Transparency Matters

Remarks to BOE March 25, 2021

by Diane Payne

I am bringing to your attention Action Item 25 – Change Order summary for a March total of $572,147.  Every single month there is a change order amount on the Action Item list and approved w/o question by the Board.  The only time I can recall the change order being discussed was after the Ben Franklin/SLA fiasco that had a ballooned price tag that couldn’t be ignored but ultimately could in fact be swept under the rug.  For this year, the total amount resulting from change orders is $3,026,326.  Maybe this 3 million is quite legit.  But we don’t know.  

We don’t know because the information provided in Change Order Action Items fail to delineate whether the change was initiated by the District or the contractor nor do we know the reason for the change. I have brought this lack of transparency regarding change orders to your attention in past testimonies.  Full transparency for Change Order Action Items would provide not just the name of the contractor, school, and amount but also who is generating the order and why. A running tally of the percentage of the change order for the project should be included to monitor if it remains within standard expectations.  The monthly Action Item language describing Change Order summaries is insufficient for real transparency.  Every dollar matters.

What also matters is caring about what the public needs for true engagement.  I ask that you rescind the speaker policy changes which are insulting, disrespectful, and fail to adhere to the Sun Shine Act.  Limiting speakers and speaker time is incredibly disengaging.  How many people were denied their ability to publicly bring matters of concern before you tonight?   Goals and Guardrails that don’t include respect for stakeholders are doomed to fail.  Members of the public, please go to Action Network and sign the petition to demand the Board rescind these changes.