Sunday, October 23, 2011

How we got where we are Part XXIX (April 2009)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, part 29, April 2009

April 29, 2009: PPS takes important steps toward becoming the unsustainable morass of programming that now finds Dr. Lane throwing bucket after bucket of water out of the boat to keep it floating.

The Board accepts “the submission of an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for $16,269,290...for the Title I funding portion of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act....provides supplemental funds to support District and School activities for improving student achievement, increasing parent involvement and providing professional development to administrators and teachers....In order to address an area of need, stimulus funding will be focused around a literacy summer program for middle school grades.”

Just to be perfectly clear, almost to a person anyone internal with any academic or business management credentials objects to Mr. Roosevelt's plan to use the one-time stimulus funds for summer camps.

The Board enters into “a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to support the development of a Proposal that could ultimately form the basis for a multi-year investment and extensive partnership between the Foundation and the District.”

If someone offers you $40 million in seed money to finance programs that ultimately will require ongoing, annual investment of more than $20 million that you do not have – and in the face of a 10 year forecast you were shown in dramatic fashion (PSERS, health care, et al) - maybe this isn't such a bargain?

Short-term thinking from Bellefield's 1st floor is sharply contrasted with that of its Finance team, who have the Board “authorize to arrange for prepayment of principal on the 2001 variable rate bond issue, total amount of prepayment not to exceed $650,000.” In other words, if short-term investment rates are less than the all-in interest rate on the variable debt, pay it early and capture the difference as savings.

The Board amends the Acceptable Use of Technology policy. To this day, key provisions of the policy are routinely ignored by Chief Technology Officer Mark Campbell, who has been exposed on this blog for repeatedly committing acts of plagiarism, but hey, he has a Boston connection, so why enforce the policy? “Illegal use of the network; intentional deletion/manipulation or damage to files or data belonging to others; copyright violations or theft of services and/or identity will be reported to the appropriate legal authorities for possible prosecution.”

The Easter season would not be complete without a basket of goods from the Office of the Chief of Staff. The Board authorizes “its proper officers to enter into a contract with The Karol produce Pathways to Promise collateral that will be made available to parents as a part of the Welcome Back-to-School materials....The Karol Company will do the following: (1) interview 10 to 12 key staff to gain a clear understanding of each key milestone (2) develop copy describing Pathways to Promise (3) develop copy for inserts in the Welcome Back-to-School materials including the District-wide calendar.” All yours for “$250,000 from the Fund for Excellence to implement our Pathways to the Promise Communications support key materials that must be written, designed, printed and delivered to various stakeholder groups.”

The general contract for work at Reizenstein to split the school into two so that the last two classes of Schenley could graduation as a distinct school is awarded for $1.149 million.

A project coordinator (Broad connection) and three project managers are hired for the Office of Strategic Initiatives. The Board also approves an Achievement Bonus system “for Assistant Superintendents, Deputy Superintendent, and Chief of Research, Assessment and Accountability.” The bar is not set high.

The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs.” "


Questioner said...

There have now been 2 years of Summer Dreamers. Is anyone aware of any evaluation on how camp affected academic performance- for ex, how did proficiency levels change for those who attended the camp v. those who did not?

Anonymous said...

Technology was brought up as an issue. Why has PPS tube been off line For at least 5 days? It is the only record of past meetings.