Trustee Wants To Review All Calexico School Expenditures
BY MARIO CONDE
The Calexico School Board has voted to bring back the accounts payable list as an action item for the next six months. At last school board meeting, Trustee Ciro Calderon brought up an item for discussion to bring back the accounts payable list back as an action item. Calderon stated that during his first term as board member, the item was on the agenda as an action item where board members were able to make questions about district expenditures. Calderon stated that the board should look over the expenditures since they are stewards of public funds and should know where the money is going.
There was discussion on this and it was decided to bring it back to the following meeting for action. Board President Lorenzo Calderon said that the item was brought back in order to have more information. He mentioned that one of the concerns was this action would delay some of the payments the district had to make. Board President Calderon said he made some research and found out that it’s not going to hinder the district process for purchasing and so forth. He said that in case of emergencies purchases the district has a policy that if such emergency takes place, the board can pass a resolution to purchase what is needed.
“I believe that the accounts payable list should go as an action item and we should know and be able to approve and disapprove any request from district staff,” President Calderon said. Trustee Richard Romero said he will support bringing back as an action item but as a six month trial to see if this move works or it can be improved as needed.
President Calderon said that it has worked in the past as it was part of the school board agenda for its review and approval. Trustee Ciro Calderon said that it was done for two years and when the board was able to review the pre list and met all their obligations.
“I believe we need to know how the tax payer’s money is being spent. I believe that as a board we need to hold department heads accountable on how they are spending the money and not overspend it in items that we don’t need,” Trustee Calderon stated.
Trustee Michael Castillo asked if there were problems or concerns with the payment procedure as of recently. President Calderon said that there have been expenditures that he was not aware of and said that as board members they should be aware what is going on in their district. “That’s why we were voting in here so I believe that we should know,” President Calderon said.
Superintendent Maria Ambriz stated that the account payable were in the agenda in a time when the district was in financial crisis and there was a fiscal oversight person assigned to the district by the ICOE superintendent and mandated that the list be on the agenda. Ambriz stated that since then, the school district has received a positive certification and a positive budget for the last three years and that is why they were able to remove the list from the agenda. She asked the board to give her concessions so there can be no hold ups on spending that needs to be done.
“I do encourage the board to recognize the fiscal picture the district was in years ago and where we are today,” Ambriz told the board. Trustee Ciro Calderon responded that the district needs to get back on track on what they need to get done and bringing back the accounts payable pre list is the starting point to do so. In the end, the board of trustees voted 3-2 to approve the accounts payable list to be back on the agenda for six months having Trustees Michael Castillo and Enrique Alvarado voting against it.
In other news, the CUSD approved an agreement with Consulado de Mexico in Calexico to provide Plaza Comunitarias to parents to improve family literacy. Parents would have an opportunity to get the equivalent of their elementary and junior high certificates through online modules of study and increase family literacy that will impact student’s academic achievement. The Mexican Consulate would provide professional development to the instructor, all instructional materials, and technical assistance. The district would supply the space and the extended day academic tutor.
The Plazas Comunitarias programs offer the opportunity for youth and adults to have literacy courses and to start or continue their elementary, middle and high school education in Spanish. Every student who completes his or her education under this program gets a certificate of graduation provided by the Mexican Ministry of Education and is prepared to present successfully a GED in Spanish and, if the student has a good level of English, to present it in this language.
The Plaza Comunitarias Program was created in 2001 under the administration of Mexican President Vicente Fox and accepted in the United States through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mexican and United States governments dated November 10, 2004. The Plazas Comunitarias serve as transitional programs into English and adult basic education classes as it establishes an academic foundation for Hispanic immigrants from which to work. Considering the bi-national mobility of Mexican migrants and the scale on which this population contributes to economic and social development in both the U.S. and Mexico, the state of their education and access to education should be considered as a bilateral responsibility.
This is the main purpose of the Plazas Comunitarias, as a program developed by the Mexican Government to provide Mexicans living abroad the opportunity to begin or continue their education.