Over the past year, it has been my privilege to chair the AUSD Measure A Oversight Committee. In the near future, our Committee will issue the first annual oversight report for Measure A. Our objective is to report to the public whether the funds from Measure A have been expended toward the funding priorities set forth by Measure A (such as small class sizes of 25:1; neighborhood elementary schools; attracting and retaining excellent teachers; and many more). The interim reports indicate that AUSD is on track to expend the Measure A funds as provided for in the Measure.
The entire committee is very engaged. We are all active community members, and many of us have children attending schools in the district. There are two distinctions that are important to point out relative to our roles as Committee members. First, our role is not to perform a detailed audit of school district finances. This is done annually by a professional audit firm. Second, our role is also not to direct how funds from this measure should be allocated- just that they are in accordance with the funding priorities provided for in the Measure.
Sadly, in the current political climate, a few have made statements suggesting that the Committee will be a “rubber stamp” for the administration. I take strong exception to such characterization. I am a CPA and spent 10 years of my career as an auditor. I won’t “rubber stamp” anything. I am happy to say that every single committee member has been engaged, and has brought great questions and insight to our committee meetings. The district staff have been well prepared and transparent, and the meetings have run very smoothly. This is a good thing.
Finally, I have to chuckle just a bit. Given the rhetoric these few people have tried to spread about the Measure A Oversight Committee, I can count on one finger, the members of the public who have attended our meetings. One. Single. Person. That was in October 2011, our very first meeting, which was more organizational than a substantive discussion related to actual expenditures. So I wonder how these people who have made these statements developed their opinions, since they have never been to a meeting? That spells a credibility problem to me.
On that note, I absolutely encourage those who are interested to attend our meetings. They are public meetings, and we welcome public comments.
Chair, Measure A Oversight Committee