Monday, December 04, 2006

Desnews: Is Davis District liable for funds?

Davis School District may need to repay some, or all, of the 4 million dollars that were misused by the Rosses.

The Federal government is known to have recouped amounts of thousands from other Districts in Utah, but we've never seen the refund amount to millions.

This could be a first.

This is so unprecedented that we shouldn't jump into oncoming traffic yet.

Let's wait and see if the District is able to recover money from frozen accounts. Let's wait for the final price tag.

Is Davis District liable for funds?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Clippertoday: Skate park gets the ax once again

Mayor Joe Johnson is upset that people show up to later meetings in droves, but the initial meetings have low to no attendance. This is a long-standing belief that the Mayor has expressed that citizens who come late should not have a say in government. He expressed this when opposition was raised to the Recreation Center.

"The reason you’re not informed is your fault."

Okay, Mayor, I think people can accept your theorem, but not the corollary.

"We do know what makes a successful park."

The Mayor has demonstrated time and again that he is impervious to public input. Fortunately, this time, the city council chose, another way, to vote against the skate park at Tolman (Rocket part).

Skate park gets the ax once again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Legislature to audit schools

I don't have a category for criminal activity. That is because we don't generally see criminal activity in local government.

(insert laughter here)

No, I'm serious. I think that most problems in government come from incompetence, or ignorance. Not intent to do wrong.

I also don't consider myself to be someone who accuses others. We're all passengers on this ship, and as such should consider it our responsibility to point out the iceberg when we see one.

So, I'm relieved to hear that the legislature wants to work with school boards to audit school districts accounting, and budgeting, practices. Not because they will find more fraud, but that they will find more waste.

Legislators may home in on Davis funds scandal

Monday, November 27, 2006

Utah Planner's Corner: What a View... for Me!

Wilf Sommerkorn has a thoughtful piece on the NSL/SL land dispute. He's attempting to be balanced on the issue, and so doesn't let loose with any sort of conclusion. I have to concur with his feelings about the place, though.
"No question, this is a great area. The views are fantastic! Given the rapid pace of development in Davis County and all along the Wasatch Front, it is nice to have some areas that stay undeveloped. But...but, to some degree, it does strike me as more of the Gangplank syndrome (you know, "I'm aboard, now hoist up the gangplank and don't let anyone else on board!")"
I must say that NSL wants to preserve the land and they have a plan to do so. Starting by building some trailhead. If the land isn't going to be trampled by naturists, then we should lay some groundwork for them.

What a View...For Me!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Lessons learned from 4 Million stolen

The embezzlement of 4 Million dollars from Davis County School District can teach us a valuable lesson. When the feelings of betrayal have past, and the District is forced to contend with it's books for next year, then we may learn that we can do more with less.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Rosses allegedly kept up this fraud for Twenty-one years! And, what were they doing in that time? They were trumpeting to the District the need for more money to supply the schools with what they needed. They were, in essence, inflating the existing budget to pay for their own exorbitant lifestyle.

True, the Rosses cut many more corners than is prudent for thieves. For example, they dealt out xerox copies of many textbooks. The materials were described as "crummy" by Superintendent Bowles. Yet, the fact that must not be overlooked when we address the new problem of replacing all these books is that the budget must be revised to meet the realistic needs of the District. For, many of the books, under the Rosses stewardship, were sold to the District for as much as seven times the amount charged by the publishers!

The Rosses are, of course, saying that they are innocent. They may be innocent, but if they are, they were incompetent fools with the Districts money.

When criminals, or alleged criminals, get to be in charge of budgets, then budgets grow. Now that these budgets will be returned to responsible hands, those in charge must remember in what ways they were duped. It wasn't just with "crummy" materials, but it was also in high prices.

Couple accused of $4M school scam

Monday, November 20, 2006

Centerville Citizen: Mayor Russell response on Main Street

Centerville seems intent upon creating a faster way through town-as opposed to a faster way to town. The word, 'transportation', has become such a buzzword this election cycle that it has been assumed that any solution presented in which this word can be invoked, must be a good one.

Centerville Citizen has posted a letter from Mayor Russell in which it is urged that Centerville needs to develop it's "heart". The way to this 'heart' is said to be an expansion of Main Street. Well, if Main Street is already at the center of town. If it is the heart, I would ask Mayor Russell where this new artery will lead, but out of the City.

The only way this could succeed is if Main Street were almost entirely zoned as commercial. There is a certain point at which residents want to drive slowly, and that point begins and ends at home.

This plan seems ill conceived. More still, it will lead to neighboring cities expanding adjoining streets to accommodate this action, carving it's swath throughout South Davis. Truly, this is a plan that favors commuters out of Davis County, not those who reside along the corridor.

Center offers report on charter schools

Utah Education Policy Center has released it's findings on Charter Schools. The Legislature will have this 200 page report(pdf), as well as an audit performed by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General before it makes it's decision on what to do about Charter Schools.

Center offers report on charter schools

Scrutinize charter schools

This post falls under the category of Waste, because we're not quite sure if Charter schools are wasteful. No criteria exist to measure their actual benefit. Charter Schools are still experimental

Here are the Charter Schools that exist in South Davis County. Two were added this year.
All other Schools in the state are listed below.

Utah Charter Schools

The measure put in place to protect our investment is to cap the creation of new Charter Schools. Five new schools per year for the State. The Deseret News Editorial board has urged lawmakers to continue to curb growth of these schools until we can measure their effectiveness.

That is good advice.

D.A.R.E.: On the Chopping Block

During the Republican Convention, Sheriff Bud Cox, pledged his support for the D.A.R.E. program. Meaning he intends to continue to use the Federal money he receives for it. Because, it turns out that this program depends upon the Byrne Grants. The Byrne grants are dollars given to local law enforcement to assist in fighting against drugs, and drug related crimes.

Up to now, funding for local drug education efforts have been given with no strings attached. Since 2004, however, the Whitehouse has made a continuous recommendation that the program either be cut, or that metrics be put in place to provide justification for the grants. The Whitehouse tried to cut them from the 2005 budget, but they were saved by the Legislature, funding them, at the previous years levels.

The Byrne Grants could be in jeopardy, again, unless local law enforcement can provide better metrics of their performance. Orrin Hatch, as recently as March 2004 has pledged his support for these grants but the Whitehouse has continued to identify these grants as 'Not performing'. To date no one has suggested how the success, or failure of these programs should be determined.

Accusations have been leveled at this Administration for overspending Federal dollars. Yet, we can't seem to stop begging for more from the same Government. How do we hold ourselves accountable for money we receive from the Federal Government? The answer is that we don't, unless it is required of us. If the Federal government does require that we report back on D.A.R.E, would Bud Cox think it is worth saving? Could we wean ourselves off of Federal handouts?

P.S. I had this post completely written when I came across this article echoing my sentiments. It gives, much better than I have here, some background on the Byrne grants, and reasons why they should only be given with the requirement of accountability. Now that the balance of power has shifted, so drastically, towards the Democrats, it is incumbent upon them to prove they can live without earmarks.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bountiful: City Council: Various and sundry items

Bountiful's City Council met on Tuesday to discuss the following.
  • A crosswalk will be added at 200 East and 1200 North for better student access to Tolman Elementary.
  • A recommendation to paint no parking zones on 500 West and 2700 South at Colonial Square.
  • A skate park at Tolman Park, also known as Rocket Park.
Who knew about the skate park beforehand?
What are the Pro's to adding to Rocket Park?
  • A place for skaters to congregate off of the roads.
  • "10 foot park style bowl and then an 8 foot pool, with pool cope and all. a good flow section and nice street."
  • A skate park at the Rec Center may not be built, saving the County residents money.
What are the Con's to building at Rocket Park?
  • The area is secluded and may attract child predators and crime. (The park is secluded, so this argument may hold no water)
  • No supervision, pointing to safety concerns.
  • The Park is not centrally located, and is uphill.
  • No venues are close, and buses are scarce.
Hat tip: Clippertoday

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.