Swelling Bureaucracy: Hiding School Spending

Janet Roberts, Salt Lake City School District -Business Administrator

Janet Roberts, Salt Lake City School District -Business Administrator


15 October 2013

Kristi Swett, Board President
Salt Lake City School District
2256 South King Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84109 

Re: RDA: West Capitol Hill

Dear President Swett,

I am requesting that item: “2b. WEST CAPITOL HILL RDA Project Amendment Resolution” be placed on the action item agenda. I will be voting against this item due to lack of information that would allow me to make an informed vote.

At the October 1, 2013, School Board meeting the “Extension of the West Capitol Hill RDA” was discussed. In that meeting I asked Business Administrator Janet Roberts, what is the amount and how are we spending current RDA ‘pass through funding’. Janet indicated that she did not know.

Following the meeting, I never received the information that I had asked for.

On Friday, October 11, 2013, I sent an email to Janet asking the question once again (see attached).

On Monday, October 14, 2013, I did receive a reply, stating that last year we received 4.7 Million dollars in ‘pass through funding’. The second part of my question, as to where those dollars are spent was very nebulous. I therefore asked a follow up question that has not been answered.

As a school board member I am entitled to the information that I ask for in order to fulfill my fiduciary responsibilities to my community. I would betray the trust that my neighbors placed in me, if I vote to divert school property tax dollars in order to receive pass through funding that I have not been clearly told how that is being spent.

It also concerns me that during this past budget cycle we were told that the district could not meet our budget due to the “legislature’s failure to fully fund growth” and a “WPU shortfall”.

Yet I find that our district seems to be awash in cash. We recently discovered that the district had half a million dollars to pay a matching grant. We were recently told that there is money to hire a full-time attorney. Now I am being told that we receive close to five million dollars from Salt Lake City RDA.

As I mentioned in a previous meeting, it is like pulling teeth to obtain information on the budget and direct questions about finances are consistently sidestepped. It seems that the only way to learn about the school budget is to stumble upon it. This is unacceptable!

My neighbors have given me the power to act on their behalf by virtue of the November 2012, election. The state legislature has given me the authority over district finances by virtue of state law, yet I am regularly denied or delayed requested information. Denying me financial information of the district is an insult to my community and I would submit, contrary to state law.

Again, please move the: “2b. WEST CAPITOL HILL RDA Project Amendment Resolution” from the consent agenda to the action item agenda as I will be voting against it for the reasons stated above. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


J. Michael Clára
Board Member, District 2

Enclosures: Robert’s email exchange

cc: Please include this letter and attachment as part of the record of today’s School Board meeting.

PDF Version of Letter

Robert’s Email Exchange


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