The Sweetwater Union High School District board called a special meeting on November 29 that raised as many questions as it answered. The meeting reviewed expenditures for Proposition O, a $644 million construction bond, with the Bond Oversight Committee.
But the first public speaker, Kathleen Cheers, had some information to offer. Cheers said it was the community, not the oversight committee that drew attention to bond construction money the district borrowed in 2010.
Cheers also said it was the community, not the committee, that brought attention to construction change orders and trustee campaign coffers bloated with construction-company dollars.
Lastly, Cheers said the community did not want “a good old boy’s club.” She questioned the district’s hiring of Eric Hall & Associates to conduct the 2010-2011 audit. She pointed out that Barry Dragon, a former 16-year employee of Sweetwater, is a principal in the company.
Dragon worked in the district as chief financial officer under former superintendent Brand, retiring just one month after Brand in 2005. Subsequently, they served as boardmembers for a nonprofit agency in 2007 called “Partnership for Success.”
Eric Hall assured the board that Dragon would not work on the Sweetwater audit.
Posted to Hall & Associate’s website is a January article titled: “Borrowing Bonds to Make Payroll: A Common Practice to Support Cash Flow.” In January, the Union-Tribune charged Sweetwater with borrowing from Proposition O funds. Brand defended the action.
The San Diego Taxpayers Association opposes such actions.
Pictured: Eric Hall
Image from erichallassociates.com