School Board has completely mismanaged bond funds

Posted on August 1, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District does not have directors that are ever going to improve children’s education. Members have not prioritized or scaled projects properly. They are busy running the district into a deeper financial hole with projects the district can’t afford to maintain. 

Board members haven’t done the simple math to understand they can’t afford a project.  They don’t understand that with cost overruns they already committed to spend all of our Measure E money.  Every Measure E project has been at least 80% over budget, and many major projects are not near completion.  More massive cost overruns are on the way before the Sassarini project even starts.  

SVUSD is out of construction money. The board has yet to understand that fact.

A multimillion dollar business is being run by people with no significant business experience.  A properly run business would have spent money on education facilities first to try and attract and retain teachers. Instead this district chose to “eat dessert first” and build a second stadium, swimming pools, and three artificial fields. Education buildings were last on the list, and 87% of district children test not reading proficiently.

Sassarini was left out of Measure E fund plans. A direct appeal to the public raised only $5k for playground equipment. Now, the board thinks they have the money to spend on Sassarini, but they don’t.

A properly run business would have already investigated and removed Bruce Abbott for his deferring to Counterpoint Construction’s Tanaya Dale on all major expenditures. She has lied about safety information, and low balled projects to win bids. There has not been one contract estimation or forecast that was anywhere near the actual cost. Artificial turf fields estimated at $1.3m totaled $2.8m each; new stadium estimated at $9.3m but totaled almost $16m.  Swimming pools are now triple the original estimate.  

Science wing is almost four times the original estimate. Sign of the times? No, just gross mismanagement and suspect handling of funds.  A full audit of the Measure E spending would be done by capable takeover management, including Abbott and Kelly’s personal finances.  Everything needed for educational purposes would have come first, sports second.

Melanie Blake said, “As far as I’m concerned, delay is to deny and I’m not going to deny Sassarini the same improvement every other school has gotten”. Melanie, you denied Sassarini for five years while you approved two artificial fields, a second stadium and two swimming pools. What about Dunbar? What about teaching kids to read proficiently? You’ve let down 87% of the district kids.

Note to school officials: don’t expect to sell the public on another school spending bond to cover your mismanagement on the first bond.  You are being completely irresponsible in your mismanagement of the Measure E Bond funds.

— Stewart Saunders, Sonoma



One thought on “School Board has completely mismanaged bond funds

  1. No surprise there, without a proper construction manager, no one is watching the timeline or budget.
    What is really disturbing is that private entities will be running the swimming facilities paid fir by our tax dollars.wstvh for the solution to be the sale of said facilities to the private sector at bottom dollars.

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