Eva Knott 6:29 a.m., May 23
On August 8 the bond oversight committee for Sweetwater Union High School District's Proposition O convened a special meeting. The $644 million proposition was approved by South Bay voters in 2006. Nick Marinovich, chair of the Prop O committee, said the purpose of the meeting was twofold: to establish the fact that the committee is an independent entity, and to send a message to the district that the committee wants the long-standing vacancies on the committee to be filled.
Marinovich said in an August 9 interview, "The committee's boss is really the taxpayers, not the district. If we don't think something is right regarding the bond, we will call a meeting, we will call our own shots."
Marinovich said it came to his attention last week that the district had received a resume for the bond oversight committee last March. Marinovich said the district should have contacted the applicant by now.
This is not the first time that the district has passed over or neglected to contact applicants. Stuart Payne, a Sweetwater parent and community advocate, told committee members that he had applied to sit on the board four times and never received a response from the district.
The bond oversight committee was also concerned about who would do the screening to fill the vacancies. Marinovich said the process "had the feel to it that the superintendent [Dr. Ed Brand] was too hands-on in the selection."
Committee member Kevin O'Neill suggested that without a fully empanelled oversight committee, the district might have a problem spending future bond monies.
The committee lacks representatives from the senior community and from a taxpayers' association.
The district responded rapidly to the oversight committee's shot across the bow. Marinovich said August 9 that he had spoken with Thomas Calhoun, Sweetwater's Chief of Facilities Executive, and was assured that a diverse selection committee was in place, and that the vacant positions would likely be filled by the next board meeting. Calhoun did not respond to an August 9 call.