Monday, September 5, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXI (August 2008)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 21, August 2008

Happy Labor Day to all of my brothers and sisters in the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and Pittsburgh Building Trades. In your honor and in thanks to all that you do for our students, we present “How we got where we are, part 21, August 2008.”

August 27, 2008: Dr. Judy Johnston is hired at the rate of $1,500 per day “to provide support and consultation and recommendations for executive directors and principals in support of the PULSE program, specifically principal evaluations.”

Like the Focus on Results contract the month before, this contract begs the question, if we have executive directors, why are we paying consultants to do their work?

But the duplication of services was only getting warmed up.

The Board also approved a contract with Dr. Paula Bevan at the rate of $1,800 per day “to provide consultative support on the development of a comprehensive document describing the performance improvement process for school leaders...Dr. Bevan will also work with executive directors and principals to identify appropriate evidence which principals may provide to demonstrate proficiency on standards and components.”

With consultants to be hired, the Communications & Marketing team would not be left behind. The Board approves a contract “Valerie Becker to provide support to the web development team during the redesign and launch of school websites.”

Who can stop at just one more Marketing contract for the Chief of Staff? The Board also authorized “its proper officers to retain a graphic design firm to rework the magnet booklet and provide final production artwork for the 2008-09 magnet program and school options guide, which consists of approximately 64 pages with 4-color cover pages and 2-color on inside pages.”

The Chief of Staff also receives approval to purchase 260 retractable banner stands, including single-sided, double-sided, plus applicable banner stand graphics.

Have you ever wondered how many retractable banner stands are on display in Mt. Lebanon or Upper St. Clair?

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”

Only Randall Taylor and Mark Brentley seem to heed the warning, with Taylor stating that “I continue to grow very concerned about the level of spending in this District, and the amount of money that continues to be spent, and the amount of resources, particularly in buildings that continue to be wasted.”

Mr. Taylor also comments on the raise proposed for Superintendent Mark Roosevelt: “One of the main reasons I cannot support this is I do believe that the PSSA state scores should be incorporated into any evaluation. Right now, that is not allowed in this Board, though I requested to receive PSSA information prior to us having to submit our evaluation, that was not possible, and I think it's important to the public to know that this Board did an evaluation with access, full access to PSSA scores.”

Mr. Brentley notes that “We owe it to the taxpayers, and we owe it to those parents, especially to those students that we are placing in experimental programs, that we just put together, not sure of its outcome, but we are hoping its going to work out, “But don't worry, because we will have a great press conference there, we will take great pictures, we will get good press, but we don't know what the outcome will possibly be for your children.” That is almost borderline criminal in terms of what we are doing to this District's neediest student body.”


Anonymous said...

Dear Heaven, what kind of people do we have on the PPS Board and Administration? The adult agendas rule to the irrevocable detriment of our urban population and most inextricably our African American students.

Doesn't this make good people really sick to the stomach and boggled of mind?

Anonymous said...

But what can be done about it? We need an audit/lawsuit! Lane and company keep on doing their "thing" and getting paid big bucks of our tax dollars at our children's expense. And our Board of Ed. members sit cluelessly by and allow them to do it. Our district has had more educational "experiments" than any other district I know of.

Also, when one looks at the monthly Board minutes, the MONTHLY personnel changes - hires, resignations, retirements, staff movement from one school to another - boggles the mind. There is no stability. It makes one wonder why.

Anonymous said...

How can the community get Auditor Jack Wagner involved?

Anonymous said...

"August 27, 2008: Dr. Judy Johnston is hired at the rate of $1,500 per day “to provide support and consultation and recommendations for executive directors and principals in support of the PULSE program, specifically principal evaluations.”

A giant part of the problem and a huge example of un-needed bloat. Nowhere in PPS is the disconnect between the ivory tower and the real world of student needs in the classroom better exemplified.

PELA is a blight on this district and it will be a wonderful day when all of its proponents are told to get lost.

Anonymous said...

Since Judy Johnston retired from PPS, she has made a "fortune" as a consultant to them. Who or what does she know to keep getting these "jobs?"

Anonymous said...

Jack Wagner will not get involved.... politics. My husband, several years ago, asked Jack if he could possibly conduct an audit on PPS plant operations purchasing procedure. Finks husband interfered in the bid process of some equipment so that the company their son worked at would get the bid. It was unfortunate for us. My husband's bid was intially accepted and approved because it met all the requirements, but was overturned.

Anonymous said...

I would think the story about Fink is likely applicable to many who serve and have served on this board. The very fact that individuals like this can get on a school board speaks volumes about the way Americans vote...or don't vote at all. Everything is a popularity contest instead of voting for people who are most qualified. Everything is about name recognition... or that the individual is someone "I know". A friend of a friend of a friend.
Fink, Colaizzi...what an absolute joke.