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Sen. Rand Paul hammers LAUSD — over report that is 2 years old

Craig Clough | August 4, 2015

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Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul

The headline on the press release yesterday From Senator Rand Paul, a Republican of Kentucky and 2016 presidential hopeful, screams for attention: “Sen. Rand Paul Highlights LAUSD Reallocating Funds from National School Lunch Program to Feed Lawns, Not Children.”

The message got the attention of The Hill, a DC paper that covers Congress, which went with “Paul: Los Angeles school district wasting lunch money.”

So Paul is looking to score some political points and chose LA Unified as the latest target of his newsletter, The Waste Report. But there is just one head-scratcher of a problem … the report Paul is highlighting is two years old.

What is Paul going after? It’s a little hard to decipher, but like Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Video Awards, Paul’s Waste Report on LA Unified is so 2013.

The Waste Report calls attention to a California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes (CSOOO) report — from 2013 — that found LA Unified diverted more than $158 million over a six-year period — ending in 2011 — from the lunch program and spent the money on things like sprinkler systems.

However, LA Unified has already repaid the $158 million back into the cafeteria fund and made changes to its food supply system under the recommendations of the California Controller’s Office, LA Unified spokesperson Barbara Jones told The Hill. But Paul’s Waste Report mentions none of this, and it reads like the LAUSD lunch problem is hot off the presses.

If Paul wanted to score easy political points at LA Unified’s expense over its food, perhaps he could have read some headlines from yesterday — the same day he issued his press release — about the far more current resignation of the district’s food services director, David Binkle. Binkle stepped down after an internal audit released in July by the district’s Office of the Inspector General found widespread waste and mismanagement in the Food Services Division.

Like Katy Perry’s Left Shark, the July audit is so more 2015 than Paul’s Waste Report.

The true target of Paul’s Waste Report actually reveals itself in the last sentence. In a classic case of burying the lead, it criticizes California Senate President Keven de Leon for discontinuing the CSOOO, the department that unearthed LAUSD’s mismanagement.

Ah, so that’s what this was all about? Perhaps, but a quick Google search unearths some more problems with the timeliness of the Waste Report, as de Leon canceled the CSOOO in December of 2014.



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