Current Price of WNW: $924,266.50 and more….

Witt, Newkirk, and Williams have now directly cost the District almost $1 million dollars it did not have budgeted for this year.  They have done this in less than four months.  Please see our blog page The Current Price of WNW+Miller for a detailed breakdown.

This is from a group of people who campaigned against Amendment 66 as being wasteful of taxpayer money.  Mr. Newkirk, who is so obsessed with PERA that he tried to reduce any PERA contributions the District would make for the new Superintendent (and won’t that encourage highly-qualified candidates to apply!), seems completely oblivious to the fact that his and Witt and Williams actions have actually increased the District’s expenses by an amount equal to the teacher staffing of a small elementary school.

But the real cost may come later.  WNW are wanting to reduce the Reserve Fund by $7.5 million dollars, giving a lot of it charter schools.  As was noted in the letter from Kelly Johnson (“Broken Promise?“), this would violate a promise made by the District Board in 2012 to the taxpayers of JeffCo on how the revenue from 3A/3B would be spent.  In short, WNW apparently does not feel bound by promises made by the Board and the District prior to their taking control.  This is a very dangerous attitude with possible consequences far beyond not having the enough money in the Reserve Fund when the next economic downturn occurs.

As citizens and taxpayers, we expect government to honor its commitments, even after a change in who runs the government.  This is key element of what makes democracy work.  A new government must be bound by the promises made by a previous government, especially in the form of raising money for government operations.  This goes back to the American Revolution.  After we achieved our independence and the new government was formed, there was a fierce debate in Congress over whether the new government should honor the Continental Congress’ bonds.  There were many who argued that there was no connection between the Continental Congress and the new Congress of the United States, so the new Congress should not pay the bond holders.  This would have meant those who held the bonds would have gotten nothing in return for the money they lent to the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War.

Alexander Hamilton argued convincingly that the new Congress must honor the debt and obligations taken on by the old Continental Congress.  If not, he warned, no other country would trust the new government or any subsequent government.  The brand new country would have broken the trust placed in it by people and friends when it desperately needed their help.  By honoring that debt, the new government would build on that trust, enabling it to be extended and enhanced, helping both the bond-holders, and the new government.  Hamilton’s view won the day, and the United States has never broken it’s promise to it’s bond holders.

We did come close as a country to destroying that trust last year when extremists tried to push the United States into default.  When it came down to the wire, though, wiser heads prevailed, and the trust was maintained.

The people of every governing body must always keep in mind that they are but momentary actors in government.  The promises of government cannot be limited to the tenure of individuals.  If it is, then no one will trust it.  Therefore each member of a governing body needs to remember that they are part of a relay race.  They must take the baton of trust, handed to them by their predecessors, and then, when the time comes, hand it off smoothly to their successors.  Breaking the promises made by their predecessors is dropping that baton, and with it, the trust of the taxpayers.  Then what happens the next time the taxpayers are asked to fund a new bond issue?  Especially if they feel they cannot rely on any new board keeping the promises of an older one?

WNW is now receiving their baton.  If they divert that money, it will not only be fiscally irresponsible, it will be breaking an explicit promise made to the taxpayers of JeffCo.  WNW will have purposely dropped the baton.  And the taxpayers of JeffCo will remember it.

2 thoughts on “Current Price of WNW: $924,266.50 and more….

  1. $924,266.50 Total… “Wasted” as they write.

    Lets break it down…
    $25,492.50 in completely legal fees. That’s for 3 months. The previous board spent $104,000 in the same amount of time. $34,666 per month. So this new board is saving $26,169 per month! WOW! Great work new board.

    $650,000 for loans to schools. $400,000 to Collegiate Academy and $250,000 to Mountain Phoenix. I’m sure if these were 100% public and not Charter it would be ok to lend them money but since they’re Charter… screw em. Who cares if they’re proficient scorers. You claim they’re poorly managed? Maybe, maybe not. Didn’t one just have a new build and it ran into unexpected energy costs and the like. Are you saying that public schools never run over budget or never need more money? Look at the profieciency scores in this school. I think you’ll be surprised. Far better than a lot of public schools. Would you not loan them money if they were over budget?

    Collegiate Academy…Their elementary is something like 33% minority and 37% free or reduced lunch. 15% total free lunch average including the post elementary. Parents must spend 40 hours of service to the school. Smaller class sizes. Seems nice.

    Mountain Phoenix… a Waldorf Education school. I couldn’t fond numbers on it yet but parent reviews say they have great reading and math and science. They focus on some cool stuff too… orchestra, visual arts, music, band, drama, woodworking, and clay modeling. But the old board wouldn’t have lent them the money. Ok, but the people of JeffCo voted in another board that did and does. Seems like they’re saving a lot on legal fees. Nearly enough to pay for the loans themselves. Maybe they should have just given them the money. LOL

    Lastly, Dr. Stevenson. $248,774

    This BLOG states she was forced out. But she resigned. She already had a new job lined up 2 months ago. She suit because her bosses wanted her to change and she wouldn’t. Seems everyone is happier now. The $44,580 would have been spent on the search for new person anyway. At least no one with Ray and Associates is related to The board president like the last school board. Seems the trend of corruption is on a downward slope not upward.

    What is it with this witch hunt of this board? I’m for successful schools… public, private, charter, magnet, or Mickey Mouse!

    Matt

    • Okay, as you said, “Lets(sic) break it down….”

      $25,492.50 in completely legal fees. That’s for 3 months. The previous board spent $104,000 in the same amount of time. $34,666 per month. So this new board is saving $26,169 per month! WOW! Great work new board.

      Incorrect analysis. Your assumption is that the work for which Mr. Miller billed the District is the same work that had been done during the previous period. First of all, you have not cited the time frame of the previous period. There could have been other things going on, including legal challenges, bond issues to be resolved, etc., that did not occur during Mr. Miller’s first three months. Secondly, you have not shown that the District has not incurred legal costs outside of Mr. Miller. On at least two occasions, the District’s normal law firm has had an attorney present when Mr. Miller was unable to attend for some reason. Thirdly, if you read Mr. Miller’s ‘Letter of Engagement’ you find that his work is solely for the Board and not for the District. Fourthly, if you had paid attention to the objections lodged by Ms. Dahlkemper and Ms. Fellman, you would realize that the regular staff normally did much of the work for which Mr. Miller is being paid $250 an hour. Finally, Mr. Miller actually shows a billing of $2,992.50 and $14,261.00 for December and January, but then he ‘generously’ gives the District a ‘discount’ totaling $7,518.50, or about equal to a month’s ‘retainer’ fee.

      $650,000 for loans to schools. $400,000 to Collegiate Academy and $250,000 to Mountain Phoenix. I’m sure if these were 100% public and not Charter it would be ok to lend them money….

      Invalid conclusion based on an incomplete understanding of how public schools get their money. No regular public school would have been allowed to get into this situation in the first place. Regular public schools have to submit their budgets for approval to the District. Changes in actual enrollment are actively monitored and immediate action is taken. Any principal who starts to deviate significantly from his or her budget very quickly has the District inquiring as to what is happening and why. Charter schools, because of how the State law structures them, do not report their financial health to the District except for an annual audit and if they find themselves in over their heads as these two schools did.

      but since they’re Charter… screw em. Who cares if they’re proficient scorers.

      Actually, as was noted in the debate, Mountain Phoenix scores lag significantly until 8th grade, but that is not actually the reassuring indicator that Mr. Newkirk seemed to find it. What was not talked about was how many kids leave the school prior to 8th grade. It is highly likely that parents whose kids scored low in the first series of tests, leave the school prior to the 8th grade. The remaining students are the ones who did score well, but are now not having the poorer students dragging down their scores.

      You claim they’re poorly managed? Maybe, maybe not. Didn’t one just have a new build and it ran into unexpected energy costs and the like. Are you saying that public schools never run over budget or never need more money?

      As an earlier commenter noted, this was a 15% overrun. More than is common, but not the worst. On the other hand, when you look at the items that lead up to the overrun, you find things that look as if they should have been anticipated, such as the energy bill caused by (according to the principal) having the wrong kind of thermostats, or the costs of actually floating the bonds that raised the money.
      This smacks of amateur management.

      Look at the profieciency(sic) scores in this school. I think you’ll be surprised. Far better than a lot of public schools. Would you not loan them money if they were over budget?

      We have answered the question on Mountain Phoenix. When it comes to Collegiate Academy, their Great Schools rating is actually lower than the regular four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school in the same area.

      Collegiate Academy…Their elementary is something like 33% minority and 37% free or reduced lunch. 15% total free lunch average including the post elementary. Parents must spend 40 hours of service to the school. Smaller class sizes. Seems nice.

      Many regular public schools have the same mixture and produce equal or better results, without “a beautiful artificial turf athletic field”* or a “state-of-the-art cafeteria space”*…without ending up needing an unbudgeted $400,000 from the District.

      *Quotes taken from the Collegiate Academy of Colorado website.

      Mountain Phoenix… a Waldorf Education school. I couldn’t fond(sic) numbers on it yet but parent reviews say they have great reading and math and science. They focus on some cool stuff too… orchestra, visual arts, music, band, drama, woodworking, and clay modeling. But the old board wouldn’t have lent them the money.

      Actually, Mountain Phoenix did get an earlier loan from the District in 2009. Part of the $250,000 new loan includes $19,800 remaining on the old loan. For that matter, Collegiate Academy likewise had gotten an earlier loan and had to ‘refinance it’ with the $400,000 new loan. It is not that the District should not help out a school that gets into trouble by accident, it is the fact that both of these schools had already gotten into trouble, received one bail out, and now needed not only additional funds but significantly greater funds. Falling back into to trouble after being bailed out before is a sign of poor management.

      Ok, but the people of JeffCo voted in another board that did and does. Seems like they’re saving a lot on legal fees. Nearly enough to pay for the loans themselves. Maybe they should have just given them the money. LOL

      First, not all of the people of JeffCo voted WNW in, only about 20% of the eligible voters. As this site has noted previously, getting a majority of small turn out is not a mandate, it is collecting a forfiet. Secondly, as noted above the District is not actually saving money on legal fees, instead they will go up a minimum of $90,000. It will be higher when Mr. Miller feels he can no longer continue to give 33% discounts in order to avoid a political embarrasing high bill.

      Secondly, you may find it funny that enough money to fund enhanced literacy projects in six schools instead are going to charter schools that are suffering from their own mismanagement, but we do not. We instead think of all the kids whose reading skills could have been improved and now will not be.

      Lastly, Dr. Stevenson. $248,774
      This BLOG states she was forced out. But she resigned.

      Yes, she was forced out. Dr. Stevenson showed no sign of wanting to retire until it was made plain to her that WNW would not renew her contract at the end of the school year. They then created such a hostile environment for her that she resigned early. She was forced out.

      She already had a new job lined up 2 months ago.

      The new position was to start after her retirement at the end of June. It is not surprising that someone with her credentials and reputation had organizations knocking on her door. Even the search firms admitted that they had made unsolicited offers to her in the past.

      She suit(sic) because her bosses wanted her to change and she wouldn’t.

      How about the fact that she stopped WNW several times from doing things that would either have cost the District state funding, was against in-force contracts, or would just plain violate the law? That she was constantly having to correct their assertions and their factual inaccuracies? They had an opportunity to learn from a nationally ranked Superintendent. Instead they chose to abuse her and drive her from the District she loved.

      Seems everyone is happier now.

      We believe that WNW are, but they are part of a very tiny minority.

      The $44,580 would have been spent on the search for new person anyway.

      No, because if WNW had not been elected, Dr. Stevenson would still be Superintendent with a contract renewal being almost automatic.

      At least no one with Ray and Associates is related to The board president like the last school board.

      A vague allegation with no evidence offered. It does not meet prima facia requirements and so falls.

      Seems the trend of corruption is on a downward slope not upward.

      We feel very differently. Mr. Miller’s rapid hiring by both JeffCo and Thompson School Districts is very suspicious to us, especially after Mr. Miller’s tenure at the Falcon School District. We intend to keep a very close eye on Mr. Miller.

      What is it with this witch hunt of this board? I’m for successful schools… public, private, charter, magnet, or Mickey Mouse!

      The point and purpose of this blog site and it’ related Facebook page is to keep people informed as to the actions of the Board in general, and WNW+Miller specifically. We find their motivations, pronouncements, and actions very worrisome and concerning. We are open to good, sound, logical debate.

      What will not be tolerated is the casting of aspersions, name-calling, or unthinking polemics. It is not freedom of speech when one person or group attempts to drown out the other side by sheer volume. We have prohibited people from posting on our Facebook site and this Blog when their actions are deceptive, bullying, disrespectful, or simply unthinking and repeated ranting. They may have the right to shout. We have the right to choose not to listen to them. They can shout all they want from their own blog site or Facebook page.

      Your comment cast some aspersions and made a number of spurious arguments without foundation or with only cursory investigation. This has frankly placed you on the path for being banned. In fact, it is only the fact that this was your first posting and you had some facts that has stopped us. So long as you keep your comments to being informative, thought-provoking, with verifiable facts, you will be welcome here. If, on the other hand, we see future comments that continue to call names, and/or make spurious arguments without verifiable facts, then you will be prohibited from commenting as well. Please do not let that happen. We do enjoy thoughtful posts even from people who oppose our views, such as Cello Girls’. If you model your comments after hers, they will not only be approved, but also stand a far better chance of changing some minds.

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