BEX Oversight

[Update: I did speak with someone at the State Auditor's office today. It seems that this audit is taking longer (and they do release preliminary findings to the district - but not to the public - so they can try to provide answers/background/information to the Auditor) and may not be released for many months to come. ]

I try to keep up, really I do. But sometimes you find things out after the fact. Case in point, I attended a meeting in Feb. of the BEX Oversight Committee. This committee is made up of volunteer individuals, most of whom have a background in administration and/or construction, who watch over BEX projects. I find most of them very good people and I am glad for their contribution. But, as they likely know, their work is only as good as the information they get which isn't always fully fleshed out or complete.

So I had to leave this meeting early but right before I left they were discussing Garfield cost overruns. (This is yet another project to investigate and since I know district staff like to read this blog, here's heads up for you.) Garfield, as we find out from this past Board meeting on Wednesday, STILL has on-going cost issues (they asked the Board for yet more money). There are lots of reasons for this but frankly, after coming to the Board time after time, those reasons are starting to sound a lot like excuses.

So I was reading the minutes from the meeting and came across this regarding payment to contractors working on Garfield:

"Sources of additional funding were discussed.
o An increase in state match for an additional $2.6M would be allocated to Garfield. The amount is in this biennium’s budget. If it is not used on Garfield the increase would go into the program reserve.
o Projected savings from Hamilton and South Shore.
o The BEX III infrastructure projects could be deferred to the next levy."

Really? That's about $26M in projects for infrastructure. Are they robbing Peter to pay Paul? And deferring to the next BEX, well, what happens to the next projects in this line? I'm not sure this will happen but to even suggest it? But, as I have pointed out, this is how Facilities operates. You never really know how the money is spent or where or even if everything ever gets done. Will Secondary BOC/Nova see improvements to Meany when they move in as promised to BOC? Who will follow thru and make sure this happens?

Here is what was listed in the BEX III flyer for Infrastructure:

Waterline projects
Replacement of water lines at Graham Hill, Lowell, Montlake, and Sanislo elementary schools; McClure and Mercer middle schools; Summit K-12 school; and additional schools to be identified.
Indoor air quality projects
Improvements to indoor air quality at Loyal Heights, Montlake, Sacajawea, and Whitworth elementary schools;
Ingraham and Rainier Beach high schools; and additional schools to be identified.
Athletic fields projects
Renovation of Hiawatha fi eld. Replacement of turf at Denny/Sealth fi eld and Summit/Nathan Hale fi elds.
Replacement of synthetic turf on fields at McGilvra Elementary and Eckstein Middle schools.

As well, there still seems to be a lot of stress, as reflected in the minutes, over the impending release of the State Auditor's report on BEX. I'm not surprised - I'd be worried too.


Maureen said…
Montlake is on the schedule to get waterline and air quality money. It will be really annoying if that work is done and then they close the school the next year.
anonymous said…
I thought the district was done with elementary closures? Are there more coming?
Maureen said…
I have no idea. I hope not. Did they really say they are done?

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