And They Wonder Why They Are Not Trusted…

The “they” would be the administration and the school board club. But the truth is that they really don’t care whether they are trusted. The three incumbents got re-elected last November and that told them that people still loved them. It told them that people thought they are doing a good job. It told them to stay the course.

Trust is essential. At the N-MUSD, however, perception trumps trust.

The latest example is the “Board Brief – January 17, 2017,” which you can access on the district’s home page. The brief is a summary of what Supt. Frederick Navarro believes are “… a few [agenda] items that may be of interest to the general public.”

For the meeting next Tuesday, Navarro has picked four agenda items that he thinks are of particular interest to you. They are:

11.a. Report on the N-MUSD College Readiness Block Grant.
13.a.4. Approve Authorization to Advertise and Award Bid #104-17 Learning Resource Center at Corona del Mar (CdM) High School.
13.b.1. Acceptance of Grant from the City of Costa Mesa and Costa Mesa United for Sports Facility Improvements for Estancia High School for the 2016-2017 School Year.
15.a. Authorization to Re-Design the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Logo and Form a Logo Re-Design Advisory Committee. 

All good stuff, eh? But also on the agenda, which you can see HERE, is item 2a, which takes place in the closed door session prior to the public meeting. Agenda item 2a reads, “Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation. There is a significant exposure to litigation against the District. One potential case.(Government Code sec. 54956.9(d)(2).)”

Of course, the district has fulfilled its legal requirement and placed this explosive item on the agenda for the public to see, but that’s all they did. It seems to me that when lawyers plan to discuss a legal matter that presents “significant exposure to litigation against the District, that more should be done to inform the people who are paying the bills around here. That would be you.

Now, don’t you think that a legal matter with “significant exposure to litigation against the district” would also be an item of interest to the public and that it should have gone in the Brief? Of course! But as usual, this is being swept under the rug to the extent that it can be swept.

It is understood that the details of the potential litigation may not be able to be discussed at this time, but that’s not the point. The addition of this item on the agenda where anyone can see it presented a golden opportunity to get in front of the issue and let taxpayers know that they may have to foot yet another in a long string of recent legal bills. Yes, a heads up would have been nice.

Instead, it gets ignored. It’s that “trust” thing again – that “transparency” thing that gets so little attention on Bear St.

Oh, and there’s also a big deal being made about a new logo for the N-MUSD. That’s on the agenda, too. It’s all about priorities…

The upcoming meeting on January 17 marks about two months from when we can expect the final report on the Gold Ribbon application at Mariners, give or take a few days. As noted previously, don’t expect it to come earlier than March 15.

Can’t wait for trust to be restored with the issuance of that report.


Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD