Forty-five thousand teachers and nine thousand administrators have managed to follow Connecticut law and acquire Department of Education certification in order to participate in the Teachers Retirement System, but Steven Adamowski and the Malloy Administration continue to believe that one of Malloy’s “education reform experts” and “Special Master” for the Windham School System, deserves an exemption from that “burden.”
Readers will recall that earlier this year, despite a $9 billion short-fall in Connecticut’s Teacher Pension Fund, Governor Malloy slipped language into his “Education Reform” bill to retroactively enlarge Adamowski’s teacher retirement pension by giving him credit for the years he served as the Superintendent of Schools in Hartford, despite the fact that he was not certified to be the superintendent.
This “gift” could amount to an additional $27,000, per year, when Adamowski retires.
In a display of courage, the Connecticut Legislature stripped that language out of the proposal bill before passing Malloy’s education reform bill.
But what was left unaddressed was the Malloy Administration’s on-going effort to get Adamowski credit for his time as “Special Master,” even though he still hasn’t gotten the certification he would need to get back into the retirement system.
Here is the latest…
Buried deep within the Connecticut State Statutes, Section 183b, subsection (E) of subsection (26) is language that was added in 2007. The language expanded the definition of a “Teacher” (for the purpose of participating in the Teacher Retirement System) to include “(E) a member of the staff of the State Education Resource Center [SERC]…employed in a professional capacity while possessing a certificate or permit issued by the State Board of Education.”
The language put SERC’s employees into the Teacher Retirement System (as long as they possessed a certificate or permit issues by the State Board of Education). SERC is the agency that Commissioner Pryor has been using to get no-bid contracts to out-of-state education reform companies that have been helping develop and implement his “reform” agenda.
Well, back when the Windham take-over took place, rather than having to deal with the state laws pertaining to the hiring of consultants, the State Department of Education simply directed the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hire Adamowski, via a no-bid contract, to serve as the state’s Special Master.
The contract, including a salary and benefits package in excess of a quarter of a million dollars, was signed by Adamowski, the Executive Director of SERC and the State Commissioner of Education.
The contract included language that reads “Dr. Adamowski will be allowed access to the same benefits as stated in the SERC Employee Handbook that other eligible SERC employees are offered, except as otherwise modified herein. Dr. Adamowski will receive 25 days of accrued vacation time per year. Dr. Adamowski will receive 15 days of sick time per fiscal year. Dr. Adamowski will also be eligible for 3 days of paid personal time per fiscal year. Also, Dr. Adamowski will be eligible to continue membership in the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement System…”
That language raises two key questions. Is Adamowski actually an “employee” of SERC (or is he a consultant), and if he is an employee, has he now acquired the proper certification or permit that is required under that language in 183b (26) (E) so that he can tap into the teacher’s retirement system.
In April, I submitted a request to SERC asking whether Adamowski was an employee or a consultant. Despite repeated requests, SERC has refused to provide that information claiming it was part of Adamowski’s personnel file, which is exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act.
(As an aside, since SERC is a quasi-public entity, the public has a right to know whether an individual is or is not an employee, but for that, I’ll have to appeal to the Freedom of Information Commission).
But the more important questions are why did the Malloy Administration allow this language into Adamowski’s contract knowing that Adamowski doesn’t have the required certification and why are payments now being made into the pension fund, on Adamowski’s behalf, so that he can add these two years to his future state teachers retirement pension?
The State Board of Education is meeting today. Among the agenda items is an update from Adamowski about his progress in Windham.
If Commissioner Pryor or Special Master Adamowski see this blog, perhaps they could explain to the State Board and the public what is going on with Adamowski’s pension and why they think one well-connected “education reformer” deserves to collect even more public funds despite the fact that he refuses to play by the same set of rules that everyone else has to play by?