While I was investigating Chula Vista Elementary, some interesting information about Cajon Valley Union School District in El Cajon popped up.
I have known for a long time that San Diego County Office of Education was spending large amounts of tax dollars on lawyers representing CVESD, so I reasoned that CVESD's insurance premiums must be going up.
I found some interesting figures on the Ed-Data Website.
CVESD was doing very well in 2001-02, paying only $331,539 for insurance, which was half as much per child as the average elementary district in California.
Then things started to go south. The next year that amount almost doubled. The year after that, CVESD reported expenditures of over $2 MILLION for its self-insurance fund, and $1,606,693 for 2004-05.
What happened? The "site-based decision-making" policies established by former superintendent Libia Gil in the 1990's began to bear fruit.
Gil's strategy was to allow problems to fester at schools until things went out of control, at which point Libia Gil, Richard Werlin and Lowell Billings came in and, without investigating, took arbitrary action in violation of the law. The superintendent's salary skyrocketed, but this was justified by the fact that Gil eliminated the positions of many district administrators who had been overseeing the schools. This was exactly what the school board wanted. In fact, the school board had brought Libia Gil down from Seattle to establish just this sort of top-down management-without-accountability.
The insurance figures I found for CVESD looked bad, but I wanted to be fair. I thought I should look at a similar district for comparison.
So I looked at Cajon Valley Union School District. I was shocked to see that Cajon Valley went from a pretty reasonable $402,611 in 2001-02, to (hang on to your hat) more than $14 MILLION in 2004-05!!!
I know that CVESD is corrupt. But what does this information tell me about Cajon Valley?
What is going on in Cajon Valley???
How could school districts save millions on insurance premiums and payouts? By obeying the law!
Obeying the law would have the added advantage of eliminating one of the basic reasons that schools are failing in their job of educating children. School board members, school administrators and teachers devote vast amounts of taxpayer money and teacher union dollars to protecting the power of the corrupt. This money, and the huge amount of time and energy that these individuals devote to protecting their personal power, should be spent on educating children.
The three members of CVESD's ruling clique, Patrick Judd, Pamela Smith and Larry Cunningham, seem to be incapable of acting in their own best interest, much less the best interest of children and taxpayers. These three have led the district into multiple and continuing violations of law. And the other two board members, Cheryl Cox and Bertha Lopez, are shamefully silent about it.