Thursday, February 16, 2012

PPS pays lobbyists

A lot of people are asking for a new post on this topic.

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post:
"Struggling Pittsburgh Public Schools pay lobbyists $400,000"

Thursday, February 16, 2012 "

Anonymous wrote:

"Another very expensive school improvement network?

Struggling Pittsburgh Public Schools pay lobbyists $400000 ...
Pittsburgh Public Schools closed schools, cut programs and increased class sizes to curb budget deficits but allocated nearly $400000 during the past four ... "


Questioner said...

On another post Angry Taxpayer wrote:

"Signs of life today that the Tribune Review may be tiring of printing press releases. Check out the article about lobbying.

If this Trib reporter is looking for his next article, I highly suggest he turns to the "how we got" series for suggestions. "

Anonymous said...

Absolutely unbelievable?????

From the article:

Struggling Pittsburgh Public Schools pay lobbyists $400,000

"The district retained Kolling through Buchanan Ingersoll in 2008 for $8,000 per month, according to board contracts, meeting agendas and transcripts. The district stipulated that the law firm employ Thomas as a consultant for $3,000 a month."

"Kolling's monthly reports, required by contract, reflect only bill-tracking."
"Kolling emailed the district one report in 2010 and 31 last year. Most of his 2011 reports date to June, October, November and December. He supplied no reports in January, April and July. None mentions Thomas' activities."

Lane and Fischetti could not be reached for comment!

Questioner said...

What if the state of PA made education lobbying against the law? It's a zero sum game, and the state has enough staff to obtain the information it needs. Then no money would be diverted from the students. That said, re:

"Kolling said he helped the district receive $30 million in state subsidies over several years and instigated legislation that was helpful to the district,"

- Hopefully someone is verifying which 30M is state subsidies the lobbyist is referring to, and asking for specifics about the legislation instigated.

Is there a segment of the "How we got where we are" series that covers this contract?

Anonymous said...

As article states, the Pittsburgh Public Schools paid two lobbyists $400,000 through no-bid contracts during four years when the district also closed schools and cut programs to address budget deficits and fought declining enrollment. Hmm!!!

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Thursday that one of the lobbyists Thomas was paid $21,000 over seven months in 2011 when his registration as a Pa lobbyist had expired. He no longer works for the district. Weiss quipped a few statements=about Thomas fulfilled hiring minorities and he was clueless about the easy to have consultant license had disappeared.

The other lobbyist, Charles Kolling a lawyer, tells the newspaper that he and the other man did more work than is revealed by reports the newspaper received through a Right-to-Know request that detail their work.
The famed emails from home or office to be paid for their work -sounds like the same payment arrangement Paula Bevan made her do-re-mi from PPS!

Kolling says he's helped the district receive $30 million in state subsidies over the last several years and pushed legislation that helped the district. Was it for the new Pa approved PPS teacher rating system using Rise?

And Weiss defends Kolling because they are from the same good buddies org-lawyers.

Imagine-their job duties as face-to-face wining ad dining politicians in Harrisburg or just reading the Pa legislative web site cutting and pasting the Pa legislation in email. The 15 minutes of fame as a consultant at home after watching TV- must type up a quick email-10 minutes and get my monthly $3000.

How can we taxpayers get to be registered Pa consultants?

The IRS and Pa state tax services should review their 2010 and 2011 personal tax forms.

Instead of PPS Administrators taking their famed field trips to educational conventions because Colazzi stopped Board payment-consultants get the money.

We now have PPS students taking off of school and lobbying in Harrisburg as of recent weeks.

This is the PPS mindset-Sumpter should read a new mission statement at Brd meetings.

Questioner said...

One of the lobbyists says he makes himself available to Board members upon request. Maybe a current or past Board member can weigh in on whether they were informed of the lobbyist's availability for information on pending bills and requests to have legislation initiated.

Anonymous said...

Which board seats are next up for election?

If anyone knows of other school distrcits who retain lobbyists like PPS does, can you please share?

Anonymous said...

Fraud. Collusion. No credentials. Mis-representation of DATA. “Her girls.” Incompetence. Consultants ad nauseum. Rampant propaganda. Racial bias. Achievements Gaps up to 45%. Managed, scripted curricula. School CHAOS. No student schedules. No AYP (as defined by PDE). Innumerable SUSPENSIONS. Parade of principals/directors. PPS bottom of the PA barrel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And the people are powerless???????????

Anonymous said...

Thomas frequently attended school board meetings, board members
"They were recommended by somebody, but I'm not sure who," McCrea said

Yes- they attend Brd meetings to be seen for hiring or give political kudos for board members as nods for their political correct verbiage as script to be place in minutes.

McCrea is up for re-election.
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney $96,000.00-a secretary and law clerk are reading the Pa legislative web site..

Anonymous said...

But wait, PPS just saved $45,000/year by firing me, a veteran teacher of 16+ years, and replacing me with a first year teacher. Kudos to the Board and their henchmen!!!!!!

I'm living proof that if you don't play ball with them, then they make your life a living hell!!!

I caught their balls. I just didn't throw them back.

And yes the teacher evaluations are skewed according to whether you are a player or not!!!!!!!

Now I am in a different ball game. Let's play ball.

Anonymous said...

ANON 11:20 AM
Sorry to hear your story-was it really necessary for firing a teacher-there are two sides-but I agree about your side as a parent. I can see the pitches thrown at my son’s school and my sister visits her child’s school and cannot stand the atmosphere.

To me a new lower salary is not th4e only PPS answer.

That is why they fire teachers now? Money-no rationale.
Here is a new or old type of game on. 74 year old PPS retiree subbing daily till teachers are replaced.

At my son’s Middle School they had a retired PPS teacher in her mid-seventies as his sub. She taught me in high school-Hello how greedy can this 74 year old get. Do something else-not double dip in pension and work for PPS again daily. Instead of hiring a replacement-get a greedy 74 year old retiree that wants only the money.

They should have fired this 74 yr old sub PPS former teacher when she taught me-she was like a dictator with no interest in relating to her students as teenagers. She sat all day.She was rude and ignorant with her teaching of the curriculum at that time and still is as a retiree turned sub.

Still-when she goes to my son’s school-gets easy assignments and gets her pension and sub rate pay.

That is why the state of Pa has no money-greed from school district arrogance.

Not all retired or older substitute teachers are like her. Many are great trying to work with the kids. They try very hard to take the place of the teacher

She needs to get a life-she is an example of why they are trying to fire teachers now.

Many parents do not mind having a senior teacher or older teacher-they are seasoned.

Again my son had older subs as teachers and replacements-teaching is not firing now it should have been firing the Al Fondy generation of teachers like this 74 year old greedy sub-they have helped ruin the present system in more ways than one-they ruined teaching with the wrong agendas-by them not teaching in the classroom and seeing how education and families were changing-they sat all day in their classrooms as dictators or Union jobs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:46

Dear Parent,

I never sat on my @$$. I worked hard for my pittance! I stayed hours after school, came in on the weekends, and was involved with my students. I could go on.

I was a good teacher, but I was not of their mind set. I did not fully embrace their philosophy, pedagogy, curriculum, nor principals.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to buy my own supplies? 400,000 would buy a lot of pencils and paper

Anonymous said...

Just a note- about 14 years ago we couldnt get subs in PPS- administrators had to sub one day a week (back then they were all certified to go into the classroom.) Other alternatives included doubling of classes, or putting a 4/5 of the students in various teachers classrooms. Talk about a waste of time. Retired teachers can sub in any PA district. Given recent behaviors, it is great that our retired teachers want to come back to PPS.

Anonymous said...

Pencils and Paper? Really!

As a taxpayer, I agree to pay for teachers, librarians, counselors, principals, books, and supplies that the students would not be able to buy for themselves.

Pencils, paper, rulers, calculators are not expensive and readily available. There are charities that supply those objects as well. Giant Eagle was badgering me every time I bought groceries to contribute.

No, I think that the students should be able to supply their own paper and pencils. That is the least that they could do in appreciation of a public education.

Students need to take ownership of their education. As trivial as supplying a pencil may seem, becomes an entitlement to our students. They feel entitled to that pencil or they just won't apply themselves.

If you want me to work, then give me a pencil is what I hear far too often. They are devoid of any responsibility and are expected to be carried through school.

This is what has become of PPS because of the 50% grading policy, zero suspension rate, nonenforcement of school/district discipline rules, and the policy that the teacher must supply pencils, paper, and calculators to assure equity!


Johnny still cannot read nor write.

Anonymous said...

Lord have mercy!

Anonymous said...

All I know is when our principal retired in June, we went from a school with an endless supply of materials, paper, calculators, workbooks, and other classroom extras to a school of you can have one box of paper! Our teachers send emails letting everyone know what stores have a BOGO on paper! Yes, she even saw to it that every teacher in every classroom had their own ELMO and LCD projector.

Thank goodness our past principal took the time to apply for supplies through the Educational Partnership even as she retired or we would even be buying pencils along with paper!

Somehow she worked miracles when it came to managing a budget and seeking resources through grants and donations for our children and staff. She was known as a workaholic and intense. Well, you never know what you had until it's gone. We all know now!

Anonymous said...

Dear (Pencils and Paper Realy)

It is much easier to give them a pencil than to have them and others unable to do their work, start to disrupt class. You can not write disipline referrals or send them to a administrator. Their is no help from administrators, especialy from PELA's. So get real, this not how school should be. But it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

It's school! Provide the pencils and paper without another thought. Get over it! It is by far the most simple issue to resolve.

What is going on in schools?? Is there nothing that students, teachers and administrators can come TOGETHER about?

Teachers set the tone and all others will come together if the "tone" is right, and good, and encouraging, and productive, and positive, and caring, and insightful, and informational, and reinforcing, and enlightening, and uplifting mentally, physically, educationally and spiritually.

Anonymous said...

At which schools in pgh have teachers managed to be all those things?

Anonymous said...

There are teachers like that in EVERY school, believe it or not!

To mention a few from personal experience:
Milliones, Brashear, Allderdice, Letsche, Westinghouse, Perry, Oliver, Langley, Schenley, Reizenstein, East Hills, Faison, Dilworth, Miller, Fort Pitt, Lincoln, Rogers, Rooney, and more than likely, there have been more than a few in schools not witnessed, personally.