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Fear and Loathing in the D.O.

“Those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it.” - Spinoza

The Desert Independent

February 11, 2017

BLYTHE, Calif – The past predicts the future.

A leopard does not change its spots.

The past came alive again at the past convocation of the Palo Verde USD School Board. Superintendent and alleged human being Charles Bush was mercifully absent with some vacation time and spared the audience his glowering presence for the evening.

However, he is revisiting his old tricks when studying the fine print on several items in the consent agenda. To wit:

  • “L.8. Ratification of Service Contract: Action Learning Systems. The Superintendent’s office submits the Board of Trustees for ratification a service contract with Action Learning Systems. On January 24, 2017, Action Learning Systems provided a “focus training “to staff (including teachers, Cabinet and Board) of Palo Verde Unified School District. Expense: $3,200”

  • “L.9. Approval of Service Contract: Action Learning Systems. The Superintendent’s Office submits to the Board of Trustees a service contract with Action Learning Systems to provide a “focus training” to teachers and staff on Friday, February 10, 2017. Expense: $6,625.00”

Sounds very similar. Note that the only thing dissimilar is the amount of monies procured and ratified.

Where have we heard of Action Learning Systems before? This outfit, whose credibility to education matches Trump University’s contribution to real estate, was stuffed down the throats of the faculty and staff of Mr. Bush’s former district of Fort Bragg and was soundly condemned in the previously printed Petition of No Confidence taken against him there. To wit:

  • “He brought in a professional development organization without consulting with administrators, usurping professional development in teaching Common Core math that had been requested by elementary teachers. ALS (Action Learning Systems) was extremely costly and not very well received, in the name of “turning our district around.”

Extremely costly? Yup. This program did not cost the initial fees of $3,200 or $6,625 to Fort Bragg USD that have been ratified by the Board this past meeting. Rather, once done, this useless program cost Fort Bragg the princely sum of $125,000 from which it is still trying to financially recover.

Any reasonable person who researches the history of this program in Fort Bragg would think twice before shelling out this amount of money to make the same mistake again. But then, the Board in past years has shut down the Middle School and moved the students and staff to the elementary schools at great expense for no discernable improvement. At the urging of Dr. Guith, the majority of the Board also approved the expenditure of $400,000 for four absolutely unnecessary new portable classrooms when the District owns 21 used classrooms that could have been re-carpeted and repainted at little cost. Dr. Guith also disclosed that there were no visits by Board members to Fort Bragg to interview the faculty and staff as to Mr. Bush’s stability. This board, as stated before, utterly abdicated its responsibility to properly conduct a search for its only employee – the Superintendent.

So does this mean that the PVUSD Board will learn from Mr. Bush’s history and shut down any more discussion of Action Learning Systems?

Doubtful. Highly, highly doubtful.

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