Tag Archives: Kevin Bultema Chico Unified School District

Dan Walter: School officials and school unions are teaching students that it’s all right to run up credit card bills, blame others for overspending and then cross their fingers that someone will bail them out

11 Feb

After I wrote my analysis of CARD’s use of their expensive Cal Park Lakeside Pavilion facility, I read this piece by Dan Walter:

https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/school-districts-set-poor-example-for-students/

Walters is talking about various California school districts, but what he says also applies to our local recreation district – ” it’s all right to run up credit card bills, blame others for overspending and then cross their fingers that someone will bail them out.”

That’s becoming standard public agency policy these days, and it’s not just the pensions, but poor spending decisions by policy makers. I mean, blatant decisions, like spend $385,000 on a remodel for council chambers, or paying a million borrowed dollars on a crapped out old building and then several hundred thousand fixing it. 

But most poor spending decisions seem to involve public salaries and benefits. Walter reports ” In 2017, when Sacramento Unified’s teachers were threatening to strike, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg mediated a new contract that gave teachers an 11 percent raise. Later, it emerged that the salary increases would come from a reserve set aside for pension fund payments.”

In Chico, both the city and CARD have set up “pension trust” funds, allocating money from other city funds, to pay down their pension deficit. this is in addition to what taxpayers already pay toward pensions on a monthly basis. We pay their payments monthly, and then we’re on the hook for an annual payment that increases every year – this year, $7,598,561.  Former CARD finance director Scott Dowell now runs the city finances, so he set up both funds. He says these funds save money by avoiding penalties from CalPERS. What it amounts to is embezzling money from one fund to another so you can spend it any way you want. 

In Sacramento, contrary to the  rules for one of these “trusts”, they spent the money to give their teachers an 11 percent raise. Of course, you know what those raises are going to do to those teachers’ pensions, right?

As soon as Chico Unified passed Measure K in 2016, district finance mangler Kevin Bultema told the board they were still looking at deficits caused by raises given teachers. He told me in an e-mail that if they didn’t get more money they’d cut programs. 

Walter’s point in this piece is that the schools are setting a poor example for the kids. I’d say,  government in general is setting a poor example for everybody. 

 

Chico Unified: we want more money or we hurt the kids…

8 Feb

A couple of weeks ago we read an article in the Sacramento Bee detailing the failure of the California State Teachers Retirement Fund – CalSTRS. Here’s the latest from Cal Watchdog:

http://calwatchdog.com/2017/02/03/pension-funding-catastrophe-threatens-california-schools/

Yes, as Chico Unified School District finance director Kevin Bultema told me, ” The increase PERS and STRS costs are certainly a challenge for the district’s operations budget and will need to be addressed with either increased revenues from the state or cuts in CUSD’s program expenditures in the future.”

I hear “we want more money or we’ll hurt the kids…” What do you hear? 

Claims of overcrowding in Chico schools blown out of the water by calwatchdog report

16 Oct

One of the claims Chico Unified School District is making in seeking approval of $152 million Measure K is that they want to prevent overcrowding. It shocks me they’d make this claim when finance director Kevin Bultema has warned the board again and again the district is losing students.  That’s a bummer for them because each kid represents a little over $11,000/year in funding.  Bultema has been crying about declining enrollment for years now, reporting almost 2,000 students lost over the last 10 years, and predicting another 135 to 185 lost over the next two years. 

But here’s this “Yes on Measure K” mailer staring me in the face, telling me the district needs to prevent overcrowding.  You know, they think they can say anything, and we’ll buy it. They know better than anybody how poorly educated we are, they don’t think we can read a budget report. I wonder how surprised they were when a group of investigative journalists from Sacramento came up with this:

https://noonmeasurekchico.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/chico-unified-made-calwatchdog-list-of-schools-with-multimillion-dollar-project-requests-from-districts-where-student-enrollment-has-declined/

Isn’t that a nice distinction to bring to our little town?

It’s obvious Kevin Bultema, anxious to keep funding rolling in to pay his $130,000-plus salary and $25,000-plus benefits package, will say anything to get the voters to swallow this lump of horse puckey. 

Please, Vote NO on Measure K.