Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 22, 2011

Mike McMahon: Civic discourse

Filed under: Alameda, Guest blogging — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

The foundation of the democratic process is the ability and willingness of civic leaders and ordinary citizens to utilize civic discourse as a means to find common ground and broadly based effective solutions. Depending on the diligence of the public agency and the willingness of the print press to cover upcoming meetings, civic discourse was limited. In the “good old days” (I let you decide when this was), the framework for dialogue and the opportunity to speak was limited to a city council meeting or board of education meeting.

However, in the brave new world of increasing access to information, multiple channels of communications (email, Twitter, Facebook) and the rise of participatory media culture (blogs, comments on print media news stories, social bookmarking) the nature of civic discourse is changing. Civic leaders and public agencies can no longer control the framework for dialogue. Now ordinary citizens have multiple opportunities to engage in civic discourse. With the civic discourse moving out of the structured world of a city council meeting/board of education meeting, I offer some principles for civic discourse in the public:

  • Focus on issues, not personalities.
  • Avoid personal attacks.
  • Invite and encourage a variety of perspectives.
  • Recognize and value different forms of evidence ranging from testimony to statistical evidence and story telling.
  • Seek common ground and consensus whenever possible.
  • Resist relying on sound bites and buzz words heard from political pundits or politicians.
  • Make your goal to understand rather than persuade.

If we focus on applying these principles, I believe we can find common ground and develop broad base effective solutions for the problems facing our community.

The longest serving Alameda Unified School Board member currently on the Board, Mike McMahon has always been a great community resource for information about AUSD activities.   He also blogs about issues affecting education on the state and national level as well.

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42 Comments

  1. I’m sorry this is off topic, but I just can’t help myself, this mornings headline… “CONTROLLER WON’T PAY LEGISLATORS” . is it just me or do a lot of people feel good about this.

    So Mike that would be the end of this and other Blogs as we know them. However you speak common sense and it would sure help things get done in a more timely manner and with civility.

    Comment by John P. — June 22, 2011 @ 7:27 am

  2. Mike with the present financial state of our City , County , State and the School District always needing money would it be possible to post on the AUSD website a total breakdown of AUSD Employees Salary and Total Compensation like the one done on the City of Alameda Employees 2008 Compensation spreadsheet ?

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=rIFilGsbA6fE5wj_cvRIP_Q

    Thanks for your service

    John

    Comment by John — June 22, 2011 @ 7:48 am

  3. An additional principle I would like to add is “Offer solutions, or at least a willingness to work with others to find a better way if you are critical of a direction in which your elected representatives are going.” Having watched a good number of Council and School Board meetings, in person and on the videos, I would say that most of the people who are loud and critical don’t offer any alternative course of action, or offer suggestions which are not tenable in light of all the considerations the elected body has to take into account.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 22, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  4. Your suggestions sound like you place the responsibility for civility on the public to be civil to the ruling bodies. I do not see a set of principles for the public entities to be clear, honest open with the public.

    The rise of facebook, twitter, etal changed the rules and we see regime change taking place all over the world. In a sense, the local blogs are part of the movement, We saw regime change in our city government. No—we are not in Egypt—we are in Alameda.

    The city council has felt the public displeasure at actions taken some secretly, some openly but with disregard for the public will. The School Board may be next.

    There are the usual cast of characters dissatisfied with city government who are relentless on the blogs and at meetings. There are hints here and there among this group that some of the same disaffection exists vis s vis the school district.

    There are rumblings in the community —not yet surfaced — but waiting—about decisions that are made–, honesty in the budget–hidden and obscured changes—processes for inclusion and decision making

    This is Alameda,, not Cairo and people will not be taking to the streets. However regime change came to the city in the last election when the council majority shifted. There are three seats up at the next election. If the dissatisfaction coalesces, who knows what may happen.

    Comment by barbara kahn — June 22, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  5. Mike, I agree with your outlined principles and the need for more civil public discourse. Civility in our public affairs seems to be becoming a lost art, with vitriol replacing constructive criticism and (literal) finger-pointing replacing the reasoned expression of one’s point of view. Civility is important on our island since we keep running into each other in this smallish community and it is far easier emotionally to be civil to (or perhaps even friendly with) one’s opponents than to be blood enemies. (Civility does not equal censorship or a lack of criticism, it is merely making sure that criticism, when called for, is made in ways that actually contribute to positive changes in the community and that one’s criticism “does no harm” to individuals. And the more emotionally charged the issue the more important it is to take care when expressing one’s views or feelings.

    The proliferation of social media communications has also presented us with the rapid sharing of MISinformation, as last night’s City Council comments sometimes showed, to choose a relatively “normal” meeting. Commenters on several agenda items last night appeared to have not read their newspapers or other factual accounts of recent events and decisions, and/or chose to accept someone else’s story as an accurate representation of the truth without independently verifying those “facts” or stories on their own. We all need to be respectful of and careful with the truth, as well as of each other: civil discourse requires that we speak from fact-based premises, not error-based ones. (This takes extra time and care, however, which some people either do not have or are unwilling to spend.)

    Our community has been and is dealing with a number of fractious issues, as are many jurisdictions. We will get a lot farther in resolving our problems if we work together to build our community with everything we say and do. We can all ask ourselves – before we speak or commit words to screen or paper – will what I say help build up our community or tear it down? If I am being critical, will what I say help the people I am criticizing to do a better job without feeling defensive or personally attacked? Are my comments critical in a constructive way that helps build up my community? Am I being negative, personal, or self-centered in my comments or am I sharing from a perspective of enhancing the common good for everyone?

    We may not always succeed in being constructive but starting with a goal of building up rather than tearing down is a very healthy place to start.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 22, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  6. Barbara,

    Before you rattle your sabers too loudly while none-too-subtlely calling for a “regime change” on the School Board, the political reality is that unless the incumbents decide not to run for reelection, regime change in the next school board election would likely start with the ouster of School Board President Mooney. I think the probablility of Mooney getting reelected while both Tam and Spencer are kicked off the board is somewhere in the neighborhood of zero. Instead, the replacement candidates would probably coalesce around the opponents of Measure A and those opposed to the anti-bullying curriculum. So you would end up with a coalition of Trish Spencer and two of her cronies as the new ruling faction on the Board. In other words, if there is a “regime change” at the School Board in the next election, what we are likely to get is teacher pay cuts, increased class sizes, school closures, and the elimination of the anti-bullying curriculum, not greater transparency and inclusion in the decision making process. Somehow I think that’s not what you have in mind. My guess is that you would like to see Mr. Mooney reelected with two new members who are more closely aligned with your vision for the schools. But the reality is that if you jump on board the “throw the bastards out” bandwagon as you seem to be doing in your post above, your vision will be steamrolled by the Action Alameda and anti-Caring Schools Curriculum crowd who also dislike the current regime.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — June 22, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  7. •Resist relying on sound bites and buzz words heard from political pundits or politicians.

    Oh, if they only would. Sunshine + Transparency = yadda, yadda, yadda. My latest favorite phrase courtesey of Mayor Gilmore “in as transparent a way as possible.” Okay.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 22, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  8. # 7 Your quote of the expression “In as transparent a way as possible” makes me think of looking through a piece of gauze.

    Comment by RM — June 22, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

  9. #7

    I think Mayor Gilmore Meant “Murky” a way as possible. (vague; unclear; confused: a murky statement. )

    Comment by John — June 22, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  10. I took the remark “in as transparent a way as possible” as a reality check that there are discussions on some things, especially pertaining to negotiations, personnel issues, and lawsuits that the Council discusses in closed session and are not, in accordance with the rules for Closed Session, allowed to be revealed to the public (the discussion; who said what; not the result, if a vote is taken – that is revealed.) Only the results of such deliberations are announced, after the Council convenes publicly. If the City Attorney is present in Closed Sessions, as they should be, they must steer the Council away from discussing anything that should be done in open session with full notice as required, but insist that closed session matters be “closed” until a decision is reached that can be announced publicly. You may not like that they have things they do that way, but those are the requirements of the Brown Act. I do not think she was saying that the Council would not be transparent, or would be only “sort of” transparent at all.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 22, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

  11. 2.) You have been consistent in your request for this information. I would prefer to use a format used by the State Controller like this: http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/CompensationDetail.aspx?entity=City&id=11980100200 We are working with staff to gather necessary information and get posted on the District website. I do not have timetable when it will be ready.

    3.) When the public is sharing their point of views I do not believe they need to offer solutions as it could reduce the dialogue. We are elected to work with staff to find solutions after listening to the community.

    4.) My observation about the changing nature of civic discourse presumes these changes forces public bodies to realize that can hide behind budget-hidden and obscured changes. But I could be wrong and elected bodies will be able to continue business as you allege.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 22, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  12. 11

    You have been consistent in your request for this information. I would prefer to use a format used by the State Controller like this: http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/CompensationDetail.aspx?entity=City&id=11980100200 We are working with staff to gather necessary information and get posted on the District website. I do not have timetable when it will be ready.

    I have requested this information since 3/15

    I will respond the same way I responded to Ms Vital

    Kirsten,

    To generate the report I’m asking for took about 10 minutes from a sixth grader, that use to help me run my reports for some major companies that we were evaluating. It’s fabulous what computers can do. It’s not like I’m asking them to handwrite thousands of pages and go through hundreds of files. It’s something that is very simple and might take about another two minutes to print or send in Email.

    I believe what I’m asking for is public information. If it is not something you can do who do I need to talk to get this information? I think by the time you spend just answering this email a report or spreadsheet could have been generated.

    Thanks for your Service to Our Schools

    In Highest Regards

    John

    Comment by John — June 22, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  13. #10 I keep hearing the phrase from our councilmembers, “You don’t know what we have discussed in closed session” in conversations that have nothing to do with negotiations, personnel issues or lawsuits. Even brand new Bonta has said it – doesn’t take long. I find this confusing and go away (just as they wish) shaking my head asking myself ‘Is it the Brown Act or Sunshine that I don’t understand”.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — June 22, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  14. #13, if you believe that they are discussing items outside of the three things I listed, you should file a Brown Act violation complaint. Be as specific as possible about the violation, e.g. topic, day and time, who said what, etc. and reference the video on the city web site. Such complaints are filed with the DA, and are taken seriously.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 23, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  15. Mike, as much as I think John is an obsessive jerk (not to be subtle), he is absolutely right. In this age of computers the district does have the salary information requested at its fingertips, and could – just like many other districts in the state – make that data publicly available within an hours notice. Stop defending the stonewalling. From Nixon to Wiener, it is a tactic that has never benefited a politician.

    Comment by notadave — June 23, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  16. 10. This is why the whole “transparent”/”sunshine” thing is disingenuous. Of course some things must discussed in closed session. Of course, the public is not ever going to have the whole story. This is why some people, like myself, get fed up with the BS, fairy-story rhetoric. Politicians should stop treating the public like not-very-smart third graders.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 23, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  17. 15

    They have the Reports and they look at them but they just don’t have the time with Budget cuts to send them in Email or Post.
    Or Don’t want to. They pride themselves in transparency…..As I pride myself in asking Softball Questions…

    Thanks Kirsten

    But wouldn’t a Spreadsheet like this below be very helpful when running a Department like yours?

    I was in the Turnaround Arena many years and had to make many tough decisions but without really dissecting your Employee costs with a microscope and looking at alternatives its impossible and overwhelming without really breaking down. I’m sure payroll has to have a spreadsheet like this or at least could generate with a few clicks of a mouse. I’m sure you have all the W-2s for 2010 out by now and funded their Retirement and Benefits so it’s not much to create. I’m sure all have job titles also.

    In a message dated 2/24/2011 5:25:58 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, kvital@alameda.k12.ca.us writes:
    I agree – it is something we look at department by department at budget time through our reporting systems but with the cuts to the fiscal and HR departments we have not been able to do what you are looking for as a document.

    Through our reports, I have deeply studied each of these pieces and have been and will continue to make recommendations to the BOE to help our very challenging budget situation.

    Comment by John — June 23, 2011 @ 9:31 am

  18. 16: Denise, the comments you hear from our City Council, our mayor, and our new city manager about transparency and accountability are NOT “disingenuous” at all: I have never supported, and would never support, any candidate who was not straightforward and pro-“sunshine.” I opposed Ann Marie Gallant several times during her tenure because she was withholding information (like Ron Cowan’s plans to do a golf course land swap) from the public – and even from the City Council, apparently.

    The degree of transparency in Alameda’s public affairs has been increasing almost every week since the Sunshine Task Force began its work last year, and the trend accelerated under Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman and Acting City Attorney Donna Mooney as soon as Ann Marie Gallant was no longer the ICM and Terri Highsmith was no longer acting as Alameda’s City Attorney. Mayor Gilmore and City Manager John Russo have also accelerated this trend and we are all benefiting from it.

    If you want to read or obtain documents, just contact the City Clerk’s office and make a request. Our superb City Clerk, Lara Weisiger
    (747-4800; http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/City-Hall/CC-City-Clerk), is thorough, knowledgeable, and responsive to public requests for information, as long as they are asking for legally available information. (The contents of closed-session meetings are not usually available, nor are confidential documents related to pending legal actions or personnel issues, for instance, but most applicable documents ARE available for your review.)

    BTW, I have been upset at several instances lately in which members of the public have behaved just like “not very smart third graders” of late: some speakers have been grossly misinformed or ill-informed, played fast an d loos with the truth, threatened and bullied other speakers or public officials, and used offensive and disrespectful language. None of these counterproductive behaviors contributed to either a reasoned and civil debate on the issues or to solving complex problems.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 23, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  19. 17

    But they didn’t waste 3 Minutes of Everyones Time having to listen to your Self Back Patting and your your foreplay of AFD.

    Your used Charmin that you spew for AFD that you and your Bride put together makes you laughing stock of City.

    Comment by John — June 23, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  20. 19

    is for 18

    Comment by John — June 23, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  21. John is beginning to sound very crude; kind of like AG. Are you AG, John, posing? We like to try for civility whenever possible.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 23, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  22. AG?…”Assemblies of God” ??????

    Comment by J.E.A. — June 23, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  23. AG = Assaults Grannies

    Comment by Captain Subtext — June 23, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

  24. Who is AG and who cares Kate…..Laugh a little…. No one takes you serious anyway Kate.

    Kate are you Lisa and posing as a little Miss Goodie Two Shoes. I know you take your shots and see your suble digs but you do it so cleverly. Your a funny Girl.

    Comment by John — June 24, 2011 @ 1:17 am

  25. 11.3.)”I don’t believe the public should offer solutions” Well, Mike, you profoundly disagree w/Mayor Gilmore, b/c that’s precisely what she asked the public for in City Council budget meetings! I guess you are no friend of free speech either. And I & the other taxpayers you saddled w/this unbalanced parcel tax would appreciate your listening to Trish Spencer when she tries to get you to implement Measure A AS IT IS DESCRIBED IN THE BALLOT, & not arrive @ a “consensus” to twist the facts to your own purposes. You’re just making it easier to win the anti-A lawsuit.
    And never forget pro-SunCal Barbara Kahn wrote in the AlamedaSun=”A developer is a developer is a developer”; so consider the source when evaluating her comments!

    Comment by notmayberry — June 24, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  26. What I said was “When the public is sharing their point of views I do not believe they <b.need to offer solutions” since it could limit input if it was a requirement. As part of the civic discourse input on identification and solutions to problems is always welcomed.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 25, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  27. “As part of the civic discourse input on identification and solutions to problems is always welcomed.”

    26.

    If you can’t get the Information from The Board on what 95% on the Budget is being spent on how can they idenify and come up with solutions if you keep Hiding?

    Comment by John — June 25, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  28. Mike in reviewing emails it has been almost 4 months now and still have not recieved the information I requested.

    Public Records Act, which allows even anonymous requests, and specifically does not allow governments to screen requesters or ask why they want the information.

    The California Public Records Act requires the government to take the broadest
    possible view of disclosure and to release information promptly.

    Comment by John — June 25, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  29. To my knowledge all requests for public records have been satisified including one a few months where an unnamed individual requested payroll information. But I guess that is the tricky part of being anonymous, if the unnmaed individual does not believe thier request was satisified they would have trouble disputing it wihtout losing anonymity. You may want to conact Gary Fanger who has made extensive public records requests regarding the budget and backup documentation.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 26, 2011 @ 9:02 am

  30. 29

    Why Contact Gary Fanger ? I didn’t request information anonymously.I contacted you. I Voted for You. I didn’t think it was any big deal and was just doing some research on how I was going to Vote on Measure A.

    Is he running the School Board now and have all the information at his finger Tips?

    What is there to Hide.

    The AUSD School asked the Voters of Alameda for 7 Million from the Citizens of Alameda . I think it’s in Important to see where 95% of the present budget is exactly going and where the 7 million is exactly going..

    It just seems like everyone is going to great lengths not to make the information available on the AUSD website.

    Comment by John — June 26, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  31. 29

    Here is the Email I sent you on 2/22/2011….

    Subject: How would that effect the Budget of AUSD,?
    Date: 2/22/2011 12:28:17 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
    From: XXXXXXXXXXX
    To: mmcmahon@alameda.k12.ca.us

    Does anyone have a total breakdown of AUSD Employees Salary and Total Compensation like the one done on the City of Alameda Employees 2008 Compensation spreadsheet ?

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=rIFilGsbA6fE5wj_cvRIP_Q

    What would be the result financially if we just paid the teachers double what we pay our substitute teachers now without benefits and extras till we get out of this financial mess. Assuming subs make 135.00 a day times 180 days equals 24,300. Pay the Teachers Double that and give them 270.00 a day or 48,600 for 180 days. That would equal 70,470 a year if Teachers worked year round. So still a pretty good wage in this economy. 33.75 an hour. Even with no Benes.

    How would that effect the Budget of AUSD,?

    Thanks for your service

    In Highest Regards

    John

    Comment by John — June 26, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  32. Before anyone starts screaming I’m Ivan The Terrible.I was asking a Hypothetical Question. Why because I didn’t have the Data or information to come up with any answers.

    A question based on certain proven or assumed facts, and formulated to arrive at a generalized answer applicable in most such situations in the absence of dependable data.

    Comment by John — June 26, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  33. John I repsonded to your email. You did not need a spreadsheet of all teachers to figure out all you needed was the information I supplied.

    It is simple math and I sent you the number of teachers and their average salaries and benefits. All you had to do is apply your simplistic method of paying teachers to arrive at the difference. But perhaps you went to a school where the teachers were paid as you propose and as a result you unable to do the calculation.

    If you actually believe paying a profession less than they are being paying will attract superior talent then I would love to see the data and/or research to support your premise.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 27, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  34. Mike what I asked for was a total breakdown by Employee by Job Title with breakdown like the spreadsheet of all the Employees in the AUSD so I could make an Educated Evaluation .

    Without getting all the information it’s hard to make good recommendations and offer any constructive input while being stonewalled.

    This is not about getting great teachers and fabulous talent. It’s strickly about numbers and asking quality questions and not just looking at a pie chart.

    The quality of the information affords someone to make quality recommendations.

    Comment by John — June 27, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  35. Educated Evaluation
    Quality Recommendation
    Constructive input
    John

    Comment by dave — June 27, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  36. Whats is there to Hide Dave.

    Comment by John — June 27, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  37. Those who make some other person their job . . . are dangerous.

    Comment by evade — June 27, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  38. Trying to help try and solve Budget Crisis in our City Schools and City and now I’m Dangerous…LOL

    Comment by John — June 27, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  39. not you John

    Comment by evade — June 27, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  40. Evade

    it reminds me of Soup Nazi on Seinfeld when asking any question about the Schools and Money

    Comment by John — June 27, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

  41. Can career educrats think outside the box?

    Assuming George Shultz can be trusted—Stanford’s Hoover Institute and former U.S. Secretary of State albeit for Ronald Reagan—he warns California: “We are left with the unwelcome choice between an unsustainable fiscal condition for the state that leaves our future in doubt or further cuts that seem unacceptably draconian.”

    The “cuts” he speaks of have already become ubiquitous; they inexorably involve cuts in services; rarely if ever do they involve pay cuts for bureaucrats, apparatchiks, mugwumps, high-muck-a-mucks, mukhtars nor educrats.

    There may not be sufficient fiscal resources to keep swimming pools operable, but the pool director experiences no change in remuneration; access to parks may be curtailed but the parks commissioner retains his or her perks and pay; streets may be riddled with pot holes but the highway supervisor still pulls down big bucks; the school year may be reduced by several days but the high echelon educrats still pull down six figures.

    Ironically, when funding is cut it is the low-pay minions: the worker bees: those who actually service pools, remove trash from parks, tamp macadam into pot holes and teach students, who get pink slips.

    Pay for bureaucrats, apparatchiks and educrats incongruously ratchets up; perhaps because they are more stressed trying to accomplish less with less and trying to slough their sense of importance off onto a fatuous constituency.

    George reminds us that “California rates 47th in student achievement out of the 50 states (fortunately Guam and the Marshall Atolls are not states: they too might beat us).

    George states that in California “more than 30 percent of funds appropriated for schools never make it within sight of the classroom.”

    What happens to the money?

    George says, “it is siphoned off by bureaucrats, administrators and ancillary personnel.”

    It seems that Alameda: a manageable town of 73,000 semi-law-abiding denizens, should be able to buck this debilitating systematic form of corruption.

    Do we?

    Are Alameda kleptocrats less rapacious?

    THE ECONOMIST—the only magazine read by Bill Gates—loves to chide California; it reported that California has “one of the shortest school years anywhere, a mere 180 days compared with an average of 195 for OECD countries and more than 200 for East Asian countries.”

    It is true: we have the shortest school year; yet we augment that dubious achievement with the one of the shortest school days: six hours of instruction.

    Hopefully THE ECONOMIST won’t discover that the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) has bested the 180 day nadir: this year we had 175 instructional days.

    None-the-less, Encinal High was ranked of 10 out of 10 when compared to similar schools (the principal who presided over the accomplishment was summarily cashiered); Alameda High was ranked 3 out of 10 (bottom 30%) for similar schools.

    Even before seeing what fiscal surprises Sacramento had in store for AUSD, the district announced six vacancies to be filled; these slots all have pay ranging near or above six figures; obviously none of this lard directly involves teaching.

    These vacancies were advertised even before unequivocally restoring the five furlough days.

    One dollop of adipose: “Coordinator of Student Achievement and Assessment” is a dinosaur: a sinecure, a remnant from the days when AUSD did competency testing.

    Since the turn of the century, critical testing emanates from Sacramento; the Assessment Office is just a clearing house; yet the salary range for this featherbed reaches $99,450.85 plus benefits.

    Such profligacy, yet as a teacher, I had to wait two days (a cooling off period I presume) to get approval for a $10 printer cartridge.

    Wind River, a tech company based right here in River City, has the motto, “Throw away the box.”

    Our career educrats seem to work frantically shielding its box from fiscal realities, the 21st century and modernization: teachers still sign in when they report for duty: like they did in Ben Franklin’s day.

    AUSD WikiLeaks avers that the current superintendent contemplates negotiations to renew and extend her contract; she is negotiating a raise for herself and an increase to her benefit package.

    Given the inconvenience of transparency, even in the absence of accountability, it is typically the summertime when the Board of Education (BOE) makes decisions that they do not want to call attention to.

    It was summer when the BOE created a salary schedule to ensure that our Executive Cabinet had a 3% per year raise for five full years while teachers got a whopping zilch.

    Apparently afraid North Korea or Iran may find out, AUSD will not sunshine that pay and benefit negotiations may go on with virtually no input from the public.

    Given our fiscal position it would be unconscionable, yet probable, for the AUSD BOE to secretly negotiate and give additional raises and increases in compensation to our superintendent; however, this is NOT why the public passed Measure A.

    Will the BOE betray the public trust or will they inform us before the clandestine work and covert ops are fait accompli?

    Jeffrey R Smith
    Math Teacher at Encinal

    Comment by Jeffrey R Smith — June 30, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  42. Comment by John — July 3, 2011 @ 10:42 pm


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