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School budget may need more scrutiny

Dan Peven
Monday September 30, 2002

To the Editor: 


School Board Director John Selawsky is asking parents to join him in seeking more funding from Sacramento for the Berkeley Unified School District. But what is BUSD spending our money on now? With a $100 million budget and 9,100 students, that comes to approximatley $10,000 per pupil, not including the hundreds of millions in construction bonds taxpayers have voted for.  

The current budget passed by the school board has been disapproved by the county. This is after the Board hired a consulting firm for 5-6 months ($15-$20,000 per month, more?), permanently hired a consultant at $110,000 per year and spent $700,000 on new software, all of which was supposed to fix the problem. The district's errant finances are a chronic, recurring problem. One current board member ran eight years ago on the grounds that as an economist he understood budgets, and would work to prevent school closures. The situation doesn't seem to have changed much in eight years. Before the School Board asks citizens to work for more funding for BUSD, shouldn't BUSD get its finances and its financial systems in order?  


Dan Peven