As expected, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) optional “Boot Camp Week” is over with very little actual student learning to show for it. Between technical glitches/miscues and inequitable support at the school site level, the new school year launched with a whimper.
This Sunday Reads post highlights a local article that provides the dishonest begging of Senator Mitch McConnell for more taxpayer dollars with zero fiscal transparency or accountability by Supt. Marten and Tricky Dick Barrera…both with a record of chronic fiscal mismanagement while denying SDUSD Students Federal and State legally mandated supports.
Provided below are the most SDUSD relevant excerpts but we urge our readers to click on the title and read the full article for themselves.
BE WELL…TAKE COVID 19 PRECAUTIONS!
Quotes from article:
San Diego Unified School District officials joined local House members Thursday to urge the Senate to pass a bill to secure funding they say is necessary to reopen schools safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school district and local elected officials said the the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act’s passage would bolster efforts to obtain what they said are much-needed protective measures in order to begin in-person learning.
Though San Diego County schools were given the green light to reopen this week, its largest school district started the new school year online due to safety concerns regarding the virus.
SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten said the district has made efforts to ensure student access to remote learning capabilities and school meals, but its ultimate goal is to reopen all campuses for in-person learning.
However, she said more funding is needed in order to do so safely.
Marten said the district will need to purchase more personal protective equipment, increase cleaning and daily health checks, and make safety modifications to numerous school buildings in order to address safety obstacles presented by the pandemic.
“2020 has not been an easy year by any means. We shifted to online learning in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We distributed 58,000 devices and millions of meals,” Marten said. “School districts need to purchase PPE and need to modify schools to meet guidelines. We know many children will return to school with significant learning challenges. This is why we ask the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to approve the HEROES Act.”
Kisha Borden, president of the San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district’s teachers, said many of the resources needed for in-person learning “require additional funding that our schools simply do not have and did not budget for.”
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, but it still requires Senate approval. The proposal allocates $58 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade education. The counter-proposal HEALS Act would earmark $70 billion for schools, though critics say much of the funding will go to schools that commit to physically reopening.
Reps. Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas were among those calling for the bill’s passage with district officials on Thursday.
San Diego Unified is slated to provide a limited capacity in-person program for disadvantaged and high-needs elementary students starting later this month, but it’s uncertain whether or when in-person reopening would expand past that initial phase.
Marten said that in addition to physical reopening costs, funding will also be needed to continue remote learning into the foreseeable future, including for additional laptops and wi-fi hotspots.
District Deeds Synopsis and Commentary:
Using the same photograph from the article we have a different message for Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer:
We realize that many School Districts may need the omnibus money…but based on the recent history of SDUSD gross financial mismanagement by Marten, Barrera and their cronies, the Federal and State government must require 100% accountability and transparency including ongoing audits for all requests of that money by the SDUSD. Remember the list we have been posting about the total lack of transparency and accountability of SDUSD educational support in the coming months:
- Phase 1 Educational Supports denied to tens of thousands of the most disadvantaged Students
- OPTIONAL Boot Camp Professional Development for Teachers – FAIL
- Individualized “disadvantaged Student” supports with no Equity Rules, Standards or Tracking
- 3 hours per day vs 5 hours per day of live teaching.
- 3 periods per day vs 5 periods per day of live teaching.
- No Teacher Evaluations
- No Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts
- No California Science Test
- No Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
- Minimal California (ELPAC) for English learners
- Minimal California School Dashboard
Now that the flimsy, poorly planned “Boot Camp” week is over, we have uncovered the following violations of SDUSD Stakeholder trust:
No data on what Teachers in what schools actually attended any of the SDEA agreement “optional” Professional Development and how many teachers and students are struggling and failing to effectively deploy and implement new mandatory software programs like the complex Instructure Canvas Learning Platform.
No reports on which schools actually completed book and computer tablet/hub distribution…or even actually had enough books and tablets/hubs to distribute.
No transparency on how many Students are prepared technically for distance learning…or even a guesstimate on how many Students will actually be ATTENDING SDUSD schools this year. District Deeds predicts a HUGE drop in enrollment.
No Evidence that the neediest Students will be provided even the least amount of Federal and State legally mandated support.
And obviously ZERO future financial or operational accountability measures, promised or provided, by incompetent Elementary School Superintendent Cindy Marten and the corrupt Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera Board of Education.
District Deeds is able to to fill part of the financial accountability gap for Senators McConnell and Schumer with a few simple calculations regarding operational needs and savings:
- Is being paid for enrollment for last year. District Deeds predicts that the SDUSD will lose or have already lost 20,000 to 30,000 Students which provides up to a 30% financial SURPLUS. That means the SDUSD is being paid 100% of the money for 70% of the students which amounts to a $390 MILLION OVERPAYMENT.
- Thousands of classrooms and offices across the district are closed/not being used. No Utilities, no Custodial Support, no Busing expenses, drastically reduced Maintenance and Grounds keeping saving tens of millions of dollars.
- The SDUSD has a $1.3 Billion budget with 95% being Employee expense. Even if we only take 10% (not 30%) savings based on human resource and operational reductions, that amounts to $130 MILLION SAVINGS.
Marten is quoted in the article as saying:
“We distributed 58,000 devices and millions of meals,” Marten said. “School districts need to purchase PPE and need to modify schools to meet guidelines.”
Lets break that quote down by expense area:
“58,000 devices” – Those devices were paid for using the previous Prop S and Z bond money and most, if not all, were available from 17,000 existing classrooms as part of the I21 initiative. With drastically reduced enrollment and computers donated by Qualcomm, it is doubtful that there will be a substantial additional need for “devices”.
“millions of meals” – Since the SDUSD has provided zero documentation for the Spring 2019/2020 shutdown we are estimating that the “millions of meals” distributed are “millions of meals” LESS than the SDUSD would be serving if Students were on site eating breakfast and lunch meals provided by the district every day. This category of expense actually represents a huge SURPLUS!
“purchase PPE” – In a SDUSD Propaganda Release, the follow PPE info was provided: “Superintendent Cindy Marten said schools will be ready to reopen when conditions in the community allow them to do so. She announced the purchase of more than $11 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) and said the district has received some 200,000 masks in child and adult sizes from the state, along with 14,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.”
SDUSD and LA Unified have agreed to a Purchasing Pact for Affordable PPE which will result in massive PPE savings and massive reductions of PPE cost. Without any transparency by Marten, and even taking into account her gross operational inexperience and incompetence, we have to believe that the LAUSD will be sure the PPE cost will be minimal in relation to the budget surpluses we described above.
“modify schools to meet guidelines” – Again there is no Marten transparency on what “modify schools” entails but we believe the big ticket item would be Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning modifications to prevent virus transfer via air ducts. The SDUSD still has a sizable amount of the $4,9 billion from Props S and Z bonds for air conditioning and ventilation upgrades. Adapting those schools with simple fresh air adjustments and portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems and air filters described by the CDC Office Building Guidelines are inexpensively implemented and financed with both ongoing bond projects and the budget surpluses described above.
How disgraceful and corrupt can Marten and Barrera be to beg Senator McConnell and the Senate for money, in the middle of a pandemic at the expense of taxpayers in desperate conditions, when they already have millions of dollars to get what they need?
And how stupid do they think Senators McConnell and Schumer are to believe their lies when the financial facts are so evident?
The reality for both Senators McConnell and Schumer is that all Marten and Barrera are energized to do is ask for more money to pay their SDUSD cronies and Union political backers to get reelected at the expense of the neediest Students and they are willing to lie to Senator McConnell and the whole US Senate to do it.
As part of our civic duty and since Marten is so desperate to communicate with Senator McConnell, when we place this post on our Facebook account we will be sure to include both @mitchmcconnell and @Ceschumer to let them know that the Marten and Barrera con job has four components:
No Transparency – No Accountability – Fewer Students – MORE Money
Senator McConnell and Schumer:
When evaluating the corrupt request of Supt. Cindy Marten for more money for SDUSD in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, please force School Districts like the SDUSD to PROVE they need the money and apply the following wisdom in our quote of the week to the rest:
“Never give your ears to the hissing of snakes they are legless to stand on their own” ―
- Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!
- YOU ARE TIRED OF THE COVER UPS AND LIES BY SUPT. CINDY MARTEN…
Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!