Voters living within the Los Gatos Union School District boundaries approved a $290-per-parcel tax in June 2008.
An independent oversight committee to monitor the expenditures of the funds should have been formed in the fall following that election.
However, that committee was never organized and now parents and LGUSD Board of Education critics are crying foul, accusing trustees of being disrespectful of voters.
Board of Education President Kathleen Bays explained trustees four years ago had talked about forming the committee and have the already existing LGUSD Budget Advisory Committee assume that role.
But that didn't happen and the omission was brought to the trustees' attention in March by parents unhappy with and past district blunders.
"Somewhere ... it broke down," Bays said. "It was a mistake in not forming it by the district and a mistake and oversight by the board that it didn't happen."
Also, the charter needed to be changed for the Budget Advisory Committee and that didn't happen either, she said.
A change in superintendents between Suzanne Boxer-Gassman and Richard Whitmore and chief business officer at the time could have contributed to the oversight, she said. "It's not really an excuse, but it did happen."
Bays also said the previous parcel tax didn't call for the formation of a committee, but the new one did.
The six-year parcel tax expires in 2014 and Bays said the district will ask voters to extend it and already has a committee in place, which was formed about two months ago by a volunteer parent.
Bays said the LGUSD collects $2.6 million a year from the parcel tax, which goes straight into the district's general fund.
The members of the Budget Advisory Committee are community members, parents, teachers, school administrators, classified employees and two board liaisons, with the current ones being trustees Tina Orsi-Hartigan and Scott Broomfield.
Did the BAC fail? "I don't think the committee failed, we failed," Bays said.
Bays said one thing important to note was that while the oversight committee has been missing, trustees are "absolutely positive" that none of the parcel tax money was misspent because the district's quarterly budget presentations made by the LGUSD Finance Department include thorough reports giving trustees updates that tell them how funds are being spent.
"Despite the fact that we didn't have an oversight committee, as a board we knew where the money was being spent," Bays said. "We have no concerns that the money was not spent as it was supposed to because we got a report quarterly for all those years ... It was just the forming of the committee that was the oversight, not the spending."
Bays said trustees have changed the BAC's title so that it will become a financial advisory committee being charged with watching the district's budget spending and looking at additional ways to generate income.
Approval of this change is expected at the LGUSD trustee meeting June 5.
The community is now giving trustees input as to who the members of this committee should be, Bays said.
Bays and district supporters, who didn't want to be identified, said there's a group of parents who is going through every LGUSD document and materials and that the agency has recently been inundated with Public Records Act requests.
"They're just looking for errors and they found one ... It's incredibly frustrating as a volunteer, which is what we [trustees] are ... we don't get a single dime from serving ... because the past six years, it's been incredibly challenging," Bays said, adding that she's been on the board for the past 10 years.
"There are people who get up at every meeting and yell at us ... It's very difficult," she said.