Is Hartford forgoing its ethics policy for Capital Prep Steve Perry?

Even a cursory review of the facts reveal that Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry is violating Hartford Board of Education policies, and potentially state laws, due to his chronic absenteeism, his inappropriate use of social media and the fact that he spends an inordinate amount of his work day promoting his profitable public speaking business.

But the most serious breach of ethics, Hartford Board of Education policies and potentially state laws arise from the charter school application that CAPITAL PREPARATORY SCHOOLS INCORPORATED recently filed with Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Department of Education.

Steve Perry’s application is to open a new charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut that would be called the Capital Prep Harbor School.

According to the documents filed with the State Department of Education, the applicant is;

 Dr. Stephen Perry, Head of Schools
Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.
1304 Main St.
Hartford CT 06103

 

Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. is a corporation filed in the state of Connecticut.  According to the incorporation papers filed with Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. was created on Feb 16, 2012 and is domiciled at 40 Middlefield Street in Middletown, Connecticut.  Steven Perry is recorded as the President of Capital Preparatory Schools Incorporated and that address is also Perry’s residence.

At the same time, according to the documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Capital Preparatory Schools Incorporated is actually located at 1304 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut. 

But of course, 1304 Main Street in Hartford is the where Capital Preparatory Magnet School is located and Capital Preparatory Magnet School is owned and operated by the Hartford Board of Education.

So according to the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Perry is using a Hartford Board of Education school as the address for one of his private corporations.

His application to open a new charter school in Bridgeport reiterates that point since it lists the official address for the application as: Dr. Stephen Perry, Head of Schools, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. 1304 Main St. Hartford CT 06103

The policies of the Hartford Board of Education limit outside employment for its employees.  Hartford BOE Policy # 4138 reads:

Non-School EmploymentPersonnel of the schools may receive compensation for activities outside of the compensated work time as long as these activities do not interfere with the proper discharge of their assigned duties, do not constitute a conflict of interest, or do not cause poor public relations within the community. It is expected that any outside activity should be carried on in a business-like and ethical manner.

All employees shall notify the superintendent of outside activities that may interfere with the performance of normal duties.

If an outside activity occurs during compensated work time and the superintendent permits the employee to participate, any compensation given the employee shall be remitted to the district.

Since Steve Perry is openly running a private business out of a public school, the first question for the Hartford Board of Education and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is whether Perry properly notified them that he was running his private company out of their facility and whether Kishimoto and the Board signed off on those activities.

The second question for the Hartford Board of Education and Superintendent Kishimoto is whether or not the work associated with Perry’s private company interferes “with the proper discharge” of his assigned duties.

And the third question is whether the Hartford Board of Education is being properly compensated by Perry since the policy clearly states, “If an outside activity occurs during compensated work time and the superintendent permits the employee to participate, any compensation given the employee shall be remitted to the district.”

Making the situation even more incredible is that we now learn that the Hartford Board of Education’s “Perry Problem” goes far beyond Perry. 

According to Perry’s Bridgeport charter school application, the Founding Members of the new charter school include a number of Capital Prep Magnet School administrators and teachers, all of whom are Hartford Board of Education employees;

Richard Berganski Jr. (Vice Principal)
Scott Wojnarowicz (Math teacher)
Kelly Horan (Science teacher)
Scott Kapralos (Math teacher and SPJ)
Kitsia Ferguson (Head, Lower School)
Monique Ethier (Math teacher)
Lauren Davern (History teacher and SPJ)
Lisa Loomis (English Teacher)

 

Is it possible that Superintendent Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education has really signed off on the fact that Perry and his entire management team are engaged in running a private business out of a public school?

And if the 600 page Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. application to form a charter school in Bridgeport wasn’t proof enough that significant work is being done through Perry’s private company, the application added,

The Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN) has also teamed with the founding members as a consultant on the preparation of this charter schools application.”

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a registered lobbying entity in the state of Connecticut and NECSN and its immediate predecessor the Connecticut Charter School Network were part of the $6 million coordinated campaign to support Governor Malloy’s corporate education reform industry initiative.

As the Northeast Charter Schools Network brags on their website;

“Our experienced advocacy staff understands that despite tremendous promise and performance, charter schools are under constant attack. NECSN’s team has been successful on many fronts, bringing significant victories to the charter school movement despite tough budget cycles…”

In addition the Northeast Charter Schools Network reports that, “…member schools have access to Elevate Charter Schools…Elevate provides: charterGO, a charter start program for new school applicants; charterSHIELD, an audit and compliance program featuring a continuous improvement plan that is based on an in-depth review and alignment of a school’s charter to its academic program and authorizer requirements; and, charterRENEW, a program designed to walk schools through preparation for charter renewal.”

As “Head of Schools,” for Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. Steve Perry is clearly investing significant amounts of money and time building his private company.  

As the charter school application clearly reflects, that effort includes the Vice Principal of Capital Prep and more than half a dozen other Hartford Board of Education employees.

The question now isn’t whether Steve Perry is running a private company out of a public school, the question, yet again, is whether anyone in authority will step forward to ensure the Steve Perry and is fellow operatives are forced to follow the laws, rules and policies that everyone else must follow.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Steve “OJ” Perry is running roughshod over the public for personal gain like The Juice ran through airports.
    America’s most DIStrusted Educator is in if for the Benjamin’s and if you expect the rest of the criminal element in Hartford to enforce rules…well, it is going to be a long wait. As in NEVER!
    A Perry-O’Garro-Perez limited partnership is more probable, financed with a grant from Pedro himself, with public debt, that is.
    Hartford. 1614-2014. Rest In Peace.

  • Charlie Puffers

    Perry is an embarrassment to the city of Hartford. As with all bullies he has followers and supporters – think Chris Christie – who have weak moral compasses themselves. Most will justify their actions as being part of some greater good and turn a blind eye to those they have hurt.

    However, occasionally one of his supporters will betray Perry and secretly send information to another Hartford or suburban school on behalf of a student who has transferred. Information that is helpful to the student’s continuing education. This type of clandestine support for students provides some hope that if the bully were gone the others may be redeemable.

  • HartfordPirates

    Because even the Hartford Federation of Teachers (HFT) dances to Perry’s tune ( http://itsenoughto.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-is-hartford-federation-of-teachers.html ). And they are not only aware of the fact that he is running a private corporation out of his school, but they full well know he is creating puppet accounts on school time, using school equipment, on this blog to attack posters…and are doing nothing about it ( http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/when_adults_-_and_politicians_-_are_bystanders_to_bullying/ )

    • HartfordPirates

      Actually, on that note, keep in mind – they fired an attorney in retaliation for that attorney filing an EEO/CHRO/DCF136 report. So they now have an unemployed attorney with nothing but free time to look into all of this.

      The fascinating part is that the attorney has attempted on several occasions to engage in settlement negotiations and has been rebuffed. So not only are they aware of all of this, but they are forcing the attorney to go to litigation over it.

      You have to wonder – who the heck is in charge??

      • Linda174

        Poland….Ha!

  • Fed Up in Hartford

    Either there’s really nefarious and illegal (or at least totally immoral) behaviors going on by Pryor, the State Board of Education, and any BOE member in Bridgeport who’d vote for this shanghaiing of public education by Perry, or else they’re all just plain stupid. Maybe it’s both, evil and stupid. There’s absolutely no other rational explanation for why Steve Perry hasn’t been fired by now — or for that matter, why Kishimoto hasn’t been run out of town as well.

  • Concerned CT Educator

    If these Capital Prep educators and Steve Perry are so damned HOT, then why isn’t the school at the top of the state test scores, SPI and DPI indexes, and other measurable outcomes? There’s absolutely NOTHING about this school that ought to be replicated anywhere else, let alone in Bridgeport. That district has just survived hell under Vallas, and they sure don’t need Steve Perry to bring them more years of woe.

  • Castles Burning

    Jonathan, this information about the “founding members” is incredible. Convinced that that are a “success” (or that they can force others to argue that they are), they want to carry these track-proven strategies to other places so they propose “duplicating” (here it almost seems literally) or “franchising” themselves. Is there
    any indication why those chose Bridgeport, in particular, or what they will contribute that the community already does not have (besides the innovative disciplinary measures and top down bullying)? You cover much of their track record in the following post:

    http://jonathanpelto.com/2014/02/06/steve-perrys-capital-prep-bridgeport-charter-school-management-fee-initial-five-years-2-7-million/

    Will the SBOE at least have to try to justify why they might decide to “do unto Bridgeport what they have done to Hartford”?

  • Charlie Puffers

    I didn’t know Hartford had an ethics policy. Is it new?

  • I am a CPrep Parent Too

    Except for: Richard Berganski Jr. (Vice Principal)
    All of the other teacher’s are Capital Prep’s finest teachers. A shame that they are getting caught up in the Steve Perry madness. (I am also disappointed that they would put their John Hancock on a bunch of lies (SMH)

    • jonpelto

      Thank you for your observation. It is sad and disturbing that good teachers will join Perry and violate Hartford’s ethics policies and regulations. They will not get caught up in the investigations and disciplinary actions that are sure to result from this scam.

  • jrp1900

    Take a good hard look at contemporary Russia. When the Soviet Union came apart, spelling the death of communism, privatization of state industries and public services was pursued with incredible vigor and bottomless cynicism. The result was a corruption so deep that it was breathtaking. The law was rendered utterly meaningless. Scoundrels and crooks became the de facto rulers of the realm, as they enriched themselves at the public trough.

    Compared to the Russian Mafioso who gained ownership of a state-owned public utility for almost nothing, the remarkable career of Dr. Steve Perry is a relatively trivial example of the lawless culture of privatization. And even when it comes to private interests taking over public education, there are much bigger fish than Steve Perry swimming in the pond, eating everything in sight. But Perry is no slouch– like a pilot fish, he swims in the wake of the sharks and grabs what they allow him to have.

    In their soft-gloved approach to Perry, the Harford BOE is like the Russian police in their relation to the Russian mafia: they see no evil and hear no evil. They make plain that they have no intention of doing anything about obvious infractions of the law.

    In so many instances, privatization is the offering up of public goods to the opportunistic. And when the opportunistic gather to grab what they can, there is no law to restrain them, as they have taken care to cultivate enablers and toadies in all the places that matter.

    If you want to get your way in the United States, it helps to have a few hundred million dollars at your disposal, like Bill Gates, Sam Walton and Eli Broad.

    “America’s most trusted educator”( aka Dr. Steve Perry) has been permitted: to steal numerous hours from his employers while tweeting up a storm; to punish and discipline children in clearly inappropriate ways; to circumvent the lottery for his school by recruiting athletes; to fudge the numbers on graduation and college acceptance rates; to intimidate teachers who aren’t on his team; to force out students who are too difficult; and to make public threats of violence with a gun. Now, if he has been allowed all this, why would anyone be surprised that Dr. Perry has been permitted to run a business out a Hartford public school?

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