Parents for Responsible Education Spending (PRES) Statement about EUSD Budget Vote
June 28, 2016
PRES urged the EUSD Board last week to oppose the Superintendent’s proposal to spend $800,000 to continue his Health & Wellness (H&W) Program (Yoga). This wasn’t about whether anyone liked yoga, rather about transparency and accountability. PRES discovered the research the Superintendent relied on and used to sell his H&W program had been unethically compromised with secret payments to the USD Clinical Director and the actual results ultimately indicated a decline in our kids’ physical and behavioral benchmarks. Still the Superintendent continued his false claims of effectiveness of the study and the results in the EUSD schools, all the while failing to disclose his acceptance of luxurious travel perks from the Sonima Foundation, and Sonima’s hiring of Baird’s very own daughter for employment.
PRES raised these significant facts to the EUSD Board members on June 7th and started a petition to oppose the spending of general fund money on this program, which garnered over 900 signatures. Yet again, the Superintendent and the Board muddled the numbers and continued to defend the program despite the false claims and facts suggesting ineffectiveness of the program. The Superintendent tried to call it a “compromise” that was a win-win for parents, and the Board bought his spin, and voted yes despite it being so confusing they had to keep asking for clarification as to what they were voting for.
The result is Baird keeps his special interest H&W program that is premised on false results, and is now using District funds. The reality is the Board approved a budget that still funds 100% of these full-time H&W contractors at each school, while ONLY funding 40% of the credentialed enrichment teachers for core curriculum subjects. In other words, the District has agreed to pay 100% for full- time compensation packages for contractors teaching what the Superintendent values most (yoga), yet only 40% of teacher compensation that parents value – academic intervention specialists, accelerated math specialists and traditional credentialed physical education teachers. Parents are left with the onus to provide those salaries and they won’t be given full-time hours as their yoga counterparts.’s this
The arbitrary vote and its import is consistent with the Board’s record of rubber-stamping the Superintendent’s agendas. They have voted with 3320 consecutive “yes” votes over the past three years and ZERO “no” votes. They failed to acknowledge the 900+ signature opposition and placed more value on the select voices of two young students, two moms, and Paul Ecke PTA President Rebecca Conley who spoke on behalf of the entire school as the PTA president, notably in violation of the rules of the PTA. We saw the Superintendent and Board’s mode of operation in effect that night, as they subsequently awarded money for Paul Ecke to the tune of approximately $95,000 and told Ms. Conley that they “were done with giving Paul Ecke things, so [she] could leave.”
The Board’s lack of accountability to the Citizens, their back-door deals, and refusal to investigate the Superintendent’s special interests have infuriated families. Stakeholders are increasingly dissatisfied, and fundraising for the schools has been placed in serious jeopardy. Hundreds of families have vocalized they will not donate money to the District this coming fall. PRES continues its quest for the truth and is determined to seek the transparency and accountability from the District authorities. We continue to gather documentation and crunch the numbers to expose and eliminate the staggering waste that exists in EUSD’s $50,000,000 budget so the community can trust and invest in our nine elementary schools again. Our recall action of present Board members will continue as we respectfully await the outcome of the investigation by the relevant authorities.