Breaking News – Watch for Malloy to announce cuts to vital services by end of day!

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[Putting aside myself-imposed break from blogging for a moment]….

The primary refrain from Governor Malloy and his political campaign was that there was no state deficit this year nor would there be one next year or the year after.

Malloy stuck to this false claim despite the fact that the Connecticut Office of Fiscal Analysis, the State of Connecticut’s independent fiscal operation had identified areas where the Malloy administration intentionally underestimated this year’s budget in order to make it appear balanced and went on to project that the state of Connecticut would be facing a $1.4 billion projected budget deficit next year and a budget deficit in the range of $5 million over the next three years.

Throughout the campaign, Malloy and his team mocked the Office of Fiscal Analysis’ projections.

Even in the last gubernatorial candidate debate, forty-eight hours before the polls opened, Malloy continued to claim that there was no deficit, there would be no deficit and that, if re-elected, he promised that he would not cut state services, raise taxes or need to engage in talks with the state employee unions about concessions.

To bolster Malloy’s false claims about the state budget, on October 20th, just days before Election Day, Malloy’s budget director even wrote,

“Revenue and expenditure trends remain consistent with the budget plan, and we continue to project a $0.3 million balance from operations.  [Translated to English that mean that the Malloy administration reported that the state was on track to have a $300,000 surplus for this fiscal year]

Considering that Malloy’s budget director knew his statement was a lie, if Connecticut was a corporation with stocks, the Securities and Exchange Commissioner (SEC) would have had the right to take action against the state for intentionally and fraudulently lying to stockholders.

But the harsh legacy of Malloy’s 2014 campaign is that the governor and his political operatives managed to make it through the campaign without having to tell Connecticut’s voters the truth about the state’s fiscal situation.

The truth then – and now – is that lower than expected revenues and additional spending due to Malloy’s decision to intentionally underfund certain programs meant this year’s Connecticut state budget contained a $100 million deficit.

Sadly, the truth was available to voters but in the blur of the final weeks of the campaign, few voters were aware of Malloy’s underhanded tactic to mislead the electorate about the growing budget deficit.

Now, ten days after the campaign is over, the Malloy administration is scrambling to put together a series of budget cuts.

Since these cuts will fly in the face of Malloy’s campaign statements watch for Malloy’s people to announce the cuts late today.

Traditionally politicians like to announce bad news late on Friday afternoons believing that most reporters have closed up their computers for the week, and that even more importantly, the public won’t be paying attention to state news on the weekend.

The true irony is that Malloy’s cuts are likely to disproportionately hit Connecticut’s state employees and programs that Malloy promised to protect.

During his first term in office, Dan Malloy made the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut public colleges and universities.  In an attempt to win back the support of college students and their parents, along with faculty and staff at Connecticut’s colleges, Malloy repeated promised to make higher education a top priority.

But Connecticut’s college students will likely be among those who are most hurt by Malloy’s impending budget cuts, as will other state and unionized employees.

This after the union leaders spent millions urging their members to support Malloy’s re-election bid.

Those interested in knowing the truth about Connecticut’s budget situation should take the time to read the news articles written by CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf.

Nonpartisan analysts tracking $84M in potential cost overruns in state budget (Oct 31)

CT budget again faces red ink as federal grants, gaming revenues shrink (Nov 10)

Malloy to order emergency cuts, restrict hires to counter impending deficit (Nov 13)

Then watch for coverage tonight and over the weekend about Malloy’s budget plan.

1st piece in Truthout – Corporate America Steps Up for Maine’s Right-Wing Gov. Paul LePage

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Honored to have my 1st article published in the national website Truthout:

Corporate America Steps Up for Maine’s Right-Wing Gov. Paul LePage

http://www.truth-out.org/

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27389-corporate-america-steps-up-for-maine-s-right-wing-governor-paul-lepage

Vote today, but even more importantly, take action tomorrow for our very future depends on it…

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For nearly four years I have written and maintained the Wait, What? Blog as a vehicle to challenge the status quo and try, as best I could, to inform, educate and persuade my fellow citizens to question authority and demand better from those who hold positions of power in and outside of government.

In January of 2011, one of my first posts outlined the primary purpose behind Wait, What? – which was and remains – a belief that we must hold our own (in this case Democrats) to the same standards that we would hold our opponents.

Over the course of 1,761 posts, 26,778 comments and more than 1.5 million visits to this blog, I have tried to remain true to that purpose.

Many people have used their comments to add vitally important information to the discussion, others have simply added their support or observations, and some have vehemently criticized and condemned the content of some articles or the value and intent of the blog itself.

A common refrain has been that by criticizing Malloy and Democrats, among others, I have been siding with the enemy and promoting the success of the Republicans and those who are even more out of step with the needs of our citizens and our society.

As a true believer in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I fundamentally respect everyone’s right to articulate their beliefs.  That said, skimming back over the many blog posts, I will stand my ground and say that I have not wavered from my belief that we must hold our own to the same standards we hold our opponents and that the transgressions and errors that I have consistently sought to challenge deserved the attention and light of day that I have tried to provide.

We know that real change is not easy.  By its very design our government is slow and often cumbersome. While there are sometimes benefits to the notion that a steady pace wins the race, the problems facing our state, country and citizens are growing exponentially and our window of opportunity to change course is closing.

As regular readers of this blog know, a common practice has been to seek out and use a quote that helps to clarify and amplify the points I am working to highlight. With that in mind, I turn once again to one of the greatest Americans in history, Martin Luther King, Jr. who said,

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.”

King opened that speech by reminding his audience and the world that, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

I believe that we have reached that time and then some.

There are many battles ahead.

I am not sure to the extent that the Wait, What? blog will be part of the dialogue.  As of today I am putting the blog on “pause” as I tackle some other anti-corporate education reform industry projects and consider various options for restructuring Wait, What?

But I have learned much from this process and assure my readers, both supporters and opponents, that I will continue to do all I can to raise awareness of the problems we face and force the changes we need in order to beat back those who seek to destroy the middle class, create a permanent underclass and continue their efforts to undermine the most basic values that are should be guiding our government and society.

I am but a foot soldier in this larger battle, nothing more. But like all good foot soldiers, I will not be dissuaded for doing all I can to do my part in the effort to create the change we need.

While I recognize that my posts have generated insults, condemnation and even blacklisting from groups and individuals who claim to be the “true” representatives of the people, I honestly believe that I am doing what I can to stand up and speak out about the important issues and challenges we face.

It cannot be compared in any way to what I’ve personally witnessed, for this battle here is minor compared to the truly greater battles that have taken place in our nation’s history, but I can’t help but be reminded by what occurred to Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke out against the Vietnam War in his famous speech at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967.

In an editorial in the Washington Post two days later, the newspaper wrote that by opposing the Vietnam War and speaking out against our nation’s constant use of war, violence and destruction, King “has done a grave injury to those who are his natural allies … and … an even graver injury to himself.”

The Washington Post added “Many who have listened to him with respect will never again accord him the same confidence. He has diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country and to his people. And that is a great tragedy.”

Thus has been the message to those who seek to speak the truth and seek to force a true accounting of the problems we face and the solutions our citizens need and deserve.

It has always been that way and it will undoubtedly continue to be that way, but no matter how small our contribution may be to the greater effort, we must never shy away from standing up and speaking out.

I close this chapter by thanking all of you who have been part of Wait, What? and my associated activities these past few years.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in the months and years to come.

For as I am especially fond of saying to those who criticize our work, upset now?

Just wait for “We have not yet begun to fight!”

Your thoughts, advice, guidance and suggestions are always welcome,

And thank you for all that you have done, all you are doing and all you have yet to do in the future,

Jonathan Pelto
[email protected]
 

A final 2014 campaign shout-out to Connecticut teachers and their supporters

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First and foremost, I want to thank the thousands of teachers, parents and public school advocates who have taken the time to read Wait, What? over the past few years.

Your camaraderie and participation in this endeavor has been a primary reason I stuck with the task of trying to educate, persuade and mobilize people to stand up and speak out on behalf of our public education system.

The last three years have been truly extraordinary as we have watched the corporate education reform industry set its money and political muscle on working to undermine Connecticut’s teachers, parents, students and public schools.

As we know all too well, driven by his devotion to the corporate education industry, in February 2012, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy became the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose eliminating tenure for all public school teachers in Connecticut and repealing collective bargaining for teachers working in the poorest school districts.

No other Democratic governor in the country proposed such an anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education initiative.

With Election Day finally upon us, one of the greatest mysteries of our time is why Malloy has been completely and totally unwilling or unable to apologize for his inappropriate, unfair and outrageous attack on Connecticut’s educators.

Over the last few months, Malloy’s supporters have tried every excuse under the Sun to explain away Malloy’s outrageous behavior…but Malloy himself has refused to step up and publicly admit or correct his statements and actions.

In fact, when Malloy tried to clarify his position this fall he actually managed to make it worse.

Asked about his statement that teachers need only show up for four years and they’ll get tenure, Malloy explained,

“I should admit that was bad language. It wasn’t about them. It was about tenure…”

Wait, What?  the problem is really tenure?

Fair due process for teachers is the problem??

Considering Malloy’s policies, it is fair to say that one of the more bizarre moments of the 2014 campaign was when the New Haven Register reported that, “Randi Weingarten, the national president of the American Federation of Teachers, told an enthusiastic group of union members Tuesday that the only way to stop the reach of the conservative Koch brothers and the new restrictions on labor is to re-elect Dannel P. Malloy as governor of Connecticut, and not vote for her friend Jonathan Pelto.

Strange considering Malloy’s anti-tenure, anti-collective bargaining proposal was right out of the Koch Brother’s anti-teacher, anti-public education playbook.

Not far behind the AFT leadership’s approach was that of the leadership of  the Connecticut Education Association who endorsed Malloy claiming that Malloy was the “First governor in Connecticut’s history to annually fully fund teacher pensions during his term in office and guarantee full funding in the future.”

However, as we know, Malloy had absolutely no role in ensuring that the Connecticut Teacher Retirement Pension Fund is being fully funded.  The credit for that goes to Governor Rell and the members of the 2007 Connecticut General Assembly who guaranteed that the teacher pension fund would be given the proper funds for 25 years starting in 2008.

But the most remarkable development is not that the AFT and CEA would endorse Malloy but that Malloy would make no meaningful effort to pivot back and address the concerns being voiced by Connecticut’s teachers, parents and public school advocates.

As if to prove his unwillingness to listen to Connecticut’s public school proponents, Malloy has told two newspaper editorial boards, in recent weeks, that he intends to “stay the course” on his corporate education reform agenda.

And last week, when asked if there was anything he would have done different over the past four years, if he was given the chance, he said there was nothing he would have done differently.

Nothing he would have done differently?

Nothing he would have changed over the last four years?

Putting aside his decision to skip the perfect opportunity to set the record straight on his attitude toward Connecticut teachers, what kind of person says that – given the chance – there is  absolutely nothing he would have done differently over a period of four years?

I understand that there are plenty of reasons for someone to cast their vote for Malloy or Foley tomorrow, but as a proud graduate of Connecticut’s public schools and now being a public school parent, I will not support any candidate who so callously denigrates and belittles the people who devote their lives to providing our children with the knowledge and skills they will need to deal with our increasingly complex and difficult world.

Malloy’s approach has not only been an embarrassment but it is a sad commentary on how far some of our Democratic officials have strayed from the most fundamental principles and values of our society.

Breaking News: Visconti Drops Out, Endorses Foley

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With Malloy and Foley having now spent in excess of $30 million to destroy each other and mislead voters, the crushing weight of the corrupt, entrenched and out-of-touch political system has claimed another victim.  Earlier today, petitioning candidate Joe Visconti has dropped out of the race of governor and endorsed Tom Foley. If you feel comfortable with the major party candidates, I urge you to vote accordingly on Tuesday, Election Day. However, for those who believe we deserve better or want to send a message to the power elite, I invite you to darken in the bubble that says Write-in Candidate for Governor and then write in the name Pelto or Pelto/Murphy.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone,
you will cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” 
                                                                         — John Quincy Adams

When assessing the last four years and examining the positions taken by Malloy and Foley during this year’s gubernatorial campaign, the truth is that no matter who wins on Tuesday, the burden to do what is right for the people of Connecticut will rest in the hands of a Democratic legislature.  They will either rise to the occasion or they will not. So for those mulling over whom to vote for… If you believe that our elected officials need to stop their unwarranted assault on teachers and the teaching profession, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe the state must derail the Common Core and its unfair, expensive and discriminatory Common Core Standardized Testing Scheme, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe we must push back the corporate education reform industry that seeks to privatize our public schools and replace them with unaccountable charter schools that refuse to educate their fair share of Latinos, students who face language barriers and children who require special education assistance, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our government must stop coddling the rich and reduce the tax burden on the middle class by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our state must put an end to the outrageous use of corporate welfare and stop giving our scarce taxpayer resources to wealthy corporations, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe that those elected to office must settle the critically important CCEJF v. Rell school funding lawsuit and develop a fair and constitutional school funding formula that will end the pressure on local property taxpayers, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe the time has come to demand that those in office must stop using budget gimmicks and adopt a fair, honest and effective state budget that truly reduces the long-term debt that will destroy our children’s opportunities, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you feel that we must rid the political system of tainted campaign money and hold those who have violated the spirit and law of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws accountable for their actions, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our citizens deserve access to an affordable system of public colleges and universities and you oppose what have been the deepest cuts in history to UConn, CSU and our community colleges over the past four years, feel free to write in the name Pelto. Or if you simply feel that enough is enough and that our political leaders have lost their way, feel free to write in the name Pelto for Governor. Because sometimes standing up and being counted is what is most important. And if you intend to write in the name Pelto, please take a moment over the next 48 hours to urge your friends, families, colleagues and neighbors to do the same.

WRITE- IN V1

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Another Big Week for Corporate Welfare in Connecticut

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With Election Day almost upon us, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy used the past week to continue his massive “Corporate Welfare” Program.

On Wednesday, Malloy delivered a $10 million dollar Corporate Welfare Check, on behalf of Connecticut’s taxpayers, to General Dynamic’s Electric Boat division to help the company renovate a building in Groton that had been vacated by Pfizer.

While most Connecticut taxpayers are still struggling under the weight of the Great Recession, General Dynamics is on track to pull in another $32 billion in revenue this year.  Thanks to the nation’s never-ending war effort, the defense giant has generated revenues in excess of $294 billion over the past ten years.  The company is doing well enough that they even paid their new CEO $18.8 million last year.  (For those that are keeping track, that would be nearly double what Connecticut taxpayers handed the company this week.)

On Thursday, the company receiving Malloy’s taxpayer funded largess was Fuel Cell Energy Inc. Fuel Cell Energy only collected $188 million in revenues last year, but that was up from just $70 million in 2010.  Malloy is giving the company $20 million in taxpayer funds so that they can expand their Torrington facility rather than have to rely on private investors.

And on Friday, Malloy was in Danbury, this time with a Corporate Welfare Check for $32.5 million to help Praxair fund their new corporate headquarters.

Praxair’s revenue last year was about $12 billion, enough to pay their CEO a salary and compensation package of 26.5 million, “earning” him the #33 spot on Forbes list of highest paid executives.    Praxair’s CEO has been paid more than $70.1 million over the past five years.

Of note is the fact that while Malloy was giving away taxpayer funds, Connecticut’s Office of Fiscal Analysis announced that the Malloy administration is overspending this year’s state budget allocation by at least $88 million.  It is grim news and reflects the reality that Connecticut will be facing a major budget deficit next year.

But the fiscal problems facing that state didn’t deter Governor Malloy from giving away $62.5 million more in corporate welfare, and that doesn’t even count the tens of millions of dollars in other checks he handed out this week to private corporations.

In return for all this money, Malloy says that Electric Boat and Praxair have promised to create a total of 330 jobs over the next five years, while Fuel Cell Energy has agreed to create 160 new positions and keep those jobs in place for at least 4 years.

Meanwhile, on the campaign finance front, it is undoubtedly a coincidence that all three of these financially successful companies have generously donated to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “federal account.”

The campaign contributions from General Dynamics, Praxair and Fuel Cell Energy are just a tiny fraction of the $4.3 million that Malloy and his political operation have raised from state contractors, people who have benefited directly from Malloy’s corporate welfare program, federal Political Action Committees and other wealthy individuals.

While many believe that state law clearly prohibits these funds from being spent to benefit a state-level campaign, Malloy and his campaign have been using the Democratic Party’s “federal account” to pay for his campaign mailings and other campaign expenses, allowing him to augment the $6.5 million Malloy received in public funds from the Connecticut Public Financing Program.

It all leaves one wondering what the “True Capitalists” would think of this world in which public funds are used to subsidize private activities that help ensure corporate officers and investors can get a better return on their private investments?

Of course, as Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors has observed,

“Waste is the highest virtue one can achieve in advanced capitalist society.”

The “Malloy Factor” in Connecticut’s 2014 race for governor

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In March 2013, 43 percent of Connecticut voters reported that Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy deserved to be re-elected, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Nearly twenty months later, after Malloy, Foley and their supporters have spent about $30 million promoting their candidate and attacking their opponent, the Q-poll reports that 43% of Connecticut votes intend to vote for Dannel Malloy next Tuesday.

Over all of this time, Malloy has never exceeded 43 percent of the vote, despite spending the past year and a half as Connecticut’s Chief Executive Officer and having spent approximately $16 million on his re-election campaign, ($6.5 of which came in the form of a grant in taxpayer funds from the State Elections Enforcement Commission.)

Over the same period, Malloy’s Republican opponent, Tom Foley, has spent almost as much.  (Including his own $6.5 million grant in public funds.)

What will go down as Connecticut’s most expensive and nastiest campaign for governor has had no statistical impact on the level of Malloy’s support among Connecticut voters.

While Tom Foley may get the award for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, the real credit for Malloy’s predicament is Malloy himself.

The most accurate thing may be called the primary issue in Connecticut’s 2014 race for governor the “Malloy Factor.”

In April of this year, I published a Wait, What? blog entitled, “The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.” The article highlighted the issues in which Governor Malloy was failing the vast majority of Connecticut voters.  It focused on Malloy’s record of support for corporate education reform and his anti-teacher agenda, on his decision to make the deepest cuts in state history to our colleges and universities, on the issue of tax fairness, on the massive amount of corporate welfare, on the growing level of government secrecy, on his failure to engage in honest and sound budget practices and on his inappropriate treatment of Connecticut’s front-line state employees.

Five months later, I published a more focused list that was titled, “Why Connecticut Teachers SHOULD NOT VOTE for Governor Malloy.  This Wait, What? commentary piece outlined the most important areas in which Malloy has failed Connecticut’s teachers, parents and public school advocates, including his 2012 proposal to repeal tenure for all public school teachers and collective bargaining rights for teachers working in Connecticut’s poorest schools, his unwillingness to de-couple the teacher evaluation program from the use of unfair and inappropriate standardized testing, his  failure to settle the critically important CCEJF v. Rell school funding lawsuit, his excessive support for unaccountable charter schools and his ongoing commitment to the Common Core and the related Common Core testing scheme.

With Election Day 2014 in sight, Malloy and his political operatives have done a particularly good job of demonizing Tom Foley, although, as noted, the credit for that probably goes as much to Foley as it does to the Malloy campaign.

While it appears increasingly likely that Malloy will win re-election in an environment in which more than 50 percent of voters have a negative opinion of him, it is particularly incredible that he has been completely and totally unable to increase his level of support among voters beyond that 43 percent mark.

And the credit for that rests exclusively with Dan Malloy and his advisers.

Although Malloy has known for his entire term in office that far less than 50% of Connecticut voters have ever felt he deserved re-election, he and his administration have continually failed to successfully address the very issues that are of most concern to the majority of Connecticut voters.

Whether driven by utter arrogance or a total inability to listen to the people, a review of the issues laid out in the two blogs ­– “The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-electionand “Why Connecticut Teachers SHOULD NOT VOTE for Governor Malloy” show that Malloy has steadfastly refused to address a single one of those issues.

Many Democrat and unaffiliated voters remain extremely put off by Malloy’s support of the corporate education reform industry and his anti-teacher agenda, his decision to make the deepest cuts in state history to our public colleges and universities, his tax policies that coddle the rich at the expense of the middle class, his on-going commitment to give scarce public funds to extremely successful corporate entities, his disdain and disregard for Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, as well as for the state’s Freedom of Information and Ethics policies, his failure to engage in honest and sound budget and his inappropriate treatment of Connecticut’s front-line state employees.

Malloy’s problem with what should be his base is so severe that according to this week’s Quinnipiac survey, 1 in 5 Democrats are not even voting for him and only one in three unaffiliated voters say they will be voting for Malloy on Election Day.

As the 2014 campaign comes to an end, the real question is whether the Malloy Factor will be enough to keep Malloy from winning a second term as Connecticut’s governor.

Steve Perry’s plan – Turn Hartford’s Capital Prep into a charter, open charters in Bridgeport and New York

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This is Part 1 of a series about Steve Perry and his ongoing effort to get public officials to help him build a financially lucrative charter school management company with taxpayer funds.

When the Hartford Board of Education rejected Steve Perry’s plan to transfer Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School and a nearby neighborhood elementary school over to his private charter school company last year, Perry took to Twitter saying;

 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.”

If anyone else had Tweeted a similar threat they would have certainly been detained and questioned by the police.  But while Perry’s Tweet was covered by the Washington Post, Connecticut’s state and local officials simply looked the other way.

After all, Steve Perry is the one who describes himself as “America’s most trusted educator.”

But now Perry is maneuvering for a new deal that will prove far more lucrative.

For the record, 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 located on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

In 2012 Perry created a Connecticut company called Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.

For state registration purposes, Perry’s company is located at his residence in Middletown, Connecticut.  However, when it comes to filing his corporation’s federal paperwork and tax forms, Perry has been using the address of the public school in which he works.

Almost three months ago Steve Perry’s PR operation issued a press release announcing, “Dr. Steve Perry, and the founders of what US News & World Reports has called one of America’s top high schools, are coming to Harlem.”

While Perry’s media team made it appear that Capital Prep Harlem Charter School was already a “done deal,” in reality Perry’s plan is one of 15 new charter school proposals that will be considered by the New York Board of Regents at its November 2014 meeting.

Steve Perry’s Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School application reveals a lot about Perry’s empire building plans.

And they start with the City of Hartford handing their Capital Prep public school over to Perry’s charter school management company.

According to the New York State charter school application, Perry’s Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. is “designed to be a fiscally fit ‘boutique’ charter management organization (“CMO”).”

Perry goes on to explain,

“We are focused on distinguishing ourselves as a mid-sized network of schools…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…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.”

Perry adds,

“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.”

As for the scope of management fees that he intends to collect, Perry’s New York charter school application boasts,

“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.”

Besides assuming his company will be able to collect management fees from Hartford’s Board of Education, Perry is also counting on Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy to come through for him.

In a surprise move earlier this year, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and the Connecticut State Board of Education rammed through a plan that would allow Steve Perry to open a new charter school in Bridgeport in the fall of 2015.

Although no state funding has been allocated for the Capital Harbor Charter School in Bridgeport and the state of Connecticut is facing a $1.4 billion budget deficit in next year’s state budget, Perry’s New York application makes it clear that he is expecting Malloy to cough up millions of dollars so he can open his Bridgeport operation and collect his management fees.

Among the many interesting things about the document that Perry has submitted to the New York Board of Regents is the fact that he intends to use the same core “Management Team” for Hartford, Bridgeport and New York.

Since most of the members of Perry’s “Management Team” are presently public employees, his plan raises extremely serious ethical and legal issues.

State and local laws prohibit public employees from engaging in private work that conflicts with their public duties and under no circumstances may public employee use concepts, materials or information developed with public resources to make money during or after their employment with the government.

But despite those legal issues, Perry writes,

“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. In addition, this extensive team collaborated to refine the school design in light of the needs of the Harlem community and to develop this proposal. Through regular in person and telephonic meetings, as well as file sharing and other virtual collaboration tools, Dr. Perry…coordinated the production of the proposal with the team of Capital Prep teachers and consultants. Each member of the proposal preparation team has taken on different responsibilities based on their given expertise. The principle writers of this application are Dr. Perry, Ms. Rachel Goldstein, a consultant to CPS and faculty members from Capital Prep.”

Equally troubling is his statement that,

“CPS will launch operations with a core management team representing a mix of deep education experience, business expertise, and political savvy. This ‘hybrid’ team will be crucial to CPS’ success as a high-growth organization in a rapidly changing industry.”

In addition to himself, Perry’s “Management Team” includes Capital Prep’s present assistant principal, Richard Beganski, who is slated to serve as the charter school management company’s chief academic officer.

According to the application, other “Management Team” members include, Kelly Horan, a Capital Prep science teacher; Scott Kapralos, a Capital Prep math teacher; Kitsia Ferguson, a Capital Prep English teacher who presently serves as the Head of Capital Prep’s Lower School; Monique Ethier, another Capital Prep math teacher; Lauren Davern, a Capital Prep history teacher and Lisa Loomis, another Capital Prep English teacher.

Beyond the obvious management and financial issues, Perry’s New York proposal highlights a variety of other areas of concern that will be covered in upcoming posts.

Check back soon for the next post in this series.

Malloy ploy on Teacher Pension Fund takes center stage

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In this case, the issue isn’t which major party candidate for governor will do more damage to teachers and public education, but whether the candidates and their supporters are accountable for the rhetoric and claims they make during this campaign season.

The backdrop of the story is that in order to persuade Connecticut’s public schools teachers to overlook Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s three year record of demeaning, denigrating and bashing teachers and the teaching profession, Malloy’s supporters have recently sent out a series of campaign pieces claiming that;

Governor Malloy is the “first governor in Connecticut’s history to annually fully fund teacher pensions during his first term in office and guarantee full funding in the future.”

The primary problem with the claim is that Malloy had no legal option but too fully fund teacher pensions and furthermore, he deserves absolutely no credit for guaranteeing full funding of the teacher pension system in the future.

The credit for Malloy having successfully made the necessary payments and fully funding the state of Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund actually goes to the Connecticut Education Association, the members of the 2007 General Assembly and Governor Rell.

And while trying to inappropriately take credit for something he did not do, Malloy and his supporters conveniently overlook the fact that, as governor, Malloy has taken dramatic actions that have actually jeopardized the financial stability of the fund that helps pay for health insurance premiums for retired teachers.

As was reported in the October 15, 2014 Wait, What? blog entitled, “Teachers misled with claim that Malloy deserves credit for “fully funding teacher pension,” Governor Malloy had no option but to fully fund teacher pensions.  In fact, had Tom Foley been elected in November 2010 instead of Dannel Malloy, he too would have been required to make those same payments.

The reason Malloy or Foley would have been required to fully fund the teacher pension system is a result of a 2007 law that authorized the state of Connecticut to borrow $2.3 million and use those funds to address the historic underfunding of the Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund.

The law not only required the state to make any and all necessary payments for the next 25 years, but that requirement was made iron-clad when the language was added to the bond covenants the accompanied the bonds when they were sold to Wall Street investors.

As previously noted the proposal to safeguard the teacher pension fund was pushed by the Connecticut Education Association, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rell.

But seven years later, the Malloy political operation has been attempting to mislead teachers into believing that it was none-other-than Malloy who deserved the credit for something that took place before he even became governor.

Today, in a CTMirror article entitled, Fact check: Who really protected teacher pension funding? the truth about this whole controversy is laid out.

As the CTMirror explains,

Since their controversial endorsement of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, leaders of the largest teachers’ union in Connecticut have portrayed the governor as the defender of what teachers worry about most: the future of their pensions.

But while touting Malloy as the first governor to “fully fund” the long-neglected pension system, the leadership message of the Connecticut Education Association doesn’t mention that Malloy had little choice but to do so. His hands effectively were tied by legal guarantees put in place by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the 2007 legislature.

[…]

Each of the four budgets Malloy signed during his term does include the full pension contribution recommended by teachers’ pension analysts. Connecticut governors and legislatures have a history of contributing significantly less than the full amount.

That changed, though, in 2007, when lawmakers and Rell adopted a proposal from Treasurer Denise L. Nappier to borrow roughly $2 billion and deposit it into the cash-starved pension fund.

Connecticut promised in the bond covenant – its contract with investors who bought those bonds – to budget the full pension contribution required by analysts for the entire 25-year life of the bonds.

The CT Mirror story should be required reading for every Connecticut teacher and for all of those who follow the politics that surround Connecticut’s State Budget.

The entire CTMirror article can be found at:  http://ctmirror.org/fact-check-who-really-protected-teacher-pension-funding/

 COMMON CORE IS A LEMON (Guest Post by Joseph A. Ricciotti)

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Governor “Dan” Malloy says it is too late to turn back on the Common Core and its associated unfair, ineffective and expensive Common Core Testing Scheme.  In fact, he has repeatedly said he will “stay the course” on his corporate education reform Industry agenda.

The following is a guest commentary piece submitted by educator Joseph Ricciotti.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were dealt a major setback when two states, New York and Massachusetts, decided to slow down its implementation. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has distanced himself from Common Core citing that it is “problematic” as well as “very controversial” in New York State. Hence, Gov .Cuomo now wants to ask the New York State legislature to “slow down the Common Core’s implementation” and not have any tests aligned with the new standards administered for  five years.

Likewise, Massachusetts also decided to slow down the implementation of Common Core for two years while it investigates how well the tests aligned with Common Core, referred to as PARCC, compare with the state’s existing Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam.

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, unlike Connecticut’s Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, believes “that fully adopting the new testing deadline by the 2014-2015 school year is “too precipitous” for his state’s schools.” Massachusetts and New York will now join 15 other states that have decided to reconsider their involvement with the Common Core while Connecticut’s Governor Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor plan to stay the course and do not plan to make any changes in the implementation of Common Core.

Undoubtedly, the uprising against Common Core (often referred to as “the Core) in the country has not gone unnoticed by President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Moreover, they also realize they are losing the public opinion battle as new strategies are being developed by the Obama administration and their Common Core allies to counteract resistance to the new standards. One of the staunchest proponents of Common Core is Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think-tank, who has also received Gates Foundation funding for the support of Common Core. Petrilli is of the belief that if the Core proponents want to win the battle, they have to “get Americans angry about the current state of public education.”  In regard to the Core’s implementation, Petrilli is also responsible for the statement “ the chaos in the classroom will be great” so it appears that logic has not distinguished either Arne Duncan or Mike Petrilli.

In other words, as the corporate education reformers who have unsuccessfully attempted to do with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTT) by falsely highlighting so-called “failing” public schools, now want more of the same medicine with Common Core. In essence, they are trying to convince parents of public school children in the nation that their schools are failing. Needless to say, the “failing schools” strategy is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the general public in the history of American public education. It has failed to change the general public’s opinion in the past with NCLB and RTTT as parents and the general public continue to hold their public schools in high esteem. Petrilli believes that if parents can be made angry and convinced that public education and public schools are “failing”, it will then pave the way for acceptance and a smooth implementation of Common Core.

One of the leading opponents of Common Core in the nation is Dr. Carol C. Burris, an awards winning high school principal on Long Island who received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has researched and written extensively on the Core but perhaps her most famous and memorable quote is “ the Common Core is a lemon and no amount of professional development will make it right.” We have also heard from Barbara Madeloni, newly elected president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) , a warrior against the corporatization of public education and a fierce critic of Common Core, cite that what is needed in public education today is a new vision “that must replace the dehumanizing data-driven madness that is choking the life from our schools.” One would have to think in light of these developments that the tide is turning for Common Core.

You can read more of Carol Burris’ assessment at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/06/how-to-start-cleaning-up-the-common-core/.

 

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