School Trustees Hear Dangers of Developer’s Plan to High School

County Audit of ASB Funds Nearly Complete

By Katy Penland

The El Tejon Unified School District Board of Trustees heard a report from President Ken Hurst on his trip to the Kern County Planning Commission meeting to represent ETUSD. He expressed the district’s concerns about the proposed Frazier Park Estates’ 620-home development (which would surround the high school and take water from the aquifer used by the high school well).

Water availability and the amount of blasting and earthmoving proposed on the 60-degree slopes surrounding Frazier Mountain High School are primary concerns.

Because of a tie vote, another public hearing before the commission will take place on October 8 (7 p.m. 1115 Truxtun Ave. Bakersfield). Hurst and fellow ETUSD board member Anita Anderson plan to attend.

The board also decided to draft a letter to Supervisor Ray Watson regarding its concerns about the project in light of bias shown by Watson’s appointee to the Planning Commission, Chairman Ron Sprague, who tried to get the project approved at the last meeting despite the tie vote.

ASB Accounting Issues

Terri Geivet reported meeting with forensic accountant Rachel Unell about the Frazier Mountain High School Associated Student Body fund accounting procedures.

“She [Unell] was delightful,” Geivet said, adding that “it was clear that what she did was not an audit. She was there to help the students.”

The Mountain Enterprise newspaper paid for Unell’s services to provide support to FMHS students who have been trying to secure answers to troubling financial questions that have plagued the ASB for over three years.

Geivet also talked with FMHS Principal Dan Penner about the possibility of using Unell to do a presentation to the ASB. She reported that Unell was “very interested” in teaching the QuickBooks program to the ASB.

Board member John Fleming then apologized profusely to Dan Penner, ending with “I’m greatly sorry for any grief [the audit] caused you.” Fleming earlier had been one of the two trustees who had told students he would work to help them secure answers.

Anita Anderson was the other trustee who has consistently asked questions about the ASB financial confusions. She did not apologize for seeking to improve the student’s confidence in the administration’s accuracy in tracking student funds.

The office of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools is now conducting an audit of the ASB finances and procedures. They are expected to deliver a report to the trustees at the October 14 meeting.

$625,000 Grant Received

Anne Weber of the Family Resource Center announced the receipt of a $625,000 grant ($125,000 per year for five years) for the Mountain Communities Coalition Against Substance Abuse (McCASA) from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Mental Health Services Administration.

McCASA’s mission is to support the community’s effort to “prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth” and to foster better cooperation among drug-prevention organizations. She was given a round of applause by board and audience alike.

Craig Stowell Hired

After resigning his position as chair of the Citizen’s School Bond Oversight Committee, Craig Stowell was hired in closed session as Director of Maintenance. Applications are needed for people to serve on the oversight committee, which is required to review spending of the $7.2 million bond.

—Patric Hedlund contributed to this report

This is part of the September 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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