Regent President Gray’s “gag-order” on out-going provost must not be allowed to stand

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In a world in which we probably shouldn’t find anything surprising, the fact that the Separation Agreement  between the Board of Regents and out-going provost Michael Gargano includes a “gag order” is truly revolting.

Regent President Gray and the Board of Regents are presently in the midst of an extremely controversial effort to “Transform” Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges.  The Regents paid a leading out-of-state corporate education reform industry consulting group $1.8 million to put together a “road-map” that has been harshly criticized and, if implemented, would do tremendous damage to the future of Connecticut’s 17 state universities and colleges.

In recent weeks Regent President Gray has been engaged in an attempt to claim that the Transform CSCU 2020 Plan is a product of an open and thoughtful process, when nothing could be further from the truth.

The entire process to develop Transform CSCU 2020 was hardly open, and most telling of all, the Executive Committee overseeing the development of the plan doesn’t even include representatives from the faculty, staff, students and alumni of Connecticut’s public state universities and colleges.

Not only does the Transform CSCU 2020 Plan deserve a full and complete public airing, but considering how important the institutions are to Connecticut and its citizens; the plan deserves a legislative hearing by the General Assembly’s higher education committee.

But as if to reiterate the fundamental problem with President Gray and Governor Malloy’s appointees to the Board of Regents, it turns out that the Separation Agreement with the Board of Regent’s outgoing provost Michael Gargano includes a clause forbidding Gargano from making “any derogatory or defamatory statements about his employment with the BOR [Board of Regents], about any previous or current employee or officer of the BOR, or about any previous or current member of the BOR.”

As if that wasn’t incredible enough, the Separation Agreement includes a clause seeking to keep the document secret from the public.

Regent President Gray is a public employee and the Board of Regents is a public agency.

Their effort to block public access to information that belongs in the public domain is reprehensible.

To forbid the out-going provost from talking about why he left his position, about his experience as the provost, or his opinion of the Transform CSCU 2020 plan is not only unethical, but it flies in the face of Connecticut’s once historic position on open government.

Gray and the Board of Regents appear to be trying to use the cover of a personnel file exclusion to circumvent Connecticut’s Freedom of Information laws, or worse, these public officials are intentionally trying to block information that rightly belongs in the public arena.

Governor Malloy should demand that the Board of Regents immediately remove the gag order.

If Malloy won’t take that action, the Connecticut General Assembly should step in and ensure that the public’s right to public information is not infringed upon by the outrageous actions of Regent President Gray and the Board of Regents.

The CT Mirror has posted a copy of the separation agreement.

Perry’s stunning record of absenteeism continues

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As 2013 came to an end, Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry had missed about 30 of 127 school days, which was about 24 percent of all school days since the 2013-2014 Capital Prep school year had begun.

As of the beginning of October 2014, Perry had already been way from Capital Prep for an incredible 55 days, of which about 30 or so were school days.

In fact, since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, Perry’s absentee rate is nearly 25 percent.

This disregard for his duties as a full-time employee of the Hartford Public Schools comes at a time when federal, state and local officials are cracking down on absenteeism.

The Connecticut State Department of Education’s own report says, “Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing ten percent or greater of the total number of school days for ANY REASON.  It includes both excused and unexcused absences.” 

According to state law, “Parents who do not assume responsibility for their child’s attendance as required by law, may be referred to the State Prosecutor for prosecution.”

The State Department of Education’s level of concern is about chronic and excessive absenteeism is so great, that just last month the State Board of Education announced their intention to “rank order” all Connecticut public schools based each school’s  level of student absenteeism and that poor absentee rates could lead to state takeover of local schools.

Absenteeism rates among teachers have also been receiving attention lately.  A June 2014 report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) claimed that, “When teachers are absent 10 days, the decrease in student achievement is equivalent to the difference between having a brand new teacher and one with two or three years more experience…Worse yet, a number of studies have found there to be a disproportionately high rate of teacher absenteeism in schools serving low income and minority students, providing yet another obstacle to closing the achievement gap.”

But considering the vital role that administrators have in public schools, policymakers should be even more concerned when top administrators, like Capital Prep’s Steve Perry are missing in action for dozens of school days.

In the past, Perry has defended his excessive absenteeism by claiming that he was simply using banked “vacation time,” but the Hartford Board of Education and the contract between the Board of Education and administrator’s union limits the use of banked vacation time.

For example, the Hartford’s administrator’s contract notes that principles shall not take vacation time for the five days prior to the return of teachers to school, and yet, this year, Perry skipped out on two of the five days leading up to the beginning of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School year and even took a vacation day during one of the two “Professional Learning Days” at the beginning of the school year when administrators are supposed to be getting teachers ready for the arrival of students.

State and local policies also say that key administrators should be in their buildings and on duty when students are engaged in the major standardized testing periods, but Perry was away multiple days last spring when students were suffering through the unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test.

An equally troubling question is how Perry is even getting permission to take so many vacation days.

While principals in Hartford Public Schools can bank their vacation and sick days, the Hartford Board of Education Policy requires principals to receive permission from an assistant superintendent of schools before they can take any day off.

Of course, the backdrop to this entire issue is the actions that Perry and his top administrators and teachers are taking when it comes to their efforts to start up a charter management company.  According to the charter school proposals Perry and his operation submitted in Connecticut and New York, he and eight of his senior administrators and teachers have been working for the past two years to turn Perry’s private company into a charter school management chain.

As has been noted in earlier Wait, What? blogs, their actions raise serious legal and ethical issues since the concepts, ideas and materials that they have been using to promote their charter school company actually belong to the City of Hartford.

Official complaints have now been filed with the Hartford Ethics Commission, the Connecticut State Auditors and appropriate entities in New York where Perry is trying to open a charter school in Harlem.

With the extent of Perry’s chronic absenteeism comes the question of whether, in addition to violating copyright laws, Perry or any members of his team have inappropriately been collecting full-time salaries and benefits, all of which are paid for by Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers.

The State Budget Gimmick to End all Budget Gimmicks

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Governor Malloy has been borrowing money – called “bond premiums”  – to balance Connecticut’s state budget.

But what the heck are bond premiums?

On Black Friday, the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf wrote an article entitled “Is Malloy poised to put much of the budget deficit on CT’s credit card?”  The news story highlighted the fact that Governor Dannel Malloy has repeatedly used “bond premiums” to mask Connecticut’s debt and he appears to be poised to do so again.

As Phaneuf writes,

Malloy relied heavily on bond premiums during his first three years in office, using more than $160 million to close budget deficits or to bolster the emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.”

And the article adds,

“According to records from the treasurer’s office, the state had taken $41 million in bond premiums through the first four months of the fiscal year.

The treasurer’s office said the state took another $37.7 million premium this week on $300 million in new bonds. That means more than $78 million has been added to the budget’s debt service line item since the fiscal year began.”

But explaining what “bond premiums” are is no easy feat.

So please stick with me here – what follows is an amateur’s effort to try to explain the maneuver in a way that makes some sense to those of us who are not accountants:

Imagine that Jack, Jill and Danny are three friends, fresh out of college and all making good incomes. [Maybe they got some of those lucrative UTC jobs thanks to Malloy’s corporate welfare program].

Jack, Jill and Danny each make $150,000 a year, each is carrying $50,000 in student loan debt (with an interest rate of 8%), each has immaculate credit, and each wants to borrow $500,000 so that they can buy matching side by side homes, thereby allowing them to car pool to work.

Together they go to the bank which is aptly named “The First and only Bank That Lends” and each one fills out the paperwork to borrow $500,000.

The bank, after reviewing their applications, immediately announces that it would be happy to lend them each $500,000 at 4% to be paid back over 25 years.

But the bank adds —- if they’d like, the bank will give them a $550,000 loan at 4.25% for 25 years thereby allowing each to have a $50,000 “premium” to spend on whatever they want.

Now Jack likes to keep things simple when it comes to financial matters and while the thought of taking the extra $50,000 is intriguing, he decides to keep his financial situation as clear as possible.  Jack takes the $500,000 home loan at 4%, and decides to keep paying off his $50,000 student loan debt at the 8% rate.

At the end of 25 years Jack will have paid off his $500,000 home loan at 4% and his $50,000 student loan debt at 8%. 

Jack will have paid a total of $907,527 in principal and interest.

Jill is more nimble when it comes to these financial things so she takes the $50,000 premium and pays off her student loans immediately, leaving her with a $550,000 home loan at 4.25%

At the end of 25 years Jill will have paid off her full $550,000 home loan at 4.25% (having used $50,000 to pay off her 8% student loan debt.)

Jill will have paid a total of $893,868 in principal and interest.

But Danny, who is aspires to a future in politics, loves to live for the moment.  Danny decides to take the $550,000 loan at 4.25% but instead of using the extra money it to pay off his student loan he uses the “premium” to buy some things he has wanted to buy but couldn’t afford with his $150,000 income.  Danny is therefore left with a $550,000 home loan at 4.25% and $50,000 in student debt at 8%

At the end of 25 years, Danny will have paid off the $550,000 loan at 4.25% and the $50,000 student loan debt at 8%

Danny will have paid a total of $1,009,640 in principal and interest.

In return for getting that $50,000 “premium” to cover his expanded expenses, Danny’s strategy means he will have paid $115,772 more than Jill and $102,113 more than Jack at the end of 25 years.

So now let’s return to the real world of Connecticut in 2014.

And lo and behold Governor Dannel Malloy’s fiscal strategy is exactly the same as Danny’s!

However, in the real world situation, the extra principal and interest is being paid for by the taxpayers of Connecticut.

So when you read Governor Malloy took $160 million in “Bond Premiums” to cover up the debt over the last three years and has taken another $78 million in “Bond Premiums” so far this year, we can remember that taxpayers are now on the hook for $238 million in additional principal which will mean far higher total costs in principal and interest payments then we would have otherwise incurred.

And perhaps even more importantly, DON’T FORGET that Connecticut taxpayers are now paying a higher interest rate on the underlying debt that Malloy borrowed so that he could get that “bond premium.” [Recall that Danny took the $550,000 home mortgage at $4.25% instead of 4% so he could get that extra $50,000 “premium” cash.]

Not sure that makes the bond premium issues any clearer, but here is a table that attempts to summarize the whole thing in a single chart…

 

25 YEAR LOANS JACK JILL DANNY
New House $500,000 4% 791,755
Student Loan $50,000 8% 115,772
$907,527
 

Bank Offers – $550,000 including a Bond Premium of $50,000

4.25%     $893,868 $893,868
 

Jill uses her $50,000 to pay off student debt but Danny uses the $50,000 for expenses so still has his $50,000 in student loans at 8% interest rate

$115,722
 

TOTAL over 25 years in principal and interest

     

$907,527

 

$893,868

 

$1,009,640

 

Danny Pays $102,113 more than Jack

           

Danny pays $115,772 more than Jill

 

All to get the $50,000 “PREMIUM”

         

$50,000

 

“Rhode Island’s anti-abortion chief wins fight in Connecticut”

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Wait? – – – Did Connecticut officials “forget” to send out the press release about their decision to offer “no-abortion” health insurance policies?

In a story that seems to have gotten very little coverage in Connecticut, a state resident who is also the executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life is claiming a major victory after, “Connecticut officials agreed to offer health plans through that state’s health exchange that exclude payments for elective abortions.”

The Providence Journal is reporting that Barth Bracy of Killingly, Connecticut will be able to buy health insurance through Connecticut’s health exchange program [Access Health CT] that does not include any form of abortion coverage.

In May 2014, in an article entitled, “Couple sues over abortion coverage in Access Health CT plans,” the CT Mirror reported,

Thanks to subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, Barth and Abbie Bracy of Dayville can buy a comprehensive health insurance policy through Access Health CT for only $2.63 a month. But they are suing the exchange, and federal officials, over what they say are moral principles.

Barth Bracy is executive director of Rhode Island State Right to Life and a deacon at his Catholic church. He and his wife strongly oppose abortion.

With the help of a conservative, pro-life group, the couple is suing Access Health CT, outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and other federal officials because they say Connecticut’s health exchange does not offer any policies that exclude abortion coverage.

Their lawsuit alleges they are forced to pay an “abortion surcharge” included in the premiums of all policies sold on the exchange. There are more than 20 individual policies offered on Access Health CT by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, ConnectiCare and HealthyCT.

Although there has been no media coverage since the lawsuit was filed, it appears that with little to no public notice, Connecticut officials have agreed to meet the abortion-foe’s demand and Bracy has now withdrawn his lawsuit.

Crowing about his victory in the Providence Journal, Bracy said, “I found it interesting that, like a child caught with a hand in the cookie jar, the government never contested our complaint.”

Bracy added, “We do expect further lawsuits in view of the positive outcome…[I’m] optimistic that it won’t be long before we file in Rhode Island.”

The only coverage of Connecticut’s decision to provide “no-abortion” health insurance plans appear to be in Catholic and anti-choice websites.

Lifesite News posted, “A pro-life Connecticut couple who sued federal and state officials over the state’s failure to offer health insurance options that don’t force subscribers to subsidize abortions has withdrawn their lawsuit after officials agreed to offer a conscience-friendly health plan that does not include abortion coverage.”

The website WND reports, “Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Obamacare, it’s been to the U.S. Supreme Court twice and is headed for a third visit, possibly even a fourth, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent promoting and facilitating the health-care takeover.

But one family, the Bracy family from Connecticut, took it on, and won.

The family voluntarily dropped a lawsuit after state officials removed a requirement that all health-plan participants in the state pay an abortion surcharge.”

And the National Catholic Register headline reads, “Pro-Lifer Wins Battle Against Health Exchange, but Fight Continues.”

Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is that although the Access Health CT website includes numerous press releases, there appears to be no mention of this major anti-choice development.

Recent press releases available on the Access Health CT website include;

11.25 Press Release [PDF]: Access Health CT encourages Mobile App for Enrollment.
11.21 Press Release [PDF]: Access Health CT Operational and Enrollment Update.
11.17 Press Release [PDF]: Access Health CT Launches First Online Avatar.
11.14 Press Release [PDF]: Access Health CT Kicks Off 2015 Open Enrollment.
11.11 Press Release [PDF]: Access Health CT announces new analytics vendor contract.

According to their website,

Access Health CT is Connecticut’s official health insurance marketplace, established to satisfy the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act. Our mission is to increase the number of Connecticut residents who are insured, lower their costs, promote health, and eliminate health disparities. Access Health CT will operate at no cost to the state or its taxpayers.

A 14-member Board of Directors, chaired by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, oversees Access Health CT. Four advisory committees, which include a wide variety of stakeholders, provide the board with different perspectives on initiatives and operations.

It may (or may not) be noteworthy that the decision to appease the anti-abortion forces came after the recent election was over and the media and public was not informed about the state’s decision to provide “no abortion” health insurance plans.

The Providence Journal story is available here: Rhode Island’s anti-abortion chief wins fight in Connecticut and the original CT Mirror article here: Couple sues over abortion coverage in Access Health CT plans

ALERT – The on-going effort to destroy CSU and the Community Colleges

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The CT Mirror had an excellent article last Friday entitled, CSCU leader says balking faculty will eventually praise transformation plan.” It highlights some of the issues surrounding the uproar about Governor Malloy’s “Transform CSCU 2020” plan.

It would appear that the basic problem with the Transform CSCU 2020 “initiative” can best summed up by the naïve comment of Regent President Gregory Gray who told the CT Mirror,

“All of this [plan] is very supportable…I think the faculty, when they really learn more about it, and participate before it becomes a final plan, I do believe they are going to praise it.”

Like a true champion of corporate education reform, Gray appears committed to the notion that a “post-modern,” corporate oriented approach to public higher education is a “simple” solution to providing Connecticut’s residents with the higher educational opportunities they need and deserve in today’s complex world.

Like so much of the corporate education reform movement, the rhetoric sounds great, but the product produced is the antithesis of what is best for students, faculty and the society at large.

It is a sad commentary, although not surprising, that when you turn public primary, secondary and higher education over to the corporate elite and their well-paid consultants, you end up with a “business plan” that appears financially attractive but lacks the sophistication necessary to produce an education system that recognizes that all students can learn and thrive, but not all students learn and thrive at the same time or in the same way.

Most importantly, these corporate driven plans tend to think of educators as if they are the greeters at Wal-Mart, the re-stockers at Target or the checkout workers at the Dollar store.

While all of those positions are vital to the success of an advanced capitalist retail establishment, the model is not transferable to the “education sector,” although the corporate reformers are either unable or unwilling to recognize that truth.

The CT Mirror piece lays out the key issues underlying the failure of the Transform CSCU 2020 plan including;

  • “An unpopular merger of the bachelor-degree granting Connecticut State Universities with the state’s online and community colleges created a 90,000-student system and left many faculty uneasy.
  • A cut in the portion of funding provided by the state legislature challenged the 16-campus system that was already facing significant shortfalls.
  • A trio of serious missteps by the new system’s first president led to his dismissal and further damaged faculty confidence in the organization’s leadership.”

But in the end, the botched development and roll-out of Transform CSCU 2020 rests with the President of the Board of Regents, the Board of Regents and their $1.8 million consultants.

The plan to transform Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges was driven by a consulting company called Boston Consulting Group (BCG).  As CT Mirror notes, the plan is a “long list of ‘road maps’ for implementation; and used language that to faculty was strange, bureaucratic and off-putting, referring to such things as collecting ‘payroll and staffing data’ to ‘identify key opportunities’ with the goal of ‘program optimization.’”

Observers shouldn’t be surprised by the junk delivered by the Boston Consulting Group. While $1.8 million might sound excessive, the Regent President and the Board of Regents got exactly what they paid wanted and paid for…or at least they got exactly what they should have expected.

The Boston Consulting Group is a massive, multi-national consulting company whose fame comes, in part, from helping companies transform themselves into international competitors by outsourcing every possible function and laying off Americans in the process.

The Boston Consulting Group is also infamous for its unending commitment to the corporate education reform industry agenda of privatizing schools, undermining teachers and the teaching profession and recommending that progress can only be achieved by crushing unions and rolling back collective bargaining rights.

Topping their list of “successes” is their present plan to privatize much of Philadelphia‘s public school system.  Their proposal, for which they were paid millions of dollars, has been to lay off teachers, dramatically expand the number of privately run, but publicly funded charter schools, out-source services and replace people with technology.

As the CT Mirror story notes in its story, Regent President Gray now says that he was surprised by the backlash against the plan that he and the Board of Regents developed in conjunction with the Boston Consulting Group.

If Regent President Gray was really surprised, then that – as we say – says it all!

As reported in early Wait, What? blog posts, the problems with the Transform CSCU 2020 are not new.

Transform CSCU 2020 started with the wrong approach to developing a comprehensive plan, utilized the wrong consultants and was backed by a Board of Regents who don’t have the understanding or experience with Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges to even know what a successful plan would look like.

The wrong approach to developing the plan:

When announcing their decision to hire the Boston Consulting Group to develop the plan to transform the state university and community college system in April 2014, Regent President Gray said he was confident that the private company with 81 offices in 45 countries had the credentials to do the job.

At the same time, an “Executive Steering Committee” was named to oversee the process, a group whose membership failed to include any faculty, staff, students or alumni members.

Instead, the Transform CSCU 2020 Executive Steering Committee consisted of Board of Regents Chairman Nicholas Donofrio; Board of Regents President Dr. Gregory Gray; The Boston Consulting Group lead Partner on the project, J. Puckett; Catherine Smith, Malloy’s Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; and John Rathgeber, President of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

While having business interests at the table is certainly appropriate when developing a comprehensive plan for Connecticut’s state universities and colleges, a successful system of public higher education requires more than just a business orientation.

In fact, the notion that something as large, complex and important as the Connecticut state universities and community colleges can be “transformed” from the top down, led by an all business sector Executive Steering Committee that lacks faculty, staff, student or alumni is, in and of itself, a sign that Malloy’s appointees lacked the vision, wisdom and understanding to do the job right.

Transform CSCU 2020:  The Wrong High- Cost Consultants:

Regent President Gray and the Board of Regents’ decision to hire the Boston Consulting Group was also wrong from the start.  The Boston Consulting Group record makes it absolutely clear that it does not understand and respect the culture and environment surrounding education.

The Boston Consulting Group’s plan for the Philadelphia Public Schools provides clear and convincing proof of that problem.  In Philadelphia, the Boston Consulting Group’s recommendation including a plan to “essentially wipe out collective bargaining,” including removing tenure for public school teachers and allowing administrators to hire and fire at will.  The BCG report also recommended “outsourcing maintenance and transportation services,” including getting rid of those who belonged to SEIU Local 32BJ District 1201 unless they gave up their collective bargaining rights.  At its core, the Boston Consulting Group plan for Philadelphia was about replacing public education with publicly funded charter schools.

You can read more about BCG’s dismal approach in Philadelphia via the following links;

Report detailing Boston Consulting Group findings and recommendations released; BCG ‘collective bargaining reform’ and what it would mean for teachers; More About the Boston Consulting Group: Read It and Weep; Ethics complaint accuses Boston Consulting Group, William Penn Foundation of violating lobbying code; Put the Boston Consulting Group where it belongs – before the public; Boston Consulting Group has been a driving force on labor talks, school closings, and charters

And as if that was  not proof enough of the inappropriateness of choosing the Boston Consulting Group, the Board of Regents should have simply read the articles written by the Boston Consulting Group’s lead consultant for the Transform CSCU 2020 plan, J. Puckett. Puckett is the Boston Consulting Group’s “senior partner and managing director” in their Dallas office and is the leader of their “global Education practice.”

Puckett’s articles, including “An Education in Making a Difference,” “The State of Public Education in New Orleans, 2008 Report and “Can Technology Revolutionize Education?.”  They paint the picture of a true champion of the corporate education reform industry.

When writing about the future of public education, Puckett writes, “There are several successful U.S. role models, such as New Orleans and Dallas,” adding, “The turnaround in New Orleans has been especially sharp.”

But of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

As we are painfully aware of here in Connecticut, the work of Paul Vallas and the other corporate education reform industry elite has been disastrous from Chicago to Philadelphia to New Orleans to Bridgeport.

Equally revealing is when the Boston Consulting Groups’ J. Puckett opines about the benefit of technology in the classroom saying, “Several providers, such as K12 and Connections Academy, offer a full range of products, including digital curricula, lesson plans, instructional tools, and teacher training. School systems can take advantage of these resources at greatly reduced costs, rather than go it alone.”

He adds, “Rocketship Education, a charter school network near San Francisco, with national expansion plans, is reinventing how learning takes place in the classroom, asking its students to spend 25 percent of each day in a “learning lab,” where they work on customized, computer-delivered material. During this time, the students are supervised by monitors, rather than teachers, saving significantly on costs.”

The real evidence about K12 Inc. and Rocketship Charter Schools is hardly positive, but anyone familiar with the needs of students would recognize the inherent problem with the notion that, “students are supervised by monitors, rather than teachers, saving significantly on costs.”

Finally, in a 2014 email Puckett makes it clear just what the Boston Consulting Group is doing.

Writing about a new partnership between Boston Consulting Group, the pro-education reform Gates Foundation and Harvard Business School, Puckett writes,

“The BCG-Gates-HBS PK-12 research focuses on best practices for partnerships between business leaders and educators to accelerate improvement in America’s schools. The research has identified three high-leverage ways in which business leaders can engage with educators to bring about significant change for the better:

* Laying the policy foundations for education innovation
* Scaling up proven innovations that boost student outcomes
* Reinventing the local education ecosystem in cities and regions

“It is our pleasure to share with you two joint research reports on these important topics. We hope the first report, Lasting Impact: A Business Leader’s Playbook for Supporting America’s Schools, will inspire business and education leaders to work together on the urgent task of transforming the nation’s education system. The second report, Partial Credit: How America’s School Superintendents See Business as a Partner, summarizes the findings of a nationwide study on U.S. competitiveness and business’ role in education.

Considering the long and proud history of the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges, the Boston Consulting Group should never have been hired for the job of developing Transform CSCU 2020.

A Board of Regents that lacks the necessary or appropriate experience:

Finally, as if the inappropriate top-down approach and selection of Boston Consulting Group wasn’t enough to undermine the legitimacy of the “Transform CSCU 2020” effort, there is the fact that Governor Malloy’s appointees to the Connecticut Board of Regents lack the necessary experience to properly oversee policies that impact the 92,000 students who attend the 17 diverse public universities and colleges that make up the Board of Regents CSCU system.

Many of these political appointees can claim successful careers as corporate executives or business people, but they lack of real-world experience and the experience with these institutions to lead the mission of creating a long-term plan for Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges.

Malloy’s Board of Regent Trustees includes:

Regent Chairman Nicholas M. Donofrio, a former high ranking IBM executive who graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Syracuse University.  He continues to sit on the Board of Trustees for those two institutions.

Regent Vice- Chair Yvette Meléndez, the Vice President of Government and Community Alliances for Hartford Hospital. As her Regent biography proudly claims, “Her experience also includes roles at the State Department of Education, where she led Connecticut’s entry into the charter school movement.”    Her degrees come from Brooklyn College and  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Lawrence DeNardis, the President Emeritus of the University of New Haven and a former United States Congressman.  His academic experience included time as an Associate Professor at Albertus Magnus College.  His degrees come from College of the Holy Cross and New York University.

Matt Fleury, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Science Center, having previously served as the Center’s Executive Vice President and COO.  His degree comes from the University of Connecticut School of Business.

David R. Jimenez, a shareholder of the law firm of Jackson Lewis. His Regent bio reports that he provides counsel to employers on a variety of strategic matters including HR compliance, outsourcing/in-sourcing HR initiatives, code of conduct development and organizational compliance, and management of employment law exposures.  His degrees are from University of Texas and Hofstra University School of Law,

Craig Lappen, the President of 21st Century Financial Advisors with degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut.

Bill McGurk, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Rockville Bank.  He is a graduate of Holy Cross College.

JoAnn H. Price, the co-founder and managing partner of Fairview Capital Partners, Inc. She is a graduate of Howard University.

Elease E. Wright, a former executive at Aetna Inc.  She graduated from the University of Connecticut and served on the Board of Directors for the UConn Foundation.

There are hree other Trustees who do have significantly more CSU or Community College experience, including former Speaker of the House and Lobbyist Richard J. Balducci, former Chair of the House Education Committee Naomi K. Cohen and former President of Charter Oak State College, Merle Harris, but like all good political appointee they have to be extremely cognizant of the wishes of the Malloy administration and their operatives.  The Board of Regents also includes two student representatives.

As the debate about Transform CSCU 2020 continues, the fact is that it could have been a powerful vision to create an even more vibrant state universities and community colleges, but that opportunity has been wasted with the work done to date.

You can read the CT Mirror story here: CSCU leader says balking faculty will eventually praise transformation plan

More on the controversial Transform CSCU 2020 can also be found in the Wait, What? blog entitled, “The stench coming from the Board of Regents.”

With deep and profound gratitude I say thank you…

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“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

To my friends and family, to those who have taken the time to read my blog and participate in the discussion of the important issues of our time, to those who signed my petition for governor and supported me with their time and money, to those who provided a kind word or a smile…I am truly grateful.

The list is a long one; I hold it in my heart and read it daily.

All of you, as individuals and collectively have kindled my belief that we can create the flame that is needed to light the way forward.

I thank you and wish you a happy, safe and healthy thanksgiving.

May good things be yours today and every day!

Happy thanksgiving 2014

Jonathan Pelto

And then they came for the Press…

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We live in dangerous times.

With a government that that spies on its own citizens through the NSA and the “Patriot” Act, to a never-ending “War on Terrorism” that is being fought without proper legislative authority and is being charged to the nation’s credit card, to the systemic discrimination based on race and class that is undermining the very essence of our society.

Now comes the extremely disturbing story of an effort by a Connecticut judge to engage in what is called “prior restraint,” which is otherwise known as the government action of prohibiting a reporter and news organization from writing a story.

Yesterday’s Journal Inquirer included a story by reporter Mike Savino who wrote about a Connecticut Superior Court judge ordering Connecticut Law Tribune not to run a story about a pending child custody hearing in New Britain, Connecticut.

The concept of “prior restraint” is one of the most dangerous acts that a government can engage in and it violates the most important elements of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

James Smith, the president of the Connecticut Council of Freedom of Information and one of the state’s leading advocate for open government told the JI, “I can’t remember anything like this happening.”

As the JI explains,

The Law Tribune was preparing to run a story about a child custody case in which a man is seeking a writ of habeas corpus to remove his children from the care of the Department of Children and Families…But the children’s mother filed a motion in New Britain Superior Court to prevent the Law Tribune from publishing the story, and a judge granted the motion.

[…]

Smith said that he understands the woman’s concerns about her children’s privacy, but said the case still “has news value” because it provides readers insight into the juvenile court system, which is generally sealed from public view.

While the United States Constitution inherently protects personal privacy and there are mechanism to keep private issues private, preventing the news media from covering a news story is a slippery slope and a dangerous move in an open and democratic society.

You can read more about this story at: Judge orders newspaper not to publish story.

Malloy administration dumps the State’s best/toughest labor negotiator

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In a stunning move that surprised people across the political spectrum, Governor Malloy’s administration has laid off the individual who is widely acknowledged as the best and toughest labor negotiator the State of Connecticut has ever had.

Linda Yelmini has worked as a classified state employee since 1987, serving as a key labor negotiator and personnel manager for Connecticut’s Democrat and Republican governors, as well as for Independent Governor Lowell Weicker.

Those of us who have been involved in projects on the same side and opposing sides of Yelmini can attest to her extraordinary understanding of the law and her dedication to the state and its taxpayers.

Over the years, her reputation as a tough negotiator and manager has led many to observe that one definitely doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of an issue that she is working on and there are certainly active, retired and fired state employees who’d even call her ruthless.

That said, there are others who would argue that while she is tough, she has constantly strived to ensure that work rules have been applied consistently…which may just be the problem the Malloy administration has with her.  I’m sure they found it harder to make some political hires when the state’s chief labor negotiator tells them such a move would violate state labor laws and contracts.

While the Malloy administration’s decision to remove Yelmini and throw away her decades of experience is extremely odd, the way they went about it and their effort to spin their story is even stranger.

When interviewed about the news, Yelmini told reporters that the announcement to remove her from her career position had come as a “shock” and that she was told that her position would be replaced by a “political appointee.”

At the same time, in what could only be called laughable, Malloy told reporters that he had nothing to do with the decision, claiming that his budget director, Ben Barnes, was solely responsible for the action.”

CT Newsjunkie quoted Malloy as saying, “Ben’s going to continue in the position as secretary and he’s designing what he wants I guess.”

The notion that the governor’s budget director would lay off the state’s chief negotiator and replace that person with a “political appointee” without the approval of the governor is beyond absurd.

Unless, of course, Malloy is telling the truth in which case it is an extremely sad commentary about Malloy’s lack of managerial focus and his lack of commitment to his role as Connecticut’s Chief Executive Officer.

The CT Newsjunkie story went on to report that, “Malloy said he leaves these types of personnel decisions up to his department heads…’Within these departments, I give a lot of leeway to the people who are hired to do the job,’ Malloy said.”

So let’s get this straight…

Malloy is saying that despite that fact that the state is facing a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit next year, in which the Governor, himself, has consistently said he won’t raise taxes, won’t cut aid to towns, won’t cut vital services and won’t need to sit down with state employee unions to talk about concessions, he allowed an underling to fire the state’s chief labor negotiator and replace her with a political appointee…and he wasn’t even involved in the decision?

Yeah, and I got a bridge to sell if anyone wants to buy it.

You can read more about this strange development at:  Malloy Administration Personnel Changes Are Under Way.

Jon Lender has more details at the Courant in a piece entitled State Labor Relations Chief Facing Layoff

Perry’s New York City charter school application generates requests for investigations

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To:

New York Board of Regents
General Counsel, Board of Regents
Office of Audit Services, Board of Regents
 
New York Attorney General Eric Scneiderman
New York Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapol
 
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio 
NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James

 

Re:  Request for investigation into the New York Board of Regent’s recent approval of Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School

Earlier this month, the New York Board of Regents moved to approve a charter school application from Steve Perry, a principal of a public school in Connecticut who has formed a charter school management company in the hopes of opening up charter schools in the greater New York City region.

Although the Board of Regents’ Education Committee approved the charter school application submitted by Mr. Perry, he does not own the concepts, materials and intellectual property contained in that application.  Instead they belong to the Hartford, Connecticut Board of Education.

At their November meeting, the P-12 Education Committee of the New York Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of Commissioner John B. King, Jr and the staff of the New York State Department of Education, voted to approve the application for the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School.

In the memo to the P-12 Committee, Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. wrote, “The Commissioner and Department staff recommend that the Board of Regents consider, approve and issue initial charters and provisional charters for the following four new charter schools.”  The list included Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School.

The memo added, “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”  and recommended, “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.”  See: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/November2014/1114p12a3.pdf.

However, either the Commissioner, staff and Regent’s Committee were unaware that Mr. Perry and his fellow charter school applicants do not own the concepts, materials or intellectual property that they claim or the Commissioner, staff and Committee was aware of this issue and are intentionally engaging in what appear to be Mr, Perry’s criminal violation of copyrighted material owned by the Hartford, Connecticut Board of Education.

For background, the application to open the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School was submitted by Steve Perry and his private company, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.

Steve Perry is a full-time employee of the Hartford Board of Education and serves as the principal of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School, a public school owned and operated by the Hartford Board of Education and located on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut.  The public school is funded by federal, state and local funds.

In 2012, Mr. Perry created a Connecticut company which he named “Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.”

When forming the corporation, Mr. Perry filed with the Connecticut Secretary of the State that his company was located at his residence in Middletown, Connecticut.  However, for purposes of the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Perry, until recently, has been using the address of the public school in which he works.

The charter school application submitted to the New York Board of Regents by Mr. Perry and his associates can be found here: Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School Application

Throughout the application, and in the hearings, meetings and communications associated with his attempt to get garner approval from the New York Board of Regents for his Harlem charter school application, Mr. Perry consistently claimed that he and his company own the concepts, materials and intellectual property associated with the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford and have the legal right to “replicate” that school in New York using materials created for the Connecticut public school.

However, neither Steve Perry nor his private company has any legal right to those concepts, materials or intellectual property.

Since Steve Perry and his associates are full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education, the copyright laws are extremely clear.  Concepts, materials and intellectual property created by employees of a school district are the sole property of the school district.

Even the Hartford Board of Education’s own policies specifically address the issue by stating,

‘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.”

Mr. Perry and his company are seeking to use copyrighted materials for personal gain, which of course, is an extremely serious and potentially criminal offense.  According to federal law, “A commercially motivated infringer can receive up to a five-year federal prison term and $250,000 in fines.  (17 U.S.C. § 506(a)), 18 U.S.C. § 2319)

Mr. Perry’s application to open a charter school in Harlem contains numerous claims that he is basing his work plan on concepts, materials and intellectual property that he does not own or have the right to utilize.

For example, Perry and his team write;

“The founders of Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School (“Capital Prep Harlem”) seek the opportunity to replicate our successful flagship school, the Capital Preparatory Magnet School – Hartford, CT (“Capital Prep”), in New York City’s Community School District 5”  (Page 2 of the pdf submitted to the New York Board of Regents.)

“CPS will support Capital Prep Harlem through its oversight of the principal, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, and its overall monitoring of fidelity to the Capital Prep model.  CPS will also utilize its two other schools in Bridgeport and Hartford to provide professional development and to share resources. The three schools will act as a ‘boutique’ network in which faculty, staff, parents and students participate in academic and social exchanges. (Page 4 of pdf)

“Capital Prep’s curriculum is being replicated in the form of the Capital Prep Harlem charter. It is a unique curriculum that has been created by the founders of Capital Prep in Hartford and will be implemented, monitored and measured by CPS. (Page 21 of pdf)

Capital Prep Harlem’s program and curriculum designs are based on the internationally recognized, research-based model developed by the founders of Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (CPS) and implemented over the past ten years at Capital Prep in Hartford, Connecticut…

‘Over the past two years, members of Capital Prep Harlem’s founding group have formally collaborated on this proposal through regular meetings and ongoing interim communications.  CPS enlisted its founders, current teachers at Capital Prep in Hartford, and strategic consultants to codify the mission, vision and key design elements of the Capital Prep model and operationalize the educational philosophy of the school in order to facilitate replication and training.’ (Page 42 of the pdf)

Attachment 6a: CMO Information – “CPS is designed to be a fiscally fit “boutique” charter management organization (“CMO”) ….Geographic clustering will allow us to stay small yet generate the revenue necessary to effectively maintain a CMO. Hartford, Bridgeport and Harlem are the three cities in which we have decided to manage schools. It is our hope that we will manage two schools in Harlem. The first is to be Capital Prep Harlem, 6-12. The second would be a kindergarten to 5th grade school in or near the first in CSD 5. Managing four schools in three cities that are within a two–hour drive of each other allows us to support the schools without having to hire completely new staff for each school.

Our anticipated enrollment across all four CPS network schools is approximately 2,500 students between 2015 and 2020. Capital Prep Hartford has 700 students. The Capital Preparatory Harbor School in Bridgeport Connecticut will have 765 students at full enrollment. Capital Prep Harlem will have 600 students in the next five years, and we hope to open a companion kindergarten to fifth grade school in Harlem that will serve another 600 students. (Page 180 of pdf)

Ten founding group members from Capital Prep came together to launch CPS as the school management organization to lead replication of the Capital Prep model. Each founding member brought a unique background and set of skills to the process. (Page 180 of pdf)

Founding members of the charter management company are then listed. Nine of ten are full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education.  The management team of the charter management company is also listed, with two of three serving as full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education (Page 183 of pdf)

FINANCIAL PLAN – 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.

We are focused on running a right-sized CMO. Operating within a small geographic region affords us the opportunity to create efficiencies that will ensure that CPS staff can effectively support all three schools and the students therein.” (Page 188 of pdf)

In addition to the significant copyright infringement issues, it would appear that Mr. Perry and his associates have also tried to mislead the New York Board of Regents into believing that Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (Perry’s CMO) owns and operate other schools including Capital Prep in Hartford Connecticut.

Note above, the wording from the application,

“CPS is designed to be a fiscally fit “boutique” charter management organization (“CMO”) ….Geographic clustering will allow us to stay small yet generate the revenue necessary to effectively maintain a CMO. Hartford, Bridgeport and Harlem are the three cities in which we have decided to manage schools.”

“Our anticipated enrollment across all four CPS network schools is approximately 2,500 students between 2015 and 2020. Capital Prep Hartford has 700 students.”

“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.”

But the truth is that Mr. Perry does not own Hartford’s Capital Prep Magnet nor does his private company have ownership interest or management control of the Hartford, Connecticut public school,

His suggestion that Capital Prep is part of CPS (“Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.”) or that it is part of his “boutique” charter management organization (“CMO”) is nothing short of an outright lie.

Furthermore, while Mr. Perry’s private company has received approval from the Connecticut State Board of Education to open a charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut this coming fall, there is no money in the state budget allocated for that school and Connecticut is facing a projected $1.4 billion deficit, making it unlikely the any funding will be available for his proposed charter school.

Despite Mr. Perry’s claim, his charter management company does not manage any schools.

The application submitted to the New York Board of Regents by Steve Perry and his private company, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc., raises extremely serious legal and ethical issues.

The fact that the Regents’ P-12 Education Committee approved the application means the Commissioner, his staff and Committee members were either unaware of these issues or chose to overlook them.

In either case, a full and complete investigation into Mr. Perry and the Board of Regent’s action is needed, followed by any appropriate legal action to ensure that federal, state and local laws are upheld.

Please accept this document as a request for a full and complete investigation by your office.

Jonathan Pelto
Storrs, Connecticut
[email protected]
860-428-2823

Complaint headed to Hartford Ethics Commission against Steve Perry et. al.

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According to their mandate, the Hartford Ethics Commission was created to, “Foster the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fairness, and avoidance of improprieties by public servants, through enforcement of the City’s Code of Ethics.”

That mission will be put to the test with an official complaint that I’ll be filing with the Hartford Ethics Commission against Steve Perry and eight other Capital Prep Magnet School employees who have violated the policies of the Hartford Board of Education and have used their employment with the Hartford Board of Education and have engaged in what appears to be the crime of criminal copyright infringement.

As has been repeatedly reported here on Wait, What? the Hartford Board of Education’s policies clearly lay out the restrictions on employees who use materials or intellectual property owned by the City of Hartford for personal gain.

As part of those rules, the Hartford Board of Education policy reads;

“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.”

Despite those restrictions, Capital Prep Magnet School Principal Steve Perry and eight other employees of Capital Prep Magnet School have engaged in an extensive series of activities aimed at selling concepts, materials and intellectual property that was developed as part of their duties as employees of a Hartford public school.

Steve Perry is a full-time employee of the Hartford Board of Education and serves as the principal of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School, a public school owned and operated by the Hartford Board of Education and located on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut.  The public school is funded by federal, state and local funds.

But in 2012, Mr. Perry created a Connecticut company which he named “Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.”

When forming the corporation, Mr. Perry’s Connecticut Secretary of the State filing reported that his company was located at his residence in Middletown, Connecticut.  However, for purposes of the Internal Revenue Service, up until recently, Mr. Perry has been using the address of the public school in which he works.

Steve Perry and Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. have now submitted two applications to create privately run, but publicly funded charter schools, one in Bridgeport, Connecticut and one in Harlem, New York.

Although there is no funding in the Connecticut State Budget for an additional charter school in Bridgeport and the State of Connecticut is facing a $1.4 billion budget deficit next year, in April 2014, Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education approved the application submitted by Perry and his company.

Even the press release issued by the State Department of Education at the time the application was approved highlighted the underlying issues and violations associated with Steve Perry’s on-going attempt to create a lucrative charter school management company using information that belongs to the City of Hartford.

The press release, dated April 2, 2014 read,

(HARTFORD, CT)— The Connecticut State Board of Education approved four new charter schools today, one in Stamford, two in Bridgeport, and one in New Haven.

[…]

“A second charter school in Bridgeport, Capital Prep Harbor School, is designed as a replica of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford.

However, as Commissioner Pryor and the State Department of Education knew, or should have known, neither Mr. Perry nor his company nor his associates have the legal right to “replicate” Capital Preparatory Magnet School.

A charter school application submitted to the New York Board of Regents, last summer, by Mr. Perry and his associates to open a charter school in Harlem, New York reveal the copyright violations in even greater details.  (See: Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School Application.)

Throughout the application, and in the hearings, meetings and communications associated with his attempt to get approval for a Harlem charter school, Mr. Perry consistently claimed that he and his company were in the legal position to open a school similar to and affiliated with Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School.  The application went so far as to report the Mr. Perry and his private company would “continue” to have an ownership interested in Hartford’s public school.

But as full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education, the copyright laws are extremely clear.  Concepts, materials and intellectual property created by employees of a school district are the sole property of the school district, not the employees who may have helped develop them.

Using copyrighted materials for personal gain is an extremely serious offense.  According to federal law, “A commercially motivated infringer can receive up to a five-year federal prison term and $250,000 in fines (17 U.S.C. § 506(a)), 18 U.S.C. § 2319).”

The following are just a few of the examples in Steve Perry’s Harlem, New York application where he and his associates claim to have the legal right to use concepts, materials and intellectual property that is actually owned by the City of Hartford.

“The founders of Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School (“Capital Prep Harlem”) seek the opportunity to replicate our successful flagship school, the Capital Preparatory Magnet School – Hartford, CT (“Capital Prep”), in New York City’s Community School District 5”  (Page 2 of the pdf submitted to the New York Board of Regents.)

“CPS will support Capital Prep Harlem through its oversight of the principal, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, and its overall monitoring of fidelity to the Capital Prep model.  CPS will also utilize its two other schools in Bridgeport and Hartford to provide professional development and to share resources. The three schools will act as a ‘boutique’ network in which faculty, staff, parents and students participate in academic and social exchanges. (Page 4 of pdf)

“Capital Prep’s curriculum is being replicated in the form of the Capital Prep Harlem charter. It is a unique curriculum that has been created by the founders of Capital Prep in Hartford and will be implemented, monitored and measured by CPS. (Page 21 of pdf)

“Capital Prep Harlem’s program and curriculum designs are based on the internationally recognized, research-based model developed by the founders of Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (CPS) and implemented over the past ten years at Capital Prep in Hartford, Connecticut…

‘Over the past two years, members of Capital Prep Harlem’s founding group have formally collaborated on this proposal through regular meetings and ongoing interim communications.  CPS enlisted its founders, current teachers at Capital Prep in Hartford, and strategic consultants to codify the mission, vision and key design elements of the Capital Prep model and operationalize the educational philosophy of the school in order to facilitate replication and training.’ (Page 42 of the pdf)

Attachment 6a: CMO Information – “CPS is designed to be a fiscally fit “boutique” charter management organization (“CMO”) ….Geographic clustering will allow us to stay small yet generate the revenue necessary to effectively maintain a CMO. Hartford, Bridgeport and Harlem are the three cities in which we have decided to manage schools. It is our hope that we will manage two schools in Harlem. The first is to be Capital Prep Harlem, 6-12. The second would be a kindergarten to 5th grade school in or near the first in CSD 5. Managing four schools in three cities that are within a two–hour drive of each other allows us to support the schools without having to hire completely new staff for each school.

Our anticipated enrollment across all four CPS network schools is approximately 2,500 students between 2015 and 2020. Capital Prep Hartford has 700 students. The Capital Preparatory Harbor School in Bridgeport Connecticut will have 765 students at full enrollment. Capital Prep Harlem will have 600 students in the next five years, and we hope to open a companion kindergarten to fifth grade school in Harlem that will serve another 600 students. (Page 180 of pdf)

Ten founding group members from Capital Prep came together to launch CPS as the school management organization to lead replication of the Capital Prep model. Each founding member brought a unique background and set of skills to the process. (Page 180 of pdf)

It is important to note that the application then lists the founding members of Steve Perry’s charter management company and nine of the ten are full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education. The application also includes Perry’s corporate “management team” and two of the three individuals are full-time employees of the Hartford Board of Education. (Page 183 of pdf)

Perry’s Harlem application also includes the following:

“FINANCIAL PLAN – 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.

We are focused on running a right-sized CMO. Operating within a small geographic region affords us the opportunity to create efficiencies that will ensure that CPS staff can effectively support all three schools and the students therein.” (Page 188 of pdf)

The section reflects Perry’s belief that he owns and will continue to own Capital Prep and that he intends to put aside $500,000 a year in excess revenue from Capital Prep.

The application makes it clear that Steve Perry and his private company, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc., along with those the other eight full-time Capital Prep employees, appear to violated fundamental elements of federal, state and local laws.

The time has come for appropriate agencies, including the Hartford Ethics Commission. to conduct substantive investigations and take the necessary legal actions to safeguard public resources.

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