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.