$30,000 is the total fee for four months of consulting provided to Santa Fe Public Schools this winter.

0 is the number of Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education members who voted to approve the contract.

"Developing the strategic plan is part of the superintendent’s job, and I would even go so far as to say that if the district wants to hire someone to do work that is part of the superintendent’s job, maybe the fee should come from the superintendent’s salary." —SFPS BoE Member Steve Carrillo

When Michele Lis, founder of ML Consulting, made a presentation to the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education a few months ago, BoE Member Steve Carrillo spoke up in opposition to it.

The board never voted on the matter, and Carrillo assumed the contract was never signed.

He was wrong.

Lis confirms she's been working for the district since the beginning of October.

"My impression was that that was something that we as a board with the superintendent had yet to make a decision on…I had no idea the district moved ahead with the contract," Carrillo says.

SFPS Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez writes in an email that staff approved the contract without the board's OK because it is for less than $50,000, the threshold above which contracts require board approval.

Gutierrez writes that Lis is facilitating group work with a Middle School Task Force and working on bilingual education and other board goals.

Considering the budget constraints the district already faces, which until recently included its inability to provide physical education at all of its schools, Carrillo says the contract is a poor use of money. On top of that, developing a strategic plan was one of the board's goals for the superintendent, set last February.

Carrillo says the district shouldn't have to pay more so that Gutierrez, who earns $120,000 per year, can pay someone else to carry out some of her duties.

"The whole thing seems like a lot of money for work that the superintendent's office should be doing anyway," Carrillo says.