Sunday, July 24, 2011

How we got where we are Part XIV (March 2008)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

How we got where we are, part 14, March 2008.

March 26, 2008: Just when you thought they couldn't have hired any more communications consultants...

”Submission of an application for $250,000 from the Heinz Endowments across a twelve month period from July I, 2008 - June 30, 2009 in order to implement our
Pathways to the Promise Communications Plan. Specifically, $250,000 of implementation costs are requested to support key materials that must be written, designed, printed and delivered to various stakeholder groups. The allocation of the $250,000 implementation will be refined once the communications plan has been completed. The allocation of resources has been estimated as follows:

A consultant who will help to manage the implementation process; $25,000; Graphic design and writing services $50,000; Printing, copying, and mailing and media costs $160,000; Refreshments and materials for community-based outreach-such as parent trainings and community meetings $5,000;
Assessment of the effect of this plan $10,000.

This request relates to a previous item approved by the Board of Education in January of 2008 approving the submission of a grant request for $50,000 to The Heinz Endowments for communications planning, which was awarded by the Fund for Excellence. This request also relates to a Consultant, Carolyn Kerr, approved by the Board in February of 2008 to create the communications plan. The funding period shall run from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.”

But why stop there?

“In order to effectively introduce the Science and Technology program in August of 2008, Marketing/Communications Consultants, Ed Barr and Chris Labash, and their supporting team will work from April 1 to September 30, 2008 with the Pittsburgh Science and Technology (PST) Project Team and Steering Committee and the PPS Marketing team. They will create a marketing communications package that must clearly articulate the benefits of this program to each relevant audience and create a plan to attract a diverse student population. They will provide input and participate in any primary research efforts
the District undertakes.”

Think the PR spend is done for the month? Think again...

Blanc Printing Company is hired “for printing, assembly and mailing services for the 2008-09 welcome back to school materials” at a total cost not to exceed $237,032.

Metis Associates is contracted for $221,490.93 to conduct a magnet school audit.

A grant is submitted to the Heinz Foundation to create a brand new central office for after school coordination. So typical. Instead of assigning essential work to existing staff, capacity was created to hire either Broad Residents or friends from Massachusetts.

The Board tables a vote on a Code of Conduct for Board Members.

Kaye Cupples, Executive Director of Student Services and a long time PPS employee, announces his retirement effective the end of the school year.

The Deputy Superintendent's goals reflect a clear desire to create space for PELAs: “Principals unable to function as instructional leaders are identified and their work is monitored through improvement plans, and that those who cannot make sufficient progress are recommended for demotion.” Fresh off of Dr. Cupples' announcement, Dr. Lane's goals include a provision to expand the number of administrators in Student Services.

Richard Fellers, also a long time employee and former Chief Operations Officer, is exiled as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent.


Questioner said...

It would be really interesting to know the marketing and communications budget for 2004 compared to 2008.

Wonder why Rick Fellers was exiled-he never seemed to contradict the administration.

Anonymous said...

Many parents interested in the Sci-Tech program for their kids attended the information sharing meetings and actually met those who were hired to shepherd and design the program. I can't think of anyone from the original team who might still be there. Was it oversold? If there is still a waiting list perhaps marketing it like it would attract students almost internationally might have been overkill. Then again, that school in a more remote location would not have been as attractive to commuters coming from a distance.

Anonymous said...

Comparing just the Communications' Department budget is not enough. Have to add in all the grant budgets for communications too.

Follow the "how we got there" series.

alldone said...

I am jumping ahead but the departure of Mr. Fellers made me think of the departure of Mr Berdnik. Was Fellers the beginning of a pattern? A fine example of irony was handed to the population of the city when within days of his departure Berdnik got some kind of big proclamation/recognition from city council.

And on another note, BOY IS IT SUMMER!! Is anyone paying atention? Should parents be calling their school buildings and the hotline to get an explanation of the effects of the cuts to the kids going to school real soon?

Anonymous said...

It seems like if If you were not a, pardon my language, a complete Dick to your direct reports Roosevelt replaced you. More than 2 C level people were dispensed with during his tenure.