Friday, December 13, 2013

Alisal, MPC, and MPUSD

Ah, so many stories, so little time...

A brief taste of potential good stories.

ALISAL: Three new board members were sworn in at the Alisal Union School District this week, and boy, are they going to make changes soon. Their agenda for Wednesday's special board meeting includes dismissing at least five people who were hired during the Castañeda regime. These soon-to-be-unemployed people include relatives or friends of the Ibarra clan. Union leaders had complained they had displaced union members who'd worked for the district for decades.

Two previously dismissed employees are being re-hired. 

MPC: At a time when perhaps more transparency is needed -- given impending budget cuts -- student journalists of the MPC Pipeline are crying foul because the Associated Students of the Monterey Peninsula College cut its funding. MPC student council president Chris Marshall told me the cuts had nothing to do with MPC Pipeline reporting on his scuffle with Eric Foster.

This ongoing saga is worth at least an entire blog post and perhaps a full blown article in the print edition, since the number of newspaper publications has shrunk considerably in the last few years, and MPC Pipeline is the first paper I see come out recently. That and The Galleon of Monterey High. Story idea for the new year, for sure.

MPUSD: Joanna Greenshields was not the only person blown away by MPUSD trustees saying no to a $5 million cost overrun. I've been marveled by the fact that trustees get sort of "trapped" into positions they can't back out of, and I was wondering how long it would take for them to stop going down dead end roads.

The Digital Schools contract is such an example. They were warned by the Monterey County Office of Education not to try to go its separate way, but the trustees voted for "fiscal independency" anyway. Regardless, it was too late. By then, they had already approved -- unanimously -- a five year, half-a-million contract they could only use if they were fiscally independent. After Monterey County officials deemed MPUSD unable to become fiscally independent, it became obvious they would not be able to use the half-million dollars software they had already committed to buying.

The board seemed a lot more cautious on Monday, perhaps they've learned a lesson or two. Like Jon Hill told me: "This is a board that has learned they don't have to do what they don't want to do."

Which is sometimes more important than doing what you want to do.

Stay tuned.

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