations would score high for grammar, syntax, and clarity. It was easy to understand each point that was presented.

But the presentation was devoid of the most important element – the one thing that would prevent it from receiving a passing grade: The entire presentation was merely an opinion. There was no evidence presented that the new calendar would do ANY of the things they want it to do, including:

  • Improve academic performance
  • Boost AP scores
  • Provide greater opportunities to participate in summer camps, obtain internships and summer jobs
  • Increase student participation, school spirit and fundraising opportunities for fall sports.
  • Offer  additional instructional time prior to taking some statewide assessments, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, which are date specific.
  • Or any of the other claims made

I wondered what grade a N-MUSD teacher would give this presentation if it were a term paper and did not have any support for any of the claims. I can see the note in the margin: “Great benefits, but where is the data to show that these things will actually happen?”

Without any documentation, I’d score it “F.” Without any evidence to back-up these lofty claims, there is no other way to score it. The lack of evidence is particularly alarming when we note that according to Trustee Vicki Snell, “They [Calendar Committee] have been exploring this new calendar for several years for the benefit of the students.”

I wrote my term paper over a period of about a month, without the advantage of the world at my fingertips through the Internet. If the committee has been working on this for years, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have them hold off on a recommendation for a few weeks until they provide some hard facts to back it up.

Without it, they’ll fail the assignment and have to go to summer school without air conditioning.

Steve Smith
N-MUSD Taxpayer

 

Fake update

N-MUSD Trustee Vicki Snell has responded on Facebook to some information posted by a third party about the district’s proposed Collegiate Calendar. She wrote:

“A few corrections…the suggestion for the calendar change came from the student advisory committee and the calendar committee. The calendar committee is a long standing and made up of representatives from the teachers union, classified union, PTA, parents, staff and administration and they decide on calendar each year (about 20 members). The Board approves and rarely changes their recommendation. They have been exploring this new calendar for several years for the benefit of the students. NMUSD and Laguna are the only districts in Orange County that start school after Labor Day. All the reasons why or why not are being explored by the committee and additional input was requested at the four meetings this past month. The community can also write emails to the District. After they come up with their final recommendation, it goes before the two unions to decide if they will support. Without their support, this does not happen. I suggest you watch Barry’s video (link below) from the last meeting at Estancia to listen to presentation for yourself.”

Hmmm. I have some comments and corrections of her corrections…

First, I almost spilled coffee out of my nose when I read that, “The Board approves and rarely changes their [Calendar Committee] recommendation.” Snell, of course, does not realize that she just offered another area in which the board just rubber stamps whatever is presented to them.

Second: “They [Calendar Committee] have been exploring this new calendar for several years for the benefit of the students.” They have conducted several years of exploration, but are unable to come up any evidence – nothing – showing that the calendar will improve academic performance.

Third: “NMUSD and Laguna are the only districts in Orange County that start school after Labor Day.” This is factually incorrect. There are 28 school districts in the county, 14 of which are unified school districts. Of the remaining 14 there are a few others that start after Labor Day.  The unified school districts do represent districts more similar to ours.

Fourth: All the reasons why or why not are being explored by the committee and additional input was requested at the four meetings this past month.” False. The Calendar Committee will approve the new schedule without reviewing data from other districts across the U.S. They will not have polled the business community to determine the effect on the local economy (winners and losers and the net result) and teen summer job prospects. At least two-thirds of our students do not take AP courses and don’t care about an earlier start. These kids, thousands of them, depend on summer jobs for income – with some contributing to their families. These will not be listed in the “why not” section of the Calendar Committee report.

Fifth: Here is the guarantee, in writing: After they come up with their final recommendation, it goes before the two unions to decide if they will support. Without their support, this does not happen. So there you have it, if one of the unions nixes this, it ain’t gonna happen.

Vicki Snell said so.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

P.S. Here’s the link to the video that Snell mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obOYriORadQ. Actually, I’m glad she pointed it out. If you watch, take careful note of any evidence or data that is presented that shows that the new calendar improves academic performance or AP performance. SPOILER ALERT! – There isn’t any.

The fake calendar survey

I am a marketing and advertising guy. I have written and conducted more surveys than Clausen’s has pickles. Surveys are one of the most valuable tools I can use to help determine whether a product, service, or program is working, and to determine next steps.

But a survey is only as good as the questions. Today’s example is the fake Collegiate Calendar Survey offered on the N-MUSD website. Here are the questions:

1. Please select the best option for a student start date:

a. Start school BEFORE Labor Day (Move to an earlier start and end date)
b. Start school the SAME as now (Early September after Labor Day)
c. No preference

2. If the student start date is moved to an earlier date, please indicate your preference:

a. Move the student start date UP TO TWO WEEKS earlier and end the first semester by winter break
b. Move the student start date UP TO THREE WEEKS earlier and end the first semester by winter break
c. No preference

3. Are you an NMUSD employee?

a. Yes
b. No

4. The role that best describes me is:

a. Student
b. Parent/Guardian
c. Community Member
d. Disgruntled, fed-up taxpayer (No, this wasn’t an option. I added it to keep things light.)

5. If you are a student or parent: which school do you or your children attend?
If you are an NMUSD employee: What is your work location?
If you are a community member: Which school are you most closely associated with?

a. [List of all N-MUSD schools]

That’s it! Nice and short and neat and tidy. Except for one thing… It’s not a good survey. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • There isn’t a single question that address the reasons why the respondent does or does not want a new schedule.
  • There is no “additional comments” section, which often has the most insight into what respondents are thinking.
  • There is no follow-up option: Nothing that asks the respondent if the district can reach out to him/her if they want more information.
  • There is no next step: There isn’t a single word telling the respondent what will be done with the results, or when/whether they will be available to review.

Why is all that stuff missing? Because they don’t really care about what you think or whether you see the results. The fake survey was not structured to assess a new program, it was designed to support it. There’s no depth to this survey, nothing that will give the district some insight as to whether they need to tweak their plan, leave it as it is, or scrap it.

Why is there no depth? (Altogether) Because they don’t really care.

So what should have happened? The district should have conducted four separate surveys, one each for students, parents/community members, and employees, and the fourth for local businesses. Why? Because these are distinct target audiences with unique reasons for rejecting or supporting a new calendar. The survey should have been actively promoted throughout Newport-Mesa as a new calendar may also have a financial impact on many local businesses.

But in the end, the survey doesn’t matter. The trustees will vote for the new calendar regardless of what you think or how it impacts your business or personal life. Worse, they will approve it without a shred of evidence proving that it will improve academic performance. (see previous post)

It’s business as usual on Bear St., but there is hope. There are four seats up for grabs next year: Franco, Metoyer, Davenport, and Yelsey. We need new trustees – people who understand that transparency is the responsible and right thing to do, who understand that when things go wrong (the Estancia pole debacle, for example, or the Mariners Gold Ribbon mess or so many others), someone needs to be held accountable, just as they would in the private sector, and people who understand that every desk, stapler, and paper clip in the N-MUSD is paid for by people who pay taxes.

We need trustees who bring new ideas to school board meetings instead of just rubber-stamping everything presented to them by the staff.

We need trustees who can think critically and broadly and ask deep questions about impacts and outcomes instead of the superficial questioning the occurs at most meetings

We need trustees who demand data when any new program is presented to them (best practices).

We need trustees who are less concerned about how much respect they are getting than how much respect they are giving to taxpayers.

We need trustees who will actively seek to end the toxic environment that has employees afraid to speak up for fear of being sent to Siberia. (Or fired, as was John Caldecott when he spoke up)

Four new trustees for 2018.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

 

No data? No problem!

Though the N-MUSD has decided to switch to the so-called “Collegiate Calendar,” they are holding four fake meetings to gather community input. They don’t really care about the input – it’s just something they have to do to support their fake policy of being interested in what you have to say.

Anyone who sat through even part of the map selection process knows that this is true. With the calendar input, there is no plan to reveal the results to the community – it will be given only to the 25 members of the Calendar Review Committee and not posted online, which would be the transparent thing to do.

The decision-making process includes discussions with the teacher union to determine its effect on them. For parents and students, there are two major issues, one of which is receiving a lot of attention, one of which is not.

Air conditioning is on the radar. Many level-headed people are wondering why the district would consider starting school at the peak of summer when about half the classrooms still do not have air conditioning. This brings up a key question that I will ask  in a few paragraphs.

If you’d like to read about the effect of August heat and its effect on classrooms with and without air conditioning, here is one of many articles on the subject (Los Angeles Time):

Joy Resmovits
It’s August! Why is school starting so early?

The issue that is not receiving enough attention is that of best practices. I attended the community input meeting at CdM High last Monday night and just before the guests were given the opportunity to speak, one of the presenters mentioned  that the district had no data indicating whether the new calendar would have an effect – good or bad – on academic performance.

I was so stunned that changed my question to address this. I asked, approximately, “So just to confirm… Out of all of the school districts, local, state, and nationally, there is no data showing that the new calendar will or will not improve academic performance.”

“That’s correct,” was the reply.

Think about that for a moment. All but two districts in the county have switched to an earlier start. There are countless districts in California and in the U.S. that have been using this new calendar for a long time, and yet, amazingly, the N-MUSD could not find a shred of data – nothing! – to indicate that the change is a good or bad idea.

If that is true, then the worst scenario is about to begin.

Oh, they can tell you what they think will happen or what they hope will happen, but they cannot tell you what will happen based on the results of other districts. Without data one way or the other, the N-MUSD has decided to undertake a grand experiment – a roll of the dice.

Would you do that? Would you experiment with the education of our students based on nothing other than hope? No, you wouldn’t. But with the exception of a few readers, you’re not a desk jockey on Bear St.

The N-MUSD has been touting the positive effects of the new calendar on those students in the various Advanced Placement (AP) programs. But here, too, they cannot (will not?) produce any evidence that supports this position. And on Monday night, a CdM teacher may have made the case for retaining the current calendar.

The CdM teacher supports the new calendar and spoke to address the subject of AP performance and said that they had “outstanding pass rates.” I believe this person. But if that is the case, why on earth would anyone want to mess with something that is working so well? I can just hear the conversation on Bear St.

“Hey, guess what? AP pass rates are outstanding!”

“Really? That’s great news!”

“Yes, it is. So I have a idea – let’s make a dramatic change in the school calendar without any idea as to whether it will benefit AP students.”

“Love it!”

About that question I mentioned… The N-MUSD has been operating on the current calendar for decades. Now, they want to switch to a much earlier start, without the appropriate level of air conditioning and, more important, without a shred of supporting data. So the question is: Why now? Why, all of a sudden, is this such a big deal that it has to happen at the next possible opportunity instead of waiting for air conditioning and instead waiting while the proper due diligence is conducted to determine whether this will help or hurt academic performance?

Why now?

Changing the calendar without any supporting data is one of the most irresponsible actions the district will take in the 31 years I have lived in the area. Nonetheless, the school board will vote for the switch.

Guaranteed.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

 

 

 

Rats! Plus, hypocrisy, thin skin, and the art of maintaining the status quo.

Two reliable sources have confirmed that there are rats present at Ensign. Funny how the district spent money to fence in campuses but the real health threat may already be inside.

Rats are a serious health threat and there should have been warnings issued to students and parents when they were found on other campuses, but there wasn’t. It’s all part of the district’s ongoing attempts to quash any bad news.

Taking my ball and going home

The names are not important, so I will leave them out. What is important is the larger point, which is the hypocrisy of a school district that claims to want input from the community but ignores it when it appears.

You can see the indifference during the public comments section of each meeting. At a time when the trustees should be paying rapt attention to speakers – because this is their precious community input – most of them are spending a good chunk of the time checking their phones or computers or doing something other than focusing on the comments.

Earlier this years, two trustees used their comment time to complain about a lack of respect, of people not stepping up and how dare you criticize us if you are not running for office and where’s the love for all we do for the peanuts we’re paid? Respect starts at the podium where we get up to offer input that we believe will be of value to the district, to teachers, and to academic improvement.

A few meetings ago, I spoke about the terrible rise in cell phone/digital addiction. Though it has not yet been recognized in the DSM, which is the Bible of mental health diagnoses, the addiction is real and it is supported by reputable studies. I recommended adding this category to the district’s mental health program.

That night, there appeared to be some interest but I haven’t heard from anyone and have no evidence that any action is being taken or will be taken. It’s just more hypocrisy: We want community input, but not really. Or, it could be that because it wasn’t their idea, it’s not a good idea. That’s how it works inside insecure bureaucracies: Ideas from outsiders are stiff-armed because it could reveal a weakness in the operation. After all, if the idea is so good, how come none of the well-paid bureaucrats didn’t think of it?

We saw this with Swun Math. Despite repeated complaints about the program, it was continued for years until the bad news could not be contained. And when it was dumped, there was no acknowledgement that teachers and the community had led the charge – it became the district’s idea to dump it.

Recent examples include the very public online exchanges between a community member and a thin-skinned trustee. When the community member started to point out the many costly mistakes and the poor academic performance in some schools (Ex.: 83% of the 11th graders at Estancia failed to meet the 2017 Smarter Balance standard for math), the exchanges were deleted and future notifications of replies and comments ceased. It’s just a petty, small-minded response that shows the hypocrisy of claiming to want community input, then stifling it when it happens.

But, as you probably know, there is a workaround for that.

I’ll leave you with this, which recently came to my attention… A community member directed a district bureaucrat to a segment on a “60 Minutes” program that highlighted a school that used chess to teach kids a lot of important tools, including patience, critical thinking, etc.

The program is a success, not only there, but elsewhere.

But here is the reply from the district official: “It’s like I tell people all the time, it’s not about programs, it’s about people. That dude is a pied piper. Have a chess program with the wrong person and it goes no where [sic].”

That’s it. No “thanks for the input,” no “I will bring this up – maybe we can test it,” no nothing other than indifference to both the community member, his/her suggestion, and the program itself.

As for that nonsense about people vs. programs: It’s never all or nothing, never either/or.  Remember Swun math? Bad program but exceptional people…

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

 

 

Fake Meetings

The N-MUSD has decided to switch to the so-called “collegiate calendar” (known on this blog as “CC”) but is holding a few meetings anyway, just to cover the bases. (World Series reference intended)

At the meetings, you’ll hear all about why CC will be beneficial. You will hear very few, if any, reasons why it should not be adopted. If you don’t like the new calendar, which starts school in the high season of heat, you will have to provide the negatives because the district will not. These are just more fake meetings, designed to make you think you have input when you don’t.

The timing is terrific for discussing this as we have just come off of a few days of record heat and too many classrooms still do not have A/C. Despite the recent outcry over hot classrooms, not one of the overpaid bureaucrats thought, “Hmm. Maybe we should wait a little while longer before we hold these fake meetings so that there is some distance between the heat wave and our CC presentation.”

Tonight’s World Series 7th game with the Dodgers, who are a local favorite for many N-MUSD taxpayers is another story. Last night, our doorbell rang only twice with trick-or-treaters. When I asked the first dad why it was so quiet, he told me that the streets in our usually busy neighborhood were empty.

World Series, World Shmeries. They’re plowing ahead anyway with a meeting tonight because they want what they want when they want it and that’s that. We just saw this with the fake Map G that was rubber-stamped this month.

This meeting should be canceled, but the bureaucrats don’t see what you and I see. So, in an effort to provide some simplicity and clarity to the discussion, here’s what:

No A/C, no CC.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

Priorities

Trustee Vicki Snell has been very active on Facebook, busy defending the district’s latest missteps, which include a lack of seating and bathrooms and no team rooms at CM High, and a new Williams complaint, and hot classrooms, to name a few

In response to the Pilot’s story about the Williams complaint, Snell wrote on FB:

“Again, the DP publishes a story that not only illustrates the reporters lack of understanding of the resolution passed but promotes the agenda of a group that seeks to confuse these two separate processes. The “annual ” resolution passed is required by the Education Code and addresses the sufficiency of textbooks and materials currently which is verified by a process district-wide involving principals and teachers confirming this requirement.

“While a Williams Complaint regards instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils, and teacher vacancy or misassignment and may be filed anonymously, they are filed with the principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. It’s my understanding the complaint filed lists no specific school at this time. New math curriculum/materials replacing SWUN were chosen and approved by teachers last school year for grades K-5 and all materials are currently in place. Our grades 6-8 teachers chose and are in the process of piloting two new math curriculum/materials for adoption in the fall. Supplemental materials are also in place.”

 

I replied:

 

“Yes, it’s the Daily Pilot’s fault. I suggest Mrs. Snell spend less time on Facebook and more time trying to think of a single substantive recommendation to improve academic achievement, which she has not made in her five years on the school board.”

 

Snell replied:

 

“I suggest Mr Smith spend less time on his blog misleading the community and more time getting the facts. His contributions to the school community are to continue to remain uninformed. You were printing misinformation in DP 15 years ago about Adams and you haven’t changed. Pathetic…”

 

 

And I replied:

 

 

“Resorting to name-calling and putting the monkey on my back is not productive. At Estancia – in your zone – 83% of 11th graders did not meet the standard for math, according to recent test results. Perhaps you can describe the specific actions you are taking to improve this.”

 

And Snell replied:

 

“I’m just fighting fire with fire. I’m fed up with you and your personal attacks, name calling, and lies. I will answer your question which I would have thought you would already known. View Board Meeting on September 12 for the analysis of latest SBAC scores throughout the district. Then, view the June 27 meeting for a report on the LCAP…Local Control Accountability Plan…which addresses specific actions. If you really want to know what you are talking about, read the plan on the district website. It talks specifically about individual sites. Do your research.”

 

And I replied this morning:

 

“Still waiting for an answer as to what specific recommendations you are going to make to improve academic performance. Perhaps if you spent less time on Facebook and more time doing the job you were elected to do would help.”

 

 

I can do this all day. Not a problem. But it should trouble taxpayers that Snell seems to have plenty of time to spar with me but no time to take any meaningful action to boost test scores. That 83% math failure rate for 11th graders at Estancia? That’s for real and you can see it here: https://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2017/ViewReport?ps=true&lstTestYear=2017&lstTestType=B&lstGroup=1&lstCounty=30&lstDistrict=66597-000&lstSchool=3032000

 

Taxpayers deserve better than a trustee who prefers pointing fingers, slamming a newspaper for reporting the facts, making no substantive recommendations to correct failing performance, and rubber stamping staff recommendations, instead of taking action. They deserve better than someone who confuses sparring on Facebook with doing something.

 

This board has had plenty of time to try to fix things but they are unable or unwilling, particularly when it comes to academic performance on CM’s Westside. This is true even though we heard Trustee Karen Yelsey declare recently that she is spending more time on CM Westside issues than in her own area.

 

OK, so let’s see… Yelsey is spending a lot of time on the Westside and 83% of Estancia’s 11th-graders failed to meet 2017 state standards in math. Hmm. Just connecting the dots here.

 

This board has a long string of serious mistakes, many of which have cost taxpayers a lot of money – a LOT of money – money that could have gone to teachers or new, proven programs instead of creating a bloated, do-nothing bureaucracy. And now we learn that the bureaucrats on Bear St. were working in a comfortable 72 degrees while some classrooms topped 90. Here is an actual classroom thermostat reading at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. during last week’s heat wave:

 

Classrooms

This board is out of touch. They have bee given enough time to fix things and they have failed. We need new board members in 2018. Four seats will be open: Metoyer, Franco, Yelsey, and Davenport.

 

But in the meantime, we’ll all have to settle for trustee communication via Facebook…

 

Steve Smith

Taxpayer, N-MUSD

 

 

 

 

A Funny Headline

This is from today’s Daily Pilot: “Newport-Mesa will look into ending school days earlier during hot weather”

No, they won’t. They know darn well that in a short period of time, the heat wave will be over and everyone will forget about the fact that kids and teachers suffered in 90+ degree classrooms while the overpaid bureaucrats on Bear St. were wearing sweaters to combat the 72 degree temps inside.

The “look into” approach is the same one that Trustee Vicki Snell took when asked about the shortage of bathrooms and seating for the big game at CM High last week. To Snell, it was only “one night every other year” and we should all just deal with it.

Air conditioning was funded a long time ago. It is only the incompetence of this school board that has prevented kids from learning in a comfortable environment.

So, I am adding one more wish to my list:

  • Airline executives should be forced to eat airline food.
  • Architects should be forced to work in the buildings they design.
  • Pro stadium executives should be forced to stand in line to buy food at each game.
  • The school board and the administration should be forced to work in the same conditions as the worst school in the district.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD