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Monitoring and Accountability

CDE's initial program simply involved distributing the money based on average daily attendance (ADA), with few program or fiscal guidelines. ADA-based funding is easier to distribute and is politically less volatile than a contract or grants program because it avoids the need to apply what some may consider subjective criteria. Distributing the money according to such a formula also means that no one has to consider the minimum amount of money that a small district needs to mount a credible program or the maximum that a large district can responsibly use.[36] (Severe understaffing at CDE—three people were charged with monitoring 1,003 school districts—aggravated this problem.) In addition, when funds are distributed on an ADA basis, monitoring the expenditures presents difficulties because districts receive an entitlement regardless of their interest in participating in the program.

Carolyn Martin, the first TEOC chair, was asked whether the accountability problems were the result of incompetence or a lack of interest in keeping track of the money. She replied, “I think it was both. I think that they were incompetent or they could have written much tighter guidelines for the schools. They full well knew that schools were in desperate shape for money, and, man, if they didn't ride herd on every penny, it was going to disappear. I mean you don't have to be a genius to figure this out. Nonetheless, the message that was sent out was `Do the best you can, guys.' Well, if you tell the schools to do the best you can,…believe me, the money will disappear. And indeed it did just go down a hole.”[37] Assembly Member Phil Isenberg (D-Sacramento), who chaired the Conference Committee that wrote AB 75, also became cynical about how schools were spending their money. He was invited to a celebration of Red Ribbon Week, an anti-drug program, during the 1989-1990 school year and was not happy to discover that the ribbons and balloons for the anti-drug week were purchased with tobacco funds. According to Isenberg, this incident inspired him to keep after the schools about their tobacco program:

They had this elaborate anti-drug program that was funded by the tobacco funds. And sure, did I mention that? Yes, I did. They were so pained because I probably mentioned it in at least three or four speeches. But nobody tried to take that money from them. On the other hand, it's pretty clear that health people don't control where the money goes once it reaches the schools. I mean it's just out there. It may be wonderfully spent, it may be well intentioned, but if the smoking rate of kids is any indication, it's not having…much impact.


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…Once the money reaches the school site, nobody has much of an idea how it's spent or whether it does any good. And as we got into the latter years, and began to fumble around with performance information and outcome tests and so on, it reinforced again, the schools don't comfortably deal with that conceptually whether it's the cigarette tax money or anything else.[38]

Adding to the accountability problem of the blended model was the lack of a plan to evaluate program effectiveness. When asked about evaluation and reporting requirements at the first tobacco orientation conference held by CDE in San Diego in 1990, White simply told one TUPE coordinator, “Do the best you can.”[34]

CDE did not attempt to account for how the schools were spending the Proposition 99 Health Education Account until 1993, when it included use of these funds in its biennial Coordinated Compliance Review, whereby CDE evaluated how local districts were implementing state education mandates. The effort to put TUPE into the Coordinated Compliance Review reflects the effort under Yeates to give the program more accountability. By 1998, the inclusion of tobacco in the Coordinated Compliance Review was regarded as a help by virtually all of the county-level TUPE coordinators. According to one, “It took me a long time to come to this. I used to think if you just gave education the money and leave them alone, they will do the right thing. But I have learned that is not always the case.”[39]


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