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BHUSD Expected to Reimburse $2.5 Mil to Measure E Fund

District staff is recommending that money be transferred from the general fund to the Measure E fund to repay it for legal fees associated with the Karen Christiansen trial.

Having received millions from a November , the Board of Education is expected to vote Tuesday to reimburse the Measure E bond fund $2.5 million.

The money will come from the Beverly Hills Unified School District's general fund. The board is also expected to transfer $2.5 million from the general fund to the district's .

BHUSD received a $6.6 million settlement from Johnson Controls, an Orange County energy company that secretly hired former district facilities director Karen Christiansen to be a consultant. She allegedly pushed the BHUSD to buy goods and services from the company. 

Christiansen was found guilty in November of four felony conflict of interest counts and was last week to four years and four months in prison. She may have to pay BHUSD $2 million in restitution fees pending the result of a Feb. 23 hearing.

The district has spent  in Measure E funds on legal fees related to the months-long Christiansen trial. The $334 million was passed by voters in 2008 to help renovate all five BHUSD schools.

Bond fund attorneys advised the district that the payments were permissible, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alex Cherniss said during prior board discussions. Some residents, however, complained about spending Measure E funds on legal fees. Patch readers have made .  

The Johnson Controls settlement consisted of a $5 million cash payment to BHUSD and a $1.6 million credit for future purchases.

District staff, together with the that monitors the bond, had several meetings to discuss the settlement money, according to a statement Cherniss submitted as part of Tuesday's board meeting agenda.

“The recommendation is to fully reimburse Measure E for all legal and related outside consultant fees incurred by transferring present and future recoveries back to the Measure E bond fund until Measure E is made whole,” Cherniss said in the statement.

The board is also expected to discuss at Tuesday's meeting two recently-completed audits of the Measure E fund. Christy White Accountancy Corp. finished a financial audit and a performance audit for the year ending June 30, 2011.

According to the audits, the Measure E fund had $60.66 million cash on hand as of June 30, 2011. As reported by Patch, the district has  because of faulty financial assumptions made at the time the sales were planned.

The 25-page Measure E financial audit report can be downloaded here. The 23-page financial performance audit can be downloaded here

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Brian David Goldberg, PhD January 10, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Another piece of the puzzle in moving forward and repairing the damage done to the District. Glad to be part of cleaning up the District and working to ensure we have the right team in place to prevent this from happening again

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