The Associated Press has published a story about the developing situation in which the Malloy Administration has repeatedly used “No-Bid Contracts” to select particular vendors to help them develop their “education reform” package. (Link below)
In response to the AP’s questions, the Connecticut Department of Education released a statement yesterday claiming that Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor “has operated pursuant to preexisting practices and procedure.”
Much is still a mystery but what we do know, so far, is that there are at least three no-bid contracts (four if you count the one with “Special Master” Steven Adamowski) that the Malloy Administration has run through the State Education Resource Center (SERC). These contracts total more than $600,000.
In addition, there is another consultant, William Cox, the President and owner of DSA Capital, who was paid by someone – we don’t know whom – to help Commissioner Pryor select and retain the various out-of-state consultants.
Last week, when the Connecticut Post’s Ken Dixon asked William Cox about these issues, Cox told him “I literally have no comment.”
Jonathan Gyurko, a principal at Leeds Equity, the firm being paid $195,000 through SERC, also declined to comment when Dixon asked about the situation. Gyurko had previously served as the Director of Charter Schools for the City of New York. Achievement First, Inc. the charter school management company that Stefan Pryor helped create and lead as one of its Directors for eight years until he resigned to become Malloy’s education commissioner, runs ten schools in New York City and ten schools in Connecticut.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that emails between the various players indicates that the contract with Leeds Equity was originally written to run through an organization called the Council of Chief State School Officers. It now appears that some other organization or individual may have transferred $195,000 to CCCSSO to pay for that contract, but a decision was made, at the last moment, to switch strategies and run the Leeds Equity contract through SERC instead.
Last year at this time, William Cox, of DSA Capital, was playing a similar role for Governor Chris Christie’s Education Commissioner as they were ramping up their “education reform” package.
According to the Star Ledger Newspaper; “A private consultant is being paid $60,000 by a California philanthropic foundation to help reorganize the New Jersey Department of Education, acting education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said during today’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing…Cerf said he was working with someone on a part-time basis, describing the man as a “friend” who is “very well respected” in education reform circles across the country.”
Upon further investigation the newspaper learned that the Broad Foundation, a $2 billion “Education Reform” group, was paying DSA Capital to create “a high-level plan” for the [New Jersey] Department of Education.”
The Star-Ledger also reported that DSA Capital was a sub-contractor for a company called Wireless Generation, who had a $500,000 New Jersey state contract to review and help them prepare for what later became their failed “Race to the Top” application. Rupert Murdoch and New York City’s controversial former education chancellor Joel Kline are apparently the driving entities behind Wireless Generation.
The AP story can be found here; http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2012/05/03/ap_interview_privatization_an_issue_for_ed_bill/ and Ken Dixon’s earlier story here; http://ccag.net/content/ct-post-emails-show-consulting-project-shopped-around.
Check back later for the 5/4/2012 Education Update #2