Bush addresses Nishino’s contract
Pictured (center) is Fillmore Unidied School District Superintendent Alan Nishino. Mike Bush, former Fillmore Unified School District Assistant Superteindent of Business questioned Superintendent Nishino's contract structure and perks, calculating Nishino may be receiving a financial compensation as high as $216,000 per year. Bush also questioned decisions made by School Board Members stating "...It is your due diligence to be honest and transparent to the staff and community you serve. Our community expects more than this. Our students deserve more than this. You are better than this."
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Fillmore Middle School mold, falling tiles cause concern
Alyssa Calderon, a nurse and parent, voiced her concerns regarding the leaking roof that has created mold and other unhealthy conditions at Fillmore Middle School.
Photos showing the condition of Fillmore Middle School.
Over 35 presenters and attendees showed up for the February 5, 2013 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board Meeting. Many came to voice their concerns with the condition of Fillmore Middle School, and others FUSD faculty members gave presentations of their school’s achievements or lack of. But one person came to address the Board on a money item that for weeks has had people asking questions and wanting answers.
Parents of students that attend Fillmore Middle School (FMS) showed up in numbers to address the Board about the condition of the school gym and some classrooms. First to speak was Alyssa Calderon, a nurse and parent, who voiced her concerns regarding the leaking roof that has created mold and other unhealthy conditions at the school. Other poor conditions mentioned include stagnant water, pieces of the ceiling falling and classrooms using buckets when it rains to address the roof leaks. Calderon stated parents who called the school's Principal were told to call the District Office and answers to their questions were delayed numerous times.
Juan Toledo, father of two students at FMS, spoke of exposed fiberglass insulation along with exposed electrical wiring stating, "This is a health and safety issue" and cautioned the Board of a possible lawsuit if someone were hurt. He went on to say that attempts to speak to Interim Assistant Superintendent Business/Admin. Earl Davis were met with, "He will return your call within the week" but weeks passed without a call. When Davis did return the call he told Toledo the problems would be addressed during the summer. The leaks started three years ago when the school was only nine years old.
Another speaker was Noe Villa, who works with Ventura County Protective Services and has a daughter who attends FMS. Villa asked the Board and Superintendent Dr. Alan Nishino to be more transparent with parents in both Spanish and English. Nishino responded that the District had already requested bids on the roof, and when those bids come in the District will let everyone know when the repairs will be done. Other parents that came to address the problem were Nora Toledo, Martha Santarosa, Maria Diaz, Irma Corral, Lorena Ceballos, Ofelia Flores, Monica Mejia, Carmelita Salgado, Maria Gabrial and Martha Amezcua.
The next speaker to address the Board was Michael Bush, FUSD's previous Assistant Superintendent. He came to speak on an item that had been pulled from the agenda at the last Board Meeting and gave a scathing speech addressing some in attendance directly. This is a direct quote; "Over the past week several staff and community members have asked me questions regarding Martin Farrell's editorial regarding the three $100,000 purchase orders that the Board pulled. They wanted to know what it was for and how could the District make such payments. Through discussions, I was asked to review the Board Agenda packet and the Interim Superintendent's contract, which they provided me. Staff asked that I share in public what I told them and then to share their concerns regarding Dr. Nishino's contract. I discovered that although the Board pulled the purchase order report, you (the Board) went ahead and ratified three payments of $50,000 each made on December 18, 2012. In reviewing Dr. Nishino's contract, I was shocked, I have never seen a document so contorted and crafted to avoid public scrutiny and obfuscate pension reform regulations. Although, I have 20 years of school business experience, it took me 45 minutes, Google and a dictionary to understand this two page document. Although entitled "Interim Superintendent" the term of the agreement is for three years, which is the legal maximum for a permanent superintendent. Clearly the Board does not intend Dr. Nishino to be an interim. What are the costs of this agreement? Section 2 (of employment contract) is around about way of saying he (Nishino) will receive $40,011 in salary for 12-13 school year. Which would automatically increase if California State Teachers Retirement System increases their limit, thus providing for an automatic raise. The actual cost for Section 3 is unknown without reviewing reimbursement checks but the maximum benefit for 12-13 is a little over $15,000. Section 6, (which states; The District shall pay the Superintendent's actual and necessary expenses to include out-of pocket expenses, such as, but not limited to: transportation, conferences, workshops, memberships, lodging, meals, telephone charges, computer network charges, FAX, postage and duplication. In recognition of the necessity of having the Superintendent on call 24 hours a day for District business, the Superintendent shall have the use of a District vehicle for use on District business, including commuting to and from the District. The District shall be responsible for all costs of vehicle fuel, maintenance and insurance.) depending on the value of the vehicle and the amount of fuel to commute to and from work, conservatively is worth $10,000 per year. Section 7 (no dollar amounts are given) is the most confusing, because the language switches from fiscal year to calendar year. Even the Business office had difficulty with this one, hence pulling the purchase order. The IRC 415 limit also known as the make-up provision is $50,000 for 2012 and $51,000 for 2013. The contract says that 2012 shall be made by the end of December and subsequent years shall be made in equal monthly installments. Should the 2012 be prorated for the term of the contract? Evidently not, Mr. Davis released $100,000 on December 18th. So then according to the contract 2013 should be made in monthly installments, for a total of $151,000 for the 12-13 fiscal year. The total cost of this contract could be as much as $216,000.
When the Consent Items, which included Ratify Purchase Orders Month of December 2012 that was pulled at the last meeting and Approve/Ratify Contracts, came up for a vote they were approved by unanimous decision by the Board.
The next school to present was Fillmore Middle School which has 307 sixth grade, 291 seventh grade and 276 eight grade students and an average class size of 25 students. Overall, students scoring proficient or above in English Language Arts increased by 10% from 35% to 45% from 2011 to 2012 which meets Safe Harbor criteria, but students with Disabilities did not improve sufficiently and although there were significant gains in Math proficiency it was not enough overall for FMS to reach Safe Harbor criteria of 10% improvement.
Fillmore High School (FHS) also did not meet Safe Harbor and actually had a decline starting with AIP 53.8% in 2011 and a 46.8% in 2012 resulting in a -3% in its API.
Last to present was Sierra High School (SHS). This open enrollment continuation school has a very small campus that includes five teachers and 120 students, 40 of which are independent study. SHS has a good graduation rate and a low suspension rate along with higher API scores and compares well with other similar schools in the County being second only to Moorpark Continuation. The school also received a seven year Certification of Accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; a requirement to issue diplomas.
Two years ago SHS received a grant from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife for $50,000 which was used to teach students about both plants and animals. The school is now receiving a great deal of attention and praise from schools throughout the County and State for their hands on applications to those subjects.
Another item approved by the Board was an online coarse curriculum called Advanced Academics which will start in March. These are online classes for both high schools and middle schools that cover a wide range of subjects including Advanced Placement, math, science, languages, Language Arts, social studies, health, electives and testing. Not all students will be suitable for online studies, but for those students who are self motivated and want to advance quickly there is the option of using these courses.