I want to thank Superintendent Lawrence for beginning the much needed step of reducing BUSD’s top heavy bureaucracy.
For over two decades the community has been asking the school board and administration to reduce our cumbersome and unproductive administration. BUSD’s management is notorious for bureaucratic sloth. It is this bureaucratic slothfulness that has led us into our current fiscal problem, because the management was not able to produce coherent, consistent and accurate financial information. The reduction of BUSD’s top heavy administration is a much needed step, even if BUSD did not face a fiscal problem. So, thank-you Superintendent Lawrence for beginning this reduction process in the Education Services Division.
It is this legacy of bureaucratic sloth which gives me grave concern and raises many questions. I have attended both public budget meetings and all Board meetings since last September. The public has been told that one of the main reasons for FCMAT’s intervention is that the numbers in the June, 2001 budget are not reliable nor accurate. We have been told that this inaccuracy is due to BUSD’s antiquated computer and business system. Yet our current financial crisis is entirely predicated upon this antiquated and unreliable computer system because FCMAT’s December, 2001deficit is produced from recalculations of numbers from this antiquated and unreliable computer system. I and members of the public have requested and not yet received an explanation for the $25 million increase in expenditures listed in the December budget figures.
The Superintendent’s proposed reorganization now before the Board makes sweeping, dramatic and fundamental shifts and cuts. These cuts will change the philosophy upon which our community’s education is based. This is a matter of concern for all of us.
At the last public hearing on the budget, the Superintendent was specifically asked if there were any comparative analysis of the cost of an elementary school program versus the costs of the high school program. The answer, was no, the computer system could not calculate that. .Given that programs many of us have worked hard to keep face the chopping block, including sports, music, 7 periods at the high school, library, magnet schools and more, I ask that cuts not be made based upon hunches, or estimates. Cuts should only be made based upon correct, accurate facts.
Before the Board makes any changes and any cuts, it is imperative that the underlying data upon which the FCMAT numbers is based, be made public and a full explanation made as to how the December figures were derived.