Monday, December 26, 2011

Walz et al, pile on with editorial rehash

It has been more than a week since the Journal published reporter Hailey Heinz' take, link, on an APS employee, who also happens to be a State Senator, and who wrote a letter to her APS bosses complaining about the character and competence of APS Supt Winston Brooks' Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo.

As I've written before, Escobedo, seen here pointing out other former students I might recognize in a photo of their class trip to Washington DC, has been nothing but courteous and professional in our interactions.

The validity, or not, of her complaints against Escobedo have not been established and are not in point. The Journal editors either have not seen the entire letter ( a public record), or simply chose to share only the parts that support their position.

Their position, consisting largely of cutting and pasting from Heinz' piece, appears to be; APS employees are guilty of inappropriate behavior and misconduct if they write a letter to the Supt and the board and complain about the character and competence of senior administrators. Witness; Assoc Supt Ruby Ethridge's fall from power and grace, link, after calling out APS Supt Winston Brooks on his bullying, in a letter to board members.

The editors concede; "Declining (an invitation to a confab)is fine...", but then argue "... Sanchez took it too far with her dismissive attitude and dictating to whom she would deign to speak."

The editors' illogic in it "being fine to decline an invitation" but wrong to "dictate to whom she would ...speak" is confounding.

It isn't misconduct of course, except in the minds of senior administrators and board members who don't want subordinates filing complaints against them. A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found a "... culture of fear of retribution and retaliation" against employees who complain about the character and competence of their superiors.

When I was still a teacher, and filing complaints about the character and competence of my principal, Wayne Knight, I was told straight out by then Human Resources Director Ron Williams; I faced termination unless I stopped making (legitimate) complaints about Knight.

It would appear little has changed in the intervening decade.

Walz et al, again published the opinion of school board enforcer Marty Esquivel;

“If you can separate your responsibilities as an employee and as a legislator I’m all for it, but if you start throwing your weight around and acting inappropriately because you’re in the Legislature, then I think that’s wrong."

Esquivel's complaint that Senator and School Counselor Bernadette Sanchez was "throwing her weight around and acting inappropriately" is unsupported by any evidence that either he or his crony Walz have presented.

Esquivel and Brooks' position; that making waves is insubordinate, inappropriate and warranting punishment, is bullying; pure and simple.

Journal editors praise in print of APS' anti-bullying activities while enabling administrative and executive bullying on the front page and in their editorials, is hypocrisy;
pure and simple.

photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, December 24, 2011

APS fight card quite impressive

They don't want you
to know about it.

"They" being APS' Executive
Director of Communications
Monica Armenta and Journal
Managing Editor Kent Walz.

They don't want you to know
about the scale of the violence
on APS campuses.

I'm given to understand this represents "only a few";
a small sampling of what's going on.

link, Volcano Vista beating victim faces more threats

link, Rio Grande fight club; smalls WSLO3 vs Gayer

link, Big Jesse vs Jose Rio Grande fight

link, Rio Grande fight Minus vs Jose

link, Alfredo vs Gayer You Tube

link, Smallz (david) vs gayer

link, Lil bill vs Israel
Despite their several obligations to tell stakeholders the truth about what is going on at school; she as a public servant charged with communication; he as a member of the fourth estate, wikilink, they will tell you nothing.

Armenta will get in touch with YouTube and get them to take down the videos.

And Walz, seen here extolling APS' hero of transparency Winston Brooks, will continue publishing Brooks' monthly spin on the truth, and cover up of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

You cannot solve a problem and hide it at the same time.

photo and frame grab Mark Bralley

Journal chasing public records

The Journal reports, link, they have asked for security video of the now infamous dust-up between Reps Sheryl Williams-Stapleton and Nora Espinoza.

They have been informed by the Legislative Council Service that security videos are not public records and not subject to surrender. We are told that the LSC made an audio recording of the meeting, but that the recorder was turned off at the beginning of the (working?) lunch break.

According to the Journal, Legislative Council Service Director Raul Burciaga, responded to the Journal's Public Records Request by arguing;

“I believe that the security videos of the state Capitol are not public records.”
Burciaga offered the following instead;
  • a promise to provide a written explanation "by the end of the month", though the Inspection of Public Records Acts requires;
    if the inspection is not permitted within three business days, the custodian shall explain in writing when the records will be available for inspection or when the public body will respond to the request.
  • His personal opinion that recordings “really don’t relate to public business.”
  • His assurance that (despite the fact that it was a "working" lunch break);
    “There’s no policy being set. … "
  • His opinion that the recordings are public records because, "
    There’s no context to them,” particularly because of the lack of audio ..."
    Begging a question; if it was in fact, a "working" lunch break, was the audio recording actually turned off, and if so, why?
  • His opinion that because "... a policy manual specifies that the surveillance cameras are for safety, security and law enforcement purposes", they are not public records, and
  • finally, since
    "it has been the Legislative Council Service’s long-standing practice not to release security videos."
    they cannot be expected to start releasing them now. This is a particularly curious argument since, according to the Journal;
    Neither Burciaga nor New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Sarah) Welsh was familiar with any previous IPRA requests for Capitol surveillance tapes. (emphasis added)
Welsh offered;
“Everything that is produced in the course of government business is assumed to relate to public business.”
Most oddly, Burciaga inferred that one of the reasons he was not going to release the video was because he informed both Williams-Stapleton and Espinoza about the public record request for the video and
“Neither of them felt I should release the tape.”
Espinoza telling him;
“There’s no need to, when you already have so many witnesses that saw what took place.”
Like so many aspects of government in New Mexico, this would comic if not so tragic.

If nothing else, it points to the need to overhaul governmental transparency law, top to bottom.

photos Mark Bralley

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hysterical; except that it's true

I was forwarded this link to a Daily Show bit on the
White House Press Corps.


I insist

The following letter to the editors was submitted this day.

Evaluation process reeks of conflict of interest

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has three primary responsibilities; writing district policies, approving budgets, and hiring the Superintendent.

When the School Board evaluates the Superintendent, they evaluate their own performance in (re)hiring him.

That represents the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Creating the accompanying appearance of impropriety; there was no public input; no public forum. There was no government of the people, by the people, for the people. There was no opportunity to exercise the Constitutionally protected human right to petition one’s government for redress of grievance. There was no free speech; no opportunity to peacefully assemble.

The entire process took place in secret from stakeholders.

It is possible to evaluate administrations and administrators impartially; expertly. It is possible to evaluate them without creating appearances of impropriety and conflicts of interest. It requires only the character and the courage to conduct them.

These same board members have yet to give due process to a petition to end undue secrecy in the spending of power and resources that belong fundamentally to the people.

The power belongs to us, the resources belong to us; we have the right to a seat at the table where decisions are made that affect our interests.

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communication seeks to provide a venue where the leadership of the APS can stand and deliver candid, forthright, and honest responses to questions about the public interests and their public service. It seeks to provide a venue for open and honest two-way communications between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

Their petition is being denied due process by a school board bent on hiding the ethically redacted truth about the spending of our power and resources. Their petition is being denied due process by leadership bent on covering up felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of their publicly funded private police force; bent on covering up their abdication as role models of the APS student standards of conduct; and bent on covering up their denial of due process for the hundreds of whistleblower complaints that have been filed them.

I insist that you investigate and report in earnest, upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

If you would like to add your insistence to mine,
you may at;

Brooks wants "no raise"; will accept >16% bump in his retirement annuity and an extension of his 3/4s of a million dollar golden parachute

The School Board met in secret yesterday to evaluate Supt Winston Brooks; seen here ordering the arrest of peaceful protesters at a Goals Setting meeting at Manzano High School, link.

The evaluation is tainted by the appearance of a conflict of interest; when the board evaluates his performance, they evaluate their own selection of him as superintendent. When the board finds Brooks has done a great job, they find also, they did a great job in hiring him. If the Board pans his performance, they pan their selection of him.

In effect, the board is evaluating itself; a blatant conflict of interest.

Does the board have to evaluate the superintendent, or could the evaluation be completed by an independent third party?

The simple truth is that the evaluation could be done independently, removing the cloud of a conflict of interest. Further, an independent evaluation could be done by people who actually know something about evaluating administrative performance. The school board is no more expert in evaluating administration than they are in selecting administrators. It comes with their job; they don't have to any manifest expertise or experience in administrative evaluation, to get elected.

The Board won't allow an independent evaluation of the Superintendent for the same reason they won't allow an independent evaluation of administrative and executive standards of conduct and competence; they have much to hide.

According to the Journal, link, the board has scheduled a meeting for January 6th, where they will extend his contract (golden parachute) until 2014.

The Journal reported that Brooks was praised for his "community outreach", no doubt based on the recent seven meeting tour of the District for the purpose of establishing goals. Never mind the fact that his community outreach included reaching out to arrest peaceful protestors of the leadership's denial of due process to their legitimate petition.

His evaluation included, or should have included, his success in hiding the Caswell Report, link. on corruption and incompetence in the leadership of their publicly funded private police force. An honest and courageous board would have held him accountable the betraying the public trust. Our board, decided to reward him instead.

The Journal reported as well, Brooks will not be asking for a raise, though he will accept a $5K per year increase in the district's contribution to his "retirement annuity", bringing it to around $35K per year. Apparently the $35K is not included in his "salary" of more than $250K per year.

The Board made no attempt, apparently, to include any manner of subordinate evaluation of the Supt, figuring they know more than the District's 11,500 employees, 6,500 of whom are teachers who between them have the better part of 100,000 years of teaching experience (that Brooks is ignoring).

The whole process is a sham, and the Journal dutifully reported upon it with scrutinizing the process in the least

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Abandon Character Counts!

The leadership of the APS is about to review and approve, link, changes in the APS Student Behavior Handbook, link.

On page 3 of that document, it is written;


Students are expected to be good citizens. They are expected to:
  • model and promote the pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS! (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship)
  • respect authority, property, and the rights of others.
  • avoid confrontation and any activity that has the potential to cause a verbal or physical conflict.
  • maintain standards of integrity and responsibility.
  • maintain a safe school environment.
  • report any/all information/circumstances related to campus safety and problems (fights, weapons, or drugs on campus).
Let's look at them bullet by bullet.
  • model and promote the pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS! (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship)
If you are aware of the tenets expressed in the Pillars, you know that fundamental to them is holding one's self honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct. Given that premise, there is only one way to "model" the Pillars; that is to hold yourself honestly accountable to them.

There is not one single person in the entire leadership of the APS willing to hold themselves honestly accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!, even for the few hours a day they're expecting students to hold themselves accountable.

Two standards of conduct; a higher standard for students and lower one for adults is untenable; it is morally unacceptable.

That the leadership of the APS removed and will not restore the role modeling clause to their own standards of conduct, is proof of their intention.
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
The leadership of the APS have abdicated as role models of the student standards of conduct.
  • Students are expected to respect authority, property, and the rights of others.
Yet the leadership of the APS is using their publicly funded private police force to deny the free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights, at school board meetings.
  • avoid confrontation and any activity that has the potential to cause a verbal or physical conflict.
Yet that seems to be normal for many members of the leadership of the APS. Witness APS Supt Winston Brooks many blow ups and Marty Esquivel's emails.
  • maintain standards of integrity and responsibility.
There is not one whit of difference between the highest standards of conduct and the lowest, in the absence of honest accountability to them. Maintaining standard means enforcing them.
  • maintain a safe school environment.
  • report any/all information/circumstances related to campus safety and problems (fights, weapons,or drugs on campus).
An audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found administrators "routinely" falsifying crime statistics at schools to protect their image.

If the Pillars of Character Counts! are too high a standard for administrators and board members, they cannot be the standard for students. Why would we, how could we, expect them to hold themselves honestly accountable to a higher standard of conduct than their adult role models will?

If we really want kids to grow up to embrace honor and character and courage; someone has to be willing to show them what it looks like.

Better to have low expectations than high expectations with no role models.

If the leadership of the APS is unwilling to hold themselves accountable to same high standards as students, we have no choice but to lower the expectation for students to a low enough point that the leadership of the APS will step up as role models.

To do otherwise is simply to model hypocrisy; at its worst.

Sheriff acknowledges allegation against APS police

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston's Legal Adviser and Public Information Officer Jennifer Vega-Brown has conceded that the Sheriff's office is aware of an allegation that APS police officers watched minors consuming alcohol for as many as two hours before doing anything to intervene.

Beyond that, she had little to offer; writing that she would have to check with a Deputy Chief in charge of APS police officers, who may be out of the office until after the holidays.

Walz enabling Esquivel

Journal Editors at one time wrote, link, Marty Esquivel was out of line when sent an email to a lady in Topeka, calling her a "nut job", link. He has sent worse emails to me, much worse, but that's a whole different story.

Now those same folks,
Kent Walz et al,
have given Esquivel space in
a front page headline, link,
to threaten employees who
send "disrespectful" emails,
even if they're legislators.

Esquivel is a bully and a hypocrite.

He gets away with it because
Kent Walz and he are cronies.

Together, they managed to bamboozle the NM FOG into giving Winston Brooks a transparency award for hiding the Caswell Report and covering up public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police Force.

Their hypocrisy would be a hoot
if it weren't so down right scary.

photo and frame grab Mark Bralley

Brooks, in secret, evaluation process begins

The School Board will meet today. According to their agenda, link, they intend to adjourn into executive session; "... for the Purpose of Discussion of the Superintendent’s Evaluation (Action)".

The results of their previous, in secret, evaluations have seen them extend Brooks' golden parachute (if he leaves we pay him anyway) to as much as three quarters of a million dollars!

For the most, these in secret evaluations are allowed by the law; not required by the law. That they are exploiting weakness in the law will become evident in their "statement of closure".

They are supposed to swear that they didn't discuss or decide anything that wasn't disclosed with "reasonable specificity" before they closed the public meeting, and disclosed again with "reasonable specificity" when they reconvene in public.

There will be no reasonable specificity in their closure statement on this meeting. They will not be able to create a list of things they discussed and decided upon, that will justify the amount of time they spend in secret.

That they are willing to be less than honest in that regard,
is manifest in the unlawful decision (made during executive
session and not disclosed before and after the secret session),
to have their Praetorian Guard eject Mark Bralley and me
from an audit committee meeting, and further manifest in the
(unlawful) banning letter they created in that same secret session, that revoked my several First Amendment rights.

There are things in a legitimate evaluation of a Superintendent
that should be keep secret from public knowledge; matters of opinion in personnel files for one.

Every other truth that is not specifically and explicitly excepted from surrender, belongs to the people.

They don't get to hide our truth from us, just because it's inconvenient.

Expect Kent Walz and the Journal to take no stand on the issue.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Albuquerque Public Schools: Support the Potential"

hawks APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

The radio and TV campaign is underwritten by the APS Foundation and Paula Maes' New Mexico Broadcasters Association.

Armenta's fans will be overjoyed to hear her voice in APS' latest effort to improve their public image. Her voice follows the testimony of a number of successful graduates of the APS, by suggesting a need to "support the potential".

Let's examine APS' potential.

In the first place, we can assume the potential she is talking about is potential for something good; increased success in educating nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

In this context potential means that it is;

feasible, likely, obtainable, possible, probable, reachable, realizable, conceivable, imaginable, plausible, thinkable, undeveloped, and

within realm of possibility,
that the leadership of the APS will be able to substantially improve their performance.

They have had, literally, more than one hundred years to put in place, an administration that was capable of more than mediocre performance. They have failed.

Honestly, what is the likelihood that they will do substantially better next year than this, and better still the year after that? These are the same people after all, who just told us how excited they were to be doing no worse than anyone else.

They are crippled in any effort to improve by their steadfast unwillingness to be hold themselves honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

Even that thought, would not address the fundamental flaw with APS, the one that has held it back for more than a century; the mistaken belief that eight people know more about education than the teachers who are actually doing it.

The old saw about no one of us being smarter than all of us, is completely lost on oligarchs bent on acquiring power.

That isn't going to change, and APS is never going to be substantially better.

There is in fact, no potential to support.
The thing to support is a whole new leadership.

photo Mark Bralley

Brooks, Esquivel threaten APS employees. Journal publishes it for them.

That's not the way the Saturday Journal front page top of the fold headline reads, link; it uses the word "caution" instead, applying it only to "employee/legislators". One doesn't have to read too far between the lines to perceive the threat and to conclude it doesn't really apply to only those employees who serve are legislators.

Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks said Friday he plans to take a harder stance against misbehavior by employees who are also state legislators.
He spoke in response to two "incidents" involving APS employees who are legislators; Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton and Senator Bernadette Sanchez.

We are familiar with the Williams-Stapleton incident, a racist comment that Brooks "plans" to have reviewed (some day) by his own Human Resources people. Unclear, why the review is still in the "planning" stage, apparently yet to begin.

The other has to do with an email written by Sen Sanchez, to the Supt and the School Board complaining about Brooks' Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo. Sanchez apparently declined an invitation to attend a meeting with APS senior administrators and area legislators, citing problems with Escobedo as justification. According to the Journal; Sanchez wrote:
“Please do not have Joseph Escobedo contact me as the last time I spoke to him he was rude and I have no tolerance for that behavior. It has been difficult enough to communicate with him due to his lack of experience and knowledge in regards to education and the system.”

I feel obliged to add that Escobedo,
a former student of mine, has never
been anything less than courteous,
respectful and professional in all our

The Journal chose to not ask for or, to not publish the whole letter, though it would seem to qualify as a public record under the NM Inspection of Public Records Act.

Board enforcer Marty Esquivel assailed the Senator claiming the email was unprofessional and that she was "throwing her weight around" and acting "inappropriately".

While board members might not want to receive emails complaining about administrative conduct and competence, interest holders have every right to send them; doing so doesn't reasonably constitute "inappropriate" behavior.

Esquivel, who has a history of disrespect in his own emails, calling people nut cases and worse, said differences should be worked out through "respectful" dialogue. By which he means in private, beyond the attention of interest holders who might want to pick a side.

Esquivel has expressed no interest in respectful dialogue with those who signed the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication Petition; happy to join the rest of the board in denying them and their petition even rudimentary due process.

Esquivel would rather "differences" be discussed in secret from stakeholders, not out in the open. He regards open and honest public discussions of "differences" as "disrespectful" and has gone so far as to use his Praetorian Guard to arrest those who insist upon public, rather than private, dissent.

According to the Journal;
Brooks also said he thought Sanchez’s email was inappropriate, although he does not think it warrants disciplinary action.
Brooks argued that he is walking a fine line between abiding by school board policy that prohibits retaliation against legislators for their speech, actions and votes, and disciplining her for "bad behavior".

A question is begged; did Sen Sanchez "behave badly" by emailing the board with her concerns about Escobedo? What exactly, did she do wrong except complain (rather publicly) about the conduct and competence of a senior administrator?

A recent independent audit of the leadership of the APS found "... a culture of fear of retribution and retaliation ..." against those who try to expose administrative or executive misconduct and incompetence.

Esquivel has suction with the Journal and its Managing Editor Kent Walz. In fact, he and Walz together, managed to bamboozle the NM FOG Directors into giving Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for, in effect, hiding the Caswell Report on APS administrative incompetence and corruption, keeping it secret from public knowledge even in violation of the NMIPRA.

Walz, unfortunately, is clearly comfortable with helping to suppress the Caswell Report.

He is, in fact, the heavy in the scandal. If he weren't all about covering up the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, it would be made public and the people could throw board members like Esquivel out of office and replace them with board members who would hire a Superintendent who would end the culture of fear of retaliation against those who try to improve the system by exposing incompetence and wrongdoing.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Honestly, I am sorry"

And with that, Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton paid her penance for calling the Governor a "Mexican".

She won't even accept personal responsibility for the slur.
She apologized "... for the hurtful words that were said ...";
not for the words she said. The words apparently,
said themselves.

Any sane person is sorry for their misconduct.
They're especially sorry when they get caught.
If they've done something really, really bad,
then they're really, really sorry.

With that as the bar, Williams-Stapleton has done no more
than anyone in the same situation would do. That makes her,
not a leader.

Williams-Stapleton's Democratic colleagues won't ask her to resign, though they would be howling for her resignation if she were a Republican and everyone knows it. She should resign her leadership position anyway.

A leader does not simply accept consequences for their mistakes, they provide them. They show subordinates what it looks like to step up to real consequences for real failure to meet agreed upon standards of conduct. They show subordinates that they are willing to hold themselves honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon others.

They stand aside when they can no longer lead.

Lujan lets Williams-Stapleton slide on slur

Rob Nicolewski reports, link,

Speaker of the House Ben Lujan has admitted he will not seek to remove Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton from her leadership post in the House for calling Governor Susana Martinez a "Mexican".

I have to wonder, if Williams-Stapleton was a Republican, or if she had called Lujan a "Mexican",
would he be so accommodating?

On hypotheticals, as good a source as any for an answer is
my Magic 8-Ball, wikilink.

... shake, shake, shake;

It says; very doubtful

photo Mark Bralley

APS leadership takes a break

APS administrative offices will be closed from December 23 through January 2nd, link.

The school board has cancelled the three meetings they scheduled for this week, link. They always do; schedule meetings during the week of Christmas Break and then cancel them.

Forget for a moment whether they should be taking the week off, why schedule meetings if you know you're going to cancel them anyway? And if there's really nothing else for them to do, why are they still claiming to be too busy to give the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication Petition it's due process?

Granted, with students gone for two weeks there's little point in having teachers and site administrators at school, but what about senior administrators with their digs in Sleepy Hollow?

Should senior administrators, people making between $100-250K a year to raise APS success rates above 50%, be taking a long holiday too?

APS Supt Winston Brooks for example, has a lot on his plate
whether students are in school or not. He has to find time to
figure out what to do about the conduct unbecoming a senior
administrator; Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton.

Brooks told the press he needed time to "review" the situation
before deciding what to do.

There are really only two facts to consider;

  1. did Williams-Stapleton call the Governor a "Mexican" and
  2. was she getting paid by APS at the time?
In truth, those are the only two germane facts and it doesn't
take three weeks to review them. What he really needs to do
is to let the furor die down before he "decides" to mete out the
standard consequence for senior administrators gone wild;
no real punishment at all.

In three weeks, interest holders will have lost interest, he can
do whatever he wants, and nobody will take notice.

photo Mark Bralley

Brooks is hypocrite; they all are.

APS Supt Winston Brooks has reminded employees, link,
they serve as role models to students.

He, however, does not.

Nor does any other senior administrator.

Nor does any board member.

Students are "expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!" link, senior administrators and board members are not; not since they removed the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct.

Ask any senior administrator if they will hold themselves honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct they established and enforce upon students; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

They won't answer;
they won't even look
you in the eyes.

None of them will.

Character is taught by example;
it is taught only by example.

All leadership is by example only.

That's what lead means.

photos Mark Bralley

Journal ignores teachers

I read with interest, everything the Journal publishes on student discipline in the APS, from supposedly fair and balanced investigation and reporting, to editorial opinions based on who knows what.

I have yet to read anything that indicates that a reporter or editor has actually talked to a teacher about the problem. Editors are so clueless they're writing things like; link,

Police and APS officials agree that repeated disruptions by unruly students are often better handled by calling parents or in-school suspension.
You would be hard pressed I think, to find many, if any, teachers whose experience includes calling the parents of chronically disruptive students and seeing their disruption end. These kids are as out of control at home as they are at school.

Who is more qualified to opine on the issue of students disrupting classrooms and campuses, than teachers. Yet, as far as I can tell, not one has been asked for their input on the issue.

Teachers in the APS have between them as many as 100,000 years of teaching experience, and no one (in a position of influence or authority) seems the least bit inclined to listen to them or take their advice.

The leadership of the APS isn't going to survey teachers because their input would condemn the administration for their failure to enforce district and school discipline policies. The Journal, editorially or otherwise, isn't going to survey teachers either.

The leadership of the APS is only covering their own asses.
How else would you explain seven meetings on District Goals
and never talking about the issues student discipline and
chronically disruptive students even once?

These are after all, the same folks who removed the role modeling clause and obligation, from their own standards of conduct;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
The media's interest in avoiding teachers' input is less easy
to qualify. It could be as simple as APS Supt Winston Brooks
or Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta
simply calling their cronies in the establishment's media and
asking them not to.

How else would you explain their failure to investigate and
report upon the district wide issue?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Williams-Stapleton should resign

Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton called Governor Susana Martinez a "Mexican".

The Republican Party thinks she should resign from her leadership position in the House; the Democrats don't. If she were Republican, the Dems would be calling for her resignation and the Republicans would be soft peddling her slur.

Williams-Stapleton would have us believe the outburst was an anomoly; it hasn't happened before and wont't happen again. Even so, she should resign, but not just for the racist slur. She should resign for what she did afterward;

  • blaming it on "the Republicans"

  • pretending she wasn't referring to Governor Susana Martinez; and

  • a soft apology to anyone who "might have been" offended.

  • calling a newsconference and not inviting KRQE because of their story on her violation of District policies and being paid for her legislative service (a violation of their civil rights).

Leadership is not so much about never making a mistake, as it is about how you handle the mistake afterward. We tell children about George Washington and the Cherry tree as an example of holding one's self honest accountable for their conduct, as an example to subordinates.

Williams-Stapleton's apology; I would like to apologize for any damage that might have been done to the tree by the axe, falls short.

Too short for real leadership.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brooks and Williams-Stapleton bullying role models

and not in a good way.

APS Supt Winston Brooks has a widespread reputation as a bully.

Now we have another APS senior administrator vying for the title;
Rep Sheryl Williams-Stapleton.

Yelling "Don't mess with me!" and a blatantly racist reference to the Governor is not the behavior that should be role modeled in front of students and the community.

Like Brooks, she will get away with it; how can they hold her accountable for bullying and ignore Brooks even more egregious conduct, link.

They both get away with it because the School Board had the foresight to remove the role modeling clause from School Board Policy; the one which once read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
Student standards of course, prohibit both bullying and racist remarks.

photo Mark Bralley

An Open Letter to the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education:

I was asked by a reader, to publish this letter. The writer asked that their identity not be revealed for fear of retribution and retaliation.

As a product of Albuquerque Public Schools, a taxpayer, and most importantly, a parent of an APS child, I feel it is imperative that I express my utter disgust Sheryl Williams Stapleton’s conduct yesterday during yesterday’s Legislative Education Study Committee. If you are not aware of her racist outburst, you can find it documented on many websites, including the national political website Human Events.

To briefly recap, at one point during the session, Ms. Stapleton yelled at another State Representative, shouting "Don't mess with me," and then accusing her of “carrying water for ‘The Mexican.’” Even more tragic is her defense – it seems she has grandparents from Cuba and Puerto Rico, implying that she is entitled to talk to people that way. Consider the ramifications of this poor defense. I have spent most of my life living in the deep South and the Hispanic Southwest. Using Ms. Williams-Stapleton’s conduct, I can pretty much use any racial epithet I choose. Hardly – this upbringing taught me a lot about diversity, a lesson that Ms. Williams-Stapleton clearly did not receive. For that, I wish to thank APS.

However, the point of my correspondence is not to criticize Ms. Williams-Stapleton’s actions. I doubt the Board of Education would be concerned with addressing highly politicized issues like this. Rather, I have three concerns that I feel must be addressed by both the Board of Education, and Ms. Williams-Stapleton’s Supervisor, Winston Brooks.

1 – With this sort of conduct being demonstrated publicly by highly-placed administrative employees, how can I be confident that my child is receiving a culturally diverse education at Albuquerque Public Schools? And, "don't mess with me?" How can I be confident that my child is learning mature conflict resolution skills?

2 – On Tuesday night, I watched Winston Brooks explain how APS is dealing with continued budget cuts from the Legislature. How does the Board of Education think this will help endear themselves to the Legislature, and what is the plan of action to ensure that this bombastic racism does not affect my child’s quality of education?

3 - As has been well documented by many television reports, Ms. Williams-Stapleton is a paid APS employee during her work as a State Representative. Is the Board of Education going to tolerate this sort of behavior from an employee representing the Board of Education?

As a parent and taxpayer, I will not be satisfied until Ms. Williams-Stapleton is terminated immediately. I can only assume that, if Ms. Williams-Stapleton continues to be employed by APS, the Board of Education is endorsing this behavior. As a parent, if it does not happen, I will have no choice but to remove my child from an institution that endorses racial hate speech. As a voter and a taxpayer, I will yield no benefit from APS, and will vote down any and all bond issues, and urge my representative to continue to cut funding.

APS is at a unique crossroads in the news right now. On one hand, you see great news stories about the anti-bullying club at Sandia High School. On the other hand, you hear about budget crises, and quality of education being impacted. This event is a tragic collision at that intersection as we watch APS wasting $167,000 paying an employee to bully people while yelling racial hate-speech.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Justly" arrested?

An anonymous backsider wrote that I had been "justly arrested", link.

At the very most fundamental level;
I was arrested for peacefully petitioning my government.
I was arrested for exercising my Constitutionally protected
human rights.

At the level of the thinking of the leadership of the APS,
I was arrested for violating a "banning letter".

The banning letter was penned by School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel.
He wrote the letter in violation of the law or, in violation of School Board Policy.

School Board Policy prohibits the writing of "banning letters" on behalf of the board without the expressed authority of the board. The Open Meetings Act prohibits the board from expressing that authority in a secret meeting.

On top of that, I was arrested by a Praetorian Guard; a publicly funded private police force whose leadership is covering up their own felony criminal misconduct, link.

Where is the justice in that?

In a just world, I would go to the media, tell them what's going on, and they would investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Just desserts would be served, in a just world.

But the world isn't just.

The establishment media;
Kent Walz' Journal, KRQE,
know about, or remain willfully
ignorant of credible allegations
and evidence of a coverup of
felony criminal misconduct by
APS senior administrators, and they won't investigate and report upon them.

Where is the justice in that?

Where is the character and courage?

photo and frame grab Mark Bralley

APS cops watch kids drink for two hours

I have been informed that a number of APS Police Officers, stationed at Valley High School on the evening of October 27th, sat in their car(s) and watched students drinking for up to two hours. One wonders, why?

I'm told that the incident was reported to Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston's office, as he commissions the officers and should deal with what appears to be nonfeasance; perhaps malfeasance.

I emailed BCSD Legal Adviser and PIO Jennifer Vega-Brown and asked her if Houston was going to do anything about officers sitting and watching kids getting drunk on APS property.

Vega-Brown acknowledged receipt of my email Friday last, and has not yet responded.

What conclusions can be drawn from their refusal to respond to the legitimate question candidly, forthrightly and honestly?

  1. the report is false, the Sheriff is going to do nothing.
  2. the report is true, the Sheriff is going to do nothing.
  3. the investigation is ongoing and cannot be commented upon.
If either conjecture 1 or 3 is correct, Vega-Brown could respond by simply pointing to the circumstances. She did not.

Which leaves conjecture 2 and begs a question; why not?

Unfortunately, asking them that question is no more likely to generate a response than did the original question.

Round and round we goes,
where we stops, no one knows.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peercy's mettle tested; he comes up short, again.

David Peercy chairs the APS Policy Committee. The agenda is up to him. If he wants something on the agenda, he can put it on.

Peercy's mettle has been tested before, link. He had the opportunity and responsibility to conduct an open and honest discussion of administrative and executive role modeling of the APS Student Standards of Conduct, and he chickened out. That or he is simply lacks the character to hold himself honestly accountable as a role model.

If he is afraid or unwilling carry on an open and honest discussion of even the most legitimate issue, all he has to do is ignore it until it finally goes away (the role modeling clause conveniently disappeared from his list of tabled issues).

He has been tested again. Again, he has come up short.

At any meeting between the time the petition was submitted, August 10th, and now, he could have, should have, put the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication's petition on the table for open and honest discussion, and he chickened out. That or he simply lacks the character to allow open and honest communication about the public interests and his public service.

Peercy lacks the character and the courage to talk openly and honestly with the community members he serves.

How many times must he prove it?

photo Mark Bralley

More propaganda from Brooks

The Journal gives APS Supt Winston Brooks a column a month to spin whatever he wants, however he wants, without fear of contradiction even in a letter to the editor. In the Journal this morning, link, Brooks latest column;
Community Voices are Being Heard.

Spin one;

"I’m always delighted when I’m approached by parents, grandparents, concerned citizens and others who want to play an active role in making our school community better."
The controverting truth; Tell that to the peaceful protestors at the District Goals Setting Meeting at Manzano High School, link. Tell that to those whose petition is being ignored. Brooks could act administratively to support the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications, but has not.

Spin 2,
"... we've begun" a partnership to advocate for strategies and policies that trigger positive change.
The truth; there is nothing more fundamental to a partnership than open and honest two-way communication. Yet Brooks cannot point to a venue where actual two-way communication takes place. He cannot and will not, point to a time, a day and a place where he will stand still and answer questions about
  • his abdication as a role model of the student standards of conduct,
  • the hiding of the Caswell report on felony public corruption in his publicly funded private police force,
  • the obstruction of an independent audit of administrative standards and accountability, or
  • a whistle blower program that denies due process to legitimate complaints.
Spin 3;
APS administration has offered the public information necessary to be informed on some of the critical issues ahead ...
The truth; one of the most critical issues in education is student discipline and chronically disruptive students. Where is any information at all, on student discipline? A recent audit found APS routinely falsifying crime statistics to protect their reputation.

Spin 4;
"The advocacy agenda will be set by the group, not me or the district."
The truth; the leadership of the APS has no intention of allowing the agenda to be controlled by anyone but themselves. It is the inability of the leadership of the APS to control the agenda of the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication which has them stonewalling the petition.

Perhaps the most disingenuous spin of all;
I hope all of us welcome ... questions.
Talk is cheap.

photo Mark Bralley

"No individual to blame"; really?

The Journal editorial, link, begins;

"It should have been a no-brainer, but it wasn’t — for a very long time."
APS has what they call a "capital improvement budget"; a running account of the money the district has for capital improvements and a plan for spending it. Over a period of several years, the list of promised capital improvements grew $128M larger than the money available to pay for them. The Journal editors aver the imbalance was the result of lackadaisy; a lack of interest, vigor, and determination, listlessness, lethargy, laziness and indolence.

A "consultant" was paid six teacher salaries to find that cost overruns, funding of projects not on the master plan, and even a failed bond issue were not taken into account by APS leadership. Their excuses include; turnover in the office of the Chief Financial Officer, inability to use software upon which they spent millions of dollars, overspending, and poor accounting.

The buck stops squarely on the desks of the people we pay the most; a quarter of a million dollars a year, to make sure this stuff doesn't happen; Beth Everitt and now APS Supt Winston Brooks, and the person they put in charge of making sure this didn't happen; APS COO Brad Winter.

Yet Brooks, and the Journal would have us believe; no "individual is to blame'. In fact, the editors would like kudos to be given to Brooks and APS CFO Don Moya "stepping up and fixing" the problem rather than continuing to ignore it.

The editors write;
The administration wisely put new fail-safe provisions in place so this doesn’t happen again, including moving the master plan from operations to the finance department.
Well duh!

Why is it that we cannot expect that this would have been done already, and hold people accountable for not having done it?

APS Chief Operations Officer and City Councilor Brad Winter has had his hand on the tiller throughout this entire fiasco. We pay him $136,680 a year for the expertise and experience that should prevent calamities such as these.

He could have, and should have, put fail-safe provisions in place long ago and did not, yet "no individual is to blame".

At least according to those who really are to blame, and their Journal cronies.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brad Winter subject of nonfeasance complaint.

APS Chief Operation Officer Brad Winter has been named in a complaint filed through Ethical Advocate; APS' whistleblower complaint and protection program.

I filed the complaint in no small part to demonstrate again that it will do no good to file a complaint; legitimate complaints against administrators and board members do not receive due process.

This though, the promise of due process for complaints is fundamental to the very integrity of any program whose purpose is to provide honest accountability to any kind of standards.

I filed it as well, as a matter of
principle; I believe APS' Chief
Operating Officer Brad Winter
is guilty of nonfeasance at the
very least; malfeasance at worst.

He promised to surrender the
public record of spending in the
John Milne Boardroom, if a
formal request for public records
was filed. It was, and he reneged.

The complaint reads in significant part;

Please describe in detail the situation or event
APS' Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter made a commitment to surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom. He made the commitment in front of witnesses at the Goals Setting Meeting at Manzano High School on November 17th, 2011.

He promised to surrender the record in response to a request for public records.

I filed a bonafide and accepted request for the public records, and Winter (the APS) has failed to surrender the record in violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

While he may argue that the surrender of public records is between me and their custodian of public records, it was his commitment to surrender the record. If he was in no position to ensure the surrender, he should not have made the commitment.
Please provide details, including who, when, and where:
If there is anyone at all, in the entire senior leadership of the APS or on the school board, who is unaware of the effort to hide the public record of spending on the John Milne Boardroom, they are willfully ignorant.
How do you think this situation should be resolved?
Brad Winter should honor his commitment to (see that) a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom be surrendered to public knowledge.
Do you have any additional comments?
Winters, and the leadership of the APS, have been hiding this information, since my first formal request in January, 2008.

His, and their, nonfeasance is willful and deliberate.

Winter's refusal to surrender public records enjoys the tacit approval of the entire leadership of the APS, all of whom have a self interest in keeping the information secret from public knowledge.

They have an ongoing record of hiding public records. Witness; their unlawful hiding of the public records of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force, circa 2006-7, and since.; the Caswell Report.

photo Mark Bralley

More school board shenanigans?

During "Board Member Comments" after the public forum at the last regular school board meeting, David Robbins suggested that the Petition for standing for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication, would finally see due process at the next Policy Committee Meeting.

That is my recollection. The video for the meeting was supposed to have been posted on APS' website on Friday; it's still not up, so I cannot confirm his commitment or link you to it.

The Policy Committee meeting (rescheduled from the 13th to the 14th) agenda has been published and does not include discussion or action on the petition.

There is another committee meeting scheduled; the District and Community Relations Committee meeting. This committee would also be a reasonable venue to bring up the stonewalling on the petition, except that, for the first time in a long, long time, there is no public forum on the agenda, link.

Update; District Relations Committee Chair Lorenzo Garcia has offered an explanation for the removal of the public forum and the substitution of a "round robin discussion";
The meeting is with the leadership of the Legislature from Albuquerque. It is a special District and Community Relations meeting, hence no public forum. The intent is to have a dialogue with Legislators and the APS Board and key administration officials about upcoming legislation and issues.
The denial of due process for petitioners and their petition continues unabated. Why?

If petitioners are successful, a venue will be created that will end unwarranted secrecy in the APS; corruption and incompetence will be exposed. The corrupt and incompetent in the leadership of the APS have much to fear.

Neither the board nor the administrations wants to discuss the petition in public.

If they're not afraid of exposure, then, of what exactly, are they afraid?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Candor is undisciplined"

This morning on Face the Nation, Rep Steve King, Iowa,
suggested that Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich has shown
a "lack of discipline" in bringing up "the Palestinian question", link, and questions about immigration, link, when he didn't have to.

Let's see;

  • a candidate with candor; willing to lay issues on the table for open and honest discussion, willing to take whatever lumps that brings,
  • a candidate with discipline; willing to confine their remarks only to approved sound bites, never leaving the party line.

... hmm

Trevor gets it

The Journal editors may be willing to cut the leadership of the APS more slack than they deserve, but their political cartoonist Trevor, is not so accommodating.

In case you missed it, APS Supt Winston Brooks, seen sitting in Santa's lap, was very excited to point out that, though we're failing nearly two students out of three, we're not doing any worse than other "similar" districts, link.

Friday, December 09, 2011

APS cop cleared

Bernalillo County Sheriff
Dan Houston has completed
his investigation of an APS
police officer who's commission
he had withdrawn after the
handcuffing of an out of control
student, link, found no criminal
wrongdoing, and restored the
officer's commission.

He was reportedly upset apparently,
because the leadership of the APS
had not been candid, forthright or honest with him regarding the incident.

APS' Executive Director of
Communications and Crisis
Manager Monica Armenta
has already assured us that
no APS polices were violated.

The officer has been cooling
her heels on administrative
leave for nearly a month for
no other reason than that
APS Supt Winston Brooks
thought she had acted "inappropriately", though apparently within the law and APS policies.

That, and it made good press.

photos Mark Bralley

Proving corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS

I have never said or suggested that every single administrator and board member in the APS is corrupt or incompetent; though I have gone so far as too say, there is not one single administrator or board member who does not have guilty knowledge of administrative and/or executive corruption and incompetence.

They do not act on their knowledge because of the documented culture of fear of retribution and retaliation if they do.

It would be nearly impossible for me to prove that there is corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS. I would be fighting against an unlimited budget for the litigation to prevent the exposure. I would be fighting against an establishment media inbred in the leadership of the APS.

Much easier to prove; by both the leadership of the APS and their media; the converse. The converse being; it is impossible for corruption and incompetence to exist in the leadership of the APS.

More specifically; there are standards and accountability to those standards that make corruption and incompetence impossibly difficult to hide.

APS' million dollar communications effort could compile a candid, forthright and honest communication about administrative and executive standards of conduct and competence. They could point to standards of conduct and competence that are clear, unequivocal, and high enough to control and prevent corruption and incompetence. If they exist.

They could show us systems and procedures for holding them accountable to those standards that do not reek of appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety.

The establishment media could just as easily prove that they're not part of a cover up; by asking the leadership of the APS to explain and defend their standards of conduct and their actual accountability to them, and then reporting the truth to stakeholders.

That neither of them will do either, means something;
a lack of courage, a lack of character, or, both.

APS ranks 6th

According to APS' award winning website, link, if you count up the teachers who have earned their National Board Certification, link, this year, APS ranks 6th in the country. 340 APS teachers have earned the certificate, just over half of all of the certificate holders in the state.

APS Supt Winston Brooks said;

"We’ve always said we have great teachers in APS.
This is just more proof.”
All of which begs a question;
If APS has so many great teachers, why aren't they doing a better job of educating our children? Why are two-thirds of students failing to meet proficiency standards?

Why does all this education and expertise seem to make so little difference on the ground?
Two possibilities occur to me; the first is that the certification is meaningless in terms of measuring or predicting teachers' real effectiveness. The other possibility is that, these people really are highly qualified and are being held back by a system that fails to recognize what they bring to the table.

The truth is that none of the 340 National Board Certified APS teachers have any more input at the table where decisions are made, than any of the other APS teachers who between them have more than 100,000 years of teaching experience.

Students have more influence on the Supt than teachers, link.

It's kind of like hiring world class chefs and then making them follow recipes from a Betty Crocker Cookbook.

What would you expect except run of the mill output?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Only following orders?

The Nuremberg Defense, link, is used by people who don't want to be held accountable for their actions which were ordered by a superior.

APS' secretly promoted Chief
of Police Steve Tellez probably
has probably sworn some kind
of oath to defend the
Constitution, and he probably
doesn't want to keep arresting
me for trying to exercise my
Constitutionally protected
human rights to speak freely
and to petition my
government, but he does.

$90K a year probably helps assuage his discomfort.

He is enforcing an unlawful restraining order (they call it a "banning letter") created by school board enforcer Marty Esquivel.

Tellez enforced it last night, my sixteenth unlawful arrest by Tellez or his subordinates, who are only "following orders".

They were taken aback last night when I moved my peaceful protest indoors. The unlawful restraining order, link, revokes my "privilege" attend board meetings. It does not prevent me from entering the building where a board meeting is taking place.

After a confab with Chief Operations Officer Brad Winter, and Supt Winston Brooks, Tellez was "ordered" to arrest me and force me out of the building.

The practical difference between standing inside and outside, and holding the same poster a half inch further away, escapes me, other than the kick they seem to be getting out of doing it.

photos Mark Bralley

Board acknowledges CACoC Petition

At the public forum last night, the board was again challenged to provide due process for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication's Petition, link.

Board President Paula Maes reiterated what she said was a commitment, link, to deal with the petition after the conclusion of the recent series of District Goal Setting meetings. Never mind that the meetings provided nothing material to the discussion of whether to recognize the standing of the only group, citizen or administrative, with a workable plan to create open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

Board Member David Robbins also stepped up to the plate; "promising?" that the Petition would be on the agenda of the next Policy Committee Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, December 14.

Robbins claimed the board has been "too busy" to deal with the Petition, though since the Petition was submitted, fourteen board meetings have been "cancelled" (presumably for lack of anything to do).

The Policy Committee is chaired by Board Member David Peercy.

That Peercy can summon the character and courage to put the Petition on the agenda remains to be proven. Peercy owns the fact that "administrative and executive role modeling of the APS Student Standards of Conduct, was first tabled and then vanished from his Policy Committee's agenda, link.

In the absence of any good and ethical reason to prolong the delay, if the Petition is not placed on the agenda of the Policy Committee Meeting, it can only be because the board's interests are served by continuing to deny the petition, its due process.

photos Mark Bralley

APS "average" Halleluiah

APS Supt Winston Brooks and
the Journal, link, are pleased
as punch to report that APS
isn't the worst school district
in the country.

Brooks is "ecstatic" that APS,
while failing 2 kids out of 3,
isn't doing any worse job than
"similar" districts.

The testing that pleased Brooks and the Journal so much, revealed;

APS performed better than average in fourth-grade math, with 34 percent of students scoring “proficient” or better on the NAEP test. For all large cities combined, the percentage was 30 percent. That difference is statistically significant, ..."
While the difference between a failure rate of 66% is "statistically' significantly better than school districts which fail 70%, I fail to see anything to get excited about - we're still failing two kids out of three.

Brooks admits being "ecstatic" that for "the first time APS has been able to compare itself to districts with similar demographics and challenges. “I think it’s very instructive to know.”

Ok, so it's instructive to know we're not failing worse than most.

We're still failing.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Winter stonewalling, and breaking the law.

APS Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter doesn't want to tell the truth about the spending on APS new board room.

I've been trying to get the truth out of him for years.

At the District Goals Meeting at Manzano High School on Thursday November 17th, I called him out again and he promised to surrender the truth, but only if I filed a formal request for public records.

I did, the following morning.

According to the law; the NM Inspection of Public Records Act, the records must be surrendered within 15 calendar days of the request. That would be have been Friday last; maybe Saturday depending on whether the day of request counts or not.

APS is in violation of the law.

I could sue for the records of course; take on APS lawyers with their unlimited budget for litigating exception to the law for APS senior administrators and board members. But why should I have to?

It's our board room, it's our money. The truth about the spending of public resources belongs to the people.

I shouldn't have to sue to see it.

Nobody should.

photo Mark Bralley

Another budgeting snafu in the APS

The Journal comes with a report, linkless; the district comes with its own report, link, and taxpayers find there's a $128M gap between the capital improvements the district has promised, and the money they actually have to complete them.

According to APS,

There is no evidence of incompetency or inappropriate behavior, so there’s no individual to blame.
"a perfect storm of the events ... caused the need for readjustment."
According to the Journal,
"the Albuquerque school district has a $128 million gap in its capital program due to overspending, accounting errors and the economy, ..."
The Journal offers;
Many problems found in the report stemmed from failure to adjust the master plan when circumstances changed. For example, the plan was not updated in 2002 when a bond question was defeated by voters. It was also not adjusted when projects ran over budget or when capital money was spent on projects outside the master plan.
Those who aren't responsible, APS Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter, and Chief Financial Officer Don Moya, just finished seven public meetings where they presented the successes enjoyed by their capital planners and the Finance Department and no mention was made of the report, 18 months in the making.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

New District Goals to be presented

The agenda for the December 7 School Board Meeting has been posted at last, link.

On the agenda; a presentation
by Supt Winston Brooks.

They're calling it;

Preliminary Input and Consideration of Approval for Plan from Community Meetings Regarding District Goals (Discussion/Action) Presenter: Winston Brooks, Superintendent

This is where the leadership of the APS presents the conclusions they drew from seven meetings on seven nights in seven different corners of the district.

This is where we see what a couple of million dollars a year worth of APS senior leadership is worth. This is where their mettle is tested.

I can't wait to hear Winston Brooks tell us how important communications are; or in the alternative, not use the word at all. He's between a rock and a hard place; on the one side, the need to utter all the usual and meaningless platitudes about the importance of establishing communication with stakeholders, and his other side, his manifest denial of due process for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication Petition. Ouch.

Noteworthy; the only public notice about the planned presentation
, the agenda, was published at the last moment. Noteworthy; they are not proudly promoting their presentation; encouraging attendance rather than discouraging it.

I will be kept out of the meeting and away from the public forum by officers in APS' publicly funded private police force. They will be obeying their own corrupt leadership and enforcing Marty Esquivel's unlawful restraining order.

If you cannot attend in person, you can watch the meeting live, link, in real time. Real time for meeting goers means 5pm, earlier if you want to sign up for the public forum.

If you can't watch it live, you'll have to wait a few days for them to push the button that makes the web-stream available as an archive.

photos Mark Bralley