Achieve a Wholesome Place for Students
When I signed up at the County Registrar’s Office to run for one of the three seats on the School Board, I put down my occupation as “Nobody ”, but the staff told me I had to be “Somebody”. Well the only “somebody” that I am who I think fits in this election is a concerned parent and taxpayer. I have lived in this area for 20 some years. But it is in the capacity of “concerned parent and taxpayer” that I am running and I will tell you why.
I am compelled to run based on my seven years of dealing with the teachers, the substitute teachers, the principal, the Assistant Superintendents, the superintendent, and the school board members, and many of their secretaries, only to find them acting in concert with each other to perpetuate their deceitful or illegal operations, telling me, for example, that there is no employment contacts for school principals, among many ongoing violations of the California Public Records Act.
My son is now in Seventh Grade in Alvarado Intermediate School. During the last seven years, I have discovered many serious managerial, teaching and learning problems that are getting worse without any sign of getting better. However, the real overarching problem is that the current School Board and School Management have treated the School District their private fiefdom, disregarding any input from the concerned parents for improvement. What has happened, as a result, is that one of the better school districts in Southern California has a “brain drain” of its students to neighboring school districts—or to charter schools housed in the same school buildings deserted by the same students looking for better education. However, our School Board comforts itself by telling us that they have prevailed in court to stop the outflow of our students to neighboring school districts, because the recent outflow of over 2,000 students in 2010 alone almost ruined the financial health of the School District.
The real problem for current School Board and School Management is that these official bodies have been treating our students as their income producing property. It was not a “fiscal decision” as deceptively argued by the School District, but a genuine “parental decision” to transfer the students to other school districts, because neither the students nor the parents have any financial gain from the transfers, but for better education. The proper solution is to address the teaching and learning gap, making the Board and the management transparent and accountable to the parents and the community. The California Code of Education requires a school district to “genuinely welcome parents as equal partners” in the education process that has proven to be most beneficial to the students. Had the School Board and School Management listened to parents, and listened to students, they would have realized the problems and prevented such student-flight.
Rectify Deceitful Press Release by RUSD on School Closures
According to the School District’s own press release as approved by the Board, the loss of 1,940 students to Walnut Valley Unified School District caused 3 schools to be closed in 2010, as approved by the Board. Those schools are Farjardo Elementary School, La Seda Elementary, and Rincon Intermediate School. Throughout their press release, School Management blamed the State for cutting the budget and blamed the parents for transferring students to other school districts. There was not a single word acknowledging mismanagement by the School Board and School Management. Rowland Heights is not a failed city like Detroit, where the city has already gone bankrupt and the school system has been deserted and is nearly bankrupt as well. Ours is still a prosperous part of Southern California, and we deserve better for our tax dollars, and shame on the School Board and School Management for their misleading press releases and misguided policies.
Stop Students Being Used as Income-Producing Property
The School District has issued another press release priding themselves for having won the court battle against Walnut Valley Unified School District so that Walnut could not accept further transfers from our school district, because the court adopted RUSD’s argument that the issue of the dispute causing such transfers to Walnut School District was a “fiscal decision”, not a “parental decision”. What a fat nonsense! School kids do not move to other districts on their own. Their parents make that decision and move across district lines for better education. It was a “parental decision” based on academic needs, not based on fiscal needs that drove many of us to cross school district lines. As far as the parents are concerned, they did not gain or lose a penny by moving students from one school district to another. The State pays the same amount of money for each student enrolled regardless of whether the students are in Rowland or in Walnut. It is the declining teaching and learning quality at Rowland Unified School District that compelled the parents to move. It was not a fiscal decision.
Not a single word in the entire press release showed any admission of fault in running the School District into the ground. Given this court order, the School District is now perhaps the only public school in our area that has been judicially sanctioned to be incompetent and irresponsible. The Rowland Unified School District can only become worse, because they are now judicially protected, not having to worry about losing more than ten percent (10%) of our students per annum. Shame on you, the School Board, and shame on you the Management!
Stop Practices of Anti-Parents and Anti-Students
The Rowland Unified School District is anti-teachers, anti-parents, and anti-students”. According to the President’s Letter of the Rowland Teachers Union, our School District pays lower salaries to our teachers compared to the surrounding school districts. At the same time, amazingly, the School Board is paying School Management one of the highest salaries in Los Angeles County for such judicially sanctioned, incompetent management. It is an abuse of fiduciary duty by the Board to reward such incompetent School Management with such high compensation when they have been presiding over a school district that needs a court order to protect their incompetence.
No wonder there is no incentive for School Management to improve its academic quality. From the same source, I see that the Rowland Unified School District has just recently awarded a contract to a “Board favored” consulting company to work on the academic program for the entire school district without seeking input from any of the teachers that are teaching the students every day and without seeking input from the parents—which is required by law in the Education Code, Sec. 51100: to genuinely welcome parents as equal partners in the education process that has proven to benefit the students most. This Board also blindly maintained its stance disregarding the fact that seventy five percent (75%) of the Teachers Union petitioned to remove the superintendent for Lack of Confidence. The Board had just appointed the new superintendent against the advice of the Teachers Union that the Board should conduct a national search and the new superintendent must have some teaching experiences.
Make RUSD Comply with the Law
Another serious problem I have found in dealing with the Rowland Unified School District is they simply chose to disregard the law, willfully violating the California Education Code and the California Public Records Act. Here are some recent examples. For several weeks, I have been trying to get the public records for (i) offering materials and closing papers for School District’s General Obligation Bond and related refinancing that allegedly has saved $3 Million of interest cost, (ii) offering materials and closing papers for School District’s Measure R Bond of $160 Million, (iii) the designs, permits, construction and maintenance contracts for that problem-plagued swimming pool project, and new facilities, (iv) all the employment contracts or agreements for the Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, School Principals, School Security Chief, and any payment records made for the 6-month period before October 1, 2013, and (v) the consulting contracts or agreements recently awarded to a Board favored group or any other entity for a new academic program for the entire School District.
We all know that by law documents of this nature are public records subject to public inspection during normal business hours and subject to production to any requesting citizen. I needed to study them so that I could answer questions raised by voters. Yet, for the last several weeks, School Management has been stonewalling. As of today, I have yet to receive any public records that the School District is required to produce within 10 days of my requests pursuant to California Public Records Act, Sections 6250, 6052 and 6253, as demonstrated in my email correspondence under the menu of “RUSD Problems” on this website.
The saddest part is that this is not the only occasion on which the School District has violated the law. It is also illegal for the School Management to grant access to the incumbents for reelection only, but not equally to all others. The School District has also violated due process required by the Education Code, Sec. 51101 to notify the parents of any school rule, including disciplinary rules, before any punishment can be imposed on a student. They also refused to provide the student school records within five (5) days of the request either orally or in writing as required by the Education Code, Sec. 56504. When the District office finally produced the aforesaid school records, it was incomplete, missing documents that could have incriminated the School District and the personnel involved, notwithstanding Education Code, Sec. 56504 specifically prohibiting any such alteration or editing.
Therefore, when I look at the School District’s self-professed mission and goals for “integrity, excellence, respect, responsibility and accountability”, the School District has failed every one of them. Integrity, Excellence, Respect, Responsibility & Accountability ?
Re-Write School Board Bylaws, Eliminating Corruptions
The practically void Bylaws of 1 and ½ pages have been the primary cause of non-transparent and unaccountable operations that are rife with deceit, abuses, violations, and incompetence. The current “Bylaws” talk about nothing but Board election with sketchy, ambiguous references to some Code Sections that, as cited, are not complied with. There is a joke allowing such meaningless Bylaws to guide the Board and the School Management running an annual budget of almost $150 million dollars for a student body of almost 15,000, not to mention the sizable number of teachers and support staff. The only way to correct the problems listed is to rewrite the bylaws.
If we are going to have Bylaws, let us have Bylaws that actually provide some remedy against the inept, evasive, deceitful and illegal practices of the School Management. The new Bylaws must specifically provide (i) parents and students an independent legal counsel to advocate the rights of students and parents to prevent abuses, violations or non-compliance of parental or student rights, and (ii) the community taxpayers an independent accounting firm to conduct periodical audit of public spending of local, State or Federal funds received by the School District, and (iii) the community with timely posting of every school and public record, every pubic project in progress, the cash reserve, the investment portfolio, any return of such investment, and any proceeds from any sources, either from grant, award, donation or rental income, so that those bare bones mottoes and virtues may have real life, not hollow words.
The recent multi-million dollar swimming pool project at Rowland High School is another example of mismanagement and waste that could have been avoided with a separate accounting firm monitoring the project, that has made the School District already a prisoner to the project before it is built. From a policy perspective, it is also totally unclear why such a project was undertaken at all in light of statewide water shortage and the state budget cut when the Board and Management themselves have not been able to provide teachers with sufficient supplies for classroom needs.
Next we should review or re-negotiate the union contracts with the teachers union and the employees union (i) to achieve fair, just and competitive compensation to ensure delivery of quality teaching and supporting services and (ii) to remove deficient teachers or employees from the School District. If teachers are better anywhere, there is no reason we cannot have better teachers here. By adopting this policy, we can also attract best teachers from the neighboring school districts. If the School District demonstrates commitment and improvement in teaching and learning quality, the students will come back; their parents will also want them to come back. It will be a happy problem when we our neighboring school districts complain about reverse student flight back to the Rowland Unified School District.
To conclude, my campaign seeks no commercial endorsement. My proposals do not involve hiring or firing, absent compelling needs to cut waste or to remove deficient teachers or employees. Our new citizens are as committed to these qualities as those who have been here longer. If you share this commitment, this passion, this approach, this method and this vision, then please rise to the occasion, joining me so that we, as a team, can stem the tide of flight from our public schools—by returning meaningful public oversight to our schools.
I WANT TO:
- ABOLISH the Ever-Condemned Bureaucracy !
- ERADICATE Incompetence & Corruption !
- EMPOWER Parents to Remove Unresponsive Management !
- CUT Wasteful Spending by School Management !
- LOWER Class-Size !
- STOP Illegal & Unfair Punishment of Your Child !
- SO THAT Parental/Student Rights are Honored & Teaching/Learning Quality Can be Improved !
Vote for WILD CHANG
1. The man with skills & determination to abolish ever-condemned bureaucracy at RUSD.
2. The man with determination & commitment to eradicate incompetence & corruptions at RUSD.
3. The man with expertise to rewrite Bylaws making RUSD transparent & accountable.
4. The man with passion & vision to revitalize RUSD to achieve integrity & excellence .