I have been watching the billions of dollars pour out of my tax paying pocket into the bonds to fix old schools and build new schools. I have been frustrated to learn the gorey details.
This gentlemen articulates the issue quite well.
To All, I have been an educational watchdog nationwide for 18 years. I have done extensive research on LAUSD for the same amount of time. We fought for an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for a long time. Finally legislation was passed to give LAUSD an OIG and he was to be responsible to the Board of Education alone. This office was not to be reporting to the Superintendent directly precisely because of the conflict of interest problems. Please look at the district org chart. Three times the former superintendent, Roy Romer, tried to eliminate the OIG, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and the Los Angeles Unified School Police. Myself and one other friend went to the Board of Education many times on this issue and stopped superintendent Romer. He finally gave up after his three attempts. Attempting to eliminate the OIG had a lot to do with an investigation into the toxic school Belmont, which has cost over $1.1 billion dollars and is the most expensive high school on the planet. We protected EHS because the district needs Environmental Health and Safety. We protected the police because they are highly trained to deal with school age children and practice “verbal judo” and do not shoot first and ask questions later. Myself and a different friend gave extensive information to Don Mullinex, the original OIG, on the exorbitant costs of both school construction and the repair of existing facilities. It showed very high costs compared to everywhere else. Please refer to the 2008 Office of Public School Construction Report on the costs of school construction in the state of California, including the L.A. area. LAUSD costs are out of control. Mr. Mullinex stopped the investigation. We did not say get rid of the office. We want the office to work properly as stated in both state and federal law. We knew that without an effective, properly financed OIG it would only be even worse. Two examples of costs out of control are Belmont (Roybal Center) and 450 N. Grand. Belmont has already been mentioned. 450 N. Grand started at $166/ft. and ended up at over $1,100/ft. Not quite in the range of inflation. Waste. Now Jerry Thorton is the OIG. And just like under Romer, a report on facilities, their God, comes out on the consultants and here goes the superintendent, now Cortines, again. We can’t have these people looking into our affairs. After all, they might find something. Isn’t that the reason for an OIG? If this is the attitude of Mr. Cortines, he must go. We need an accountable superintendent who is not afraid of someone looking over his shoulder. Because, if you can’t take it, something is wrong. Read Mr. Thortons response and see if he seems rational to you. Ask yourself this question, do we want an accountable district or one run amok? Please support the Office of the Inspector General. George Buzzetti