Saturday, June 11, 2011

How we got where we are Part III (October 2006 - December 2006)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, 3rd installment, October to December 2006:

1. October 24, 2006: Apparently very satisfied with the early results, the Board approves a change to the Kaplan contract for curriculum writing, advancing the rate of payment by $170,000 more for the 2006-07 school year.

A special hourly rate of pay is created for teachers providing workshops within the district of $46.64 per hour. There is no offsetting reduction to contracts with folks like the Institute for Learning, but this becomes a handy tool to reward folks loyal to the reform agenda in general and more specifically to the Executive Director for Professional Development.

Highmark provides a $1 million grant to start a crisis intervention model for student services by funding contracts with various providers; the initial program was supposed to transfer knowledge to PPS employees and therefore be sustainable, but in practice the added cost would remain in the PPS budget long after the grant money dries up (a common them during the last five years).

Roughly half a million dollars in Right-Sizing change orders, although by the time, special counsel Weiss becomes to suffer from amnesia that it was his opinion on an “allowable technique” that got this ball rolling in the spring.

Cassandra Richardson Kemp is hired as a contracted principal for Allderdice.

2. November 15, 2006: RESOLVED, That The Board of Public Education of The School District of Pittsburgh hereby accepts the recommendation to change the status of Lynn Spampinato from her full-time role as Deputy Superintendent to outside consultant and approves the Agreement and Release with Lynn Spampinato as submitted. The consulting agreement will be effective November 16, 2006 through April 15, 2008, for an amount not to exceed $213,333.00, which will be charged against account no. 4000-010-2360-323.

Spampinato would later produce a report on Career and Technical Education, drawing on resources including Dr. Johnson Martin's original plan and the Chartwell report authorized in September.

5. November 21, 2006: The contract with the Law Offices of Ira Weiss is expanded, appointing him acting solicitor, in addition to other legal work performed as special counsel, special tax counsel, etc.

Board Member Mark Brentley points out that “I think we may be moving just a little bit too fast with this item.”

Bud Bergie is hired as Chief Information Officer (technology); Bergie brings to the district the same amount of K-12 experience as Roosevelt, Fischetti and Chester.

Jean Matter is hired by the Communications department to conduct a $61,600 telephone survey. She, like Fischetti, served for a time at Ketchum.

Board Member Randall Taylor argues that the amount is excessive for the scope of work. Taylor points out that the polling should be done in such a way that the work can be easily replicated by staff over multiple years so that the results can be tracked and compared, much like the Central Office Satisfaction Survey, which, by the way, was ended the year that the Superintendent's and Chief of Staff's functions appeared at the very bottom of the survey's results.



Anonymous said...

This series makes me think of one of those in-depth stories that run in papers to take a look at questionable ethics of politicians or unscrupulous business practices. Seeing this all laid out in one place is unsettling to say the least.

Questioner said...

Which raises the question- why AREN'T we seeing one of those in depth stories on this topic in the newspaper? If information was hard to obtain- here it is, ready to be confirmed and expanded on.

Questioner said...

Should # 5 above be # 3?

And, did the Superintendent and Chief of Staff results appearing at the bottom of the list mean that the Central Office Staff that were least satisfied were the staff working with the Superintendent and the Chief of Staff?