December 17, 2012 



Pasadena USD Financial Troubles Spread
Dec. 8, 2012 |By Brian Charles & James Figueroa |

Allegations of improper billing, a school construction project more than $8 million above estimates and questions about the availability of timely financial audits have sent Pasadena Unified School District officials on a search for answers.

     The district launched two audits this week. A forensic audit will focus on the allegations of improper billing which led to the termination of four consultants' contracts, the suspension of a fifth contract and landed PUSD Chief Financial Officer David Azcarraga on paid administrative leave. ... 

     ... Meanwhile, the Citizens Oversight Committee charged with keeping a watchful eye over expenditures on the $350 million Measure TT capital improvement project have a tough task in tracking the money. ...    

     "Something has to change about the system," PUSD board member Scott Phelps said Friday. "The system relies solely on the bond manager and facilities chief to say, `Yes I signed off on the time card,' ... maybe we need to have more frequent audits of the expenditures."

     A whistle-blower within the district came forward with allegations that consultants and contractors were being paid for hours they didn't work, Phelps said.   -  The investigation began more than a month ago and is still ongoing, officials said.

     The board moved quickly to place Azcarraga on leave, suspend bond manager Robin Brown and terminate the contract of Seville Construction Services, LCC3 Construction, Peter Contis and Arturo Arce. ...

     "The school district has adopted a policy that they need to have union workers on the job, not prevailing wage, but union workers," said Ed Barnum, Citizens Oversight Committee member. "You get these policies that sound wonderful to the school board, but it makes the bids higher."

     In the fall, the PUSD adopted a project labor agreement, which requires a certain level of union labor on projects and set a local hiring threshold. ...

     To read the complete article please visit:

Accountability Requirements of Proposition 39 

Financial and Performance Audits

1. Accountability Requirements

2. Understanding the Performance Audit

3. Performance Audit: Sample Questions to Ask the Auditor

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CA Gov Code 15278. (a) If a bond measure authorized pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution and subdivision (b) of Section 18 of Article XVI of the California Constitution is approved, the governing board of the school district or community college shall establish and appoint members to an independent citizens' oversight committee, pursuant to Section 15282, within 60 days of the date that the governing board enters the election results on its minutes pursuant to Section 15274. (b) The purpose of the citizens' oversight committee shall be to inform the public concerning the expenditure of bond revenues. The citizens' oversight committee shall actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers' money for school construction. ... 

CBOC Best Practices - Operation Standards 

The purpose of this 9 page document on Best Practices is to provide a basis for the CBOC to perform a self-­assessment of their committee operations and identify training needs. This document could also be used as an outline for developing a training program for committee members. 

These standards are divided into three sections:

1. Legally Required by Education Code
2. Best Practices
3. Local District Requirements 

In This Issue
Pasadena USD Financial Troubles
Requirements of Reviewing Performance Audits
CBOC Best Practices for Operation Standards
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To promote school district accountability by improving the training and resources available to California's Proposition 39 School Bond Oversight Committees and educating the state legislature, local school boards and the public about the oversight and reporting powers these Citizens' Bond Oversight Committees (CBOCs) have, and to advocate on a state level, where appropriate, on issues of common concern to all CBOCs.

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