Budget and Schedule Are the Hobgoblins of Small Minds

It started at our WCCUSD CBOC meet­ing in January as this agenda item:

F.2 Budget Adjustments to Bond Program (tabled at December meet­ing)
The Board of Education has just ap­proved $26 mil­lion in bud­get in­creases for bond projects.
Why did this hap­pen and what sort of con­trols are in place to pre­vent this from re­oc­cur­ring.
Submitted as a ques­tion by the CBOC Chair to Bill Fay on 1/​20/​14.

This had ear­lier elicited this brief writ­ten state­ment from Mr. Fay, WCCUSD Chief Operations Officer:

The WCCUSD Bond pro­gram is scope dri­ven that de­liv­ers out­stand­ing fa­cil­i­ties that meets the ex­press needs of each school com­mu­nity.

As such, all projects re­ceive the most cur­rent de­sign stan­dards, tech­nolo­gies, ed­u­ca­tional spec­i­fi­ca­tions and equip­ment with­out re­gard to project tim­ing. The pro­gram also moves for­ward with­out re­gard to con­trac­tor bid­ding cli­mate and does not “value en­gi­neer” any scope. The rem­edy re­quires a change in
the num­ber of projects that can be ac­com­plished.

When the mat­ter came up, Mr. Fay did not de­tail how this phi­los­o­phy led specif­i­cally to the $29M short­fall, but in­stead ex­panded on the phi­los­o­phy of scope-based bud­get­ing at least as used in this dis­trict: spend with­out limit on projects un­til you run out of money -> bump re­main­ing projects to the next bond -> get the next bond.

It’s all in this record­ing of Mr. Fay with some com­ments by Martin Coyne along with com­ments by com­mit­tee mem­bers. It’s only 9 min­utes; it’s worth a lis­ten.

Update (5/​22/​2014):

  • The meet­ing date was January 29th, 2014.
  • The full meet­ing record­ing by dis­trict staff is still on the pod­cast site at this page.

2 thoughts on “Budget and Schedule Are the Hobgoblins of Small Minds

  1. Bill Fay said, “We do not sup­press the bud­get,” and “There are no con­trols to con­tain the bud­get.”

    Everyone who votes “yes” on the next bond mea­sure needs to know that this is the district’s ap­proach to spend­ing other people’s money.

  2. Wow!!! NO BUDGET! & NO SCHEDULE!!! Just go for a new bond mea­sure every other year! In the pri­vate sec­tor these bo­zos would be gone! AND Ramsey & Kronenberg (re­ceived large cam­paign $$$ from con­struc­tion in­ter­ests) are both on the Facilities sub-com­mit­tee to ap­prove this “cut­ting edge” un­stop­pable (gravy) train!!!

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