RSS Board threatened by Vantage Point
March 23, 2002
As a recent Vantage Point Charter Council member, I am shocked and dismayed at the behavior of the Ready Springs School Board and Terry McAteer, the superintendent of schools for Nevada County, as they hijacked control of Vantage Point Charter School. The March 5 article in the paper written by the Ready Springs School Board is just further evidence that these five people – Stormy Trabern, Amanda Wilcox, Pamela Wolf, Judy Ten Eyck and Angela Stewart – may be pathologically incapable of telling the truth.
The real story is that Ready Springs School Board members have coveted and feared Vantage Point’s growing enrollment and budget surplus. They also felt they had to make some changes before any more parents moved their children to Vantage Point. The main reasons they and Terry MacAteer give are “attendance discrepancies” and budget concerns.
1. In regards to the “attendance discrepancies”: These were clerical errors made by the Ready Springs School District. The attendance reports were produced by the district and were never provided to the Vantage Point Staff prior to the audit. The Vantage Point director was informed that the superintendent checked that the reports were accurate, and he had already signed for them. They then informed her that she needed to sign for them that day (the last day of school, before Christmas break) or the school would lose its funding. Despite the fact that they did not provide the reports for her review, she signed. She should not have signed the report, but she was trying to get along with these people, and it is not uncommon at Ready Springs School for things to be done at the last minute in a panic. It should raise red flags that Terry McAteer, the superintendent of Nevada County Schools, had an audit team in there almost immediately after Christmas break. Those of us that have been involved know that this was a set-up.
2. In regards to the Vantage Point budget, the budget has always been prepared by the Ready Springs School District, recently under the direction of Merrill Grant. The Charter Council then made decisions on salaries, positions to be filled, etc. Last fall we had a scare when enrollment was low and money was mistakenly left out of our budget by the school district. We had to make huge cuts to balance the budget, but it balanced based on 85 students. As enrollment grew to over 100 students (currently 112), the budget surplus grew to $40,000. With “misplaced” money returned to the budget, Vantage Point is projected to have a $63,000 reserve at the end of the year; that is, if the Ready Springs School Board does not loot it.
In closing, the former Vantage Point director Tessa McGarr is an honorable, honest, gifted educator who has always put the needs of the children first, especially above any political agenda. She has been publicly trashed, slandered and libeled by the Ready Springs School Board and Terry McAteer in order to justify hijacking Vantage Point Charter School (in violation of a contract they signed with the charter council). I’m sure God has a special place in eternity for these people, if they don’t mend their ways.
Greg Fultz lives in Penn Valley.