From the Seattle Times comes this story about how much money it is costing to review the Facilities department. Sigh. Yes, it wasn't just the Silas Potter-connected programs but the whole thing is getting a good look-see. From the article:
While the district's initial consulting contract was $25,000, the scope of work quickly grew. The district extended the contract three times for varying amounts that now total $162,000, according to records obtained by The Seattle Times under the state's public records act.
I have to wonder, out of all the things the Times could investigate, how they picked this one but fine.
It's a great thing, frankly, because ALL of Facilities and Capital Projects should get this look. It's disturbing to listen to Board Committee discussions on these topics and get worried about where the money is going.
From the article:
The hiring of the consultants and the scope of their work indicate the department was more troubled than it appeared to be.
Pegi McEvoy, assistant superintendent of operations, described the consultants' mission in terms of a superhero rescue operation.
"We're fortunate to have a resource that can come in, put the cape on and help us out," said McEvoy, who was given responsibility for the department in March.
The guy hired, Doug Nichols, has shown himself to be a steady Eddie kind of guy, soft-spoken but smart. If it gets us to a better place, it's money well-spent especially with continuing capacity management issues that are pressing us to fill our buildings.
Here's an example of his work:
In one case, McEvoy said, the consultants suggested changes in building specifications that could save the district millions of dollars on future construction. They also questioned the district's use of permanent portables, saying that, in some cases, leasing the portables would be a better option for dealing with fluctuating enrollments.
You know, I never heard any discussion about leasing portables - it was always about buying them.
Of course, there are always downsides to this stuff as we witness from the "job loss" of former Facilities head, Bill Martin:
Meanwhile, Martin, who had been promoted into the $142,000-a-year facilities position and then lost the job, continued working for the district for four more months.
That "continued working" was mostly sitting around. I think they were worried about giving him much to do. The article says he says his problems came from try to bring change to the Maintenance Department. I seriously doubt that as much of what he said at Operations Ctm. meetings did happen (a new software system to track work orders, zone teams, etc). Nope, it's that not fully disclosing stuff from a past job on his employment application that did him in.
This might be a slight tangent off for this news but it is facilities-related.
I attended the Operations Committee meeting on Thursday which, like many committee meetings had meandering discussions and less than specific news. Alas, no one can raise their hand and ask questions so all I can do is report back and tell you that I will follow up.
There was a slight discussion about capacity management and it came up that Lowell at Lincoln will stay there two years. There was agreement around the table that there was nowhere else for them to go. So there's an "answer" to a question in a lot of parents' minds. Is it official? Somewhat.
Problem is, that they were scheduled to discuss SBOC and Nova leaving Meany so as to fix up Meany (for SBOC's new World School) and Mann (to put Nova back where it was previously). THEY, too, are scheduled to go to Lincoln next fall. BUT there was no mention of this during the discussion and I have to wonder how SBOC/Nova/Lowell at Lincoln will work. (I'll just say that if I had to have any high school group(s) in with an elementary, it would be these two. I'm just talking logistics.)