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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My 11/28/11 comments to the CCS Board of Education

In last week’s Citizen paper (from Ortonville), there was an article about the possible outsourcing of the IT functions in the Brandon School district to a company called VARTek in Dayton, OH that specializes in maintaining and updating technology in schools.  I think with all the interest in updating technology in the district that this should be looked at by the district.  VARTec’s mission is to “be the best provider of managed technology solutions for enhanced learning in the K–12 marketplace.”

In regard to Dr. Rock’s November 21st Superintendent Column that was advertised by ClarkstonCalendar.org, which is supposed to be used to advertise Clarkston area “events”, Dr. Rock said that he had a goal to have every district building equipped to allow every student to use a 1:1 technology device by 2014.  I know that the board has not approved that as yet.  I find it dangerous for the superintendent to make bold statements like that to the public. 

By law, if students are expected to have any specific tools to do their jobs, that the district provide the materials for the child to do that.  If the children would be required to do homework on their 1:1 technology devices that will be supplied to them, the district would be required to supply the households of those children with internet access.  Although they would be wonderful tools for the students, it is an expensive prospect for the district and it should be considered with the promotion of all of the technology upgrades that Dr. Rock is promoting. 
 
The school board has one employee to manage, the superintendent, who has decided that he is making the decisions in the district rather than the board.  School Board, please perform your responsibilities to manage your employee.

In closing, I wanted to point out that on the “Over 100k Salary and Benefit Information Report” currently on the district’s transparency reports, that it shows that the “Director of Facilities and Grounds” earned $7,200.00 in the “Car/Mileage” category, but his contract only allowed for 600 miles per month at the IRS maximum (50 or 51 cents per mile).  That would be $3,636.00, not $7,200.00.  Who approved that additional benefit to this employee? 



Dr. Rock retorted at the end of the meeting that the Transparency report was correct (referring to the “Over 100k Salary and Benefit Information Report” for the $7,200.00 in the “Car/Mileage” for the “Director of Facilities and Grounds” when his contract only allowed for 600 miles per month (a difference of $3,564.00/year).  I guess that means that he is confirming that he DID get $7,200.00 for "car/mileage" instead of the $3,636 that he actually was entitled to receive per his contract.  Interesting...

2 comments:

  1. I think most would say if you make over 80K and you cannot pay for your own transportation and fuel etc.... Doesn't that make you wonder how you could be incharge of millions of public dollars? How do the hourly workers get to work? Who pays for their gas? I am sure that if this funding was eliminated from all district employees, from Dr.Rock down it pay for some technology. If these people are truely here for "the kids" they wouldn't even have issue with the cut, if they had issue with it surely they could pack up their degree's and head to private sector where those kind of perks are paid for from profit. Now if the boosters wanted to pay the Super, AD, Exec Director of this or that out of the 650K they made on district property instead of building a new concession stand to replace the fairly new existing concession stand, or show that they are also all about "the kids" and pay for some technology that would be admirable. I am sorry but when a select group can generate 650K to build a hot dog stand for a select group instead of providing necessities for all "the kids", seems the district should get into the concession business instead of asking taxpayers for more money. Whose priorities are these administrators looking out for? The taxpayers who have no kids, the parents who do,"the kids" or their own?

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  2. 12/11/11 Anonymous,

    Thanks for posting!

    The shared services contract between Orion Schools and Clarkston Schools for the “Director of Facilities and Grounds” grants him $108K a year salary, a doubled "TSA allowance" (a retirement account) of $4k, 600 miles a month mileage allowance at the IRS maximum (currently 51 cents a mile), and benefits. The two districts split the costs of any employment expenses including all benefits that he was already entitled to, which include health, dental, life, disability, and retirement (the districts are splitting over $20k a year toward his retirement alone).

    It's funny, but he lives in Lake Orion and works between Clarkston and Lake Orion and the 600 miles a month was apparently not enough. I addressed this in the 11/28/11 meeting and then Dr. Rock had a rebuttal for me at the end of the meeting. According to the minutes of the 11/28/11 meeting as noted on the 12/12/11 board packet, "He stated there were no improprieties on the Transparency Report, and he will continue to make bold statements for the students we serve". I am not sure what giving a very highly paid employee twice as much car/mileage allowance money as his contract dictates has to do with "making bold statements for the students we serve", but if the transparency report shows the employee received a $7,200 car allowance for the 2010/2011 school year and his contract that started a few months into that year states that he is to receive 600 miles a month at the max IRS rate (currently 51 cents a mile), then he is saying that the transparency report is correct and that he paid the employee almost exactly double the car/mileage allowance he was supposed to receive via his contract.

    Which is the worst violation of public trust?

    The employees who work under him (doing the actual work of the district) took massive pay cuts in 2009. With his additional responsibilities at Orion Schools, he received a 20% raise and I'd imagine he passed off a sizable amount of his workload to those under him who took pay cuts because I'm sure he couldn't possibly double his actual workload (unless he wasn't putting in a 40 hour work week to begin with...).

    This action is a violation of the contract with Orion Schools. Both boards had to approve the original contract, so how did this change come about? There was no request from administration to the board to approve this change in the contract.

    The proposed bond is another interesting issue for several reasons... Affordability, logic for including the items for the bond, the numbers do not make sense, etc...

    Can this community really afford this bond? The bond request documentation from the 12/12/11 board packet is very confusing and I doubt it is accurate. Check it out and see if it makes any sense to you... Here is a link to it: http://www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/education/sctemp/4288772b419890301bccf78c5cf48a0d/1323488562/December_12_2011_Packet.pdf

    The bond information is at the very end of the board packet (just zip down to the bottom ten pages of the 258 page document).

    It is far more complex than the documents reflect.

    Please come to the 12/12/11 board meeting at 6 PM. Administration changed the start time of the board meeting again... They will be discussing the proposed bond at the very end of the meeting, which is expected to be very long.

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