Letter: Quinn Made a Deal to Save DJUSD During Budget Crisis

By Laurie & Bob Rollins

In Feb. of 2010, the district was suffering from budget cutbacks so they offered teachers a retirement incentive. At this time, Deanne Quinn spoke with Superintendent James Hammond and offered to retire and come back as a part time employee. The district would keep the experience and expertise to maintain the integrity and quality of the GATE/AIM Program. In turn, the district would pay a much smaller salary for a part-time agreement and would not pay benefits or retirement contributions.

The variable services agreement would allow Deanne Quinn to adapt her hours to the needs of the program, spending more time during testing, class placements, etc. She would also be able to work from home on paperwork, when that was appropriate.

Superintendent Hammond stated, “It was a cost savings measure (.6 FTE) and still allowed us to have essential continuity within the program for staff, parents and students.” He estimated that the agreement would save the District about $90-100,000 per year and told Ms. Quinn that she could keep the position as long as she wanted.

Ms. Quinn currently earns approximately $32,400 per year to coordinate the GATE/AIM program. Over the past 4 years, this VSA has saved the District approximately $551,600 in salary and benefits not paid. These savings have been made while maintaining the quality and functioning of the GATE/AIM program.

The proposal to end this VSA is clearly not based on the $32,400 in direct savings since the required services will cost much more when provided by someone else. Clearly, the objective is simply to dismantle the GATE/AIM program.

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  1. zaqzaq

    If this is true it looks like the school district violated an agreement with Ms. Quinn that saved the district considerable money.  Is the school district in such a better financial position that they can spend the additional money for a new AIM coordinator?

    1. hpierce

      My opinion is, if and when, the employee goes public/on record indicating THEY were told about an arrangement, it might be appropriate for David to contact Hammond, but I agree with David what the response would be.

      Read carefully…  “Clearly, the objective is simply to dismantle the GATE/AIM program.”  If I remember correctly, you need to have a ‘subject sentence’ when you write.  Am thinking this is it.  Everything else appears to just bolster ‘justification’ for the quoted assertion.  JMO

      1. David Greenwald

        The email exchange between James Hammond and Deanne Quinn was sent to me – while I agreed not to publish it, it does confirm the account by Laurie that there was an agreement that Ms. Quinn would continue to work at .4 FTE as long as she was able to.

        1. hpierce

          So, to be perfectly transparent, any of us should be able to do a PRA request to get that e-mail, unless the records retention policy of DJUSD has been ‘tolled’. [?]

          1. David Greenwald

            GGiven it’s a four year old email, my guess is that there is no possibility of anyone getting it. I’m not sure that the way I obtained it negated personnel claims.

        2. hpierce

          Oh, and anticipating the reply that personnel matters are not subject to PRA, the fact you (and Laurie) got it, David, kinda’ undermines/voids that ‘confidentiality’ clause.

        3. wdf1

          I think if Quinn chose to release the material, then that’s her business.  She’s free to do that.  I would expect that district would continue to abide by the confidentiality policy.

  2. ryankelly

    This is just heresay, but if true, it explains why the current Superintendent recommended to renew the VSA while at the same time identifying the reduction in staff time as problematic for the management of the program.  He kept the agreement and left the Board to appear to be the bad guys when they ended an unsustainable arrangement.


    1. Davis Progressive

      heresy or hearsay?  lol.

      “He kept the agreement and left the Board to appear to be the bad guys when they ended an unsustainable arrangement.”

      that doesn’t really answer the question of why now versus alan fernandes’ suggest that we wait to see what changes occur

    1. Davis Progressive

      i supported fernandes’ comment where you renew it this year, evaluate the entire program next year and then figure out what changes to make.

  3. ryankelly

    This is an unfair assessment.  The two situations have no similarities, other than the positions were VSA’s.   If all VSA’s are equal, then you are implying that the Board must blindly approve all VSA’s to avoid any comparison or accusation of wrong-doing.  Is that the Board we want?

    1. Davis Progressive

      no similarities?  it seems that lovenburg has long opposed gate, voted against the quinn vsa, and now had the votes to be in the majority finally.

      1. wdf1

        A key difference is that Peterson appeared to be making her decisions in connection with her own kids’ participation in volleyball program.  All of Lovenburg’s kids have graduated from high school, I think, so there isn’t the same appearance of personal gain from her action.  School board members have the right to question hiring decisions.

      2. ryankelly

        A philosophical and political view.  Peterson had a personal vendetta against Crawford and engaged in years long harassment and publicly slandered her.   Very different situations.

      3. Davis Progressive

        that is the part we don’t know – what is the driver of lovenburg’s votes.  it took some time to figure out peterson as well.  but even if lovenburg doesn’t have familial reasons to dislike the gate director, that doesn’t completely get her off the hook.

  4. DavisAnon

    It seems the superintendent and Board keep having to come up with reasons to justify their actions in this. Is it an FTE issue (too much? Too little?)? Temporary or permanent employee? Personnel or budget issue? They should do the right thing and reinstate Ms. Quinn to her position.

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