And from Bridgeport – Even more serious questions about the Moales daycare center

Question:     Did the Malloy administration inappropriately aid and abet Moales’ in his successful effort to get a third daycare facility license on his property?

Question:   Did Mayor Finch and his top staff help Moales get around zoning and code requirements for his new daycare facility?

Question:  Although Moales was caught inappropriately billing taxpayers for more than $75,000., did Moales still collect more than what he was legally allowed to collect?

And the most important QUESTION of all… Are children in a daycare center and church run school that does not have a permanent certificate of occupancy and did not meet the legal requirements to be licensed?

These questions all arise from files of new evidence that has surfaced.

The documents raise the specter of potentially legal and financial wrongdoing by Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. and his family as it relates to their newly acquired, state financed daycare center.  The new center joins two others that are owned and operated by Moales’ family and rent space from Moales.

The fact is that every month, the taxpayers of Connecticut shell out tens of thousands of dollars in payments to a series of daycare centers own by the Moales family, all of which are housed on church property that is owned and operated by Kenneth Moales.

Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. is a key political ally of Mayor Bill Finch and Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy.

Moales served on Malloy’s illegal Bridgeport Public School Oversight Board and then won a seat on the re-constituted board thanks to Mayor Bill Finch.  As a Bridgeport Board of Education member, and eventually as its chairman, Moales who was one of Paul Vallas’ biggest supporter and helped move the public school privatization effort that was designed by Vallas and Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education.

The newly acquired documents call out for an independent investigation into whether Moales or others violated civil and criminal laws.

For those unacquainted with the Moales daycare center saga, in August 2013 Moales’ mother and sister received approval for their third daycare facility license.  All three daycare centers rent space from Moales’ church and taken together, the three facilities are costing taxpayers upward of $1 million a year.

As previously reported here at Wait, What?, the newest daycare center is steeped in controversy and the additional documents indicate that the new daycare center, and the church run K-8 day school which is housed at the same location, never acquired the proper zooming approvals and are functioning in a building that was never granted a permanent certificate of occupancy, a requirement that must be met in order for these facilities to be open.

But despite the apparent lack of appropriate zoning and occupancy permits, Governor Malloy’s Department of Public Health, with input from the Department of Education, granted the Moales’ family their third daycare facility license last summer…knowing that it did not have the necessary zoning and occupancy permits.

As further background, the August 15, 2013 state daycare license was granted ten months AFTER the Moales family was supposed to have opened the new facility as part of a no-bid multi-million dollar contract that they received in connection with Governor Malloy’s 2012 early childhood initiative.

In the fall of 2012, Moales’ mother and sister were given 60 of the 72 new early childhood slots that Governor Malloy gave to Bridgeport through his 2012 Early Childhood Initiative.

This lucrative contract was given out despite the fact that Kenneth Moales Jr. served as a member of the Bridgeport Board of Education at this time and the Bridgeport Board of Education serves as the fiduciary agent for this state program.

However that ethical problem is minor compared to the bigger issues related to the inadequate zoning approval and lack of occupancy certification.

The new documents clearly make the case that the Bridgeport Fire Inspectors Office has been raising significant concerns about the building that houses Moales’ newest daycare facility (and the school) for years.

It was November 17, 2009 when the Fire Marshall”s office first realized that the building was in use without a Ccertificate of occupancy.

More concerns were raised in September 2011 when the inspectors discovered that the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit had moved their school to the location in August 2011.

Yet despite identifying fire code issues, Moales’ church school remained open.

A year later, on July 2, 2012, Bridgeport’s Fire Marshall issued an official letter to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit noting code violations and demanding that corrective action be taken within thirty days.

The Fire Marshall’s report further noted that “Certificate of Occupancy Not Completed” and the letter states that while there were two classrooms in the original architectural drawings, drawings, “I saw seven classrooms therefore 5 are illegal change of use.”

The documents further indicate that while Moales’ family submitted their daycare facility application in February 2013 to the State Department of Public Health, which is obligated to license and monitor daycare centers determined that the application was inadequate and needed, among other things, proof of proper zoning and a permanent certificate of occupancy.

In an odd twist, on February 28, 2013, days after the Moales application for a new daycare license was submitted, Kenya Moales Byrd (Kenneth Moales’ sister) filed an application with the City of Bridgeport for a Certificate of Zoning Compliance to “add two classrooms,” to the church to facilitate the new day care.  While that zoning application was approved, the proper documents were never submitted to the Building Permit’s Office and therefore the classrooms were never inspected and never received a Certificate of Occupancy.

In addition, the building itself still didn’t have the permits needed to run a daycare center or a school and did not have a permanent certificate of occupancy.

At about the same time, Moales’ Kingdom’s Little One’ Daycare Center started invoicing for the additional slots they that they had been granted in the fall of 2012.

But in July of that year, the State Department of Education discovered that the daycare center appeared to be double billing and an audit was conducted which led to the determination that the Moales family had inappropriately billed the state by at least $75,000.  The State Board of Education ordered the Bridgeport Board of Education to repay the funds and take the necessary steps to recoup the ill-gotten money from the Moales daycare facilities.

Although Kenneth Moales Jr. had become Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education by this time, the Board was never notified of the audit or its findings.

The complete lack of any Certificate of Occupancy also came to light in the summer of 2013 after the Connecticut Post featured an article about the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit’s failure to obtain even a temporary Certificate of Occupancy, as required by state law.

As news broke about the lack of any Certificate of Occupancy for the church and its activities, local officials moved with lightning speed to help Moales get a temporary Certificate of Occupancy.

The newly acquired documents trace a series of emails that track back to the highest levels of Bridgeport City Government.

At one point, the City’s Zoning Enforcement Officer emailed the City’s top building official stating, “I see no reason not to approve of a temp. C/O.”

But interestingly, these same city officials never indicate that Moales lacked the most basic zoning approvals for a daycare center or the school.

In yet another incredible series of emails, Mayor Bill Finch’s top staff appears to be trying to intimidate the city’s professional staff into moving quickly to grant Moales’ the approvals he needs. The email trail includes Adam Wood (Finch’s Chief of Staff), Adam Nunn (Chief Administrative Officer) and David Kooris (Bridgeport’s Director of Economic Development).

But what makes the intrigue behind the whole issue even more noteworthy is that although the Connecticut Department of Public Health had made it clear, in writing, that Moales would need proper zoning approval and a permanent Certificate of Occupancy before a daycare facility license could be granted, the license was, nevertheless, given to Moales without those documents on August 13, 2013.

Although it is clear that something was moving the process along, the documentation fails to clarify who in the Malloy administration had intervened on Moales’ behalf or how the agency decided to give a license for a facility that failed to have the proper zoning approvals and failed to acquire a permanent Certificate of Occupancy.

By that point, state official knew that Moales had “inappropriately” billed the state $75,000 and had consistently failed to acquire the proper zoning permits and certificates of occupancy…and yet the additional license was granted and Moales further ramped up the amount he was billing taxpayers…all while the safety and well-being of the children at the daycare center and in the K-8 school housed at 729 Union Avenue in Bridgeport remained in question.

While a full-fledged independent investigation is needed into the whole situation, Sauda Baraka and the new majority on the Bridgeport Board of Education are taking their own action to determine whether Kenneth Moales Jr. is violating Bridgeport ethics rules by serving on the Board of Education while he is connected to entities that are making money from funds controlled by the Board.

For that story see the CT Post’s Board wants legal opinion on Moales

It also remains to be seen whether the State Department of Public Health will take enforcement action to close the new daycare center until it meets all of its legal requirements and if the State Department of Education will pursue a full refund from the Bridgeport Board of Education for all the payments that were inappropriately made to the Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy.

What hangs in the balance is the question of whether the Malloy administration will continue to provide cover to Kenneth Moales Jr. and his daycare operations or whether it will reverse course and ensure that state laws are equitably enforced and taxpayer funds properly monitored.

Meanwhile in Bridgeport…  More state funds to Moales’ Kingdom Little Ones in Christ Inc.

Late last week, two new articles about Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr, were posted here on Wait, What?

Moales is the controversial Bridgeport political figure who serves as Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s cheerleader and was the titular head of the Paul Vallas “fan club.”  Moales was appointed by the Malloy administration to the state oversight board that illegally took over the Bridgeport school system and he was later elected, under the Finch banner, to the re-installed and democratically elected Bridgeport Board of Education.  For a particularly critical period, Moales also served as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, but lost that post when the pro-public education, anti-Finch, forces took control of the Board last November.

Kenneth Moales Jr. is the also the head of PRAYER TABERNACLE CHURCH OF LOVE, INC.

The company that provided Moales and his church with an $8 million loan has been working to foreclose on the church and about a dozen related properties since last summer.  The foreclosure proceedings seek to take possession of The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit – Home of the War Cry, The Love Christian Academy, The Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy and the Bishop Moales Fine Arts Center, the Kingdom’s Little Ones Christian Daycare, The House of Virtue, and a church owned residence where Moales resides.

During this same time period, a second major controversy has been enveloping Kenneth Moales Jr. and his financial affairs.

As noted previously, Moales rents space to his mother and sister who run state-funded daycare centers under the name of Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc.

From 2008-2012, this daycare company collected more than $2.3 million in taxpayer to pay for the services it provides to Bridgeport’s children.

In the fall of 2012, Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc. “won” a lucrative contract for 60 of the 72 new early childcare slots that Bridgeport received under Governor Malloy’s early childhood initiative.

Although the new contract required that providers have the new day care slots available by November 2012, official state documents show that Moales’ family operation has never been able to fill its initial allocation and that they weren’t even licensed for new slots until August 2013 —- ten months after the required date.

Even more stunning was the news that the daycare centers run by the Moales family were inappropriately billing the state and that an audit conducted by the State Department of Education determined that the Moales company needed to return more than $75,000 in state funds.

You can read the articles about this developing story here:  State agency determines Malloy ally Rev. Kenneth Moales overcharged state by at least $75,000 for day care slots and here: And the scandal surrounding Moales, Finch, Vallas, Pryor and Malloy grows.

While the recent focus on financial irregularities associated with Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr., his family, and kingdom Little Ones in Christ Inc. are related to reimbursement rates for the day care centers run by Moales’ mother and sister, it now appears that the Connecticut Department of Social Services also provided Kingdom Little Ones in Christ Inc. with some grant funds in January 2012 and that the Department of Education gave Kingdom Little Ones in Christ Inc. grant funds in March 2012.

Freedom of Information requests are being delivered to determine what these other contracts were for.

In addition, requests have been submitted to determine whether the Malloy administration has given Moales, his family or their companies any other state funds since Malloy took office in January 2011.

You can also read about this issue on the Bridgeport Blog, “Only in Bridgeport.”  The blog can be reached here: http://onlyinbridgeport.com/

And the scandal surrounding Moales, Finch, Vallas, Pryor and Malloy grows.

After reviewing the facts, it is clearly time for a truly independent investigation into the Moales daycare center operation…

Here are the facts;

We know that Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. is Governor Malloy’s loudest supporter in Bridgeport.

We know that Reverent Kenneth Moales Jr. is Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer.

We know that Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. played a pivotal role in the illegal state takeover of the Bridgeport School System.

We know that as a member of both the illegal and democratically elected Bridgeport Board of Education, Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. was one of Paul Vallas’ most influential backers and a leading advocate for the expansion of charter schools in Bridgeport.

And we know that Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. was instrumental in working with Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, and Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry to orchestrate the State Board of Education’s inappropriate approval for a new charter school in Bridgeport that will be owned by Steve Perry’s private company.  According to Perry’s charter school proposal, Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. will sit on the Board of Directors for the new charter school.

But after those key facts, things get very murky.

Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. is facing an extremely serious foreclosure suit that seeks to take his church and all the church’s property including Moales’ house, cars and belongs.

Moales’ church also rents space to a series of daycare centers that, according to the Internal Revenue Service, is called Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc.

From 2008-2012, the company collected over $2.3 million in taxpayer funds and that was before the company received an influx of cash from the Malloy administration’s expanded early childhood program and before the company was caught over billing by at least $75,000.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s records, Kingdom’s Little Ones in Christ, Inc. is actually registered as PRAYER TABERNACLE KINGDOM’S LITTLE ONES IN CHRIST, INC.

The records recorded with the Secretary of the State indicate the company is owed by Bishop Kenneth Moales Sr. (now deceased) and Peggy Moales (his wife). The company was created in 1999, but has not filed any of its annual reports since 2004.

On the other hand, the Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has given daycare center licenses to Kingdom’s Little Ones (1243 Stratford Avenue, Bridgeport) and Kingdom’s Little One Academy (1277 Stratford Avenue, Bridgeport). Both properties are owned by Kenneth Moales’ church.

One of the centers is run by Kenneth Moales Jr’s mother, Peggy Moales while the other is run by his sister, Kenya-Moales-Byrd.

As part of Governor Malloy’s early childhood initiative, the Moales family “won” a contract to provide 60 of the 72 new early childhood slots in Bridgeport.  The contract appears to have gone to the Kingdom’s Little One Academy but the problem is the daycare centers were not licensed to handle the influx of children.

Although the contract provided that centers must be up and running by November 2012, the Moales family did not get a license for a daycare center to serve those slots until August 15, 2013 – at least ten months after the required date.

The New License, which carries the number 70117, was issued on 8/15/2013.  However, the building, located at 729 Union Avenue in Bridgeport (another property owned by Moales’ church) may still not have a permanent certificate of occupancy, a criteria that must be met before a provider can open a daycare center.

According to emails and memos acquired from a variety of state entities, professional staff at the Connecticut State Department of education were well aware of the problems associated with the Moales’ daycare centers and were diligently trying to get the unused slots moved to a daycare enter that could provide Bridgeport’s children and parents with the daycare services they were entitled to.

Following information provided by the professional staff at the State Department of Education, the Bridgeport School Readiness Council voted on February 19, 2013 to move unused spaces from the Moales daycare center to a center called Cheyenne’s Daycare.

On February 26, the state determined that the Moales’ center could keep 42 slots and 18 others would go to Cheyenne’s Daycare.

But by summertime it became increasingly clear that something was seriously wrong with the Moales daycare operation and that they had never acquired the license needed to utilize those additional 42 slots.

An email to Kenneth Moales’ sister on August 1, 2013 from the State Department of Education reads,

“There are 42 children that were to attend Union St [the new Moales center] but the site did not open and I have no confirmed indication of a date when it will open.  These spots were claimed on Peggy” [Moales] site but we know there not served at that site.  [Peggy’s license only allowed 15 total students].  So, again, since Peggy is claiming 57 students on her monthly report, I assume you are serving them at your site.  But, you only have 19 approved School Readiness spaces at your site.

[…]

….Each month you are being paid for 76 spaces but at this poi t you are only approved for 15 at Petty’s site and 19 at your site.

By September 2013, the State Department of Education’s office of Internal Audit issued the following finding,

“We reviewed documentation supplied by the Office of Early childhood’s Program Manager in connection with school readiness funded programs at Kingdom’s Little Ones Daycare facilities located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  We believe that the program was overpaid by approximately $75,114 (27 children x 4 months x $695).  We recommend that the Office of Early childhood work with SDE’s Bureau of Fiscal Services to pursue a refund from Bridgeport.

The State Department of Education then issued a refund request writing that said,

The refund request should go to the Bridgeport Public Schools and indicate that it is applicable to Kingdom’s Little Ones.  The Bridgeport Schools will do two things; 1) refund the funds to SDE and 2) work out the details with the Program(s) to recover their funds – likely some kind of monthly recovery, spreading the pain.

But then, in a surprising and suspicious twist, on October 1, 2013, Paul Vallas stepped in to try and stop the state from recouping the money it was owed by filing an appeal.

The appeal was eventually rejected and the state is now working to collect the taxpayer funds it is owed.

When the story is laid out, perhaps the most telling point of all is that Kenneth Moales Jr. was the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education at the time these events unfolded and the Board of Education was apparently never informed that their Chairman’s company had overbilled the City and state by $75,000.  Furthermore, the Board of Education was never told that Vallas, on behalf of the Board of Education, was attempting to stop the state from collecting the misspent funds.

Paul Vallas is now long gone, but the rest of the players are still very much on the scene.

The interrelationships between Moales, Finch, Pryor and Malloy run so deep and the allegations are so serious that a truly independent investigation is needed.

In the meantime, as noted above, Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. should relinquish his seat on the Bridgeport Board of Education.

State agency determines Malloy ally Rev. Kenneth Moales overcharged state by at least $75,000 for day care slots

According to an internal audit and investigation conducted by the professional staff at the Connecticut Department of Education, Reverend Moales, Jr., along with his mother and sister, illegally or inappropriately billed the taxpayers of Connecticut for at least 75,000 in state child care subsidies for day care centers owned by the Moales family and located in buildings owned by Kenneth Moales Jr. and his church.

Moales is Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, one of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s loudest Bridgeport supporters, and he spearheaded the failed effort to keep Paul Vallas on as the superintendent of schools in Bridgeport.

Moales’ role in the Bridgeport take-over fiasco goes back to when the Malloy administration appointed Kenneth Moales Jr. to Bridgeport’s illegal board of education, a board that was created when the state took over the Bridgeport School System.  Malloy’s action and the illegal board were eventually struck down as illegal by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

However, thanks to Moales’ close relationship with Mayor Finch, Moales got on to the democratically elected board of education as one of Finch’s Democratic endorsed candidates and went on to serve as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education during the time period this daycare billing scandal was taking place.

As Wait What? readers may recall, Kenneth Moales and his extensive property holdings have been facing foreclosure proceeding for more than a year.  Those buildings house daycare centers owned by Moales’ family.

As readers may also recall, in the summer of 2012, Moales and his family “won” a sweetheart deal for 60 of the 72 new day care slots that Bridgeport received under Governor Malloy’s state-wide “early childcare initiative.”

Although there were plenty of other providers in Bridgeport that could have utilized those new day care slots, the lucrative contract went to the two daycare centers run by Moales’ sister and mother.  Not only are those facilities located in buildings owned by Moales’ church, but the daycare centers pay rent to Moales.  The rental costs for the daycare centers have skyrocketed from $20,000 to over $100,000 in recent years.

When the Malloy initiative was announced, potential day care providers were required to guarantee that they would have the new day care slots available and filled no later than October 1, 2012.

However, according to official state documents that were recently acquired by Wait, What?, of the 1,000 new daycare spaces, as of February 1, 2013 – four months after the program began – only 950 of the 1,000 spots were being utilized.  Of the 50 unfilled slots, 40 of them were allocated to Moales.

In addition, upon further investigation, the professional staff at the State Department of Education determined that Moales’ family had actually billed the state for students who were either not part of the state funded program or may not have even existed.

As a result of their over billing the state determined that more than $75,000 had been inappropriately paid to Moales’ family.

In a particularly bizarre move, the Connecticut State Department of Education’s initial finding was appealed by Paul Vallas, not by Moales family.  The appeal came with Vallas was still running the Bridgeport School System.

On January 14, 2014, an official State Appeal Committee met and determined that the Moales family had, in fact, billed the state for services that they did not legally provide and that an amount of $75,114 had been inappropriately paid to Moales and his family.

One of the underlying issues is that while Moales and his family claimed that they had three day care sites available, only two were licensed.  The third site, which was supposed to be located in Moales primary church building, could not be licensed due to a series of problems, not the least of which being that the church itself did not have a permanent certificate of occupancy.

According to the State Department of Public Health, the third site was eventually licensed on August 15, 2013, ten months after the Moales family had said they would have the room necessary to fulfill their contract.

Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that while the 3rd site was approved, it remains unclear whether Moales was ever able to acquire the permanent certificate of occupancy that is necessary in order to get a day care facility license.

The full set of state documents also highlight a series of extremely troubling concerns,

  • In a July 31, 2013, months after the Moales family had already begun billing for the larger number of slots, the State Department of Education reported that, “The workflow for approving a new application still shows several pending and/or incomplete items (including the application fee, affidavit, property history form, building and zoning approvals, staff work schedule, organization chart, background checks, health consultant agreement, floor plan, outdoor play space sketch and water supply attachments/test).

Even more incredible is that the July 31, 2013 email also stated that, “A complete corrective action plan response is also outstanding from the initial inspection conducted on 2/28/13).

And what may be the most damning piece of evidence of all is that on February 25, 2013, when the Connecticut State Department of Education professional staff informed Moales’ sister that the state would be re-allocating the unused slots to another child center so that Bridgeport so that children could actually get the services they needed and deserved, Moales’ sister responded by writing,

“I forwarded this information to my boss.  He asked me to make you aware that he has spoken to Stephon Pryor and our slots are filled and confirmed.  We are simply waiting for licensing to come and inspect.  The children are CONFIRMED and Bridgeport does not have to loose the slots.”

This email,  along with a variety of others raise extraordinarily serious questions about whether Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, knowingly allowed the Moales family to have children in an unlicensed day care center and whether his lack of action allowed the Moales family to illegally or inappropriately bill the state for services that were not properly rendered.

All of these materials will be turned over to the State Auditors and other appropriate officials in the hope that an independent investigation will be conducted into Kenneth Moales Jr. and his day care operations and whether top officials in the Malloy administration were engaged in any efforts to cover up or protect their Bridgeport political allay.

Check back for more on this breaking story.

Look out Bridgeport, here comes Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry

According to the website that hosts his “inspirational” speaking business, Steve Perry is the “Most Trusted Educator in America.”

His “non-nonsense” approach to education takes many forms, including an obsession with his Twitter Account.

Just the other day Steve Perry Tweeted,

“Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kid get used to somebody digging in the ass! That’s life, get over it.”

Despite having a full-time job as a principal in the Hartford School System, a job that he is absent from more than 20% of the time due to his fee-for-appearance speaking tours, Steve Perry has created a private charter school management company and now wants to open a charter school in Bridgeport.

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the Connecticut State Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the proposal to open what would be called the Capital Prep Harbor School.

Connecticut taxpayers would pick up 100% of the costs of Perry’s new school, while Bridgeport taxpayers would continue to have to pay for the transportation and special education costs at Perry’s school, although the local Bridgeport Board of Education would have no control over the school or its activities.

You can read the application by clicking here: [PDF]

Readers will note that two of Perry’s key backers are Mayor Bill Finch and Finch’s campaign manager and disgraced and ousted Board of Education Chairman, the Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr.

The application doesn’t indicate whether Perry will be bringing his notorious “Table of Shame” to Bridgeport should the state approve his charter school application.

In Hartford, Perry’s discipline policies are enforced by humiliating children by making them sit at the Table of Shame, making them eat standing up, making them stand up during entire academic classes or making them stand up for extended periods of time facing the wall.

The March 18, 2014 will be held at the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet School which is located at 840 Old Town Rd. in Bridgeport.

Although Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education don’t take kindly to public input, the hearing is supposed to be “an opportunity for the general public to comment and submit written testimony on the school’s application.”

The hearing will take place from 6-8 p.m. Speakers will be limited to three minutes.

Anyone who has experienced Perry’s educational philosophy or care about the children of Bridgeport should plant to attend the public hearing.

Those who can’t attend but want to submit testimony should send their comments to the State Board of Education via the following email address: [email protected].

The State Department of Education will also hold a mass public hearing on all charter school applications, including Perry’s, on April 2, 2104 in Hartford.

Steve Perry adds “therapist” to his title of “educator” and author

Steve Perry calls himself American’s most trusted educator. 

While Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers pay him a full-time salary and benefits to serve as the principal of the Hartford School System’s Capital Prep Magnet School, Perry skips about 20% of the school days so that he can travel the country giving speeches for hire.

When Perry does show up for work he spends an inordinate amount of his time promoting his speaking business through media interviews and his obsessive use of Twitter while on public time.

Most recently, Perry has been busy pushing a plan to use his private company to open up a charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Local support for his plan comes from corporate education reform industry ally Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Finch’s campaign treasurer, Kenneth Moales.  Moales tried and failed to get his own charter school last year, but has used his position on the Bridgeport Board of Education to push the charter school agenda.

Just this past Thursday, Steve Perry was out-of-state giving a speech and holding a book signing session at Winston Salem State University.

The Thursday before Perry was the keynote speaker at a conference at Kent State University in Ohio.

For that one, Perry was introduced at an author, principal and CNN education contributor.

The description went on to say that, “Perry is the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., which has been cited by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top schools in the country. Capital Prep has sent 100 percent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first-generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.”

But of course, that statement is patently untrue.

Capital Prep HAS NOT sent 100% of its graduates to four year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.

Today Perry is northern Virginia to give the keynote address at the annual VABHMA Gala Reception.

And this time Perry’s bio has been expanded to proclaim that he is not only an educator and author, but that he is also a therapist.

The event biography leads with the following:

Dr. Steve Perry’s heart pumps passion and produces positive change. Featured in CNN’s Black in America series, Dr. Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today.

Perry is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.

100% of Capital Prep’s graduates have gone to four year colleges?

Despite the fact that falsifying and padding one’s resume has downed a number of politicians over the years, some individuals apparently continue to believe that they don’t have to live by the same standards, rules and laws that apply to the rest of us.

Who is pushing Capital Prep Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor Charter School application?

According to the charter school application submitted by Steve Perry’s private charter school Management Company;

 “The Capital Prep Harbor School (the “Harbor School”) is designed as a replication of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School (“Capital Prep”) in Hartford, Connecticut.  The founders of Capital Prep have developed an internationally recognized model designed to prepare children from historically disadvantaged populations to compete and ‘win’ in education.  Capital Prep has proven that all children when given the right conditions and environment not only succeed but excel in their academic as well as their social-emotional growth.”

As the Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education consider Steve Perry’s 600 page application to open a new charter school in Bridgeport, their first task will be to overlook the fact that Perry’s Hartford Prep Magnet School refuses to provide equal access to Latinos and other children who deal with English language barriers.

Perry’s Hartford school also fails to take its fair share of students who need special education services, and it is alleged that the special education students Capital Prep does enroll don’t get the services mandated in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). There are widespread rumors that Capital Prep is being investigated as a result of its utter failure to meet federal and state special education laws.

The data on Capital Prep’s failure to provide equal access is stark and extremely disturbing;

2011-2012 Hartford School System Capital Prep Magnet School
     
Latino Students 49.7% 21.7%
     
Students not Fluent in English (ELL) 18% 3.4%
     
Students who come from homes where English is not the primary language 39.7% ?
     
Special Education Students 13.5 6.3%
     

 

In addition, the disciplinary tactics utilized at Capital Prep Magnet School have raised equally serious concerns.  Students being forced to sit at the “Table of Shame,” students being required to stand while eating lunch, students being made to state during entire academic classes and students being made to stand facing the wall for long periods of time in administrators offices are all examples of disciplinary policies that may cross into child abuse.

Perry’s charter school application reports that he and his senior staff have been working with Bridgeport officials and community leaders for months.  The application reads;

“Founding members continuously met with local officials, including Mayor Bill Finch and his Education Adviser, Joshua Thompson, as well as local community-based organizations, religious leaders and representatives from Housatonic Community College.”

So who are these Bridgeport supporters?

Listed as Governing Council Members for Perry’s new Charter School are;

Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr., Senior Pastor Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

  • As directly quoted from his resume, Moales also lists himself as CEO/Founder C.R.E.A.M. Inc. and says that in that capacity he, “Earned endorsement from Mayor, local newspaper, Democratic District leaders and Democratic Clubs in Bridgeport CT for Board of Education” and “Exhibited tireless energy, positive attitude and visionary leadership” and “Revamped entire department bringing in all new Commissioner.” 
  •  Kenneth Moales Jr. who continues to serve on the Bridgeport Board of Education is also Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer.

Reverend Carl McCluster, Senior Pastor Shiloh Baptist Church, Bridgeport

  • McCluster also lists himself as Founder, Managing Director, Senior Program office for F.R.E.E.D.O.M. Inc. a National Economic Development Consulting Firm

Reverend William McCullough, Senior Paster Russell Temple CME Church in Bridgeport.

  • McCullough also lists himself as the Founder and CEO of U-Turn Ministries, FaithCARE and Safe Streets Kids (SSK)

Teresa Wilson, Executive Director V.I.P. College Preparatory Program, Inc., Bridgeport CT.

Wilson reports that she coordinates “college tours for areas high school students” and “collaborates(s) with various school districts and school administration in selection of students to attend tour….”

Gwendolyn Brantley, ACCESS Education Services, Bridgeport, CT.

Brantley’s adds her duties are to “Administer and manage an academic enrichment program for middle and high school students.”

Meanwhile, appended to Perry’s charter school application are a series of letters of support.  They come from:

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch who writes, “As Mayor of Bridgeport, I am writing to express my full support of the proposal of by Capital Prep Harbor School to open a state charter school in fall of 2014 that will serve the children and families of Bridgeport.  I am honored by the decision of the Capital Prep team to bring their outstanding academic model to Bridgeport within the context of a top-tier high school program…”

Other letters of support are from:

State Representative Charles Clemons

Teresa Wilson writing on behalf of the VIP College Prep Program. (Note that Wilson serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

Reverend Carl McCluster writing on behalf of Shiloh Baptist Church. (Note that McCluster serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

Gwendolyn Brantley writing on behalf of ACCESS Education Services.  (Note that Brantley serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

And Kenneth Jackson, founder of Kenneth Jackson’s Mentoring Services

Considering that Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, has consistently supported charter schools at the expense of public district schools and has ducked his obvious conflict of interest when it comes to his support for charter schools, it will be interesting to watch whether Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor are successful in railroading this controversial and flawed charter school application through the State Board of Education.

Stay tuned…

Vallas demand for $16,500 in extra taxpayer funds succeeds

Paul Vallas will be getting an extra $16,500 from Bridgeport and Connecticut taxpayers thanks to last night’s 5-4 vote of the Bridgeport Board of Education. 

After heavy lobbying from Mayor Bill Finch and Vallas supporters, newly elected board member Democrat Dave Hennessey, who was part of the successful anti-Finch challenge slate in last September’s Democratic primary decided to vote with Mayor Bill Finch’s remaining three Democratic supporters and the one Republican board member to shift Vallas’ last day as Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools from February 7, 2014 to March 1, 2014.

According to a story in the Connecticut Post, the majority claimed that move was necessary to “avoid a legal fight and keep the board from paying health insurance to Vallas beyond his departure date.”

The Connecticut Post added that “Hennessey sided with Kenneth Moales, Jacqueline Kelleher, Hernan Illingworth and Republican Joe Larcheveque to move the date.”

It is particularly ironic, if not straight out bizarre, that after winning a primary in September against the pro-Finch, pro-Vallas slate, Hennessey would now give in to Vallas’ demand for more money.

Hennessey served as a school teacher and coach in the Bridgeport public schools for 38 years before retiring and Vallas is the one who called Bridgeport’s teacher contract the worst he had ever seen despite the fact that it is a far less generous contract then those in wealthy neighboring communities.

Vallas’ biggest supporter, Finch campaign treasurer Kenneth Moales Jr,. praised Vallas at last night’s Board of Education meeting and spoke out in favor of giving Vallas the extra three weeks of pay despite the fact that Vallas had announced his intent to resign in November and December and was present, in December, when the board set his final date as February 7, 2014.

But on New Year’s Eve Paul Vallas sent a letter to the Bridgeport board of education informing them that he would not leave until March 1, 2014 and that he wanted the board to pay his health benefits through June.  The total cost of Vallas’ last minute demand was over $25,000

At the meeting Vallas implied or threatened that he would sue the board if they didn’t give in and five of the nine members of the board ended up rolling over and voting to give away the scarce public funds.

Vallas is leaving Bridgeport to become Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial election.  Perhaps the most interesting underlying issue of all is that the Illinois Democratic nominating convention will be taking place on March 17, 2014.

With Vallas decision to stay in Bridgeport until March, Vallas will have put off campaigning for more than 16 weeks after Quinn announced that Vallas would be his running mate.

Of course… Alternatively Vallas may simply take the Connecticut taxpayer funds, call in sick or take vacation time and join Quinn on the campaign trail in Illinois.

You can read the CT Post piece here:  http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/Board-sets-March-1-for-Vallas-departure-5140211.php

Mayor Finch gives “Key to the City” to Paul Vallas

Finch gives Vallas Key to City
Finch gives Vallas Key to City

 

 

With ousted Democratic Board of Education chairman Kenneth Moales, Jr. at his side, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch gave Paul Vallas Bridgeport’s “Key to the City” for his “service to students.”

There is still no word whether Governor Malloy or Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor stopped by last night’s “Farewell Reception” for Vallas in Bridgeport but if they did they managed to stay out of the pictures that have been posted on social media sites.

From the reception, corporate education reform industry advocacy group, Excel Bridgeport, Inc. tweeted, “So many wonderful people in the room giving Superintendent Paul Vallas a warm farewell!!”

Now that Vallas has Bridgeport’s “Key to the City” it isn’t clear whether he will drop his attempt to stick up the taxpayers of Bridgeport and Connecticut for that extra $20,000 he has been demanding or simply take the $500,000 he has already received and his “key” and head back to Illinois in early February.

If anyone out there knows whether Malloy or Pryor joined Finch at the extravaganza, don’t hesitate to inform Wait, What? readers.

 

Connecticut Democratic Party Chair fails to explain – Why did the Party divert 40k to fight pro-public education Democrats in Bridgeport Primary?

Moments ago, Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo sent out another email to party activists seeking donations for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee. DiNardo asks, “Can you be a part of this and chip in $5 today?

But DiNardo and the Democratic Party have yet to address the important issue that has been raised again and again.

This past fall, Governor Malloy, Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee misdirected $40,000 from the Democratic Party’s coffers to pay for almost all the expenses of Mayor Bill Finch’s pro-corporate education reform slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education.

The endorsed slate lost badly to a pro-public education slate of candidates.

The Democratic challenge slate went on to win the election and with the help of the Working Families Party members unseated Finch’s campaign treasurer, Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. last night as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, replacing the disgraced pastor with a pro-public education advocate named Sauda Baraka.

Instead of staying out of this critically important Democratic Primary, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee used State Party funds to pay for more than 90% of the money spent to support the losing, corporate education reform oriented slate.

Since Malloy was elected governor, hundreds of Connecticut residents have donated to the Connecticut Democratic Party because they believed Governor Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Wyman and Democratic Chair Nancy DiNardo when they wrote letters and emails explaining that the donations would be used to defeat Republican candidates.

To this day it still isn’t clear whether the 72 members of the Democratic State Central Committee were properly informed or even approved of the decision to re-direct $40,000 in scarce campaign resources to a slate of candidates that was committed to undermining Connecticut’s teachers, teacher unions and the children and parents of Bridgeport.

It is truly the height of arrogance that Malloy and the Democratic Party leadership continue to send out fundraising requests yet fail to explain how it is possible that $40,000 in donations to the Connecticut Democratic Party were not used to beat Republicans but were used to try and beat pro-education Democrats.

Governor Malloy and Chairman DiNardo owe the Democrats of Connecticut an explanation and they deserve it now.

Just read today’s email and ask yourself – is it clear that they money being raised my be used to fight fellow pro-public education Democrats?

The email reads;

Dear Jonathan

We need to finish the year strong.

Can you be a part of this and chip in $5 today?

Thank you for your help,

Nancy

P.S.: Can you forward this email to 3 friends who might also be interested in contributing?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jonathan Harris <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM
Subject: Another damn CDP fundraising email?
To: Nancy DiNardo <[email protected]>

Dear Nancy,

Here at the Connecticut Democratic Party, like at most political organizations, we ask for money because we need it. We need the money to create the great graphics you love to share on Facebook and Twitter, to provide trainings on how to use the latest software and to engage voters.

So I’m going to ask you for money today. And probably next week. Just like every other political entity who has managed to get your email address – because it’s that damn important.

Can you please contribute $5 today?

It won’t make the emails stop, but it will make an impact on Connecticut’s future. In 2012, if President Obama had not raised more than $1 billion, we might very well be asking you to contribute so we can battle against the agenda of President Mitt Romney.

In the coming months, our congressmen and congresswomen are going to have a fight on their hands. And I am not about to let them fight alone.

Do you live in the 5th congressional district? Contribute $5. Do you live in the 3rd? Contribute $3.

I’m proud of the work that my team has done and the money we have raised — because I know that it is going to help us beat the Tea Party Republicans and their multimillion-dollar super PACs in 2014.

Proudly,

Jonathan A. Harris
Executive Director