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Mailbag: Article misstated position

July 17, 2010

The Leader's front-page, leap-before-looking story ("Millions at ready, receipts or not," July 14) concerning millions of dollars of Burbank Unified School District bond, state grant, and city funds for the modernization of Burbank's schools trivialized what should be a topic of concern for thousands of young students, their parents, and all taxpaying businesses and residents.

Apparently, former President Reagan's oft quoted admonition, "Trust, but verify!" was ignored. The Leader completely mischaracterized my inquiry into district accountability and the whereabouts of essential project documents and taxpayer dollars, leaving the reader in the dark as to the true significance of this issue.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that millions of school bond, state grants and $23 million provided by the city for district-wide modernization of school facilities had been inappropriately used, were not properly accounted for, or simply disappeared. Upon learning of this alleged improper management of school bond money and other government funds, I immediately contacted the current president of the Board of Education seeking clarification of these serious allegations. The Leader's portrayal of my call for accountability to make certain that city tax dollars were not being tapped twice to pay for new school fields if surplus modernization money remained available was distorted and inaccurate.

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The Leader's injection of the term "original receipts" into its spin of events has no significance to the questions at hand. Rather, I specifically sought the foundational source document used as the template for each school project called the "Facilities Master Plan," along with carefully detailed spreadsheets linked to it. Had they been produced, the spreadsheets would have clearly shown the source of funds and account for all project budgets, expenditures and surplus money.

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