Public Comments – October, 2017 – Alternative Pathways Funding Accountability

Let me be clear, I think that Alternative Pathways funding is needed and is a great idea.

However, the allocation of that funding is inequitable and there is no District accountability for that funding.

In essence, the District doesn’t know if this money is being spent at the school level on Alternative Pathways or toilet paper. Don’t you think that if you are allocating $2M for a specific purpose during a Board described “budget crisis” there should be some accountability that the money is actually being spent as intended? I would hope so.

But let me talk about equity first. The Alternative Pathways funding is equal, not equitable. Every HS gets the same amount. Yet, aren’t our High Schools different sizes? Don’t our High Schools have different needs?

For example, does Conifer with fewer than 800 students, a 75% matriculation rate and 14% Free and Reduced Lunch rate have the same alternative pathways needs as Alameda with 1300 students, 41% matriculation rate and 84% Free and Reduced Lunch rate? I doubt it, but the Board’s “equalization” of this funding says they do.

For this reason alone this allocation is just poorly thought out.

And what about accountability? There is none! In response to a CORA request I submitted the District responded:

The District has not requested or collected information on the pathways funding expenses. Schools allocate the budgets, there could be multiple lines and staff, and it is unknown.

There it is! No accountability. No budget line, no tracking, no accountability. No understanding if there even was a need for additional Alternative Pathways money at a school, or if the money previously allocated was used for its intended purposes.

And, to make this even worse, no Board member even asked a question on how schools spent the previously allocated $65k. They blindly, with complete disregard of taxpayer money, approved another $50k to each High School.

This is just one of the reasons the taxpayers in this county don’t trust the Board and District to be good stewards of our money and why we need change on the Board.