Open letter to the Hartford Board of Education and Hartford Superintendent of Schools regarding Steve Perry

To the members of the Hartford Board of Education and Hartford Superintendent of Schools

Re:  The Hartford BOE’s review and action related to Steve Perry ‘s apparent criminal infringement of the Hartford Board of Education’s copyrights. 

As I believe you know, at its meeting on November 17-18, 2014, the New York Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of the New York Commissioner of Education and his staff, approved granting Steve Perry and his private charter school management corporation an initial charter to open the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School in New York City.

The resolution read that, “In New York City, Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, proposed as a replication of an effective magnet school in Connecticut, will partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem to provide middle- and high-school students with a rigorous, year-round college preparatory curriculum..”

The Board of Regents voted,

“That the Regents find that the proposed charter school: (1) meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations; (2) will operate in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; (3) is likely to improve student learning and achievement and materially further the purposes set out in subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty of Article 56 of the Education Law; and (4) will have a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend the charter school, and the Board of Regents therefore approves and issues a charter and provisional charter to the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School for a term of five years in accordance with §2851(2)(p) of the Education Law.

You can find Mr. Perry’s application at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/November2014/1114p12a3.pdf

However, I submit that federal and state law is extremely clear on this matter and that all concepts, materials, curriculum, policies, procedures and any and all documents associated with the Capital Preparatory Magnet School do not belong to Mr. Perry or his private company, but actually belong to the Hartford Board of Education, and therefore, by definition, to the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut.

It is undeniable that the Hartford’s Board of Education’s policies make it clear that all work done by employees, in the course of their official duties, belongs to the Board.

Mr. Perry lacks the legal authority to “replicate” Capital Preparatory Magnet Schools and, as his application to the New York Board of Regents repeatedly states, the concepts, materials, curriculum, policies and procedures that he has proposed using come directly and exclusively from his work as a full-time employee of the Hartford Board of Education.

Furthermore, his application makes clear that his charter school management company, which includes himself and at least eight other full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education, will benefit financially from using the materials that actually belong to the Hartford Board of Education.  Perry’s newly approved charter grants him the ability to collect a 10 percent annual management fee that will mean millions of dollars being transferred to his company.

The use of copyrighted materials for personal or private gain is a criminal offense under federal law.

While appropriate complaints have been filed with the Hartford Ethics Commission, the Connecticut State Auditors and appropriate officials and agencies in New York State and New York City, the primary fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets of the Hartford Board of Education rests with the Superintendent and the Hartford Board.

I am writing to inquire what process you are using to investigate this matter and whether the issue will be raised and discussed at the Hartford Board of Education meeting on December 16, 2014.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this letter of inquiry.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Pelto

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Rules….Laws…….Ethics…….We are Danny’s Grifters and we don’t need no stinkin’ oversght. Please make sure the hot tub goes in close to Dr. Perry’s Office in case he ever visits and bill the taxpayers.

  • Michael Fryar

    Precedent is being established. And while they may think now “Hey – who cares?” When someone they don’t like or favor attempts the same thing, the resulting law suit will be much easier for the work you have done to expose what happened here.

    • msavage

      Great point.

  • Did I mention that I stopped believing?

  • cynic

    Let’s be honest. The Federal Government will not file criminal charges against Mr. Perry because they don’t do a particularly adequate job of policing copyright infringement by various commercial entities. The most frequent enforcement comes through civil action by private parties. If I were the Hartford Board of Education, I’d file for injunction against Mr. Perry in State Court to prevent such actions.
    But beyond the issue of copyright infringement, Perry and up to eight members of his management team who are paid by taxpayers, are engaged in what could be considered theft of services, every time they pick up a phone during the business day, and spend their time working on this New York project rather then doing their #$%^ jobs in Connecticut.
    Thanks Jonathan, this is unbelievable. No wonder Perry is absent so often from his job.

  • Michael Fryar

    I would encourage Hartford teachers and administrators to read this article:

    http://www.inc.com/john-mcdermott/teacher-makes-1-million-selling-lesson-plans-online.html

    and then watch carefully what Mr. Perry gets away with. You may be sitting on a goldmine that the City of Hartford is paying for you to develop!

  • Jim Spellman

    In one of the greatest comments under one of Jon’s blogs,” Wayne ”
    stated perfectly the danger of giving up on seeking what is right, just, and fair ( ” Don’t stop believing” ). More than ever, Jon Pelto must be supported and we others must speak out in our own voices.

  • Guest

    The Superintendent sent out a letter via email today wishing Mr. Perry well in his new venture and that a new principal will be selected….

    Good riddance Stevie…..

    • jonpelto

      If anyone has a copy, can you send it to me?

      Apologies for the typos…