A little money for this, A little money for that, but no books for the kids!

August 18, 1998

Financial Accountability in Snohomish School District

I am deeply concerned about the spending in the school district; which appears to be out of control in my opinion. Here are some factual observations that I made that support my opinion.

1. Why did the district spend $300 each for eleven participants to go to Yakima in September 1997 with separate hotel bills for each? Could they not have shared rooms &/or shared information that would not have required so many expenses?

2. Why do individuals get reimbursements without any receipts? This was formerly brought to the district's attention with Jerry Simicich's $490 item and yet Dr. Tresvant then has $259.10 for Cavanaughs in Spokane on 4-25-98 without a receipt. Why does this not stop?

3. Dave Tomlin has voucher 4052 on warrant 8302 for $551 for 2 classes at SPU, yet there is no indication that he completed the classes with a passing grade. Wouldn't it be more prudent and reasonable to reimburse for "pertinent" coursework only after it is documented that it was successfully completed?

4. With so little money for textbooks or band instruments, why is the district paying for Sally Evans (the Superintendent's secretary) to attend conferences in Spokane in January with the Superintendent?

5. With putting the students at the center of each decision, would it not have made more sense to send one representative to the conference in Phoenix last September who would report back to all applicable parties rather than paying separately for Price, Schroeder & Simicich (who brought his wife)? Registration was approximately $600 each, air fare $300 each, hotel & meals for Price and Schroeder were not disclosed but presumably cost similar to Simicich at $800 each. How did spending an extra $3,400 for two more participants benefit the students of Snohomish?

6. With the High School in such disrepair that the weight room is a health hazard, why would the principal or assistant Cedargreen get paid mileage and parking for such things as:

Traveling from home to school

Attending an art show

Going to girls' BB game

Going to "games"?

(You can refer to voucher #2628 for warrant 5058 of $209.70 for delineation of several of these charges.)

7. With students complaining of poor heating in the classroom, why is the District paying for Dr. Tresvant's latte's and other goodies; or what about what I call the "pizza party" on March 17th? ($99.00 just for the pizza-yikes!!)

8. Why is the district support staff making adjustments on expense reports for deleting reimbursements of alcoholic beverages? While they are at it, why don't they delete for exotic deserts too? In other words, neither should ever be claimed and it is doubly costly to expect the support staff to keep catching the administration's "mistakes". Besides, the policy says employees are to take care of their own meals with limited exceptions and the receipts I reviewed did not even meet the criteria for those exceptions. They should not have been paid at all, yet alone adjusted for payment.

Something needs to be done to stop this gross neglect of spending of our tax dollars. One administrator asked me to "be patient" - I wonder if he would have had the courage to look a young child in the eyes, deny him basic materials for learning, and then tell him to "be patient" ...as the superintendent is upstairs sipping a latte and eating a free lunch.

Name Withheld