Saturday, July 9, 2011

How we got where we are Part XI (Thanksgiving 2007)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, Part XI, Thanksgiving Edition 2007

Thanksgiving 2007: Supermarkets are promoting turkeys, Pittsburgh Public Schools is giving away Communications contracts.

November 20, 2007: It was the season to give thanks in Pittsburgh, especially if you knew the Chief of Staff (Fischetti).

The Board enters into the following Communications and Marketing contracts:

1. “with \/eritas Communications Advisors to provide strategic communications consulting
services to help the District's constituents gain the best understanding possible of
its circumstances and position on key issues in order to support the Excellence for All agenda.”

2. “Essex 3 Tabulations, an independent market research company.”

3. “with Campos, Inc., an independent market research firm.”

4. “with Meade Johnson, a marketing and communications consultant.”

5. “with Mizrahi Design to review the District's website to identify improvements in how
information is organized and presented to increase the site's effectiveness as a
communications tool.”

6. a change order “to cover the cost of additional services by Fredette & Associates related to the District's identity package.”

The Schenley crisis is in full swing, with the Board approving “rental costs for 16 dehumidification unit ventilators, necessary duct work, accessories and utility connection costs to alleviate the high moisture levels and minimize plaster deterioration at Pittsburgh Schenley High School for 6 months. This is necessary as per the recommendations contained in the Astorino report for Schenley dated 10/19/07. Total costs shall not exceed $218,000 from account line 6300-010-2610-442.”

The district awards bids for copiers (what a novel idea to actually bid something that can be provided by dozens of firms instead of just awarding a contract to Xerox that costs more than twice as much as your current arrangements and providing an absurd explanation that it will save a $1 million when your total cost of copiers in the district is not even $1 million). No less than 11 companies bid and on copiers with a rated volume of 200,000 images a month, Xerox is the HIGHEST bidder (on the 200,000 per month units), almost twice as high as the low bid.

A budget transfer in the amount of $815,741 is processed to cover the “District's Share of the Pittsburgh Emerging Leaders Academy (PELA)” for 2007. As more time passes, a greater and greater share of this initiative's cost would be become the district's."


Questioner said...

The juxtaposition between news of cuts to early childhood programs and the above report on the district's runaway spending on marketing is striking.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what could be done with the 815,000 that was the district portion of the PELA costs. We talk about the cost per pupil figure being so high, but what is the cost per PELA?

Anonymous said...

Lisa Fischetti owns Veritas...conflict of interest? Apparently the board didn't think so; later on, this contract was amended for a significant increase.

Anonymous said...

It would be very helpful to have a $s amount for each year based only on non-educationally related costs.

1. This means all costs that did NOT directly impact SCHOOLS (students, teachers, principal, materials, and maintenance, etc.)

2. A separate listing of costs for Central Office admin, staff and maintenance.

3. Costs for all services from entities EXTERNAL to the District (legal, PR, Consultants, etc.)

It is likely that we would all be astounded, shocked and outraged.

Currently, all CUTS are being made at the expense of our children's EDUCATION including teachers, programs, courses and educational services/materials.