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PLEASE help by sending an email to Public Comments saying "NO" to Policy Code: DC Budgeting and Fiscal Management!
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Per our May 11th Guilford County Board Mtg., our board, under the direction of the Superintendent Sharon Contreras, has released a total of 16 policies that are out for public review for 30 days. With some of the Board seeing these new policies for the first time, much heat came with the discussions. It was also stated, that moving forward, the Policy Committee had decided that they would no longer inform the rest of the board members about new policies nor would they be discussing the policies before releasing them to the public for the 30-day review. Moving forward the board would find out about the policies the same time the public is notified, and questions are only to be addressed to the Superintendent, BOE Chair and the Chair of the committee. This was stated at least two times and Chair Jenkins even tried to get the board to vote on it.
Many board members were very concerned as this does not give the board enough time to research for themselves what the policies are nor does it give them any input before being released to the public. They felt that they need to understand the policies before being released to the public so that they can help their constituents navigate and be able to answer questions. By making this change one could say that those on the committee are elevated above the other board members and that the other’s opinions mean nothing. One thing was very clear. Some on the Policy Committee seem to think they have the power to do what ever it is they or she wants. This new GCS policy surely proves that.
Having listened to this board mtg multiple times and researched all that Board Member Linda Welbourn had to share, it seems that 2-15 of the 16 policies are from the North Carolina School Board Association and are suggested updates that are given to all North Carolina School Boards that are members. The one policy, the first Policy Code: DC Budgeting and Fiscal Management is the ONLY Guilford County School Board policy made by the GCS policy committee.
GCS Policy Committee consists of: Newly elected Betty Jenkins (D) as Chair, Khem Irby (D), Vice Chair Winston McGregor (D), Anita Sharpe (R) and staff Liaison Superintendent Sharon Contreras (D).
Concerns here are that a freshman member is the chair. Newly elected, how could she possibly even know what is expected or what protocol is required? Only one Republican, so this is what Anita Sharpe meant about always being out voted. WHY would the Superintendent be the staff liaison? Previous Superintendent was too busy to sit on a committee.
To summarize the NCSBA, a board’s primary duties include: providing every child a sound basic education…, SETTING EDUCATION POLICY … & OVERSEEING the implementation of policies…, making decisions about the superintendent’s personnel recommendations, MANAGING THE FINANCIAL AFFAIRS OF THE UNIT and providing adequate school facilities.
We found that in policy 9030 B.1. the NCSBA says that the superintendent is required to report directly to the school board monthly ALL change orders that were approved by the superintendent at the monthly meetings. We also found in footnote 2 it states that “to ensure the board retains sufficient control over its contracts, we recommend that the amount not exceed $50,000…”. In footnote 7 it also states the change orders amount requiring board approval should be the same as amount of the superintendents contracting authority. It clearly states that this is done to ensure board approval is obtained for construction and repair contracts… In addition it states additional requirements for contracts in excess of $300,000. Essentially all needing change orders and to be approved by the board.
POLICY CODE: DC Budgeting and Fiscal Management Should have every tax paying citizen concerned and here is why. If our schools are in constant need of more funds, please explain why our current Superintendent Sharon Contreras is allowed to purchase equipment/material/supplies, whatever she likes without Board approval as long as it is under $149,999 as many times as she likes within a year. Now she is asking to have that amount raised to $350,000 or more.
Construction or repair contracts was $300,000. Superintendent Sharon Contreras is now asking for $500,000 or more with all construction or repair project change orders no longer being needed.
No other school district allows these amounts. Superintendent Contreras said the NCSBA only shows what smaller districts should allow. These are other large districts and the level required for board approval:
Wake, the school district she is always comparing us to, Board approval for all Eq./Materials/Supplies. Services is $100,000 or more. Construction/Repair Contracts that require public adv. and comp. bidding ($500,000 or more). Change orders for anything over $100,000.
Charlotte requires the Board chair to approve contracts $90,000 and up for Eq./Materials/Supplies/Services. Board Construction/Repair and all change orders are $90,000.
If this Policy: DC Budgeting and Fiscal Management passes, which it will because it will most likely be voted down party lines, what is the point of having a school board? They are not encouraged to go to their schools, and they are not encouraged to engage with their constituents. They obviously have no control over the superintendent and the majority are complicit in allowing and giving the superintendent all that she desires.
GCS just added 4 new executives to their administration. Back in December we learned that 5.2% of our budget goes to our administration in downtown. Just over 80% of our money goes into the schools. There seems to be around 15% of our budget goes elsewhere. Now we have just increased our administration cost plus the other positions that were promoted since January. Why are we adding executive positions while our teachers are left with no raise? Why are we having to beg the commissioners to find money in their budget to increase pay for group of bus drivers who were going to strike? Why are we paying for outside consultants to train our staff on subjects not related to our State curriculum? The information given to us previously are friends with Todd Warren. Keep asking questions.....
In light of the recent article in Greensboro News & Record (see below) with GCS Employees being interviewed, we believe it is necessary to present the truth of emails sent by Board of Education Members and GCS Staff. Based on their emails, it is our opinion they didn't agree with the dismissal of Dr. Dennis. The information is below for you to create your own opinion.
Emails from BOE Member and GCS Staff.
Email from BOE Member
Guilford County Schools False Reporting
Actual Report - 1/14/20
Reports By Guilford County Schools or Other Media Coverage