School District Audit Deals Another Blow to Stockton’s Civic Reputation

Stockton has long had a reputation for crime, poverty and civic malfeasance and suffered another blow last week when a searing audit of the city’s school district was unveiled.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Auditors portrayed a system consumed with internal discord that ignored basic rules of financial management and squandered millions of dollars on questionable no-bid contracts – money that should have been used to improve the education of 34,000 overwhelmingly poor students.

The audit was conducted by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), an agency that monitors the financial health of California’s public school systems and helps stabilize those in trouble. It found dozens of instances in which money was paid to outside contractors without competitive bidding and/or in violation of the district’s own policies.

The centerpiece of FCMAT’s report was a $6.6 million contract given to a company, Alliance Building Solutions, in 2021 for a system to disinfect the district’s schools through the use of ultraviolet rays. One of the district’s trustees, Scot McBrian, arranged a meeting of district officials with the company at a private party hosted by Stockton’s former mayor, Anthony Silva, and advocated the adoption of its system.

From that initial contact, FCMAT says, the district – without ever determining a need for disinfection – went through several irregular processes, culminating in the contract with IAQ Distribution, an Allied subsidiary that at the time had not registered as a business with the state. Although the company was paid – using federal funds meant to overcome the educational ravages of COVID-19 – only small pieces of the contracted work were ever completed.

FCMAT found similar irregularities in contracts the district awarded to nine different law firms.

“Based on the findings in this report, there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that fraud, misappropriation of funds and/or assets, or other illegal fiscal practices may have occurred in the specific areas reviewed,” FCMAT concluded. “Deficiencies and exceptions noted during FCMAT’s review of (Stockton Unified’s) financial records and internal control environment increase the probability of fraud, mismanagement and/or misappropriation of the…assets.

“These findings should be of great concern to the Stockton Unified School District and the San Joaquin County Office of Education and require immediate intervention to limit the risk of fraud, mismanagement and/or misappropriation of assets, or other illegal fiscal practices in the future.”

This, as noted earlier, is not Stockton’s first civic disgrace. In 2012, the city declared bankruptcy after borrowing heavily to build a marina, a basketball and hockey arena and a baseball stadium of dubious utility. The city also took on more debt to make contributions to the pension system for city employees.

Routinely, Stockton is ranked near the top in crime among California cities and several local officials have been caught up in criminal investigations.

Silva, the former mayor who apparently instigated the school system’s disinfection contract by hosting a party at his home to bring school officials and company representatives together, is one of those officials.

Silva, who ran an organization called Stockton Kids Club, was elected mayor in 2012, the same year the city declared bankruptcy. In 2016, he was arrested for providing alcohol to underage boys and recording them playing strip poker. A year later, he was charged with grand theft, embezzlement, profiteering, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering, and in 2019 pleaded guilty to one charge in a plea deal.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Stockton’s mismanagement is just one of a great many public institutions that are run by people who preach one way and behave in another. Part of that problem is that people have elected representatives that promised all kinds of goodies, then used their vote to focus directly and indirectly on themselves and/or special interests that rewarded them directly or indirectly with goodies. With many of our population not understanding the consequences of their vote, but only hearing the promises of the good things that would happen with their vote we have ended up with massive corruption in many of our public agencies. Good luck to us!!

  2. You should look into Elk Grove Unified.

  3. If Silva had three or more of the school board members at his ‘party,’ he also managed to violate the open meeting law Brown Act. Silva’s poor track record in public office suggests he lacks integrity on any level and is anything but a problem solver unless it lines his pockets.

    Stockton has been and will be a basket case for years to come given its lack of a growing tax base and the high levels of poverty and crime among its mostly hard scrabble population. The port and the confluence of multiple major highways in its boundaries have failed to bring prosperity even though it is the largest city between Sacramento and Fresno in the Central Valley.

  4. Public education has become the centerpiece for the Marxist resurrection. Government employee teachers that live and preach the life of a socialist, under the direct rules and regulations of politicians and bureaucrats. The new WOKE goal EQUITY is allowing teachers to graduate all students regardless of their grades into a meritocracy that shuns workers that require remediation to accomplish basic tasks. Higher education was rejecting them also, but now just showing up can get you a degree at a Harvard or Stanford, who are phasing out grading systems. If your color is right. Business may try to be woke but when it comes to payrolls they expect the workers to actually perform. Therein lies the “rub”.
    It is not an accident our GDP has fallen to 1%. Socialism is the killer of the golden goose Capitalism.
    Vote for Mr/Ms Nobody. The incumbents have ALL failed us. It takes at least one term to turn a rookie into a Swamp member. Newbies can do no worse and just maybe we find a real Patriot willing to work for us.

Speak Your Mind