The very first post on this blog was this one:
At the time, this blog was being used as a place to post raw public records so that the public could review them. Citizens would then comment on the public records on the Mat-Su Valley News Facebook page. However, specific records were not highlighted on this blog – only on the news group.
Anchorage Superintendent Deena Bishop (formerly Paramo) is currently in hot water over the Anchorage School District’s decision to hire an expensive PR firm to handle publicity re: the Dimond High football hazing incident.
Ms. Bishop was the superintendent of the Mat-Su Borough School District for several years until the summer of 2016 when she was hired to run the Anchorage School District.
Thus, she was the person in charge of the MSBSD during most of the time period covered by the public records in the first blog post.
Ms. Paramo/Bishop has a history of spending taxpayers’ money on questionable items.
So, this new post will highlight some specific records to show the wasteful spending. These highlights come from the Mat-Su Valley News Facebook group discussion.
FY 2014 (which ran from July 1st 2013 to July 1st 2014)
FY 2014 “Office of the Supt.” Expenses starting at p. 286 – lots of expensed meals: Matsu Family; Restaurant; Bagels Alaska; Arby’s; In and Out Deli; Valley Hotel; Palmer Downtown Deli; Turkey Red; Windbreak; Pizza Hut; Evangelos; the Grill; Pizza Athena; House of Bread; Denali Family Restaurant; North Star Bakery, Donut King; Piccolino’s. (With their high salaries, why can’t our school admins pay for their own lunches?)
Also – flowers were purchased as well as items from the very nice gift shop NonEssentials:
FY 2014 – p. 163 – $1,845.00 for a “Legislative Thank you Video” prepared by “DVD Technology” – a privately held company based in Palmer and owned by Larry Bottgen. dvdtech.us. Was this really necessary???
FY 2014 p. 169 – “Glacier Brewhouse” $296.00 P. 170 “Glacier Brewhouse” $51.75.
FY 2014 – p. 287 – Three items from “Providence Gift” (This must be the Providence Hospital Gift shop) – two for $50 and one for $122.91.
FY 2014 – p. 287 Knik Tribal Council “$100”
FY 2014 – p. 289 $1500 contribution for “cost of a gun” to the Alaska SCTP – the Alaska Youth Clay Target Shooting group.
FY 2015 (July 1st 2014 – July 1st 2015)
FY 2015 p. 169 – Flippen Group Contract $300,000 and $15,000.
FY 2015 – Key Note Speakers Opening Day – Clayton Morgan and Barbara Morgan – $10,050 and $5,599.51
FY 2015 p. 181 – There are three big payments for rental and catering associated with the very, very expensive Capturing Kids’ Hearts program (the Flippen group contract) – $6,921.20 to Evangelos for food and rental space; $9,240 to Loco Mamas for catering; and $7,719.30 to Best Western Hotel for food and rental.
FY 2015 – more big catering/food items – p. 182 – $9,011.30 to “Alaska Events” and $5,940.00 to the Red Beet; and $6,885 to “The Grill.”
FY 2015 p. 188 – two different sets of funeral flowers $106.90 and $109.61
Here are some items in FY2015 listed under “Superintendent’s Office Supplies”: P. 316 – a charge of $462.00 at the nice gift/kitchen store in downtown Palmer – “Non Essentials” 10/14/14; p. 316 $114.32 – Flowers by Louise for “Condolence flowers for Dr. Paramo” (nice; she is sending herself flowers); and p. 319 – a charge of $543.64 to Josten’s Inc. for “Doctoral Official Cap and Gown.”
Comments: “Um, why are we paying for this? I certainly hope “Dr. P” did not take this item with her to the Anchorage School District as it is the property of the MSBSD. Why do the kids have to pay for their gowns and a person who makes more than $100k has the district pay for theirs?”
FY 2016 (July 1st 2015 – July 1st 2016)
FY 2016 – p. 303 $217.00 Lunch or Dinner at Settler’s Bay Lodge ($$$$) to “debrief from Flip Flippen” Why are we paying Admin officials to have a meal at a fancy restaurant to discuss the Flip Flippen program? Why did they think this was okay to expense?
FY 2016 p. 304 Supt. Lunch meeting with Senator Mike Dunleavy $67.26 at Red Robin. Supt Breakfast Meeting with MatSu Health Foundation – Windbreak – $119.64 (Why are we taxpayers buying the MSHF breakfast? They have about $120 MILLION in the bank.)
FY 2016 p. 304 — $350 worth of “punch cards” for MSBSD for Wasilla Chamber lunches. Why are the taxpayers paying for MSBSD staffers to attend Chamber lunches?
FY 2016 – p. 314 – $140.42 “Networking Lunch with cohorts – Deena Paramo” – at nice San Diego restaurant “Lou & Mickey’s”
Taxi from hotel to Cheesecake factory – $26.30 – p. 314 FY 2016. Also on this page – the hotel cost was $2,211.13 !!!!
FY 2016 – $100 to Valley Recycling for “Ocean’s Lunch.” Why are we paying for Admin staff to attend this? Also, if we are supporting the recycling center – why is the MSBSD paying for tons and tons of bottled water each year?! There are so many expenses for bottled water in these expenditures. We really need to encourage people to bring their own reusable water bottles and/or get water from the drinking fountains. so much plastic! so expensive!
FY 2017 (July 1st 2016 – July 1st 2017)
FY 2017 – p. 143 – $49 for “Flowers/Decor for Principal Meeting.”
“Red Robin – $88.16” meal 8/20/16 for Gene Stone (who took over as Supt from summer 2016 to spring of 2017) and Monica Goyette (current Supt). Why can’t these folks have a meeting in their OFFICE and/or if they go out to lunch, why can’t they pay for it themselves????
“Quite a few entries for items to decorate Spargo’s and Ainsworth’s offices. Why are taxpayers paying $70 for wall art or $36 for a picture frame? These people are making big money, go buy your own stuff like the rest of us.”
FY 2017 – p. 144 – 145 – Ipads for Opening Day Drawing ($1199.96); Apple Watches for Opening Day Drawing ($674.98); and mini ipads for opening day drawing ($505.80) – does anyone know who received these prizes and why they were given out?
They were given at the big inservice day at the Menard Sports Center. They used them as incentive to get people to ride buses to the center instead of driving themselves.
Probably a door prize from the first mandatory meeting of the year.They have a speaker,food and door prizes.Usually a day long event.
$240.00 to Alaska Artisan Coffee for coffee beans 10/13/16. Why are we paying for coffee for the admin staff? When I have worked at various jobs (fed gov’t; state gov’t, non profits, private sector) – people who want office coffee chip in and pay for the office coffee supplies.
FY2017 – p. 145 Matsu Business Alliance lunch for 4 – $100 – why are taxpayers paying for a networking lunch? The MSBSD Admins were frequent attendees at the MatSu Bus Alliance lunches as there are quite a few notations of these lunch expenses throughout these public records. The taxpayers also pay for lots of lunches at the Wasilla and Palmer Chamber of Commerce meetings.
$815 to Intuit Inc. (FY 2017 – p. 147 – 12/20/2016) “Christmas Gifts for Principals.” why are we giving principals gifts? They are already gifted big salaries!
FY 2017 – P. 133 Opening Day Keynote Speaker – Jaime Casap $5,000 plus Hotel Captain Cook and flights. [For some reason, two charges of $3,469.40 were added and then subtracted – the notes indicate these charges were for airfare for jaime and his wife…so not sure if this was actually charged – but seriously, what type of flight costs over 3K and why was the MSBSD paying for flights for this speaker AND his wife and why were we buying what appears to be First Class tickets??]
FY 2017 – p. 186 – $11.20 “Ladies’ bathroom supplies” (why can’t grown adults purchase their own personal hygiene products?); p. 186 – $237.02 Office Decor – fred Meyer; $12.83 Frames for Dr. goyette’s office (Why are we paying for office decor?); $10.29 – Potting soil for office plants. (Everywhere I have worked – people who like plants pay for their own plants.)
FY 2017 – Alaska’s Best Water p. 216 – $1700 for Water coolers for Biz Services office. We pay Alaska’s Best Water TONS of $ for water coolers and water refills each year. WHY??? What a waste of money! All the schools and the admin building have WATER FOUNTAINS.
FY 2017 – pp. 251 – 252 – lot of food and flowers under Superintendent’s office expenses including $87.71 Flowers by Louise – Condolences to the Knik Tribal (????) and $49.37 Carrs Flowers to Academy Charter Principal. Why did the Academy Charter Principal need flowers?
FY 2017 – p. 252 $150 to Center Tix for two tickets to the Anchorage YWCA Women of Achievement Awards dinner. (Deena Paramo – former MSBSD supt and Eliz Ripley of MSHF – were 2 of the “winners.”) Why are taxpayers paying for this? If Admin officials want to attend an event like this, THEY SHOULD USE THEIR OWN MONEY – from their substantial salaries.