Board continues to deceive and hide 5B facts from taxpayers – March 4, 2019

 

Mon, Mar 4, 5:26 PM (20 hours ago)
to Jeffco

To the Board:

Your response to my original letter regarding the use of the term “Deferred Maintenance” conclusively proved my two points from that letter:

  1. That Jeffco does NOT have $1.3B in Facilities Deferred Maintenance as both Ali and Glass, among others, have publicly stated.
  2. That Jeffco taxpayers shouldn’t trust what the Board, Glass, or the District staff say.

I’ll start with the District’s continued false claim of $1.3B in Facilities Deferred Maintenance. You might want to bring out your calculators so you can follow along with the inaccurate basic math that whoever wrote your original response attempted to deceive me with.

Here’s your exact response to my original letter:

The $1.3 billion was arrived at in the following manner.  The capital program is planned over two phases of five to six years per phase.  As of February 2018, the value of deficiencies as defined in the annual Summary of Findings is $588 million.  The proposed 2018 bond, valued at $567 million, will address about $250 million in deferred maintenance priorities 1-3; an additional $125 million towards educational adequacy, the balance in replacement facilities, growth accommodation through additions and new buildings, safety and security, and technology.

The investment in current deficiencies will be $375 million or 64% of the need.  Life cycle renewal is valued at $371.3 million in non-inflation adjusted dollars.  This amount continues to grow each year as systems and components reach the end of their life cycle requiring major investment or replacement.  In 2023, when the 2018 bond should be near completion, these items will have moved into the deferred maintenance categories.  The balance of deferred maintenance items not addressed by the proposed 2018 bond, in non-inflation adjusted dollars, will be $213 million in addition to the $371.3 million of life cycle work that have become deferred maintenance leaving $584.3 million in unaddressed deferred maintenance.

Summarizing, the 2018 proposal is valued at $567 million, a 2024 bond proposal valued in 2018 dollars would be $584 million or nearly $1.2 billion in 2018 dollars.  Applying even a modest inflation of 3% over six years, the cost exceeds the $1.3 billion value.

Here are the summarized key points in that response:

  • As of February 2018, the value of facilities deficiencies is $588M (certainly not $1.3B).
  • The Bond will address about $375M, or 64%, of that need.
  • The balance of deferred maintenance items, not addressed by the Bond, will be $213M ($588M – $375M).
  • The balance of the bond ($567M – $375M or $192M) will go toward “replacement facilities, growth accommodation through additions and new buildings, safety and security, and technology” and Charters.
  • Projected Life Cycle renewal is valued at $371.3M, which in 2023 will have moved into deferred maintenance categories

For the time being, let’s ignore the FACT that you can’t call maintenance “Deferred” now, if you’re talking about something that won’t even be needed for 4, 5 or even 6 years in the future. Therefore, let’s just add up the numbers you gave me:

$375M in bond funds used for maintenance and educational adequacy needs

$213M in current maintenance needs not addressed by the bond

$371M in upcoming life cycle needs over the next 6 years

It’s time to bring out the calculator, because the total from those three numbers is $959M, NOT $1.3B.

Your “Subject Matter Expert” might attempt to say that a liberal use of inflation COULD bring that total up to $1.3B in 6 years, but the facts are the following:

  1. You can’t compound that total cost figure over the course of 6 years because even you aren’t claiming that the total amount is currently deferred.
  2. Your “Subject Matter Expert” also incorrectly claimed that in order to get to $1.3B, the entire $567M bond was deferred maintenance: “Summarizing, the 2018 proposal is valued at $567 million, a 2024 bond proposal valued in 2018 dollars would be $584 million or nearly $1.2 billion in 2018 dollars.  Applying even a modest inflation of 3% over six years, the cost exceeds the $1.3 billion value.”
  3. Even still, if you are going to claim that Deferred Maintenance is going to accrue over the next 6 years, shouldn’t you also reduce that by the amount the District plans in Capital Transfers during that period? To present a balanced picture, you should! Hasn’t the District been spending approximately $17M per year in facilities maintenance? And what about claims in the Bond package that amount would actually increase to $138M over the course of the next 6 years — wouldn’t that reduce the $959M by $138M to $821M? It certainly would, and the fact that this offset was left out of your analysis only serves to further highlight either the incompetence or degree to which you, and the District staff, will go in order to misrepresent finances and mislead taxpayers.

In addition, as Kathleen should be able to tell you, there is a very specific definition of “Deferred Maintenance” in the financial, accounting and business world. The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board defines “Deferred Maintenance” as maintenance and repairs that were not performed when they should have been or were scheduled to be and which are put off or delayed for a future period.

To state it plainly, the District does NOT have $1.3B in “Deferred Maintenance” needs, since $371M in the costs you portray are merely currently PROJECTED needs and haven’t been deferred.

Therefore, Glass’s, Ali’s, and other District employees’ use of the term “Deferred Maintenance”, in an attempt to portray a greater need than there may actually be, is inaccurate, misleading and just plain wrong.

Your defending the use of that term in your response to me highlights the depths you will go, and tolerate within the District staff, in order to intentionally deceive taxpayers.

 

On Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 9:55 AM Jeffco Schools Board of Education <board@jeffco.k12.co.us> wrote:

Dear

Members of the Board of Education received copies of your September 4 and13 email correspondence information shared with the community on our facilities deferred maintenance (Sept 4) and the First Amendment (Sept 13). I will provide a response to both issues, starting with the September 4 comments.

 

Exception can be taken that the use of the term ‘deferred maintenance’ to describe the needs of Jeffco Public Schools is erroneous.  Whether these needs are called deferred maintenance, deficiencies in educational adequacy, life cycle renewal, growth or replacement, the issue remains the same.  The district’s real estate portfolio has a value in excess of $2.8 billion and the annual capital investment is $20 million or 0.7% of the replacement value.  The industry norm for capital investment, is 2% to 4% of the portfolio value.

 

The $1.3 billion was arrived at in the following manner.  The capital program is planned over two phases of five to six years per phase.  As of February 2018, the value of deficiencies as defined in the annual Summary of Findings is $588 million.  The proposed 2018 bond, valued at $567 million, will address about $250 million in deferred maintenance priorities 1-3; an additional $125 million towards educational adequacy, the balance in replacement facilities, growth accommodation through additions and new buildings, safety and security, and technology.

 

The investment in current deficiencies will be $375 million or 64% of the need.  Life cycle renewal is valued at $371.3 million in non-inflation adjusted dollars.  This amount continues to grow each year as systems and components reach the end of their life cycle requiring major investment or replacement.  In 2023, when the 2018 bond should be near completion, these items will have moved into the deferred maintenance categories.  The balance of deferred maintenance items not addressed by the proposed 2018 bond, in non-inflation adjusted dollars, will be $213 million in addition to the $371.3 million of life cycle work that have become deferred maintenance leaving $584.3 million in unaddressed deferred maintenance.

 

Summarizing, the 2018 proposal is valued at $567 million, a 2024 bond proposal valued in 2018 dollars would be $584 million or nearly $1.2 billion in 2018 dollars.  Applying even a modest inflation of 3% over six years, the cost exceeds the $1.3 billion value.

 

As a footnote, when construction ends on this bond in 2025 there will be fourteen elementary schools 70 years or older, nineteen elementary schools 60 years and older.  It is not unrealistic that one-third of these schools will require replacement, that value in 2018 dollars is $250 million and not part of the total above.

 

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to clarify the communications on the 2018 bond with you. We have information available to the public online through our homepage, jeffcopublicschools.org/futurefunding.

 

Returning to respond to your September 13 email comments, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our civil liberty. The freedoms that it lists are crucial to our society. When we read accounts of how these freedoms can be abridged, limited or ignored, we react with horror. However, it is also important to acknowledge that, in the matter of free speech, the First Amendment does not allow all speech as there are limits to public permitted speech.

 

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…”

These words have been interpreted to allow words and actions of an extraordinary breadth and variety. In public meetings, people sometimes engage in hateful, vicious, personal and wide-ranging attacks on institutions and individuals, waving the banner of free speech.

 

The school board with the help of our legal counsel tries to manage these limited disruptions and keep meetings on track without violating the First Amendment.

 

As a governing body, the Board of Education has the right to establish acceptable rules for conduct in meetings. This principle is enshrined in state law, in Robert’s Rules of Order, and by court decisions.  Consistent with this principle, there are written district policies BEDH, Public Participation at Meetings, and KFA, Public Conduct on School Property.  Access to both of these policies can be acquired through the Jeffco Public Schools website: http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/family_portal

 

Consistent with best practices, these policies establish time limits on remarks, prohibitions for offensive speech, personal attacks, insult, etc. and procedure for handling a situation when a speaker violates the policy.

 

Unfortunately, we are not aware of a speaker’s intent during public comment but we do our best to stay sharp and interrupt individuals who violate our policies.  As I recall, the comments of Ms. Wendy McCord came at the very end of her comment and without notice so she was not interrupted; however, should she sign-up for public comment in the future she would receive a warning prior to speaking as we have practiced with other speakers more recently.

 

Board members honor the First Amendment and have established rules designed to protect such speech for the engagement of our community to the best of our legal ability, and prepare to act when an action parting from these policies occurs in our meetings.

 

I appreciate this opportunity to respond to your concerns. Thank you for writing to the Board of Education.

 

Sincerely,

Amanda Stevens

Secretary, Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education

c-18-258, 263

 

 

Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 7:51 AM
To: Jeffco Schools Board of Education <board@jeffco.k12.co.us>
Subject: Is there anyone on the District Staff that taxpayers can trust?

 

Good morning,

Someone on the District staff gave Glass and Ali inaccurate and deceptive information.

Recently, I’ve heard numerous Jeffco schools related people, including Glass and Ali Lasell say that Jeffco schools has $1.3B in “Deferred Maintenance” (at 4:44 of A Community Guide from Dr. Glass, http://jeffcopublicschools.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=4540440 and at 6:32 of Talking Ed: Jeffco’s Future Funding http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/about/superintendent/futurefunding/mill_levy ).

However, that’s far from the truth!

There is a very specific definition of “Deferred Maintenance”. The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board defines “Deferred Maintenance” as maintenance and repairs that were not performed when they should have been or were scheduled to be and which are put off or delayed for a future period.

The key point is that Deferred Maintenance is maintenance that was delayed. This definition does not discuss, or include, maintenance that may be scheduled to be performed in the future.

I looked at Jeffco’s 2016-2017 Facility Condition Assessment (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1rGW26Xs8ZMN1J4OGVvYlI3ZnM/view), the latest I could find, to determine how the District could come up with $1.3B in Deferred Maintenance. I couldn’t even come close.

First, the document discusses $575M in 2016-17 facilities “needs”. $440M of this comes from facilities and another $135M in Educational Adequacy deficiencies.

Yet, even that $575M total is not “Deferred Maintenance”. $475M of this amount is classified as Priorities 3, 4 and 5. That means that they are costs expected sometime in the future, not maintenance that was deferred.

Since Priority 3 is for 2-3 years in the future and consists of $234M, I will assume that this has all been deferred and can be added it to the Priority 1 and 2 categories of 2016-17. This gives a total of $334M in deficiencies costs in 2018-19.

The other component of facilities costs this document describes are Life Cycle Renewal costs. These costs are related to things such as roofing, heating, plumbing, stairs and elevators. Costs related to this are projected yearly for 5 years out. These costs were projected to be the following:

 

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
$51M $108M $94M $73M $43M

Assuming that all Life Cycle costs for 2017-18 and 2018-19 were deferred, we can add another $159M to the District’s Deferred Maintenance to come up with a generous estimate of $493M in Deferred Maintenance costs.

A generous $493M in Deferred Maintenance is NOT the $1.3B in Deferred Maintenance that Glass and Ali have been repeating. Their statements are outright false when the FASAB definition of Deferred Maintenance is used!

What they are saying is inaccurate, misleading and deceptive and brings the credibility of Glass and the Board into question. Glass has no excuse to not know better and the staff member who gave Glass that sound bite is either incompetent or intentionally deceptive.

How can you expect taxpayers to trust Glass and District staff when there are so many instances of inaccuracies, deception and word parsing?