This is Not Public Engagement

Testimony of Diane Payne at the special Action Meeting October 7, 2021

When members of the public testify before this Board, questions are asked and go unanswered.  This is a 400-million-dollar vote.  Questions should not go unanswered. 

Why was this Action Item so poorly advertised?  A small, hard to read public legal notice – posted 6 days prior to the meeting – with NO supporting Board information except a date appearing on the Board calendar continues the pattern of giving lip service to transparency while failing in actual delivery of transparency. 

Why did the Board schedule this meeting with such short notice?  Why wasn’t it scheduled when parents, staff, students, and community members would be able to attend?  

For members of the public trying to understand this complicated issue, leaving the public in total darkness, scheduling the meeting when most stakeholders cannot be present, and a last-minute notice all adds up to the District Financial office and the Board aligned with making monumental financial decisions while virtually shutting out the public who pays for it through tax dollars.

Bond issuances enrich Wall Street power brokers.  Has the Board instructed the District’s CFO to report on possible ways to obtain the funds we need through public avenues that push back against toxic Wall Street debt?  Will Board members support a public bank initiative? Will we receive a report on who the bond purchasers are and how much money they will make tax free on these bonds?

The lack of answers to these questions highlight the lack of concern for both transparency, engagement, and democratic values.

Lastly…Stop speaker suppression.  Remove the cap.