9/21 Highlights: Forensic Audit, LCAP Carryover

Welcome to Board Watch for WCCUSD’s September 21st Meeting!

This week’s packed board meeting showcased our community’s commitment to ensure all of our children have access to an excellent education.

The meeting kicked off with – and focused heavily on – some key news for our community: the forensic audit of the WCCUSD bond program will be forwarded to law enforcement agencies.

During the meeting, representatives from auditing service Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman shared their recommendations from their audit of the district’s school construction bond program , the board heard from community members regarding Caliber Schools’ petition to establish a new charter high school, and the board allocated $1.1 million in one-time “carryover” funds (unused from the 2015-16 budget) to support all students — with a focus on vulnerable student populations (low-income youth, foster youth, English Learners) — this school year. The board also approved a $6.5 million purchase of tablets and other instructional hardware.

To see the full meeting agenda, click here.

Final Phase II Bond Program Forensic Audit

In April 2015, District employee Dennis Clay brought forward claims of fraud within the school construction bond program. The bonds are the primary funding source for the district’s school construction and refurbishment initiatives. After receiving Mr. Clay’s report in 2015, the board established the “Clay Subcommittee” to investigate the alleged fraud. The job of the Subcommittee was to:

  1. To identify and recommend attorneys who could assist in the investigation.
  2. To identify and recommend a forensic auditor to investigate the fraud allegations.
  3. To combine the auditor’s findings and report back to the board.

Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman (VLS) was the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm contracted to investigate. The auditors interviewed 23 district employees, vendors, contractors and CBOC members as part of their research into the alleged fraud.

VLS reported that the district was completely cooperative with the audit, handing over requested materials and information as needed. VLS also established a fraud hotline, which allowed people to anonymously report fraud. This line is now closed. VLS also attended ongoing meetings with board members to update the board on its progress. After the second phase of the forensic audit, VLS made 78 total recommendations to help the district lower its risk of future fraud. A summary of those recommendations, broken down by risk category, can be found in the chart below:

vls_screenshot

After discussion and questioning, the board voted to accept the forensic audit report and give a 30 day period of public comment on the audit.

To download VLS’s full presentation and a summary of the auditor’s recommendations, click here.

Public Hearing for Caliber Schools High School Charter Petition: Decision Set for October 16-19

Caliber Schools has applied for a charter to establish a new school, Caliber: Beta High School in partnership with WCCUSD. During this week’s board meeting, Caliber leaders, students and families engaged in discussion with the board and with members of our community who disagreed with the charter petition. 11 West Contra Costa community members spoke up in public comment about the petition, offering opinions on both sides.

The board will discuss Caliber’s petition and make a decision by October 19.

Click here to view the Caliber Presentation, which includes details about the high school’s operation plan, services for students, enrollment projections, facilities, and more.

Click here to view Caliber’s full set of Charter Petition documents.

2015-2016 LCAP “Carryover”

LCAPs (Local Control Accountability Plans) are documents that districts use to ensure the money they spend supports all students — with a focus on vulnerable student populations (low-income youth, foster youth, English Learners) — in reaching academic goals. After last school year’s LCAP spending was tallied, the district had $1.1 million in remaining funds. This sum provides a one-time additional funding opportunity that the board must spend on our students through the 2016-2017 LCAP. This year’s LCAP was revised based on feedback from Public Advocates and others to allocate more funding to:

  • Individual school sites
  • Common-core aligned non-fiction books and supplies for school sites
  • Training and professional development for all employees.

The board approved to move the $1.1 million to those purposes.

To see a breakdown of how the carryover funds will be spent at individual school sites, click here.

Tablets and Instructional Hardware Purchase

In Wednesday’s meeting, the district technology office presented a summary of its recommendations for a $6.5 million purchase of 15,000 tablets for our schools and other instructional hardware. The board voted to approve the recommendation.

This means that after one more round of tablet purchases, WCCUSD will own enough tablets to match enrollment – a device in the hands of every student during the school day – in the next few years. This is exciting news  as it will help to empower our educators to support our students’ academic achievement and long-term outcomes.

View the full tablet purchase presentation here.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to voice your support for our kids. The next board meeting will be held at DeJean Middle School at 6:30pm, Wednesday, October 5th.

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