2/23/10 TPS Board Meeting notes

These notes were graciously sent by Darlene Fisher

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TPS Board sorts through the big issues:

1) Budget and Cost Cutting – Board will be meeting on March 3rd at 5:30 to review the list of budget cuts. Then they will hold a public hearing surrounding those cuts on March 15 or 17 at Start High School. Cuts will be adopted at the March 23rd meeting.
They are looking at cutting close to $17 million and raising $18 million with May levy proposal which is a Continuous Income Tax Levy at .75% for all those who earn income and reside in the Toledo school district. Sobecki said all cuts will be on the table including a reference to Athletics when they passed the resolution to allow Fremont Ross into the City Athletic League (Findlay City and Lima ended up deciding not to join the Toledo City League). Vasquez mentioned about the audit committee they established and that Patsy Scott and John Moore are serving on that external audit committee and they attended the Finance meeting.

AFSCME Union President commented his support for the levy saying it won’t adversely affect those who are currently unemployed or retired. The TFT and TAAP reps had not comment as of yet.

2) Super Search – interesting situation occurred and it seems they are off to a slow search as apparently there were only 3 organizations that responded to the RFP by the deadline of Friday 2/19 at 4:00 PM. Board members commented they only received the information the evening before the meeting and that left no time for a full review or reference checks of any of the organizations. Vasquez said the cost estimates were $20,000, $25,000 and $28,000 not including expenses such as travel, adversting etc. Vasquez and Ford came prepared to introduce a resolution contracting with the Ohio School Boards Association – but the reso was tabled after Sykes and Hill expressed concern. Sykes was miffed he didn’t get the information earlier and he said he was not a supporter of the OSBA, saying their expertise is with smaller school districts. Ford made an interesting statement basically saying TPS is no longer a large urban district – at 26,000 enrollment. He also said they are probably looking for someone to come in from a smaller district as an opportunity to move up. They discussed if they should consider using Proact Search again, for the 3rd time since that firm was used by board vote both for the Sanders and Foley hiring. Sobecki and Ford were against using them again. Sykes stated it was not the result of the search firm that the district ended up with candidates that were not initially brought forward from the search firm. The other firm that responded to the RFP was Ray and Associates. Board said they will take this resolution up at the 3/3 meeting. They also mentioned that the OSBA would not guarantee candidates who eventually are hired – meaning if the process didn’t result in a hired Superintendent their work would still need to be paid for and a new search commenced. For those that recall in 2006, several firms applied – even non traditional search firms. The board held public interviews of the final 3 firms and ended up with a 3-2 vote to hire Proact Search confirmed by votes of Sykes, Steel and Barnett at the time. Further, in 2000 and 2006 – both times the Board ended up hiring someone who was not an initial candidate brought forward by the search firms. Sykes did raise the question if this discussion should be held in public and the answer was yes this would not be a reason for executive session.

3) More discussion was had about the minority contractor issue. Sykes brought up the fact that TPS no longer has anyone monitoring it now. There was a previous contract with Jay Black but it was not clear what resulted from that $20,000 contract work, if anything. He also mentioned the person in the district charged with monitoring minority contracts has now retired. There was a contractor in the audience who tried to speak during this discussion but President Vasquez quickly quieted him. They did reject a painting bid for Birmingham submitted by 7 Brothers Painting company.

4) Everything else was pretty standard. There was a discussion about if a board member can send a letter of support to someone using board letterhead and the answer was no, only can they do so if the entire board approves and supports such action. Sobecki mentioned the times for the Policy and OFSC sub committee meetings will be changed to evening meetings since she has recently taken a daytime paid position.

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board members using TPS letterhead was quite interesting. How quickly the board members and the public forget. Larry Sykes wrote many a threatening letter to private citizens on TPS letterhead. I know of at least five people that he wrote threatening letters to using TPS letterhead. As a matter of fact now that I think about it I was one of those people! It was also during this time that private citizens were being investigated by TPS and company.

There seems to be a quietness about the audit's missing money, Dan Burn's role, the private investigations and the outcome of the Steve Steel Investigation. This seems to be in the process of being swept under the proverbial TPS rug. All of these questions need to be answered before TPS asks for more money from an unsuspecting and forgiving public.

I spoke at this board meeting requesting information surrounding the disappearance of $225,000 from the coffers of the Discipline Committee started by Jack Ford. I have been asking for months where the $225,000 is and my question has been met with silence.

Where is the money Mr. Vasquez? That is one quarter of a million dollars that has disappeared and if it hasn't disappeared why the silence as to where the money is? How does $225,000 just disappear?

Francine Lawrence has also requested an accounting of this money. Whether or not she has gotten an answer remains to be seen. She has also been silent on this issue. Maybe it went to her teachers for another program. Now you see it now you don't. But come on a quarter of a million dollars? Where is the beef, I mean money?

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