Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are SPASD Administrators Textually Active?

Is ANYONE looking at district cell phone bills?
Are ANY of the district policies and procedures followed?
District policy/procedure (GBCBB-R: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION RESOURCES USE) states, "Employees must reimburse the district for any charges that accrue from unavoidable personal cellular telephone use. Such reimbursement shall be made within the regular billing cycle"
It occurred to us that we see a few "reimbursement for personal use of cell phone" items in each month's deposit listing. (Does anybody ever look at those?)

The district's monthly cell phone charges are about $675.
17 district administrative staff have reimbursed the district for some degree of personal cell phone use in the past 12 months.

We have nothing but questions:

  • Exactly HOW MANY district employees have district paid cell phones?
  • Of those, how many really use them?
  • Could we save money by cutting out those that have phones but don't use them much?
  • Procedure GBCBB-R also states that, "Cellular telephones may be provided to employees whose job functions require mobility and immediate accessibility. Cellular telephones should not be used if a conventional telephone is readily available. " Arguably, a principal is pretty immobile. Shouldn't they be pretty much tied to their school and therefore close to another phone? Do they even NEED a cell phone?
  • Neither of the "dynamic duo" (Culver and Frei) have paid a personal use of cell phone reimbursement in the last 12 months. Does that mean they haven't made a single personal call? Or do they not have a cell (which would seem weird).
  • Reimbursements of $84.77, $119.40 and $140.19 seem a tad high to be related to "unavoidable" personal calls..dontcha think?
  • Not a single reimbursement was recorded in September. So NOBODY used a district cell phone for personal use in August?
  • In fact, even the 'usual supects' don't seem to be making monthly re-imbursements. Are they not following policy? Luessman wins for at least making reimbursements in 8 of the last 12 months.
  • Ms. Dawes wins the award for highest amount of personal cell phone use racking up well over $400 in reimbursable charges over 12 months. That's an average of over $35 per MONTH! Kinda makes one wonder if she doesn't bother paying for a personal cell phone at all...perhaps choosing the less expensive option of (infrequently) payinging a reimbursement.
  • What kind of plan does the district have, anyway? $35/month seems to suggest a very high per-minute charge.
  • At what point does this represent a taxable benefit, if employees pay only for their calls (minutes?) and taxes on those calls? No basic charges? As taxpayers, aren't WE paying for this? How do WE get a piece of this action???
  • We've been told that some employees have a long drive to Sun Prairie and use their phones to "work while commuting". If administration is tacitly approving such a situation, doesn't that pose a potential liability issue. The insurance industry tells us (and those of you that talk and drive know...don't you) that even using a 'hands free' phone, drivers are distracted by a phone conversation. If an accident should occur while performing district business by cell phone, could the district have some liability?
  • What about district liability in the case of an accident which occurs while the driver is using a district-provided cell phone for personal use?
  • Is it 'micro-managing' for the school board to look into this?  Or is it apathy?

We're just askin'.....which is really what somebody ELSE should be doing. Or is this like the District-wide beverage contract....nobody complies... and nobody cares.