Kristel Foster responds to Prop 301 Hoarding accusation by Arizona Daily Star’s Timothy Steller

Someone commented earlier today on this blog claiming that by posting TUSD board member Mark Stegeman’s constituent letter I must be supporting him.

  1. Stegeman is the only board member I know that has a constituent letter. Whether I agree with him or not, I am still his constituent.
  2. I prefer transparency and access to information, unlike what this current board does by hiding its line-by-line Desegregation expenditures despite FOIA requests.
  3. I also post all the Whistleblower letters, court orders, video, whatever I can get my hands on that will help to inform the public.
  4. Kristel not only doesn’t send me stuff, but has me and many others blocked on Facebook where she is active.
  5. Luckily Tim Steller still hasn’t been blocked from commenting on her campaign posts.

Since I can see her post (above to the right) attacking Tim Steller from the Arizona Daily Star, who also used the term “hoarding” to describe what TUSD is doing with Prop 301 money, I have decided to share her “constituent message” to all below.

I also include Tim’s response below.

After more than 3 days, this post has gathered a whopping 2 likes! You go girl!

Kristel Foster attacks Steller

Timothy Steller, I’m sorry you didn’t make it to the financial presentation like you said you would. You arrived right at 7pm, and we had been discussing the item for over an hour.

What you missed and didn’t include in your story are the 29 infractions our external auditors found in June 2009, the 25 found in June 2010, the 28 in June 2011, the 17 in 2012 and the 10 in 2014.

These were all shared at the part of the meeting you missed. Funding Line 012 (Prop 301) was sited over and over for errors. Neither I nor the current staff were involved in those errors, but Mr. Lovelace and Dr. Stegeman were both serving, either on the audit committee or the Board during those years.

All of this is documented in notes taken during those meetings. When I joined the Board, beginning in Jan 2013, one of the first things the then-TEA President brought to my attention was $22m that wasn’t accounted for when it came to Prop 301. We spent hours going through the ledgers of the budget and found nothing. I brought her concern to the former superintendent’s attention, but had no proof to argue the point.

I understand TEA brought this concern to the district’s joint 301 committee as well as negotiations that year. Again, there are notes taken at these meetings that we could refer to as a source to confirm accuracy.

When Ms. Soto joined us in January of 2014, one of the first things she said was that she was insecure performing her job without the standard software that school districts used in school finance.

DERP

We voted to replace that ERP financial system and are now inline with what other districts use to monitor and report their budget. Fast forward to negotiations last spring when the current TEA President brought the missing funds to Soto’s attention and she confirmed that TEA was correct. At that point, the district and TEA began crafting a plan to dispurse the money that they knew was there all along.

Last, I would like to address the piece we purchased in the paper. If we look at our Strategic Plan, which was adopted with a 5–0 vote (I am sure that is documented as well) under “FINANCE” Strategy 4: Year 3 Goal it says “TUSD will ensure district transparency by disseminating information on how district is utilizing funding and resources.” Therefore, the district resources used to create and purchase the article were aligned to the work we voted for and should be committed to moving forward.

Tim Steller responds

You’re wrong that I missed this part of the discussion, Kristel. I listened to the discussion live [via the internet], then I listened to a recording of the discussion I missed while driving to the meeting, made by my present colleague, Joe Ferguson, before Friday’s column was published. The long story short is that the three incumbents — Stegeman, Juarez and you — are responsible for the accumulation of $20 million that was meant for teachers. It happened under your watch. Deal with it however you want. It sounds like Soto and Weatherless have a plan for liquidating the balance now. That’s good. But the problem got worse during the last four years, not better, under your watch.
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Originally published at TSON News.

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