Solutions that don’t break the bank, reinvent the wheel or marginalize our teachers are within our grasp. We could have rigorous classes, safe and disciplined schools and treat teachers like valued colleagues rather than easily replaceable cogs, and we could do so tomorrow if we wanted. Disclaimer, this is an opinion and commentary site and should not be confused as a news site, and you should know that quite often people may disagree with the opinions posted herein.
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Monday, July 31, 2017
Chartrand's bought and paid for politicians turn up the heat against DCPS
It's a fact DCPS that DCPS spent 21 million more than it budgeted for last year but have you noticed who wasn't taking any heat for that? Vitti the Teflon superintendent is who. The board aware of the issue is taking steps to find out what happened but do you know who that is not good enough for? Politicians that Gary Chartrand bought and paid for, donated to. Gary Chartrand by the way recently tried to blackmail the district into keeping his pet projects showing his true colors. From the Times Union:
State Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, and State Rep. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, last week sent letters asking the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee to audit Duval’s finances. Both cited district statements recently that it spent $21 million more than expected on district operations as their reasons for the audit request.
State House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land ‘O Lakes, asked in an tweet, “What are they afraid of? $21 million over budget & resisting an audit?” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry retweeted it and said he concurs.
Lenny Curry who carried Chartrands water with the JCC having them change the rules so his pet charter school could reap hundreds of thousands in tax payer dollars, has joined the fray.
Luckily there are decent politicians out there who have resisted, also from the Times Union:
Nevertheless, state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, chairwoman of the joint auditing committee, resisted, saying the state recently completed an operational audit and she’d rather wait while Duval does its own independent audit
Paula Wright a proponent of the lawsuit against HB 7069 that Fischer, Corcoran, Chartrand and apparently Curry support, pushed back.
“Why is it so unreasonable to allow us to do the audit we want done,” she asked. “Can we do that before we pass judgment? I’m disappointed and frustrated (by the criticism) because its unnecessary.”
She said she feels the need to defend the district from such criticism, which she said is ill-informed and being manipulated to dissuade the district from a lawsuit.
“It doesn’t feel good to have everybody taking pot shots at us,” she said. “There’s been nothing nefarious. Everything, if we spent more on (student) programs, how bad is that?”
When asked if former Superintendent Nikolia Vitti would have faced similar scrutiny had he not left to head Detroit schools in May, Wright said the School Board would still have questions about spending.
She said school boards generally don’t handle the day-to-day operations of a district’s finances; the superintendent does.
“This is all about the 2016-17 budget under Dr. Vitti,” she said. “Whatever comes out is a result of what was shared or not shared with us. We’re trying to be deliberately purposeful when looking at the numbers so we can learn from the process.”
Some Board members during Vitti’s four-year tenure criticized him in his evaluation for not being more open about spending and district finances.
When the Board approved a tentative budget in September for 2016-17, Begley told the board that it looked as if Vitti did not have the funds to pay for 20 cabinet “add-on” positions and it looked as if $8 million was taken from maintenance salaries and benefits.
Fischer, and Curry need to remember they work for the people of Jacksonville, not an out of touch millionaire who writes them big checks.