Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fontana After School Program Comments and Responses

On Sunday, February 24, I received a number of comments related to the Fontana After School Program from Board Members of the Fontana Unified School District. Five days later, Friday March 2nd, the City provided responses and some suggested follow-up action related to those comments received. Since that time, some on the Board have characterized the City response as being dismissive of the concerns they raised. I must respectfully disagree with such a characterization and in the interest of transparency have posted below both the comments made and the responses provided to allow the reader to evaluate both.

On Monday, March 19th, the Board and the City Council will meet to review and discuss the Afterschool Program. The Mayor has requested that interested parties contact her with comments prior to the meeting to ensure that their voices are heard on this issue. The Mayor, as well as the other City Council members can be reached via email on the City’s Web site at

Comments and Responses:

1.Inadequate Supervision, allowing kids to wander away from the program. Reference was made to eight incidents from School Police during the past two years where reports were generated.

a. What is the procedure to notify parents when this happens?
b. What training is provided to staff in this area?

Response from Garth Nelson, Community Services Director:

Student Accountability is one of the number one factors in the After School Program. The staff adheres to the following procedures that have been put in place at each school site:

A.Parents are encouraged to notify the Fontana After School Program if their student is not able to attend school that day. If a child does not attend the regular school day, they are not able to attend the after school program.

Fontana After School Program registration packet states:

If a Student will be absent from the program, Parent/Guardian must contact the Fontana After School Program hotline before 12:00 noon at (909) 350-6585. Parent/Guardian can leave a message and the coordinator will inform the staff of the student’s absence. If the student does not arrive to the program 15 minutes after start time, staff will confirm the student’s status with the attendance office and Parent/Guardian will then be contacted if necessary. For this reason it is important that the Afterschool Staff have up- to date and accurate contact information on file. If the student is not accounted for by the program or attendance office, the School Police Department will be the next point of contact.

B. The following protocols are followed in accounting for student attendance:

(a) Students report to designated after school program location. These locations will vary at each school site depending on Principal and FUSD preference.

(b) Students in attendance are signed in by FASP staff on the official Attendance Card. Students not present are marked absent on the Attendance Card.

(c) Absences are checked with the School Office to verify if they attended the regular school day.

(d) If they did attend school but did not arrive to the program, staff will verify with parents and authorized emergency contacts the whereabouts of the child.

(e) If after trying all available contacts and no verification has been made on the student’s location, Staff then contact their Community Services Coordinator and FUSD school police to assist in making a visit to the child’s home.

(f) When police contact has been made and the child located, the after school program generates an Incident/Accident Report.

(g) Most issues are resolved within an hour of contact FUSD School Police and often involve parents forgetting to share information with FASP staff regarding alternate arrangements made for their child. There have been a couple incidents in the Middle School program where students purposely avoided the after school program to be with friends at which point a discussion with parents regarding revoking “walk home” privileges takes place with the site staff and Community Services Coordinator. Only in the Middle School program is a parent given the option of pick-up and or walk home privileges. Parents of each Middle School student are given a parent package; and at that time would choice which option is suitable for their child.

All eight incidents outlined by FUSD School Police were reports initiated by the Fontana After School Program following the above protocol.

Response from Police Chief Rod Jones:
The 8 incidents span a two year period, the first being reported on January 13, 2010. There are, on average, 180 school days in a year. About 3,300 students a day take advantage of the afterschool program. This means in a two year period, there are 1,188,000 incidents of a student participating in the afterschool program. If there are only 8 incidents of children walking away out of 1,188,000 opportunities, this is an insignificant amount. When I spoke to Chief Megenney, he and I agreed that the incidents of children walking away from an afterschool program were much lower than what we experience during the normal school day in our public schools.
Of the eight incidents it is probably about a 50/50 split on those who never showed up and those who left early. There is a process in place whereby there are sign-in/out forms. However, because of the numerous sites compliance will vary with each site. In most cases, it was not the student leaving on their own or not showing up. Most incidents involve parents who picked their child up from school and they never went to the afterschool program. Another portion involved parents picking their kid up from the after school program without adhering to the sign out procedure.
Even with all this said, I think there is an opportunity for improvement. I feel the program would benefit with some consistency on these procedures with every site. However, I am comfortable that these are very isolated incidents and do not impact the program in general. We would be more than happy to work with our FUSD partners to develop a protocol to reduce the number of incidents.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Trainings and Meetings
Various levels of staff are required to participate in regular staff meetings based on the following formal meeting schedules:

(a) All Community Services Coordinators, Supervisors and the Boys and Girls Club staff meet with FUSD Project Manager on a monthly basis for a minimum of 4 hours a month.

(b) All Community Service Coordinators and In-Office Assistants meet with Supervisor bi-weekly.

(c) All Community Service Coordinators meet on a bi-weekly basis with all ASCSA III’s (Site Supervisors).

(d) Each Community Service Coordinator meets with all staff from all the sites supervised on a quarterly basis.

(e) All ASCSA III’s (Site Supervisors) meet on a weekly basis with Site staff.

(f) All ASCSA III’s (Site Supervisors) meet formally with site Principals on a monthly basis.

(g) The after school program has committed to providing regular trainings to staff of all levels based on the following schedules:

(h) Quarterly All Staff Trainings on Supervision, Policy and Procedure and Behavior Guidance.

(i) Spring Break Training for All Staff with a focus of Academic Alignment.

(j) Summer Trainings during the month of July leading up to the beginning of the school year focused on curriculum and new program implementation.

(k) Monthly training opportunities through CDE Region 10 Technical Assistance Programs, FUSD site specific trainings, California School Aged Consortium trainings on after school basics for new staff, and etc.

(l) Trainings are scheduled during school breaks and holidays, so not to disrupt the ASES school work days.

(m) Aside from regularly scheduled Meetings and Trainings, there are a number of informal opportunities that staff takes advantage of both at site and within the organization; side by coaching, cross training and job shadowing.

(n) Daily communication is encouraged between each Site Supervisor and there CSD Coordinator through phone calls, e-mails and face to face interaction.

(o) Each CSD Coordinator schedules bi-weekly site visits to their respective school sites.

2. When city staff is placed at sites, how do we determine whether they are capable of helping kids with their homework? Anecdotal story was provided about a child who was helped with their homework and the reported got all the wrong answers when they went to school the next day.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

The following are the ASES Staff Requirements per Grant Certified Assurances and mandated requirements:

The program ASES program has established qualifications for each position so that all staff members directly supervising students meet the minimum qualifications of an instructional aide, pursuant to the policies of the governing school district-FUSD. (EC Section 8483.4)

The ASES contract between the FUSD and the City of Fontana states:

All Program staff who directly supervises students must meet the minimum requirements for an instructional aide pursuant to the policies of the FUSD DISTRICT. Program staff must also meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements of a highly qualified paraprofessional.

Part Time Staffing: The City of Fontana After School Program abides by all requirements and mandates set forth by the FUSD and the ASES Grant for hiring of city personnel.

Requirements for part time staff include the above mentioned requirements as well as the following:
A comprehensive, but not all-inclusive, list of essential skills and abilities sought for the position are outlined in the Job Flyer provided by Human Resources.
Experience in organized recreation, child care, after school programs and working with youth:

(a) ASCSA I – minimum of 6 months
(b) ASCSA II – minimum of 1 year
(c) ASCSA III (Site Supervisor) – minimum of 2 years
(d) Passing of a drug screening, and TB test and clearing the fingerprinting process through the California Department of Justice (all positions) as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (CSA II’s and III’s only) are also conditions of employment.

The hiring process for part time staff include a number of filters to assist in finding the best possible candidates for the available positions. All interested applicants who have applied for the position are invited to attend a Pre-Interview Orientation where they are given an overview of the program and a clear understanding of program expectations. Once clearly informed of the job expectations, the interview process consists of the following:

(a) A written assessment in the form of a Supplemental Questionnaire.
(b) Oral Interview with two Community Service Coordinators
(c) Second Interview that consists of presenting/teaching a lesson to current staff and Community Service Coordinators
(d) ASCSA III’s must go through another written assessment consisting of a Program Planning Guide and a third interview with a Coordinator and Supervisor
(e) Passing of a drug screening, and TB test and clearing the fingerprinting process through the California Department of Justice (all positions) as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (CSA II’s and III’s only) are also conditions of employment.

Once hired by the Human Resources Department, the placement of staff is managed by the CSD Coordinators with the input of Site Supervisors based on the following factors in mind:

(a) Staff Schedule Availability and Site release times
(b) Current Openings at individual sites
(c) Skills, Second Language, Displayed Strengths, and Site Needs
(d) All part time staff are classified as Temporary, At-Will employees and should the employer/employee relationship no longer be mutually beneficial (due to inability to perform, schedule conflicts, etc.), the employee is released from employment.

Homework Assistance
As stated in the Fontana After School Program registration packet the FASP has developed these policies and procedures in accordance with the State mandated requirements for ASES:

This program provides homework assistance and a structured homework component for a minimum of one hour each day. It is the students’ responsibility to bring their homework to the program and the parent/guardian has the responsibility to support the program in ensuring the student has the appropriate information to complete homework daily. Parents/guardians are expected to support homework completion by reviewing it when their student gets home daily.

All parents must initial they understand this policy in the registration packet.

In order to monitor progress with homework, sites utilize homework completion charts, teacher progress reports and personal contact with school day teachers to ensure we are meeting the needs of both the student and the regular school day.

Regular trainings in the area of Homework Assistance are held on a bi-monthly basis through California School Aged Consortium and CDE Region 10 in order to assist employees in honing these skills.

Site Supervisors utilize Rubrics to monitor staff ability to meet the needs of the students and the program. Staff are moved through the four phases of expectations: Beginning, Emerging, Applying and Integrating of each program component. If an employee becomes stagnate in a particular phase, the Site Supervisor confers with the CSD Coordinator to ensure additional support and training is available to assist in reaching the next level. If it becomes apparent that an employee is incapable of meeting the expectations of the program in one or more program components, the assessment of whether or not the employee is a good fit for the program will be made by the CSD Supervisor and CSD Manager, who may release the employee from their duties: (See Homework Rubric attachment-A).

3. How do we ensure that program resources are being spent wisely and appropriately?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Equipment and Curriculum purchases are strategically planned out using the combined resources and purchasing power of both the City of Fontana and FUSD. Prior to the start of the new school year, the FUSD Project Manager and CSD Supervisor meet to discuss current inventory, curriculum and equipment needs and devise a purchasing plan that works within the purchasing policies of both agencies.

This type of strategizing has allowed for effective and efficient ordering of bulk items that are consistent among all sites. FUSD Project Manager has taken on the task of ordering educational materials/curriculum like KidzLit, SPARK PE, Math Games and Textbooks because of the ease and availability of ordering through the Lead Educational Agency. The Fontana After School Program staff purchase daily expendable supplies that are aligned to monthly lesson plans such as paper, pencils, binders, pocket charts, etc. and supplies for collaborative partners like the Art Depot’s LEAP (Linking Education to Art Program) and Healthy Fontana’s Eat My Plate Program.

4. Is the quality of our full-time Coordinators adequate? What is their experience and how do we ensure that we are getting an appropriate level of experience?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Consistent with FUSD and The City of Fontana Community Services Department standards all coordinators meet all minimum requirements and certifications for a fulltime placement. The following represent the qualifications and process for hiring full time personnel.

FUSD Paraprofessional Qualifications
Positions identified as Paraprofessionals with Fontana Unified School District are subject to the education requirements of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Fontana Unified School District incorporates the following minimum qualifications into the job requirements for all Paraprofessional positions:

A high school diploma or its recognized equivalent AND
(a) Completion of two years of higher education (48 semester units or 72 quarter units), OR
(b) Possession of an Associate’s or higher degree, OR
(c) Successful completion of a Fontana Unified School District-approved Paraprofessional Certificate (through Chaffey College) and/or Paraprofessional Assessment Exam (through Fontana Adult School).

Full Time Staffing: The City of Fontana After School Program abides by all requirements and mandates set forth by the FUSD and the ASES Grant for hiring of city personnel.

Requirements for full time staff include the above mentioned requirements as well as the following:

(a) A comprehensive, but not all-inclusive, list of essential skills and abilities sought for the position are outlined in the Job Flyer provided by Human Resources.
(b) Four years experience in recreation, after school program, educational and enrichment programs, or a related area.
(c) Completion of 12th grade or equivalent, minimum of an Associate’s Degree or 48 Semester/72 Quarter units, Bachelor’s Degree preferred.
(d) Passing of a physical, drug, and TB test and clearing the fingerprinting process through the California Department of Justice as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations are also conditions of employment.
(e) Background investigation conducted by the Fontana Police Department.

The hiring process for Full Time staff include a screening of applicants through the Human Resources Department who then invite the top candidates to participate in the interview process that includes:

(a) A written assessment in the form of a Supplemental Questionnaire
(b) Oral Interview with an outside panel
(c) Inbox Assessment and Second Interview with Department Manger and Division Supervisor
(d) Final Interview with Director

Supervision and Safety Training

All staff are trained on Safety and Supervision in their first week of work while job shadowing at designed school site.

The ASCSA Training Checklist is a tool used by all staff to ensure complete review of policy and procedures by new employees: (See ASCSA Training Checklist).

All staff is annually trained on First Aid and CPR, Child Protective Services, Handling Difficult Situations, Verbal Judo and Behavior Management prior to the start of the new school year.

Staff reviews and provides up-date of policies and procedures that take place at the site level with regular weekly meetings and bi-weekly Site Supervisor meetings.

5. Do we have or can we create a complaint/comment procedure so that we can get comments from program participants about the program?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

During the Parent and Students orientation process, each parent has been given the process and guidelines to voice any and all concerns through their participant in the FASP. The Site Supervisor, Coordinator, CSD Supervisor and or CSD Manager are accessible and respond to concerns, inquiries and comments from parents at any given time. The Site Supervisor has daily communication with each parent on site at the conclusion of each day and gives those parents the opportunity to express comments and concerns informally.

Each site strives for consistency and enhancement of program elements. To date, a formal complaint form has not been used. As of March, 2012, the FASP will institute a formal parent and participant Citizen Comment/Inquiry Request Form. We anticipate this will alleviate any miscommunication of messages and or comments that may have not been addressed and or relayed to the appropriate personnel. (See New Citizen / Inquiry Form- attached C).

6. There is a perceived disparity in the quality of the programming at different sites. How do we do quality control to have consistency in programming?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Programming at every site strives for consistency in key components through monthly lesson plans and weekly themes, however, each site must also tailor to the needs of the students, access of facilities and requests of the Principal.

Yearly Entrance and Exit Surveys for are used to monitor student and parent opinion of the program. The parent and principal survey are also administered on annual basis to assist in analyzing and evaluating the success of the program as well as the services provided through the ASES Program.
California Department of Education Region 10 Technical Assistant Team does annual site visits to several sites in FUSD. These site visits are often used as a way to identify any need for technical assistance and ensure ASES Grant Certified Assurance compliancy. These sites visits are scheduled with a Region 10 representative, the FUSD ASES Project Manager and CSD Supervisor. In past years, the Fontana After School Program has been used as a model site for other programs in Region 10.

Other tools, aside from regular meeting, and trainings, used for site consistency include: California After School Program Quality Self Assessment Tool, Quality Program Checklist, regular site visits, cross training, side by side coaching and job shadowing.

7. There has been a report that the snacks, that are required under the grant, have not been distributed to students attending the program at one or more locations.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

To date, there have not been any compliance issues with snacks since the inception of this collaboration with FUSD Food Services in March 2011. All documents support that all students in attendance have received snack in a timely and acceptable manner. (See Sample Snack Attendance form)

FUSD Food Services Department provides the After School Snack Program, which is designed to provide nutritious snacks for students under the age of 18 who participate in supervised after school programs. Good nutrition is essential to physical and cognitive development and the after school snacks help students get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow.

Snacks served in this program must meet the nutritional requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture. Each snack contains at least two food items and is served within the first hour of the After School Program.

The Food Services Department has provided training to all Fontana After School Program Staff on the guidelines for the After School Snack Program and their individual responsibilities. The training included the following information:
a) An overview of the required paperwork from the site staff, which includes daily attendance and daily snack count for complete snacks served, along with a monthly enrollment roster of students. This should be provided monthly to the Food Services staff at each site and then forward to the Coordinators for review and submission for use in claiming snacks on the state claim form. Additionally, the site staff should complete the meal carriers to verify the number of children served and leftover amounts.
b) Food Service will provide a menu so that staff and parents know what they should be receiving on any given day.
To support the claims for reimbursement, the Food Services Department will retain documentation of program attendance, program description of education/enrichment activity, enrollment and snack counts by each school site.

The Food Services Department conduct two unannounced site reviews for each site annually to assess compliance with program guidelines, this will include documentation and review of any corrective action needed to get program in compliance. Corrective action will be followed up within 30 days of initial visit.

8. It is the understanding of the board member that the grant requires intramural activities to be provided (sports/physical education). It is reported that some sites don’t have any equipment for use even though this is an eligible expenditure under the grant.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Physical Education Requirements: The FASP provides well rounded enrichment activities that focus on Health & Wellness, Physical fitness and Recreation Enrichment.

At the beginning of each school year, a comprehensive order of SPARK equipment is ordered for all school sites based on programming needs and current inventories. Should necessary equipment be damaged or stolen, Site Supervisor work with the CSD Coordinators to replace in a timely manner to avoid disruption of planned activities.

The ASES grant does not require Intramural activities but recommends a minimum of 30 minutes a day of Physical Fitness activities for all participants. The Fontana After School Program Middle Schools have implemented an Intramural program to assist in filling the gaps of regular school day programming.

The Fontana After School Program Elementary Schools have eliminated Free Play during after school hours in order to prevent injuries on playground equipment and focus on structured, intentional learning opportunities through play.

All Staff have participated in the SPARK After School Program Boot Camp to learn new methods and trends of incorporating structured play into everyday programming. This SPARK After School Program Boot Camp is an annual training all staff participate in prior to the start of the new school year.

9. Giving money back to the State should never be acceptable. An example was given that one year we returned $160,000 and another time we returned $300,000.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

The City of Fontana’s budget process is a system of checks and balances that relies heavily on balancing revenues with expenditures. Funds are not expended unless it has been earned in regards to the ratio of attendance. In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, these guidelines have been used with the ASES grant funds allocated to the Fontana After School Program.

According to the ASES Grant Calculator, each student served is allocated $7.50 per day that they attend the program. The goal for a fully funded Elementary site is to have 84 students attend the program 180 school days at $7.50 a student for a maximum funding of $112,500.

In order to ensure that we are accurately spending funds according to the number of students served, Staff utilize a budgeting tool to determine the total amount of the grant earned based on program attendance. Based on these calculations, the maximum number of students has not been served; therefore the entire budget was not expended.

Each year where money was returned, the justification was closely based on actual attendance figures which often varied because of the following factors:
(a) When taking over additional sites, FASP experienced backlash from parents, students and school administration due to poor experiences with previous providers.
(b) Awarding of ASES Universal funds to increase attendance late in the fiscal year not allowing adequate time to expend funds.
(c) Overfunding of ASES Universal funds for several middle schools based on CDE Grant Calculation errors.

According to consultations with the California Department of Education, the number one finding in the Categorical Program Monitoring (CPM) process is the use of grant funds at the end of the fiscal year for next year’s program thus not servicing the current year’s ASES students. It is with this in mind, that we have been cautious with overspending grant funds.

All Attendance reports and Fund Allocation reports are provided to FUSD Project Manager on a quarterly basis for review.

In the 2011-2012 school year, the Fontana After School Program is currently EXCEEDING the Target Attendance and does not foresee returning grant funds to the California Department of Education.

10. Nepotism has allegedly resulted in many of the key supervisor positions in the program being filled by relatives of City staff. This has resulted in harassment issues when people don’t get along.

Response from Annette Henckel, Human Resources Director:

A review of all After School Program supervisors’ personnel files was conducted to determine if there are any nepotism violations as stated above. The supervisors include: Community Services Supervisor, all Community Services Coordinators, all part-time Afterschool CSA III’s, which are the site supervisors at each location (currently 41).

After a complete review of the files, there is no indication of any nepotism taking place in supervisorial/oversight positions for the program.

As far as the claim that there has been harassment issues due to the hiring of relatives in the program, no complaints of nepotism or harassment issues have been brought to the HR Department for investigation.

Comment Ken Hunt, City Manager:

In addition to the review conducted by Human Resources, key staff was interviewed during this review process and it was confirmed that management staff has no relatives employed in supervisorial/oversight positions within the program.

The hiring and personnel files will be made available to FUSD staff members for additional review related to the program if requested.

11. There are problems in communicating with site locations when parents need to contact program staff when they have issues like they are running late. What can be done to remedy this issue?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

The Fontana After School Program has a Hotline (909-350-6585) available for parents of the elementary school component and a direct line to the Jack Bulik Teen Center (909-349-6985) for the middle school component. Both lines are always staffed but can experience a high volume of calls during peak times like the beginning of the school year.

In order to enhance communication and accessibility with parents, 21 of the 33 school sites currently have access to a dedicated phone line for the Fontana After School Program. In addition, this has drastically decreased the volume of phone calls to the Hotline and the Jack Bulik Teen Center while offering better customer service to our parents and students. In an effort to minimize the cost of cell phone usage, these sites are still working with the school to obtain a direct phone line at the remaining sites without land lines.

Although all 33 sites have site cell phones for emergency purposes, the remaining 12 sites without a dedicated phone line are still able to provide an alternative to the Hotline and Jack Bulik Teen Center phone line.

12. Need to identify how and where expenditures are made for curriculum and teaching related material. Can this information be made available in one comprehensive report?

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

All City purchases are outlined in the Quarterly Invoices by vendor. A Quarterly Invoice Binder is also provided to the FUSD Project Manager that provides in depth information regarding receipts for purchases and updated inventories for reference and review. Documentation is available.

13. The grant requires an annual evaluation report of the program. This information needs to be created routinely if it hasn’t been and be provided to the policy makers in the District.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director

Pursuant to EC 8484(1) (2), formal data for semi-annual and annual reporting includes attendance in the ASES program and instructional day, proficiency on the CST’s and identification of English Learner status. Data collection will also include the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), rates of homework completion, and instances of behavior incidents for monitoring on-program effectiveness.

The State Evaluation Data Report is compiled once a year and submitted to the California Department of Education. Data Analysis of the report serves as the foundation for the improvement of the program.

14. Staff has been told to falsify time sheets, indicating that they received full training time when they actually did not sit through the required training. In addition, related to training, there is a thought that the City is scheduling training in the off months to avoid the need to pay staff unemployment that they would otherwise be entitled to.

Response: Garth Nelson, Community Services Director:

The administration of the program, along with Fontana After School Program staff is unaware of any misappropriation of time and or falsification of time sheets.

Time sheets are a legal record of hours worked and must be submitted in order for an employee’s paycheck to be processed. Time in and out must be recorded in “real time,” meaning that an employee must record the time they arrive immediately upon arriving to work and record time out just prior to leaving. These records are used to verify an employee’s presence at work, just as a punch-in time card would. Additionally, time sheets should be consistent with and reflect the work schedule for the employee. It is essential that, as a legal document, time sheets are accurate. Staff is directed to submit accurate timesheets in a timely fashion and to use staff sign in sheets as back up.

Time Sheet Guidelines:
1. The Front of the timesheet is a legal document.
2. Use blue or black ink ONLY.
3. WHITE OUT may NOT be used. If you make a mistake, put one line through the error, write the correct number next to the mistake and initial your changes.
4. Time sheets must be filled out on a daily basis. Indicate the time you arrived in the TIME IN box and indicate the time you leave in the TIME OUT box.
5. Time sheets are due to your Site Supervisor on the Wednesday before the end of the pay period.
6. Site Supervisors are responsible to submit site time sheets on the Wednesday before the end of the pay period after site by 6:30 PM to your coordinator.
7. Any changes/revisions can be made by office administration BUT it will be the employee’s responsibility to come in and authorize the change. You will need to re-sign verifying the revisions with a date of signature in order for your time sheet to be processed.

Unemployment Benefits:
Because of the nature of the After School Program following the school year calendar, it has been determined by the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) that after school employees are NOT eligible for unemployment benefits during any time they are off due to a school break, based upon the fact that there is reasonable assurance of their job when school resumes.

The Human Resources Department shares this information with all staff during the hiring process.
During school breaks, there are limited number of opportunities for staff to acquire work within the Community Services Department using a “Dual Title” that is applicable in all other CSD programs outside of the after school program.

Availability for Dual Title opportunities during school breaks is limited and those interested in these opportunities are asked to be placed on an availability list for the Community Services Department to pull from if necessary.

Staff is selected for these opportunities based on availability to work the necessary program hours and the type of skills and experience required.

Comment: Ken Hunt, City Manager

The issue regarding falsification of timesheets was discussed with both the Human Resources Director and the Community Services Director. Neither indicated that they are aware of such allegations. In no event is it acceptable to misreport an employee’s time or for a Supervisor to give instruction to staff to falsify time sheets. Employees and/or supervisors participating in such a practice will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Individuals who have knowledge of such practices should be required to bring such information forward to either the Human Resources Director or City Manager to have it dealt with appropriately.

15. There have been reports about kids in the program having sex in bathrooms. As a result there is concern about adequate supervision and proper reporting of incidents.

Response: Police Chief Rod Jones:

School Chief Megenney is not aware of any reports of students having sex in bathrooms at the sites for the afterschool program. Occasionally, they will get reports of this during the normal school hours at school sites, but nothing specific has been reported to him involving the afterschool program.

Response: Garth Nelson Community Services Director:

Staff has been interviewed about this allegation and none are aware of any reports of inappropriate sexual behavior taking place in the restrooms with after school program participants.

Restroom Policy
Elementary: Restrooms breaks are scheduled before snack and during transitions from one program activity / component to another. Staff escorts all students in need of a restroom break to the restroom and have them line up and enter two at a time (may be more depending on facilities). Restrooms are always checked by Staff prior to student use and after student use for safety. Adults are NOT allowed in the restrooms when children are using them

Middle School: During regular programming, students who request to use the restroom are allowed to use the facilities with a staff escort. Staff will often take a group but will not allow more than 2 students inside the restroom at a time. Restrooms are always checked by Staff prior to student use and after student use for safety.

Many of the Middle School campuses are open campuses during the after school hours. Other user groups utilize athletic fields and gymnasiums; which magnifies the importance of FASP staff practices and protocols.

16. Concern was expressed regarding whether there were communication and support issues between City staff and District staff assigned to oversee the project.
Response: Garth Nelson Community Services Director

Immediately after the conclusion of the last board approval of the ASES contract in 2011, city staff initiated a meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at the City of Fontana Community Services Department offices to meet with the Project Manager and Associate Superintendent. In addition to FUSD staff, this meeting was attended by the Community Services Director, Community Services Manager, and Community Services Program Supervisor. The intent of this meeting was to set parameters for future communication with FUSD and avoid staff being unprepared and blindsided by future concerns about the ASES program. The lack of information given to staff was addressed and that issues and concerns should be addressed quickly and resolved upon receipt of complaint/concern and to not wait until the contract was up for renewal.

The Community Services Supervisor and FUSD Project Manager instituted monthly provider meetings in addition to the weekly informal forms of communication through phone calls and e-mails in order to meet and exceed the goals set for the 2011- 2012 contractual objectives. This was put in place for two reasons:
1. To alleviate questions and concerns addressed by board members about program quality control.
2. To enhance communication and interaction with FUSD personnel.

The Community Services Manager and FUSD Associate Superintendent agreed that they would attend the quarterly provider meetings and communicate at any given time when issues arise.

It is important to note the current issues and concerns, outlined in this white paper, were never brought up to management for review and/or resolution.

17. Does the Afterschool Program receive in-kind donations? If so, how are they accounted for, tracked and reported?
Response: Garth Nelson Community Services Director

The City of Fontana has a strict policy and procedures of acceptance of any and all donations over $500.00. The following procedures address the questions relating to donations tracking and reporting.

In accordance with the ASES Contract, the City of Fontana shall provide in-kind contribution through and not limited to the following resources:
- Seeking and utilizing agency awarded funds from public and private fundraising to support the program.
- Seek and secure additional funding from areas businesses, service organizations, churches, foundations and other relevant sources to enhance programming and develop long-term sustainability of the program.
- Increasing community visibility by working with local press, business groups and coordinating and/or assisting with community-based fundraising events.

With this in mind, the Fontana After School Program actively seeks donations and support from neighboring business to develop new collaborative opportunities for the students.

Currently, Site Supervisors at various sites solicit for donations independently and report their efforts on a monthly basis via a Donation Tracking Worksheet. Staff are instructed to report all donations, monetary and in-kind, so that cumulative total can be reported in the Fourth Quarter Invoice to FUSD.

All donations require a formal acknowledgment in the form of a Thank You letter that includes the item/amount donated, the contact information of the business/donator, the intended use of the donation and the City’s Tax Identification Number.

In accordance with the City of Fontana Donation Policy, any item with a value over $500 must go to City Council for approval.

Future development of Program wide donation efforts are underway to further develop community relationships and bring additional program opportunities to the students of Fontana that may otherwise be beyond the means of the current budget.

18. Concern was expressed that staff assignments are not made equitably. There is no preference given in making assignments based upon seniority. Favoritism exists in making staffing assignments.
Comment: Ken Hunt, City Manager
The philosophy of the program administration is that assignments are made based upon need, ability and experience. Seniority is not used as a determining factor in making assignments. Personal favoritism in making assignments should never be a factor and if it is determined to be so, the City would take appropriate action to address the issue. Since no specifics regarding employees, supervisors, locations and/or assignments were provided, it is difficult to address such a complaint in the absence of such specifics. Employees who believe they have been a victim of supervisor favoritism should be encouraged to bring their concern forward to Fontana Human Resources, the City Manager, or the Director of Community Services for review.
Once hired by the Human Resources Department, the placement of staff is managed by the CSD Coordinators with the input of Site Supervisors based on the following factors in mind:

(a) Staff Schedule Availability and Site release times
(b) Current Openings at individual sites
(c) Skills, Second Language, Displayed Strengths, and Site Needs
(d) All part time staff are classified as Temporary, At-Will employees and should the employer/employee relationship no longer be mutually beneficial (due to inability to perform, schedule conflicts, etc.), the employee is released from employment.

19. Concern was expressed that there is a lack of consistency in charging parents for late pick up at Afterschool locations. There is a perception that if a parent is liked by staff they are not charged for late pick-ups.
Response: Garth Nelson Community Services Director

Student Authorization Pick Up: In the last few years the FASP has tightened these very strict guidelines for the safety of students and parents.

Late Fees have been implemented as a deterrent in order to ensure parents/guardians pick up students in a timely manner. Each site varies on the number of Late Fees processed, but the average to date is approximately 15 Late Fees assessed per site with the average charge of $22. To be fair and equitable, all parents are given a first warning prior to any fees being assessed.

The Fontana After School Program registration packet states:
- The program ends promptly at 6:00 pm. As of 6:01 pm, if the student is NOT picked up and signed out of the program, a late fee will be charged at a rate of $2.00 per minute, per student. An outstanding balance will be placed on your account. The Fontana After School Program will work with parents regarding late fee payments by developing a payment plan if necessary to meet the needs of parents and students. Student may be dropped from the program after the third offense and/or should the late fees be left unpaid. As a last resort, if the parent cannot be reached by 7:00 pm, School Police will be contacted to take the student into custody.

Staff are required to check photo identification of every adult picking up a student as stated in the Fontana After School Program registration packet:
- At the conclusion of the program, all Authorized Pick Up Adults (18 years and older) are required to present Valid Photo ID and sign the student out by providing a printed name, initials and a departure time. Parents/Guardians not willing to show valid photo ID will result in their student being removed from the program. A student will NOT be released to individuals who are not listed on the student’s release form so please be accurate. Elementary students are NOT permitted to walk home alone or sign themselves out.
If an Authorized adult does not have a valid form of photo identification, the child will not be released until an Authorized adult with Valid Photo Identification is able to pick up the student.

These policies and procedures are reinforced with Site Supervisors on an ongoing basis as all Late Fees need to be processed within a 24 hour time period and any issues with Valid Photo Identification can jeopardize a student’s ability to participate in the program.

Although the Fontana After School Program strives to adhere to all policies set forth by administration, there may be occurrences of extenuating circumstances (medical emergencies, accidents and etc.) that may lead to exceptions with the appropriate documentation and approval from the supervising CSD Coordinator.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crime Disclosure

Community Member Question:

I have heard that crime has decreased over the years but I often see articles of crime in our community with much more exposure than others. It would seem that some communities conceal some of these negative situations but Fontana is very open about it and actually has crime mapping link on the PD web link . Though I am certain Fontana's crime rates are very much alike the cities to the west, the openness at times versus concealing seems to have a negative image of our community. My question is wouldn't it be better to release only the articles that have a criminal at large?

City Manager Answer:

Thank you for your question. The issue of transparency is very important to the Mayor and City Council and as such, they encourage all departments to make available as much information to the public as possible. The following is a comment provided by our Chief of Police on the issue of releasing criminal information.

Chief of Police Rod Jones:

We have heard before, that the police department releases too much information to the media. The police department prides itself on its very open–transparent relationship with the media and the community they serve. Not only does the police department frequently release information to the local news outlets; it allows residents to sign up for ‘Nixle’ updates, it has a Facebook page, provides for updates and notifications for sex registrants, and holds numerous community meetings throughout the year in a variety of Fontana communities.

While this open and vibrant relationship with the media may bring too much attention on criminal events, it is far worse to have an uninformed community. The men and women of the Fontana Police Department are dedicated to the community they serve. They risk their lives every day protecting Fontana residents. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity. Some criminals prey on a specific behavior or practice. By keeping the City of Fontana informed, the police department can better educate its residents so they can avoid being victimized by opportunistic criminals.

Monday, May 2, 2011

City Council & the Goal Setting Process

Every year, the elected officials sit down at a special workshop to discuss the City’s goals and priorities for the next fiscal year. At the workshop, the members of the City Council, the City Treasurer, and the City Clerk receive information about the accomplishment of the goals for the current year, review the status of the current budget, and provide staff with input on what priorities the City should focus on to best meet the needs of residents. Many issues are brought forward by the elected officials and eventually, a process is undertaken to identify which of the priorities discussed are supported by a majority of the elected officials.

Preparation for the goal-setting process starts in November when each department evaluates how successful they were in achieving the previous year’s goals. The departments prepare their evaluation and make presentations to the elected officials highlighting completed projects and future projects. When goals were not met, the departments present the reasons why and provide an update on future actions which may be initiated.

The elected officials develop goals based upon community need as well as recommendations by the City Manager and Commissions. The discussion is not about telling a department how to accomplish its basic operating functions but rather about the issues the Mayor and City Council would like additional focus on. The elected officials discuss and decide which goals are most important to the community. Once those goals have been set, the City Departments develop their budgets and work plans towards achieving the goals. This involves a city-wide effort on the part of all departments to allocate financial resources needed to accomplishment of these priorities. The process culminates in June with a recommended budget being transmitted from the City Manager to the Mayor and City Council. In addition, to the Recommended Operating Budget, the City Manager submits a book with specific work plans to the Mayor and City Council which identifies what is being committed to in regards to the priorities set by the elected officials.

This goal setting process has been working well in Fontana for the past decade. This year, the Council’s goal-setting workshop took place on January 22. There were many topics considered during the workshop and after some discussion the elected officials determined what they believe to be the most important objectives for the year. Some of the notable goals set for this year included the phase III Downtown façade, Redevelopment advocacy, Chaffey College phase IV expansion, construction of a new Freeway 210 Sports Park, veteran’s support, and creation of a joint powers authority for animal control shelter services.

The elected officials have also set a goal to start construction of the Duncan Canyon Interchange off Interstate 15 which would open up the northern portions of Fontana for development; the reconstruction of the Citrus Avenue and Cherry Avenue I-10 Interchanges ; as well as widening and street improvements to Citrus and Cypress Avenues . These transportation projects will make it easier for traffic to get in, out and around Fontana.

City staff have much work ahead to meet these goals set forth by the Council. But thanks to the goal-setting process, there is clear vision and focus to help move Fontana forward in 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Policy Process

Community Member Question:

I have looked into policies of some other cities on signs. Some have adopted a policy that requires no permit for yard sales while others have increased the number of allowed yard sales from two to four with the city establishing the weekends when residents are allowed to have yard sales. I would be supportive of such a policy for Fontana. My question is, what is the process to create or change policies?

City Manager Response:

Thank you for the question. It is the role of the City Council to make and to modify policies for the city. With regard to bringing an issue to the attention of the City Council, the best way to do this is to attend a city council meeting and to speak during public communication regarding the issue you have interest in. I have found the City Council to be very responsive to such suggestions. The members of the City Council, generally under City Council comments, may request that an issue be placed on the agenda for an upcoming meeting to discuss what, if any, changes they would like to make in a policy.

Another effective way of bringing an issue to the attention of the City Council is to talk individually to them about it or to send them an email about your thoughts. Email addresses are available on the City’s website The members of the City Council are also good about reading and responding to emails they received from the residents of the community.

Thank you for your interest in Fontana. By continuing to work together we can keep the city moving forward toward accomplishing its potential.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RDA Press Conference

Today Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Mayor Paul Leon of Ontario and Mayor Pro Tem Sam Spagnolo held a press conference announcing their opposition to the Administration's January State budget proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies and shift their funds from local communities to the state. I would like to share the following comments from Mayor Warren:

I am here today with many other community leaders because we’re infuriated that, once again, Sacramento is attempting to balance its budget by raiding local government funds.

Just three months ago, an overwhelming 61% of California’s electorate voted to pass Proposition 22 to prevent state raids of local government funds, including redevelopment funding. This was passed overwhelmingly because they know that redevelopment supports families.

Many others will talk about jobs, projects, and tax dollars; but, the bottom line truth is we are really talking about FAMILIES!


It creates jobs, good jobs that support families;

It builds streets and storm drains and other projects that protect our lives and properties;

It supports schools by building needed streets and sidewalks and intersections that create “safe walking routes” for children;

It helps families by keeping local taxes lower;

The State’s own numbers show that killing redevelopment will bring very little financial relief for the State or the Schools.

All over Fontana we have examples of redevelopment at work, building housing for our seniors, parks for our kids, and a safer community for all families who chose to make Fontana their home.

More than 1,100 low-income homes including almost 400 senior units in Fontana’s downtown;

Sewer, storm drains and sidewalks throughout the City.

Pacific Electric Trail – converted an old unused railroad line to a regional walking and biking trail for our families and others throughout the region;

I-10 Cypress Overpass Improvements

I-10/Sierra Interchange

Just head east on Foothill Boulevard and see firsthand a road project that is changing the most dangerous street in the country for pedestrians into a safe, functional and beautiful roadway.

This is not “corporate welfare” this is “community well-being”. This is supporting families.

Here in Fontana we know that shutting down redevelopment will cost our community over 6,100 jobs, and billions in future economic activity.

These are staggering numbers.

It would truly be tragic for our community, our local economy, and the thousands of families who call Fontana their home if this proposal became law.

We urge the Governor and Legislature to abandon this proposal.

We appreciate the difficult choices facing Governor Brown. But there is nothing more important than building the state’s economy. Redevelopment is the best tool available to accomplish this.

The redevelopment proposal is a non-starter for cities and for the residents we represent. It will cause significant economic damage for decades to come.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Community Question Regarding Temporary Agencies

It is my opinion that Temp Agencies pose a negative impact on the competitive labor market due to lower wages that employees receive in order for the employee to be covered with disability insurance as well as allow the profit margin the service charges. As the economy gets better, will the city be hiring from temp agencies or direct by application for temporary employment for part-time employees?

Thank you for the question. The City of Fontana has a policy that does allow us to use temporary agencies to meet short-term work flow needs. We have and do use this as a tool when justified. The decision to use temp agencies is not made as a tool for undercutting full-time employment; it is rather used to meet processing needs that occur from time to time or to temporarily fill-in for a vacancy which may occur when staff leaves employment. Use of a temp agency staff, as a matter of policy, is limited to a six-month time period. There is no plan to change this policy.

With this said, the City of Fontana is continuously looking at ways to provide services expected by the community in the most cost effective manner as possible. As a management approach, we look towards technology and organizational issues to reduce administrative costs associated with the services being provided. We like to focus on front-line services and limiting administrative costs whenever possible.

Evidence of the effectiveness of this management philosophy is provided by the following statistic. Outside of the Public Safety staffing, the City of Fontana currently employs 1.5 full-time employees per 1,000 residents in the community. This compares favorably to the Cities of Rancho Cucamonga and Corona at 2.2 full-time employees per thousand, the City of San Bernardino at 2.3 employees per thousand, the City of Ontario at 3.1 employees per thousand, and the City of Moreno Valley at 3.2 employees per thousand.

Redevelopment Agencies – A Proven Tool for Economic Expansion

There has been a great deal written in recent months about the value of Redevelopment Agencies to local economic expansion. As the State continues to wrestle with cutting its own budget deficit, I suspect that more will be written about the subject in recent months. Following is a brief summary about Redevelopment and a list of projects that have made use of this tool in the City of Fontana in recent years.

First, it is important to realize that the creation and use of redevelopment agencies does not change or increase taxes to anyone living within the boundaries of a project area. Under the auspices of Proposition 13, the property tax rate by property owners remains fixed. This remains true whether the property is within a Redevelopment project area or not. In short, the growth in property value over time results in increased revenue to redevelopment agencies. Redevelopment becomes a tool that requires this increase in revenue to be returned and ultimately spent within the project area it is generated in.

There are a number of restrictions on the monies received by a Redevelopment Agency. Twenty (20) percent of the funding received must be used for the creation of low and moderate income housing. Redevelopment revenues can generally not be use to pay for operational expenses such as salaries and public safety.

Apart from the low and moderate income set aside money, the Fontana Redevelopment Agency uses its revenues to build community needed infrastructure that will facilitate new private sector investment in the community. I have read a study that indicates that on average, every dollar of Redevelopment money spent results in an $11 investment from the private sector. It is this synergistic relationship that has allowed the community of Fontana to benefit significantly from investments made by the Redevelopment Agency.

Two years ago, the State raided Redevelopment money in its attempt to balance its budget. This take-away resulted in a $40 million loss for the community of Fontana. This taking of local money has resulted in the deferment of the Duncan Canyon Interchange, elimination of Phase III of the downtown façade program, and deferment of Jurupa Avenue improvements, among others.

Specific examples of projects that have been funded in recent years include:

Baseline Avenue from the city boundary on the west to Mango Avenue on the east
Baseline Avenue storm drain from the city boundary on the west to Mango Avenue of the east
Cherry Avenue from Jurupa Avenue to Slover Avenue
Foothill Boulevard from East Avenue to Hemlock
Jurupa Avenue from Sierra to Poplar
Sierra Avenue from Interstate 10 to San Bernardino Avenue
Sierra Avenue from South Highland to Baseline
South Highland Avenue from San Sevaine to Sierra
Foothill Avenue from Tokay to Almeria
Summit Avenue Storm Drain
Fire Station 79
Etiwanda/Slover traffic signal improvements
Heritage multi-purpose trail
Sewer, street and storm drain improvements at the Empire Center at Sierra and Slover
Knox Avenue from s. Highland to walnut
Summit Avenue from Citrus to Cypress
San Sevaine Trail lighting
Slover Avenue widening
Santa Ana Avenue and Live Oak Intersection improvements
Elm Street Jurupa to Slover
Philadelphia Avenue/San Sevaine Channel improvements
Redwood Avenue Jurupa to Slover
East Avenue Storm Drain
Duncan Canyon Storm Drain
Duncan Canyon Interchange
Walnut Avenue Citrus to Sierra
Valley Blvd. Catawba to Poplar
Lytle Creek Avenue north and south
Chaffey College Campus Expansion
Rehabilitation of Center Stage
Lewis Library
Senior Community Center
Civic Auditorium
Downtown Façade
Pacific Electric Trail System
Citrus/Interstate 10 Interchange
Side walk Improvements
Village of Heritage Community Center
Fontana Park
Jessie Turner Community Center
Ralph M. Lewis Park Field Renovation
210 Sports Park
Central Park
Valley Blvd. Strategic Plan
Foothill Blvd. Streetscapes

Redevelopment Agencies remain a value tool for economic expansion and community development. The City of Fontana has made use of this important tool for several years and has seen the direct benefits from this program. More specific information about Redevelopment can be found on the City’s website at