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Sweetwater's Funds for Education Committee Suspended

In a phone call today, Sweetwater Union High School District’s interim superintendent Ed Brand said that he was suspending the Funds for Education Committee. The controversial committee was established in August to negotiate vendor contracts. "[W]e're asking those vendors to re-examine their contracts and find a way for the district to share in their success," says the district’s website.

To negotiate new contracts, or renegotiate old ones, the committee invited vendors to a meeting at district headquarters. Vendors were asked what they could bring to the table; for example, newer vending machines, help in caring for athletic fields, or scholarships. The committee then negotiated elements of the contract, seeking up-front money to “provide financial resources for district programs,” according to the website.

Brand was Sweetwater’s superintendent from 1995 to 2005. During those years, a similar program required vendors to make up-front donations, which were deposited into a district-controlled fund. At the time, concerns about the program were voiced by the grand jury, citizens, and opinion writers at the Union-Tribune.

When the Funds for Education Committee began meeting in September, it had two parent members. One of them soon resigned. The other raised questions at committee meetings. Both expressed their concerns at a school board meeting last month.

In the wake of the district attorney’s indictments of school trustees yesterday, Brand apparently had second thoughts about the committee. “I’m not going to move forward with this,” he said. “I can stop the grief right here.”

See full story on Wednesday.

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In a phone call today, Sweetwater Union High School District’s interim superintendent Ed Brand said that he was suspending the Funds for Education Committee. The controversial committee was established in August to negotiate vendor contracts. "[W]e're asking those vendors to re-examine their contracts and find a way for the district to share in their success," says the district’s website.

To negotiate new contracts, or renegotiate old ones, the committee invited vendors to a meeting at district headquarters. Vendors were asked what they could bring to the table; for example, newer vending machines, help in caring for athletic fields, or scholarships. The committee then negotiated elements of the contract, seeking up-front money to “provide financial resources for district programs,” according to the website.

Brand was Sweetwater’s superintendent from 1995 to 2005. During those years, a similar program required vendors to make up-front donations, which were deposited into a district-controlled fund. At the time, concerns about the program were voiced by the grand jury, citizens, and opinion writers at the Union-Tribune.

When the Funds for Education Committee began meeting in September, it had two parent members. One of them soon resigned. The other raised questions at committee meetings. Both expressed their concerns at a school board meeting last month.

In the wake of the district attorney’s indictments of school trustees yesterday, Brand apparently had second thoughts about the committee. “I’m not going to move forward with this,” he said. “I can stop the grief right here.”

See full story on Wednesday.

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He could stop even more grief if he would resign, effective immediately. What a four flusher he is!

Jan. 5, 2012

many questions surround this 'foundation' - whether it is suspended or not.

he promised transparency and then the very consultant he brought in to head the 'foundation' allegedly states he wants 'no paper trail'. now that does not sound too transparent to me.

when the two parent members raise questions regarding questionable behavior - THAT SAYS SOMETHING.

Jan. 5, 2012

Now I have to ask myself if these people are donating money and this foundation is technically run by the school district which has a huge staff available why are we paying a consultant a huge fee for this foundation? I know things are not always that easy but if people would start doing their jobs and not looking for an ego boost maybe something would get done. Dr. Brand stop bringing back the people who started this district down the wrong path so many years ago. We need to clean up and get our act together we have been the laughing stock of this state for too long. Why can't we show some integrity and learn from the mistakes made by others. Stop paying all of these consultants and other firms to do the jobs that we can find people whom already work for us to do.

Jan. 5, 2012

Pretty slick. Suspend this "foundation" while the heat's on, then back at it after things cool down. This move is very suspicious. I agree totally with angryinsb, let's get rid of the private consultants and spend that money in the classroom.

Jan. 6, 2012

Asking Brand to stop "bringing back people who started [the] district down the wrong path", has it all just backwards. HE is the worst offender from many years ago, and he was the one who started it on the wrong path. The only way Brand can restore integrity to that wretched school district is to immediately resign, and then pray that the corrupt board will actually go out and find an honest superintendent. And that just will not ever happen in So Bay, "so close to Mexico, so far from heaven."

Jan. 6, 2012
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