YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: And more on that costly report …

By From page A2 | February 20, 2014

A BLANK CHECK … no one seems to know how much the Davis Joint Unified School District was willing to pay for the volleyball investigation that resulted in a 72-page top-secret report that will never see the light of day … had the bill been for $50,000 instead of $22,000 would the district even have raised an eyebrow? … was there an upper limit of any kind we were willing to spend to get at the “facts” of one parent complaining about one coach? … do we really have that kind of money to burn? …

Of all the many issues this case has raised, the blatant waste of public dollars ultimately may be the most outrageous part of this sorry story … was this a $22,000 report to study the effect of free student lunches on student performance, or to study the serious issue of concussions in sports, or to assess the value of a four-year high school versus a three-year high school? … or anything at all that serves the common good? …

My advice to the district before it spends this kind of money again is to be certain that this is a report dealing with an important issue and that the report will immediately be made available to the general public … to spend $22,000 on a narrowly focused investigation that basically involves a pissing match between two or three individuals, is a complete waste of precious public resources … the fact that the report will remain under lock and key and never be made available to the general public makes that waste even more egregious …

EVEN MORE DOLLARS AND CENTS … we all realize, of course, that the $22,000 figure is just the tip of a very large iceberg, given that it does not take into account the many hours dedicated to this case by the district’s salaried staff …

CONFIDENTIALITY BE DAMNED … far too often we see public officials and administrators able to hide behind such terms as “personnel matter” and “confidentiality” to keep questionable or explosive items from public view … for my money, once the person whose “personnel” issue is being discussed waives confidentiality, public officials no longer have the right to withhold relevant information …

We saw this a few years back in the case of Davis High girls basketball coach Jeff Christian, who was fired mid-season, but was never given a reason for his dismissal — publicly or privately — despite his willingness to have all information concerning his case made public … and we’re seeing it again now … a little transparency would go a long way in the current case …

DISPUTE RESOLUTION I-A … here’s how you deal with the next “coach did not play my kid” scenario … the superintendent of schools pulls the complaining parents, the coach, the student-athlete and any other relevant parties into a well-lit room with all members of the press and public invited … everyone has their say and then the superintendent makes a decision … the coach stays or the coach goes … the student-athlete is cut or the student-athlete is back on the team … and that’s final … no need to hire an outside attorney and no need to spend $22,000 of the taxpayers’ money … play ball …

THE READERS ALWAYS WRITE … Peter at aol.com writes to say “I think it would be helpful if Dr. and Mrs. Peterson and coach Crawford took a few hours to read and think about the book “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Perhaps the superintendent should assign this book as mandatory reading and give them a quiz to see if they can apply the principles to real-life situations they may encounter in their service to the district’s students. If they can’t play nice and work together in the best interests of the students, they would be doing their part to undermine passage of the next school parcel tax.” …

True indeed … in fact, if the current means of dispute resolution continues, we’re going to need a parcel tax just to pay our legal bills …

EVEN MORE READERS WRITING … my friend B.J. speaks for many in this town when he says “This volleyball stuff is out of control. The district should release the findings of the investigation and at the same time bring the coach back. They should be doing what is best for the kids, not the parents or board members.” … on you Devils, on you Devils …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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