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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

School District Has "Backslid" Says City Council

School District Called To The Mat 
By Council

The Emery school board and the city council changed an earlier vote and unanimously granted $200,000 for consulting contractors to assist in a "change of culture" to implement programs associated with the Center of Community Life.  The money request was rebuffed vigorously at a contentious January meeting wherein city councilwoman Ruth Atkin admonished the School District for "going down the wrong direction".

The January request for $200,000 to pay the consultants, the National Equity Project and Partners In School Innovation, jarred council member Ruth Atkin; "If we still need culture change after 10 years, we're going down the wrong direction, we're not being effective" she said adding, "This sounds like the School District has seriously backslid."  Ms Atkin's colleagues chimed in expressing concern about the direction of the District.  Ms Atkin noted the money request seemed to represent a disturbing drift in District policy, "The scale has swung to 'process' from academic achievement" she lamented.

Before a shovelful of dirt has been taken, the $200,000 ultimately approved at the February City/Schools meeting will be added to the $2 million of Measure J bond money already spent on the Center of Community Life, a school/community center project to be built on San Pablo Avenue.
Emeryville voters passed Measure J in November 2010 to authorize $95 million in bonds to build the Center of Community Life but crashing assessed valuation in Emeryville has dropped the bonding capacity to $40 million.  District officials note $8 million was recently added by the federal government in the form of a low interest loan. The city's defunct Redevelopment Agency was to kick in an extra $25 million but those funds may now not be available, leaving just $48 million to build a project originally slated to cost $120 million.


  1. Welcome to reality. This is an example of the modern way of working with public schools; no money for program and plenty for consultants--remember no child left behind? It should have read no consultant left behind!

  2. So $95m in bonding capacity became $40m, plus an $8m loan= $48m, minus $2 million already spent on consultants, lunches and 'community outreach', and now, minus another .2 million for consultants to 'change the culture' ---I assume by hiring Frank Flores as a motivational speaker and catering.

    So there's only $45.8 million left after all of Nora and Ruth's cronies have been feeding at the trough?
    And Ruth complaining about too much "process?" What a joke.

    The entire ECCL fund would have been better spent creating an endowment that would send all Emeryville children to private schools and public university.

  3. During the search for a new superintendent, EUSD staff asked the School Board for someone who would give the district a fresh start. They were tired of the old ties and backroom politics. Instead, the School Board hired a superintendent who came in the door pushing through a $200,000 contract for the National Equity Project, formerly known as the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, i.e. BAYCES - the same group that was here just a few years ago doing school improvement work that failed. Keyword: “FAILED.” Who got blamed? The same people who asked for a fresh start: EUSD staff. The School Board doesn’t care about their morale.

    So what do they care about? Reinforcing the same old ties, the stinking crap we’ve lived with for years.

    Tony Smith worked for NEP when he came to EUSD after the State took over. The Emeryville Center of Community Life is his legacy. As a superintendent, he left behind a mess. Three superintendents later and this small community is still struggling to make sense of that over-sized project. According to NEP’s website, John Gooding, the architect of Smith’s appointment as superintendent, has been an NEP board member since 2004. Anakarita Allen, ESS Principal, has been on NEP’s board since 2006. Superintendent Lindo also served on NEP’s board up to the point when she was hired by EUSD. Do you see the ties? Obviously the School Board wasn’t interested in a fresh start or hiring a superintendent capable of leading change. If they were, they would expect Lindo and Allen, the two highest paid “educators” in the district, to apply what they’ve learned from NEP instead of our having to pay “their” organization $200,000.

    Let’s add up the cost of this scam game: $200,000 contract to pay NEP for school improvement; $170,000 (est) Superintendent Lindo’s salary and benefits; $140,000 (est) ESS Principal Allen’s salary and benefits; and $110,000 (est) AYES Principal Lathan’s salary and benefits. That’s roughly $620,000 to pay administrators and consultants to improve school culture in a district that serves less than 750 students at two sites that sit three blocks apart. Although Lathan doesn’t appear to be involved in this scam game, her salary matters in the overall scheme of things.

    Here’s an alternative: spend $200,000 to hire a kick ass K-12 school leader who knows what they’re doing, who can build trust by giving the district the fresh start it deserves, and $120,000 to hire someone to assist them. That’s an annual savings of $100K in administrator salaries alone. Forget the $200,000 in consulting fees. That money would be better spent on a community bonfire of the whole ECCL project.

    Einstein said it best folks: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” If bringing NEP back to EUSD isn’t doing the same thing all over again, what is? It would be different if NEP was productive during their last stint at EUSD. They weren’t!!! How much did EUSD pay in consulting fees for NEP when Smith was here? That’s why none of the officials, including Ruth Atkins, who authorized the new NEP contract, who’ve been shoving ECCL down our throats for years any way they can, can complain about anything. It’s all one big pile of stinking crap and all of their hands are in it! The only way we can get beyond this era of insanity is to elect people who will put education first, who are free of these old ties or at least willing to end them once and for all. Until then, we should expect is failure.

    It’s time to revolt. Enough is enough!