Even though last Tuesday’s All-Star game was a bit of a snoozer, at no time did I wish instead that I’d been at the school board club meeting.

A peek at the agenda from last Tuesday prompted some questions.

Item 11.a.2 was a change order for the contract to upgrade the field at Newport Harbor. That contract now totals $11,783,674. Upgrades.

Item 11.a.5. is the second change order for the entire new sports complex at CM High. That contract now totals $6,207,112.

Since I was not there, I cannot provide a snippy answer to the following question: Why do upgrades at one field cost almost twice as much as the entire facility for another? No, I was not at the meeting, but my educated guess is that not one of the school board club members asked this question in that public setting.

But, wait – there’s more!

Further down is item 11.a.17 which includes one of the finest examples of bureaucratic gibberish I’ve seen in a long time. The entry for this item reads, “Approve Clarification of Ratification of Award of Bid #112-15 Newport Harbor High School Davidson Field Upgrades”

Huh? Didn’t we just do that? I dunno, because here’s the gibberish:

Current Consideration:
The Board had previously authorized the Deputy Superintendent to award the bid to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, which occurred. The bid was awarded to include both a base bid and an additive alternate, and the contract documents reflect both. Unfortunately there was a mismatch in the way the ratification item was originally presented, in that the agenda item listed only the base bid amount, and not the additive alternate as well. Since the ratification was solely for the purpose of public disclosure but was stated incorrectly, and since it was not the actual bid award since The Deputy Superintendent was previously authorized to award to the lowest bidder which was done, while there is not a legal question a mismatch exists in the public record. To correct that mismatch it is necessary to correct the Board ratification amount for the contract to reflect both the base bid $11,414,000 and the additive alternate amounts $314,000 for total construction contract value of $11,728,000.

Say, what?

Someone on Bear St. screwed up. And remember, the person who oversees these expenditures is the guy the district is paying not to retire because he is so good at what he does and apparently no one else in the country can do this job. Oh, and they’re using your money for that, too.

I’m saving the best for last. It’s item 13.e, which addresses term limits. The first important point is possible violation of the Brown Act. This section reads, “At the Board meeting of June 28, 2016 under public comments it was suggested that the district move to constrain the number of terms that board members might serve, with the suggestion being three terms which would be twelve years, assuming complete terms were served. The issue was not on the board agenda and consequently was not appropriate for board discussion at the time under the requirements of the Brown Act as to the conduct of public meetings.  The Board is currently also considering provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  The Board has a current obligation to review trustee areas regarding populations and concentration of populations within each area and seek to balance populations as well as meet other requirements of the Voting Rights Act.  The consideration of balancing trustee areas could impact current or future Board members should their boundaries change and more than one member live in a newly designated area.

Then there is some more stuff trying to justify the school board club’s position, which is summarized this way: “It is inappropriate for staff to make a recommendation as to the creation or dissolution of term limits in a school district as well as the possible ramifications of the Voting Rights Act that will determine where trustees must reside should the Board determine that balancing trustee areas is required.  This is a policy matter for the Board of Education and voters of the district.”

June 28 was the meeting during which school board club member Snell blurted out that the club does not have to hold an election and that the club can decide to enact term limits.

So, there you go. More rubber stamping, and some hiney coverage over term limits.

OBTW, has anyone heard about the status of the reimbursement by the air conditioning contractor for the damage they caused to three schools during a sudden rainstorm? How about an update on the status of the area voting report? Or perhaps a status report on the outside investigation into the Mariners Mess?

I didn’t think so.

Steve Smith

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