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PLACENTIA YORBA LINDA : Trustee Wants Public’s Input on Budget

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District trustees battled this week over a proposal from a newly elected member to form a budget committee.

Trustee Cathy Ann Brooks said she wants parents and residents with financial expertise to help the board make budget decisions, pointing to what she described as a lack of discussion surrounding the decision last August to invest $50 million in borrowed funds in the county’s now-troubled investment pool.

“We have educated people in this district who have offered their services,” Brooks said. “It wouldn’t be just another committee, but it would help us project future budget situations and set things up to deal with them. The information we receive (from district officials) isn’t always easy to understand.”

Brooks said a certified public accountant and a marketing professor have offered their help in sorting through fallout from the county bankruptcy last month.

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But other board members raised several objections to the plan and bristled at the suggestion that they did not seek expert advice when voting unanimously on the investment.

“I take issue with the inference that no questions were asked,” said Karin M. Freeman, who was on the board when the vote was taken. “They were.”

Board President Craig Olson said the committee proposed by Brooks lacked a clear purpose.

He also questioned how volunteers would be able to help the board deal with the complexities of school budgets.

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“When I look at the complexities of (school finances), I don’t know if we’d have known anymore” with advice from an accountant and a marketing professor, Olson said.

The board said it will reconsider the proposal at its next meeting.


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