I attended a meeting this past week sponsored by HTA, and I've heard that more of these have been scheduled. HTA is advertising this as a fact finding process. The board members present at the one I attended were Black and Kirk. The title on the HTA flyer was "The Truth about the Recall." The title was a little misleading. The program would have been more aptly titled "Why We Should Hire WLC."

There were a number of points the new board members were making but most revolved around their choice of WLC, the construction management firm they wished to hire to build the new high school. They claimed that using a management firm was cheaper than a general contractor. No one is sure about that. They gave figures but none were verified. At a board meeting held earlier in the year, they could not explain how they arrived at that figure.

Kirk and Black both stated at the meeting that WLC was the only company that had a cap on their spending. According to documents at the district office, the reverse of this is true. WLC was the only company that had no cap. Going with the most expensive management firm could even cost more. In addition, the board members are confusing their audience by talking about all the experience their favorite company has. Most people do not know that WLC is an architectural firm and has a construction management arm to its company. That management firm is about seven years old. Statements made that WLC has built 21 high schools might apply to the architectural portion of the company, but would be an impossible claim for its management firm to make. The new board members are hoping that people are not aware of the difference.

The two board members further claimed that delays on the high school project were the blame of the district office. They stated that the Request for Proposal was done incorrectly, had to be redone, and then resubmitted to the newspaper. What was not stated at the meeting was that the new board members wanted the RFP pulled so that they could make some changes. Those changes consisted of deleting the requirement that the construction manager have a contractor's license and would report only to the board, not the district office. Curiously enough, the person they wanted to hire fit that bill. Since then the three board members have directed their law firm to write the proposal to select a firm to build schools in Hesperia. Will this proposal be written to fit only a certain management firm?

In an effort to further discredit and blame district personnel, Mr. Black stated at this meeting that no school construction had ever been completed on time. This isn't true. According to the district, all schools were on time. Sultana High School was even finished a month early. The only exception to this was Oxford Academy, and even then, the company in charge had not had a problem prior to this.

Basically, the three board members are claiming that if they had had their way, there would have been no delays in building for the district. Unfortunately, these board members have had it their way. As a board majority, they have voted for and won everything they wanted. They got their way when they voted to close the sixth grade schools, hired a law firm with no experience in educational law, fired a superintendent, rewrote the RFP's, tried to change the calendar, are now trying to push for choice schools in a crowded district, and tried to hire the most expensive construction management firm for the high school. Their way doesn't seem to be working very well. They have no one to blame but themselves since they have not listened to any advice from other board members or experienced district office personnel. It's time for them to go.

As for HTA, perhaps they should be polling their membership about the recall before they send their union-backed board members campaigning at the schools. This fact finding mission Mr. Pace claims he is doing is not presenting all the facts.