On October 6, 2014, Jason Olsen informed the Board of Education that a statement was going to be released to Uintah parents. The statement leads out with the following sentence:
“During the course of the external investigation commissioned by the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education, it was discovered that over $8,000.00 in Uintah student lunch monies had been misapplied to various student lunch accounts…”
When I read it, I thought to myself, I don’t recall either of the external investigations mentioning this “misapplication” of $8,000.00. After looking through both reports, I concluded that Olsen was not being truthful.
On October 7, 2014, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story titled: $8,000 in Utah School Lunch Money Was Misdirected Before Scandal ,Olsen is quoted as saying the following:
“But Olsen said the $8,000 figure goes beyond what is typical for school accounting errors. ‘We haven't seen anything like this at other schools,’ he said.”
At the October 7, 2014, school board meeting , I asked Kelly Orton about this “misapplied” $8,000.
Business Administrator Janet Roberts did not let Orton respond to the question.
Roberts instead confirmed that the $8,000.00 figure is not from either of the external reports commissioned by the School Board.
Roberts also revealed that the figure comes from the School District’s internal investigation that was handed over to the Salt Lake City Police Department in March of this year.
During the meeting, Roberts became very animated and elusive when I asked for the data that demonstrated that Uintah Elementary was the only school with this so called “misapplication” problem. Roberts said that there was data and she would send it to the Board of Education if they requested it.
On October 10, 2014, I submitted a request under GRAMA.
On October 27, 2014, I received a response from the district. NO DATA exist! (BTW: DATA is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis).
You will also recall that in that same meeting, I was yelled at by the board president and vice president for stating that I did not trust the Business Administrator and Superintendent.
I don’t trust them because I continue to see behavior that exposes their duplicitous natures. This stating conclusions based on nonexistent data is how these people operate.
Everyone will also remember that these descriptions of “mistrust” were voiced at the March 4, 2014, Board of Education meeting.
At that meeting Janet Roberts to was instructed to hire the external accounting firm, Squire & Company to review the financial activities at Uintah Elementary School Lunchroom. The minutes of that school board meeting reflect the following:
“…consensus was made in light of the feelings of distrust, questions that have been raised, and issues surfaced as a result of the [internal] investigation, that an outside investigation would provide validity to the findings”.
I recently discovered that instead of allowing that EXTERNAL investigation to look into this issue, Roberts contacted one of the Salt Lake City Police Department’s school resource officers, on March 7, 2014, and had him initiate an investigation into Miss Shirley using the results of this already questionable “internal investigation”.
After expending a lot of time and energy looking into this issue, I also discovered that the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office had the SLCPD close the case against Miss Shirley due to a lack of evidence. This happen in July of this year, yet the Superintendent and Business Administrator neglected to share that piece of information with the School Board or the public.
Earlier this month, I exposed the school district’s attempts to mascaraed the results of this flimsy internal investigation as part of the commissioned school board, external investigation.
Back in March, the public prudently questioned the school district’s veracity and ability to conduct an internal investigation, the School Board agreed. Now the District Attorney’s Office has rejected the premature results of the internal investigation.
Yet the bureaucracy is allowed to use the results of this questionable internal investigation to claim that $8,000 is “misapplied”? Really?
Now that the external investigation is complete, the school board is not allowed to ask questions or seek clarification to some of the glaring contradictions in the external report.
I should point out that in the September 16, 2014, School Board meeting, three members of the Board requested that Attorney Ostler attend the October 7, Board meeting and respond to questions.
That should have triggered the issue being on the October, 7th agenda, according to the Board’s very own, B-2 Policy (…if three or more board members submit a request that a topic be placed on the agenda, that request will be accommodated) .
Yet the Superintendent is allowed to override the wishes of three board members and shield Attorney Ostler from questions about his inconsistent, contradictory external report.
At the end of the day we end up with an external report that is worthless because it cannot withstand scrutiny. The central office is allowed to revert back to an internal investigation that was questionable before we even knew anything about its conclusions.
As an elected member of the Board of Education, I am infuriated that this school bureaucracy is allowed to waste my neighbor’s tax dollars in such a reckless manner!