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Teacher Drops Tutoring Plan : Education: Warren Kirkpatrick says the option he offered would have been cheaper for the city. But he objected to it becoming a 'political football.'


IRWINDALE — The Covina schoolteacher who said he could operate a city-sponsored tutoring program at half the cost of a city councilman's proposal, withdrew his offer Monday, saying the Irwindale city manager snubbed him.

Warren Kirkpatrick, a teacher at Las Palmas Intermediate School, said he was no longer interested in forming a tutoring program for schoolchildren because it had apparently become a "political football" between city officials.

No mention of Kirkpatrick's plan was made in a Feb. 19 letter from Interim City Manager George Caswell to the Covina Valley Unified School District that asked for comment on a tutoring proposal put forward by Councilman Robert Diaz.

"You try to do something nice, you try to something for the community," Kirkpatrick said, "and then (Caswell) does something like that."

Caswell said he left out Kirkpatrick's offer, as well as a suggestion made by another educator, because neither submitted a formal proposal to the city.

"There were never any written documents about their proposals," Caswell said. "These other guys didn't do anything."

The second educator, Gerald Hyde, went before the council last month to suggest that city officials emphasize community involvement in any city-run tutoring program. Hyde did not offer a separate plan and is not involved with Kirkpatrick.

However, Kirkpatrick did offer a plan and submitted a written proposal to the city at the council's Jan. 23 meeting. A copy of the proposal was included in agenda packets for the Feb. 13 meeting.

"I didn't get any copy of that," Caswell said of Kirkpatrick's proposal.

But Camille Diaz, a deputy city clerk who is the niece of Councilman Diaz, confirmed that all of the councilmen, and Caswell, received a copy of the proposal, which she included in their packets.

Councilman Frederick Barbosa, who has been publicly critical of Caswell in recent meetings, said he believes the proposal fell victim to council politics.

"Just because my name was associated with that proposal, they shot it down," Barbosa said, referring to Caswell and other council members, including Pat Miranda, who have become antagonistic toward Barbosa.

In recent weeks, the relationship between Barbosa, other council members and Caswell has become increasingly hostile. At the council's meeting on Feb. 27 accusations were hurled between council members on a number of items, and Kirkpatrick and his proposal were virtually ignored when the tutoring item came up for discussion.

"I'm just embarrassed by the whole thing," Kirkpatrick said bitterly. "Obviously, I'm not dealing with people who are as concerned with the schoolchildren as they say they are."

Kirkpatrick had attended the meetings since Jan. 23, when he appeared before the council to offer a counter to Councilman Diaz's tutoring request. Diaz initially asked the council for $85,000 for a tutoring plan he introduced orally during a council meeting. But the councilman was rebuffed by other council members, who demanded that his request be made in writing.

With Barbosa's support, Kirkpatrick came forward with a tutoring plan that he estimated would cost half as much. The matter was postponed twice so that Diaz could put his idea in writing and so the city could consult with Covina school officials.

Caswell, who insisted Monday that he still did not have Kirkpatrick's written proposal, said he would submit the Covina teacher's proposal to the district once he received a copy.

But Kirkpatrick said he has had enough.

"I don't need any more hassles," he said. "I don't want to be embarrassed again."

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