The Bond, The Audit, Smoke, Mirrors and "Trust Us"

The widely-acclaimed Dallas Independent School District audit will not be made public until after the bond election. According to sources, the audit will show the District to be in "less-than-stellar" shape with the same senior managers making the same mistakes--repeatedly.

It is also reportedly critical of several departments and how these departments use district funds.

"If it were made public [now], [officials] are worried that it might impact the bond," said one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

So how did the District respond?

A little over a week ago, DISD called a press conference to introduce two new "co-chief financial officers" Steve Korby and Carolyn Jones. The two will be paid approximately $500,000.

Thanks to a meeting caught on tape, we can meet new "CFO" Carolyn Jones.

Jones, in a very abstract speech, introduced herself as the person who would be "running fiscal transformation for DISD" which she divided into three parts: "very sound financial strategy," "strict controls," and "improved efficiency."

Jones in a detailed yet ambiguous speech promised "clearly articulated goals" but didn't clearly articulate what these golas were.

When asked by a reporter what problems she had found so far, Jones responded: "I've found a number of things."

But perhaps Jones didn't understand the question because her answers from that point didn't make sense.

"I've found that the District is in very sound fiscal condition," Jones started, "I've found that most significantly the tone at the top is very very good--it's very encouraging to us."

"The District is serious about strategy, controls and efficiency," Jones added.

"As far as problems," the reporter pressed, "what have you found so far..."

Again, the term "problems" seemed to confuse Jones.

"I have to say that I have found really a cooperative environment here," Jones replied.

"I think we have shared goals and simplifying; making things more efficient [...] and the tone at the top is good," she continued, "[...] I've found that everybody here is serious."

Other reporters tried to pin her down regarding about what was wrong and in need of repair. Jones continued to remain elusive and sidestepped questions while praising those "at the top."

Jones indicated that strict controls would be put into place. As an example, she referred to a past position where her department began reviewing every purchase order "that came in." The process resulted in, according to Jones, not "quite as many purchase orders."

"That's an example," Jones said of the process, "of a positive tone at the top reflecting down into the ranks to save the taxpayers money and get the true spendings that need be spent back to the schools."

Jones was asked "shouldn't purchase orders be reviewed anyway?"

Jones replied: "they are reviewed anyway [...] they're always reviewed and, in fact, there's an automated review of purchase orders."

Jones continued to appear somewhat confused and evasive until Superintendent Michael Hinojosa stepped in and saved her by redirecting attention to Tom Canby who he earlier referred to as one of the foremost "experts" in the state in "school finance."

Canby will be paid up to $100,000 for his expertise though, as is the case with Jones and Korby, it still remains unclear exactly what his job's deliverables will be.


Editorial

After listening to the tape of this "press conference," it appeared to me that the District was attempting window dressing for the upcoming bond election.

Carolyn Jones, one of the 2 lucky individuals selected to split a half-million dollars in taxpayer money was evasive.

Thanks to the press who attended, however, Jones' flashy smoke screen didn't work.

What about the audit? Reporter extraordinaire Kent Fisher of the Dallas Morning News had this to say about it.

Sources close to the audit have told Dallas.Org that the District is delaying release of some of its information to Deloitte and Touche (the auditors)--thereby delaying the release of the audit.

But back to the bond election, we keep asking ourselves the same question: "is it money needed for education, or is it simply a 'feather in the caps' of some who would like it to pass?"

Put another way, could this bond be a "resume-builder" for senior officials who will be administering the bond?

At the helm will be DISD Chief Operating Officer Eric Anderson. Anderson, in the past, has described himself as "excited" about the prospects of proceeding forward with the bond.

However, in a previous story we did about Anderson, we discovered his next-most-recent achievement was taking his former company through bankruptcy.

Anderson's company apparently ceased operation a short time later.

Anderson, last week, asked trustees for blanket approval of $5 million dollars for Korby and Jones' elusive "fiscal transformation."

When trustees raised eyebrows, Anderson backed down to $250,000 but promised he'd be back for more later.

So we're back to the question: why this press conference? Why the smoke-and-mirrors?

Perhaps we'll eventually get to the real question: why should Dallas homeowners anty-up another $1.3 billion dollars in hard-earned tax dollars (taxes that are already high), and trust the money will be spent for the good of the kids?

Maybe an even better question is: on the heels of scandals and seemingly-endless "hiccups" in judgment, are these administrators ready to tackle the job?

To Bond or not To Bond?

The question everyone is asking right now is to vote for the bond or not? Well, if we do not vote in the bond where does that leave the facilities which are in need of the bond to accomodate our children? On the other hand, if we vote yes then we are giving the money to a group of unaccountable sloppy unprofessionals that will waste a good majority, then the schools and children loose. My opinion, we set specific strict legal accountablity rules and guidlines which have specified legal and financial punishment, collectively and individually enforceable, whereas each member of DISD Board and/or Administration should agree to prior to our vote May 10th.

Example: Say I work on Joe X's aircraft, I sign off my work in his log book (my name and license is on the line). And either I am willing to fly that aircraft or I'm not. If I'm not willing, well what does that say about my work! But, if I'm willing to fly, my name and license, and now life are on the line, then what does that say about my work, my worth, my honesty.

I feel the DISD Board and Administration has done plenty to loose our trust, now lets ask them to do something to win it back. And, lets get that before the VOTE DEADLINE!

Well, there could be a poll taken too. Maybe my opinion is stand alone, or are there other tax payers who think this is a good idea too?

Earth to Pigeons...

You know, you just can't write fiction this badly!

It is so pathetic, it is hilarious.

They nickel and dime teachers. They make them jump through hoops to make sure they don't steal--which is fine--all the while somebody is in the dining room stealing the silver.

No, no bond.

The irony here: they want to use DISD to BUILD their resume? Are they kidding?

Oh, God, where is "60 Minutes" when you need them?

If we all taught as badly as they run this district--I am laughing, so I can't finish the thought....

If we all taught as badly as they run this district, all of our CEI's would be a "1" and we would be on a "growth plan."

I see a roost. I see pigeons circling above....

[Ed Note: You know... Jeffrey Skilling went to jail for this sort of thing! ... sorry, no more Enron parallels :) This is, after all, only tax money on the line.]

No Bond

Oh, and get this. Now they take out teachers that excel. Yes, that's right. After many years of producing top students you too can be put on administrative leave just because a principal takes a dislike to you. And folks there is no one to override this procedure. So when you go into that portable for "Human Development" be prepared most are just there because they saw fraud or they did an excellent job. And in the place of this excellent teacher that they had to get rid of - they will put an alternative certified person that can say yes really well but, not teach.

Should you vote for more money that your child will really not get to enjoy or experience the top quality that they keep telling they are going to find? Just a minute I have to hire my mother's brother's son that just got out of prison again. And yes, we will get right back to you on that - NEVER MIND.

The Bond Vote

I personally am going to vote for the bond, there is no other way. It's like when your behind on a debt, if you ignore it there will be a giant snow ball effect. Money has to continue into the system in order to keep "paying" on the debt. I feel heads should roll off anyone who has inappropriately obtained tax money to personally benefit or profit and which did not equally and proportionately benefit the schools or children directly. When the financial statistics come forth for our tax dollars there should (and if I have anything to do about it, there WILL) be accountability. But to withhold will cause an irreversible damage. No matter what bad people do, good will conquer in the end. It takes continued effort and persistence to overcome the challenge.

Booker T. goes home

While I am very excited to see the kids coming back home to Booker T. Washington this week, I am so confused as to why they are doing it a week before TAKS. What a logistical nightmare! I can't even imagine trying to run a school in a new building with six weeks left so certainly hope the security and organization that is at stake with TAKS has really been considered. Good Luck Guys. I guess that I should be hoping that you have toilet paper this late in the year too. Funny if it weren't so sadly true.

San Diego Has Problems Too

But of course. Don't feel bad. When the City of San Diego got in a billion dollar budget criss; two the the city council members who voted to underfund the pension; are now running for City Attorney.

And now, the SEC
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2008/04/10/government/569sec0408...

Where's The Meat & Potatoes?

Dallas ISD bloggers understand costs related to construction bond projects. I am more certain they understand even better the higher cost and effect of children who are stuck in low performing schools and in the only Texas school district ranked in the bottom 10 student dropout rate among our nation’s 50 largest cities. While there is no visible connection between the DISD bond election and the DISD credit card scandal, lets not discount DISD taxpayers still harbor ill feelings on how the DISD credit card scandal paned out. Over a million dollars of DISD taxpayer funds were spent on an investigation that identified over half of approximately 1,400 DISD employees who misused their district issued credit cards yet only a fraction of those employees were criminally charged or assessed departmental disciplinary action. Thus, hundreds of these morally challenged DISD employees escaped with what many DISD taxpayers consider outright theft of school taxpayer funds meant to be used to provide a quality education for DISD students. Judging from Mr. Fischer’s article, the DISD’s press conference held April 2nd to inform the public of their newly created financial transformation strategy only left more doubt in the minds of DISD taxpayers who may find it hard to fork out more of their hard earned tax dollars to support the DISD bond election. The cheerleaders who champion the upcoming bond election need to talk to DISD heads and tell them they need to do a much better job of producing a lot more meat and potatoes when they conduct press conferences meant to alleviate public distrust of the DISD.

Respectively submitted,

Gehrig Saldaña, Chair
SBDM - North Dallas High School

VOTE NO!!!!

Read the editorial in todays DMN about how South Dallas is going to get so much. Why is that in there, because they need these people to go out and vote "yes" in order for the election to pass. There is no guarantee anything that is in the paper is actually going to happen. The only thing I would be willing to bet on is that Adamson is going to be replaced. Other than that - all bets are off and everything will take place in a smoke filled back room that will be full of politics in what happens. Like someone states above, they might change their minds and Hillcrest could get something that they have not even thought of right now or North Dallas High School could get the new addition to get rid of their portables, etc... How do we know that Dan D. Rogers is going to get what it needs. What is so hard about just placing in writing - this is what you are voting for, nothing more, nothing less. What is so hard about that. It is hard, because no one is honest in the DISD - especially the Board!! Don't trust any of them - VOTE NO!!! Make them come out with a bond proposal that makes sense, and that is run by people that know what they are doing!!! VOTE NO!!!!!

Jack Lowe Needs To Step Down

Posted by Casey Thomas, President, Dallas NAACP @ 7:50 PM Sat, Apr 19, 2008

If there is documented proof that Board President Jack Lowe has voted for a contract and benefitted financially from DISD while serving on the board, he should do the honorable thing in step down as President and Trustee. If not, the community and the board should force him to. I patiently wait with baited breath to read tomorrow's report.

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Posted by Norm C @ 3:58 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

Between THESE type contracts AND giving Credit Cards to the 'INMATES' i.e. teachers and administrators, couple of years back, makes one wonder, whose running the asylum?????

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Posted by a concerned parent @ 7:31 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

Jack Lowe needs to go.

1. Who moves into Dallas from Highland Park to run for the DISD School Board? Jack Lowe did. Why - to line his pockets. Who else in their right mind would do this. He is not doing it for his children or grandchildren. You think he would let them attend the DISD?

2. Who runs for school board and then gets a brand new school named for his pappy. I have never heard of such a thing. If it would have happened at another time, who cares, but not while he is serving on the school board.

3. Lowe has appointed Craig Reynolds not once, but now twice to lead this who ha. This is a shame as Mr. Reynolds is benefiting off it also. Why else are these men involved and why are they pushing the bond package that does not benefit the entire district. They don't give a dam. They just want a bond package and a way to line their pockets and all they see is $$$, they don't see the students and they sure don't give a dam about the teachers and their thoughts or concerns. Why does Reynolds get the job twice. Is there no other person in Dallas that would not have a conflict of interest to run the DISD Bond Program.

4. Why is no one running against Jack Lowe - it is not because people respect the job he had done or is doing. It is because of one thing $$$. That is no one had the money out there to beat Jack Lowe and his political machine for a job that does not pay the average citizen a cent -- but for Jack Lowe that is not the case - he will walk away with millions.

Something to think about when voting for the next bond election. VOTE NO and by the way if you live in Jack Lowe's district - just don't vote for the Trustee because even though you can't vote against him, you don't have to give him a vote.

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Posted by Ron Parker @ 7:59 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

Nobody cares. The community college district does the same thing. Everything from hiring to purchasing to building contracts are on a who you know basis. Lets face facts here people, the DISD and the DCCCD are corrupt and the tax payers have a high level of acceptance.

What needs to happen here is for the FBI to give both these organizations a good kick in the pants. But then again the investigation would only result in a few sacrificial lambs taking the hits and the whole thing would be paid for by taxpayer dollars.

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Posted by jean pierre @ 8:39 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

One of the key reasons people run for the unpaid position of trustee is for personal gain. Lowe is not alone. Recall Ron Price and his excessive travel spending at district expense. It's not really for the children as they like to say. But, then, greed is not a new thing in America.

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Posted by Sharon Boyd @ 9:11 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

It may be legal, but it is not morally right nor ethical. The May DISD bond election is not about education. It's about construction contracts for connected companies. Another reason to VOTE NO!

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Posted by Gehrig Saldaña @ 9:30 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

Amazing! Why would anyone be surprised DISD doesn't track sub-contractors when they do not track and/or maintain a data base of DISD students who have either been caught under the influence and/or with possession of Cheese-Heroin? Why would anyone be surprised DISD has yet to provide DISD teachers with workshops to assist them to recognize when DISD students are under the influence of the deadly Cheese-Heroin?

Is anyone on the DISD board other than trustee Carla Ranger really seeking the transparent government within the DISD it sorely lacks and greatly needs? Considering the current DISD climate of Smoke & Mirrors, I'm surprised!, Trust Us, Long Overdue Audit, & Cheese What Cheese Mentality, I bet a vast majority of DISD taxpayers would advise DISD trustees time is overdue for them to belly up to the bar, and follow trustee Carla Ranger's push to establish a firm ethics reform policy.

An ethics reform policy that would prohibit DISD to award contracts to companies with financial ties to school board members and one that would leave no stone unturned to assure DISD taxpayers there is no Hanky Panky going on with political appointees who wind up being awarded bond contracts.

Speaking of horrendous? Horrendous is when a DISD trustee has reached a stage in his political life where you've relegated yourself to serve as a water-boy for some DISD power brokers who want you to find an opponent for a fellow colleague on the board you serve on behalf of DISD taxpayers. That is Horrendous!!! Ms. Ranger, have you received a response on your request that Don R. Smith Jr., Executive Director of DISD's Office of Professional Responsibility for your requested investigation?

DISD taxpayers may now have a better understanding of the infamous "We're changing back to the good old days" comment of a well-known DISD power broker printed on recent copy of the Dallas Business Journal. And here I really believed every penny that was 'misused' by hundreds of morally challenged DISD employees with their DISD p-cards would be held accountable. Thus, millions of DISD taxpayer funds 'misused' have yet to be paid back to DISD taxpayers along with the insult of a million dollar investigation price tag charged to DISD taxpayers. Let’s hope the DISD p-card debacle and the way the DISD p-card scandal was handled does not represent the prelude to going back to the good old days.

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Posted by SK @ 9:51 AM Sun, Apr 20, 2008

It never ends with this, I dare 'Corporation'. It is used by others to profit from the almost endless taxpayer funds. Let's face it, schools are big business to some. Those who use it have no conscience.

P-Cards

So I'm curious as to how long we are going to throw back the P-Card thing? In 20 years are we going to reject a bond proposal because of those darn P-Cards?

Also, 1400 people supposedly abused their district credit cards. But I would be curious as to what the definition of "abuse" is. Is it abuse because someone couldn't find a $20 receipt from Office Depot from 2 years ago? Technically that is a violation of policy...but should they be terminated or prosecuted?

Yes the P-Card scandal was bad. But it's in the past...stop beating that dead horse.

Vote yes for the bond and lets look to the future rather than living in the past.

[Ed Note: I would agree with you--except there's all this other stuff that virtually insures the bond money will be misspent. I'm not as worried about the P-Cards as the way the cleanup was handled. I'm not as worried about the theft as much as the lack of prosecution.]

P-cards are the present tense

Okay JTF, exactly how long would you wait for a person in charge to PROMISE to clean up a mess, then only clean up some of it? If we wait long enough, does the mess go away? Did the mess-makers get dealt with? Will they make another mess with the bond money?

You see, some of the very people who were let go under the P-card scandal masy in fact handle some of the bond money.

Will they spend another $42 million on one high school, then tell us they can't even fulfill its intended mission? It will have floating teachers next year. That is one step from portables. How do you spend $42 million on a new High School and maybe end up with portables in 4 years?

Also, the previous bond issue still has problems in many buildings. Shoddy work, stolen property by construction workers, etc... The same people who promised to earn our trust----haven't.

Nope, nada. No more money. Make them eat it in public. Make them acknowledge that we are paying attention, THEN pass another bond issue later on. Nothing in the bond issue is an absolute emergency.

P-cards & Bond

Wayne Harris

I must disagree with your comment "Nothing in the bond election is an absolute emergency." I can only speak of Seagoville High School at this point, but of our two main buildings, one of them has been condemned and is falling down. The bond money will replace that building and hopefully will create enough classrooms so our teachers aren't having to float. My son's World Geography teacher is floating and because of it can't use all of the tools she would normally use to teach.

It seems to me that most of the people that do not support the bond are doing it because of the adults in charge at DISD. The ones that support it are doing it because our kids need this. How can we come together? What solutions are needed on Ross Ave. in order to say that we can give them another chance? Please be specific. Let's try to come up with a solution as opposed to simply saying that something needs to be done.

In regards to the P-cards, let's not forget that most of the employees that had the cards used them as they were supposed to.

Seagoville has already received their bond money

Mr. Harris must be new to Seagoville HS, because they got bond money in 2005 whereby new A/C systems were put in and shifted the roof load on the buildings that are already experiencing foundation problems causing walls to separate and roofs to cave in. SHS also got the new practice gym that has no bleachers and took two school years to build, plus fencing and landscaping. The school was also to get new science labs, but that never materialized. Also the construction workers fixed the leaking ceilings - NOT! But it didn't matter, they still got paid for it. Once the mold was growing the DISD Environmental Specialist from downtown claimed that the buildings did not have a problem and missed the opportunity to visit on a rainy day to see the center stair's water fall.

With tongue in cheek, I say - what you see is what you get, because you don't honestly think any one is going to give back the bond money, nor is that rural white school as Ora Lee Watson used to so affectionately call it going to get any more money. After all the engineers did not see the need to fix the foundation before any work was started, so the fact that they closed down all of building A as a result of shoddy workmanship that was verified and signed off by DISD administration is in keeping with the practice of continuing to retain the most incompetent for the longest time possible in hopes they don't get caught.

So please make sure you call Jack Lowe and his bond manager buddy to thank them for your nice surroundings. Keeping these two around is like the auditors stating they don't look for fraud.

Seagoville's Money

Yeah, Seagoville didn't use the money well, and the rest of our school is falling apart. But is it our fault that the district hired people who didn't do their jobs? I could go and slam DISD all day long, but I'm not going to because I'm trying to be positive. You see, it's not the fact that they didn't come out and inspect the mold on a rainy day, the people they hire choose not to go and look at the worst spots in the building, even after they were approached by teachers and told the mold in a certain room had turned an umber of ceiling tiles completely black. We have a chance to fix things that were done wrong in the past. The district has known about the problem with our fine arts building since at least '93 and decided not to fix it in the fifteen years afterwards. So, now the band and choir are stuck in a portable, which renders how far you can progress without separate facilities for practicing and storage.

But to say our school is a "white rural" school is completely backwards. maybe about 8 or 9 years ago yes, but you should really take a visit to dear old Seagoville High School and you might be surprised. No, we don't have as big of a problem as some DISD schools, but we're getting there. Over half of the schools population is Hispanic, then then African American, then White.

Seagoville Has Big Problems

All the work was signed off by the previous elementary principal despite complaints and on inspection she was accompanied by the project manager, a DISD employee, and the contractor. Therefore, to act like no one knew any better is to say they all had gone deaf and blind.

Klaus was even caught manufacturing letters against teachers, which the parents had no knowledge. Stupid is as stupid does and then she gets caught. Or what about charging for assemblies so that the poor students are shamed in front of all their classmates.

She also allowed some favorite employees to collect multiple paychecks in an 8 hour day until someone complained in writing. Her response was to give the person collecting multiple checks a promotion - followed by another promotion downtown to administration. The district has a policy form to record time, however, policy was thrown out the window. Play the game get a promotion all while the auditors look the other way. This practice is nothing more than taxpayer fraud - pure and simple. Nor did it follow GAAP, so the auditors are part and party to the problem.

Then even though the high school is and has been low performing, they toss out the first kindergarten cop that swept all theft, discipline, gambling, weapons, and drugs under the carpet and alerted the students to the days the drug dogs would be on campus ahead of time. Only one documented drug arrest at Seagoville is simply amazing considering students were removed from class, caught in the act, escorted from the building by the ambulance crew, etc. I need to get me a pair of those rose colored glasses. Problems can not be fixed if no one wants to acknowledge they exist. I can not imagine what the parents and family of those murdered think when they read these blogs and know that DISD is so screwed up. My heart goes out to them and know that some tried to help, but were instead made a target, because the district will do anything to avoid scandal. They have never been about finding out the truth. Every time I hear some one call these thug gang bangers children, I could puke. They are wise beyond their years and perfected manipulation into an art form. Or what about the bragging students that leave campus and put the money they collected from illegal activities at school in their parents mailbox? So news flash, Seagoville is not just getting as bad, they have already arrived. Just listen to the students talk about their sexual encounters, drug induced orgies or how they grab each others private parts whereby they have changed the name of the school to Seahoville. There is a lot going on on that campus that has very little to do with education, yet it will be the teachers who are fired or reconstituted instead of the students stepping up to the plate and learning. Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant solution proposed by more of the incompetent that don't have a clue of what goes on inside the walls of a school.

Once Klaus was out, the replacements were a politically correct Hispanic principal and Afro-American Assistant Principal that were off campus taking classes instead of taking care of business. Gee, teachers are not afforded such privilege so why are campus administrators? Both are classified as educators. When on campus, they told the students to have fun. Neither of them will be back next year, because they both got promotions. The peter principal is alive and well at DISD and TEA. Then in total amazement no one thinks the students notice the building is falling down, the administration is not visible and without budget money the teachers are attempting to do their jobs with chewing gum and baling wire. I do not call these practices conducive to even remotely establishing a learning environment. More importantly is the fact that no one from downtown even questions or really cares what is going on. Instead the response is two more days of staff development, more paperwork for the teachers, and over priced crony academic coaches that spend more time criticizing the teachers instead of bringing solutions to the classroom. Now which problems do these ridiculous solutions really solve? Answer: Nothing, just more of the same old, same old.

So you want a solution, here it is:

1. Hire qualified campus administration that show up for work once hired. If they can't pass the mid-management test the first time, it is a huge indication that they are not very bright nor qualified to handle the deterioration of public schools.

2. Patrol the halls during class time and immediately remove any student causing a disruption in class. If this practice is started on day one and continued for a couple of months, the students will get the message. Those students that are trying to learn can then get the education they so justly deserve.

3. The building is in such bad shape, they may have to build another one on the adjacent land and then bull doze the existing buildings. Otherwise, they will have to environmentally clean the buildings, fix the leaks, shore up the foundation, pin together the separated walls, reroof, and build a whole new wing so teachers don't have to float and students don't have class in portables. Funny how the teachers and students can see the problems, but none of the supposed experts. What business is Jack Lowe in?

4. Follow Governor Perry's initiative of 75% of the money reaching the classroom. I am not talking about funny baloney accounting whereby cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. are allocated to part of that cost. I am talking about books for every student to take home and read. What a concept. Give each and every teacher a minimum of $2,500 per year for supplies with the understanding that if even one penny is fraudulently spent or not accounted for, they will be terminated and referred for charges. It is absolutely absurd that these educated professionals can claim they didn't know they had to document expenditures, especially after having to attend workshops prior to even being issued a p-card on approved companies, procedures and allowed expenditures. Additionally, get rid of the practice that if all of the money is not used in one year, it is reduced the next. Who was the moron that came up with this bright idea?

5. Put together a comprehensive curriculum for every class. Bulleted lists do not cut it nor justify the amount of monies spent by the district on curriculum. Instead of acting like schools just came into existence yesterday, start acting like professionals that take the education of the students seriously. Provide materials and prepare lessons that are relevant, in depth, practical and challenge the mind.

6. If eight graders are not going to be held back, because they don't read on level then allow ability grouping in small groups of five so they can be brought up to grade level. Yes, I hear the gasps. However, please explain why those students that have done the work are being punished or worse could claim a failure to educate as teachers devote a majority of class time to those that can't keep up. It seems that while increasing the level of some, the academically proficient stagnate or decline. This practice is commonly known as dumbing down for the sake of a few, while the other students are so bored they start to act out. Either parents want their children educated properly or they don't, the choice is their's to make. The prison system is filled with inmates that cannot read, so why seal their faith so early in life. Funny, how inmates state that the one thing they wish they had done in life was to pay attention in school. Schools should try their best to eliminate this 20-20 hindsight phenomenon; yet most don't even come close.

7. Reduce class sizes to a manageable level. Thirty to forty students is too large and gives each student approximately one minute of the teachers time if they are lucky.

8. Get rid of teachers that don't teach. They are just leaches on society and have no business in a classroom. It is so easy to spot them just by walking the halls; their rooms are a mess, they don't turn in lesson plans, the kids are out of their seats, the room is noisy, there are no work folders, the grade book is not up to date, they go around spending their time causing trouble for other teachers, they are sitting at their desks, and some times not even in the room. Other teachers see them, know them, yet the campus administrators ignore them and avoid any confrontation.

9. No teacher should teach out side of their discipline. Students do not benefit in any way, shape or form by a teacher that lacks the knowledge of their subject matter. In fact this is a handicapping mechanism that students are subjected to on a yearly basis along with permanent substitute teachers. There are plenty of good qualified teachers, however, the experienced ones are being discriminated against based on age and years of service in order to minimize payroll. I ask at what cost does society in general want to be subjected to a general work force that has the brain cells of a snail, because some district administrator wanted to save money. You know you all have met that person on the phone and wonder how they are even employed. Welcome to the product of the current education system and don't get too frustrated, because it is not entirely their fault.

10. Parents and teachers need to team build for the best interest of the student. Parents going off half cocked demanding a teacher be fired are instilling the wrong problem resolution skills in their child. Especially when little Johnny or Joanie has not followed the rules, created chaos, and denied another student an education by their inappropriate behavior. A teacher does not go through college and then work towards their certification to demean or pick on your child. Most teachers want the best for your child, but news flash, kids lie. And I hate to say it, but this tactic of lying was most probably learned in the home. Oh, many teachers wish for the good old days when a child got in trouble at school the consequences at home were twice as bad. But parents feel guilty or take it as an a front they are not good parents, when in reality it is the student pushing and learning boundaries. Students go out of equilibrium when challenged by discipline or learning something that requires higher order thinking skills.

11. Judges need to lift the ban on minors whereby all their acts are held confidential. Students move from campus to campus, district to district knowing that any prior bad acts are private. So the problems get worse, because of this cloak of secrecy leaving many victims in their wake.

12. Keep independent testing. It is the only thing that has made some students take their education seriously. Yes, it is a pain, but necessary. End of course exams by the district will not be an accurate measure, because of dumbing down and magic grading system.

13. If candid conversation about what is wrong with a campus or district is constantly meet with retaliation and intimidation, then things will only continue to deteriorate as we watch more and more jobs move offshore due to an ill prepared, ill mannered generation that will be saddled by a huge debt. So if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. When you want to know why things did not work out, look in the mirror.

May God have mercy on us all.

[Ed Note: And you can obviously prove all of these allegations, no?]

Pleasant Grove Gone

It was apparent from the meeting at Spruce, where coach was a no-show, that Bingham is in coach's pocket, and she is willing to let her entire school community be closed down before she questions anything going on at 3700 Ross Avenue. Might want to check into whether or not the community can remove her NOW.

The townhall meeting was well attended at Spruce, but it bordered on violating the constitution's first amendment guarantee of free speech. The audience was not allowed to speak. We were given cards to fill out questions that were then read aloud by the moderator and answered by a central administrator.

Problem was that administrators were going through the cards and pulling out those that contained questions they didn't want to address.

So the community comes to a meeting, but they are not allowed to ask substantive questions.

Call or email TEA and let them know that the community is not allowed to have input into a situation that is grimly serious. Calls have already been made, and some people there are rather dismayed at the manner in which this has been handled.

The entire "solution" to send Spruce kids to Madison and Lincoln is nothing but coach's way of not having to face the fact that he doesn't know how to intervene in a high school and bring it up to an acceptable rating.

The above posting is 100% factual from what I know of the situation. DISD at this point has tiny pockets of schools that do a good job, but when the wrong folks (not from Lakewood or North Dallas) want input, they are silenced.

Bond money

Has anyone mentioned the new wing at Spence that was built inside of the old gym? The roof wasn't repaired and the water pours through the new light fixtures into the new classrooms. One room even has a support beam right near the middle of the classroom. Half the classroom is not usuable at times because it blocks the overhead screen and whiteboard. Who designed that?

[Ed Note: We would love pictures of this. Can someone oblige?]

Bond Money = Black Hole

If DISD can't track money through its IT infrastructure, why give them more money?

The bond money will have to be run through a system of accountability, and where might that be?

If the buildings haven't been maintained, why not ask about the lack of maintenance across the district?

And as far as the Pcards, no one knows for sure who misused what because only the top spenders were even audited. There was reassurance by Hinojosa that a fraud auditor would be brought in for the Pcard debacle, but where is the report on that?

PCard Issue Won't Go Away

This isn't a nickel and dime issue, nor will it just go away. Apparently Hinojosa thinks so, or he would have taken some action on it.

I don't call 12K for one principal in missing Walmart gift cards petty theft.

You'll get your new bill for all the misspent money if you ever see an audit, and your bill to simply replace all the misused Title I and grant monies will be in the millions.

So you the taxpayer get to pay twice for principals who each misused or stole thousands, and the majority of these folks are sitting in their same jobs or they got promotions.

If you think this is a minor issue, go ahead and give them some more bond money. All that Pcard money pilfered away didn't even leave instructional materials or computers or anything kids can use going forward. It was just a shopping extravaganza for the years when there was no oversight of the millions entrusted to these principals and central administrators.

Their cavalier attitude is still there since there are never major consequences.

P-Cards

Ok yes it was bad, and yes there were consequences. But with everyone watching the district, and being a "watchdog" and no one else caught it.

There were some consequences, but I'm curious as to if the courts and/or DA's accepted all of the cases.

Move on for the benefit of all the kids.

[Ed Note: Well, we have moved past the P-Card scandal itself. However, the ongoing mismanagement (the same mismanagement that got us into the situation in the first place) continues. Let me ask you: what do you think is going to happen with the bond money you "give" them? How is it going to benefit the kids (and please back up your statements)?]

Glad to see you are true to

("I think you'll see the audit, and I think you'll see it before the bond election or we'll point out how it is being restricted and delayed--and I bet you the Dallas Morning News will too.")

Glad to see you are true to your word. Too bad the DISD has disappointed you, yet again. No Audit, No Bond!

[Ed Note: Our job is to hold feet to fire. Obviously there are some (including us) who are very disappointed in how the District has managed the audit process.]

The audit is in the dumpster

The audit is in the dumpster behind Hexter. Keep looking...it's probably under all of those improperly-disposed-of confidential personal papers. (Didn't the same thing happen like two years ago? smh)

Dumpster Diving

I know that this illegal dumping of confidential paperwork must happen all the time. I know of probably a dozen times that I've seen it, reported it and watched it go away with the recyclables without the slightest attention from DISD. Only when the News finds out do we see action. Is there a district policy? Is there funding for proper disposal?(Do we have shredders? Staff to shred years worth of documents?) Proper storage? (Many schools are short on space.) Proper security?(I've seen years worth of records stored in unlocked file cabinets on an unlocked stage more than once)

Sounds like that's standard operating procedure for this administration. Address a scandal only when the news finds out. Look at all of the scandals that we've seen of late. Do you think the good Dr. would have brought up P-Cards, a $52 million hole in the budget, unqualified CPAs, or a criminal Human Resources chief if it hadn't hit the news? I think not.