Saturday, October 8, 2016
[Santa Barbara County] LUSD to commission study on general fund spending
The effectiveness and efficiency of Lompoc Unified School District’s general fund spending will be the focus of a new study that was approved Tuesday night by the LUSD Board of Education.
The board approved moving forward with the study, which will cost the district more than $34,000, with a 4-0 vote. Board member Bill Christen was absent.
The study, which will focus specifically on the district’s special education department, is being commissioned in response to the Santa Barbara County civil grand jury report released June 29. That report, which was preceded by an investigation by the grand jury, identified seven problem areas within the district, including the finding that the LUSD board “does not have adequate control of how expenditures of the general fund are being allocated and tracked.”
The grand jury recommended that the LUSD board “obtain an independent, specific audit of the general fund expenditures to clarify the use of public funds.”
The study approved by the board will be performed by School Services of California at a cost of $34,600, plus other costs not to exceed $2,000.
In other action, the board decided not to endorse Proposition 55, which is also known as the California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016.
The board was faced with voting on whether to adopt a resolution supporting the proposition, which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. After a lengthy discussion, however, the vote on the measure ended with a 2-2 tie and, thus, failed to move forward.
Carmela Kessler and Bill Heath provided the two "no" votes, while Steve Straight and Hank Gallina voted in favor of endorsing the measure.
Kessler said she felt like approving such a resolution would amount to the board taking a “political stand.”
“It’s on the ballot,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a need for this resolution.”
Proposition 55 will essentially expand Proposition 30, which was approved by voters in 2012 to provide funding to schools. The funding from Proposition 30 is set to run out in 2018. Proposition 55, which will affect the top 2 percent of wage earners in the state, would run through 2030, if approved by voters.
Christen, who has missed the last two meetings, is expected to return to the board for its next meeting Sept. 27.
Christen was out of state on business travel Tuesday, and he said the district’s attorney prevented him from attending the board’s Aug. 19 special meeting, which was held to craft responses to the grand jury report. Christen and his wife, Tina, figured prominently in that report.
September 16, 2016
By Willis Jacobson