As Wait, What? readers know, while employed as a full-time employee of the Hartford Board of Education, Capital Prep Magnet School Principal Steve Perry has been engaged in an on-going effort to build a lucrative charter school chain using the name Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. and materials he and his senior staff developed while being paid with taxpayer funds by the City of Hartford.
Perry’s proposal is to open a chain of privately run, publically funded charter schools starting with a school in Bridgeport, Connecticut and one in Harlem, New York.
The proposals for both schools openly admitted that the plans were based on Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, that the materials used will be the same as those used at Capital Prep Magnet School and the management team that will run the Bridgeport and Harlem charter schools will be the same group of senior administrators and teachers that are presently running Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford.
The proposals even included many of the written materials that can be found on Capital Prep Magnet School’s present website.
But of course, Steve Perry and his team know perfectly well that such a move is blatantly illegal.
The law is very clear, materials and concepts developed by public employees during the course of their work belong to their employer – the government that pays them and its citizens.
Steve Perry and his employees know the law because it is clearly defined in the written policies of the Hartford Board of Education which states,
Materials created by staff at the instigation and/or direction of superiors and/or during work-time shall be considered “work made for hire” under Sections 201(b) and 101 of the Copyright Act and shall be solely the property of the school district.
It is also understood that educational materials created by an employee during the employee’s leisure hours when the employee is not fulfilling his/her contractual duties to the school district are the property of the employee
But those laws haven’t stopped Steve Perry or the government officials who are supporting his effort to achieve financial success.
With the support of Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, the State Board of Education approved Perry’s plan to open a charter school in Bridgeport next fall. The plan includes the fact that Perry’s private charter school company would start collecting a multi-million dollar “management fee.”
The State Board of Education approved Perry’s plan despite the fact that there is no money in the budget for any more privately run, but publically funded charter schools and the state of Connecticut is facing a massive deficit.
Last Friday, the pro-charter New York Board of Regents also approved a proposal allowing Steve Perry and his Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. to open a charter school in Harlem next fall.
Neither the Connecticut State Board of Education nor the New York Board of Regents took note of the fact that Perry did not have the legal authority to use the materials or concepts outlined in his proposals. According to that plan, Perry will collect a $2.5 million management fee per year, for the first five years.
While the initial issue is why officials are allowing Perry to break the law and steal materials and concepts that belong to the people of Hartford (it is called plagiarism), the second key question relates to how Perry’s ploy to open his charter school management chain would impact his role as head of Capital Prep Magnet School.
When the Connecticut State Board of Education was considering Perry plan to use his private company to open a charter school in Bridgeport, Perry said that he would be able to take on the task of opening and running a new school because he would be leaving Hartford.
However, in his proposal to open a charter school New York City, Perry told the New York Board of Regents that that he already owned the Hartford public school in which he work and revealed that his corporate business plan included making money from Hartford’s public school, as well as the yet to be opened Bridgeport charter school in the years to come.
Perry’s application explained:
“Surpluses are projected in each year beginning in 2015. The annual ending cash balance per year for CPS will be just over $500,000 in management fees collected. Conservative five- year estimates have our year end cash balance at $2 million by year five between Hartford, Bridgeport and our Harlem 6 to 12 school.”
For details about Perry’s New York charter school plan read the Wait, What? article entitled, “Steve Perry’s plan – Turn Hartford’s Capital Prep into a charter, open charters in Bridgeport and New York”
So is Steve Perry leaving Hartford Prep as he told the Connecticut State Board of Education or is he going to own Hartford Prep as he reported to the New York Board of Regents
Well now the truth is finally coming out…
Despite telling Connecticut state officials that he’d be giving up his role at Hartford’s Capital Prep Magnet School, Perry’s plan appears to be that he will take over private control of Hartford’s public Capital Prep Magnet School
In a letter this week to parents, Steve Perry said that he intends to keep full control of Hartford Capital Prep, apparently by convincing the Hartford Board of Education to allow him to turn it into a charter school or allow his private charter school company to run the school.
Perry told parents to join him at a meeting on Monday, November 24, 6pm in the Sheff Center to continue the discussion about the future of Capital Prep. He reported that, “joining us will be Jonathan Shaw and Oliver Barton who will meet with us on behalf of the Superintendent.”
At the same time, Perry wrote the following letter to parents,
From Dr. Perry:
Capital Prep is not going anywhere. We are simply expanding to two other cities. Neither students nor staff need to look for a new school, at all!
I have offered to continue to lead Capital Prep as we expand. We would oversee the daily operations, as we always have, as Capital Prep expands to Bridgeport and Harlem. The cost to Hartford for us, the founders of Capital Prep, to continue to operate our school would be $1.
Yes, for $1 our non profit has proposed to keep our school’s founders together but Hartford’s new superintendent Dr. Beth Narvaez and school board are not supporting our efforts to continue to run the school that we have made into one of the most successful in America. Their expectation is that at the end of this school year we walk away. At which time they will take responsibility for operating Capital Prep, starting with selecting a new principal.
Our parents, faculty and students have overwhelmingly supported our plan for continuity and expansion for years. Other Hartford schools have selected who and how their school will be operated. Yet the new superintendent, Dr. Beth Narvaez, and the board are saying Capital Prep will be treated differently. When we go to expand, they intend to take over our school.
The issue, therefore, is not if there will be a Capital Prep. It is who will run it? Either we, the family who have been doing so for over 10 years or they, the new superintendent and board. The question is not, should you look for a new school? The question is would you rather keep our family of educators together as we grow to include more children or would you rather be operated by Hartford Public Schools?
We are, and always will be, Capital Prep.
With deepest love,
Dr. Steve Perry
As far as Perry’s plan is concerned, the only possible hindrance would be if Connecticut Governor Malloy, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, the Connecticut Board of Education, the Hartford Board of Education, Connecticut’s Attorney General, Connecticut’s State Auditors or Connecticut’s Chief State’s Attorney decided to actually do their job and put an end to Perry’s outrageous game.
Of course, if they do… watch out…
Remember, Perry is the who, when he didn’t get his way last year, Tweeted,
Dr. Steve Perry@DrStevePerry “The only way to lose a fight is to stop fighting. All this did was piss me off. It’s so on. Strap up, there will be head injuries.”
But of course, at the time, officials looked the other way and Perry got away with a Tweet that would have escorted any other school administrator, teacher or student to the door and into the hands of awaiting police officers.