Yup, Capital Prep’s Steve Perry Tweets about the dangers of Social Media…

Dr. Steve Perry ‏@DrStevePerry
Social media has had a net negative affect on schools. Kids & adults are free to tee off on each other & the schools are left to clean it up (December 18, 2013)

 

This from a man who has sent out 32,971 Tweets, many during school hours, costing Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars as they subsidize Perry’s rants, bullying  and vicious attacks.

A man who has used his Twitter account to call someone a racist on at least 66 occasions over the past 100 days.

A man who has tweeted derogatory comments about public education unions 340 times over the past 100 days.

A man who has used his Twitter account to attack public education hero Diane Ravitch on at least 102 occasions over the past 100 days.

And a man who has attacked American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in at least 162 Tweets over the last 100 days.

This from the same Steve Perry who says it’s time to “Man Up.”

Man up as in… it is time to take responsibility for our actions?

Speaking of taking responsibility… Superintendent Kishimoto, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland…  Where is the promised investigation into Perry’s inappropriate and threatening tweet about the upcoming head injuries that will be taking place?

What the heck is the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund?

The Capital Prep Magnet School website informs supporters that they can make “tax-deductible” donations to the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund

 

Donations can be made via a PayPal link or checks can be mailed to “The Capital Prep Scholarship Fund – 1304 Main Street – Hartford, CT 06103.” (Which is the school’s address).

Contributors are informed that “Every donation helps to give our students access to America’s top colleges.”

Unfortunately the PayPal account is not working.  Clicking on the link brings up an error message that reads, “PayPal cannot process this transaction because of a problem with the seller’s website. Please contact the seller directly to resolve this problem.”

But according to the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office there is NO corporate entity called the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund nor has the Internal Revenue Service ever designated any organization by that name a non-profit charity.

Furthermore, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection reports that the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund has never registered with that agency despite a state law that requires every charity to register.

The Capital Prep website, press releases posted to the Hartford Courant and a donation form from this past year’s 3rd Annual Capital Prep Scholarship Reception lists the contact person for the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund as Lalani Perry, Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry’s wife.   Lalani Perry’s cell phone and private email are listed on the form for those seeking more information.

It is possible that the funds are run through an account at the Hartford Board of Education but the charity would still have had to register with the Department of Consumer Protection, something it has not done.  Plus it’s hard to imagine that the City of Hartford would allow Perry’s wife to serve as the fundraiser, treasurer or solicitor for an account under his school’s control.

But people have definitely been writing checks to something called the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund.

When Capital Prep held its 3rd Annual Scholarship Reception last spring it collected ten thousand dollars for each Platinum Level sponsor.  The 10,000 contributors included the Children First Foundation, Hybrid Insurance Group, the Knight Foundation and Travelers Insurance.

In addition, New Country Mercedes was a $5,000 Gold Level donor while $2,500 Scholar Level contributors included Hoffman Auto Corporation and TD Bank.  Rounding off the list of corporate sponsors were the $1,000 Learner Level donors that included William Goss, Patrick James and CG Real Estate.

Sources close to Capital Prep report that this past spring event raised upwards toward $70,000.

In January 2012, the Hartford Courant reported that Capital Preparatory Magnet School’s 2nd annual Scholarship Fundraiser raised at least $90,000. That fundraiser featured none-other-than the great Bill Cosby.

According to the Hartford Courant story at the time, “more than 200 individuals and organizations have donated to this year’s scholarship campaign, including four “platinum” sponsors with $10,000 gifts in recent weeks: Travelers Insurance; United Technologies Corp.; Elizabeth and Dr. Bruce Bower of West Hartford, a retired endocrinologist; and Hybrid Insurance Group, a black-owned firm based in Hartford.”

The Courant added that, “The $50-a-ticket fundraiser at the school, called “An Evening With Dr. Cosby,” sold out three weeks ago and includes Soledad O’Brien of CNN, former NBA star Jalen Rose, education reformer Geoffrey Canada and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris as special guests.”

In an odd twist of fate, the Hartford Courant article quoted Earl O’Garro Jr., the president and chief executive officer of Hybrid Insurance.  Hybrid Insurance is the corporation that received a special grant from the Malloy administration to move from Windsor to Hartford.  O’Garro and Hybrid Insurance are now the focus of a major controversy and investigation concerning inappropriate contracting, relationships and payments with the City of Hartford.

But back in January 2012 O’Garro and Hybrid Insurance were riding high and O’Garro told the Courant that, “Those who have benefited from philanthropy should return the favor.”

Unfortunately there are no media reports about how much money Capital Prep raised at its inaugural scholarship reception back in 2011.

What is clear is that a significant amount of money has been raised over the past three years, potentially as much as $150,000 to $200,000 from the Capital Prep Scholarship receptions alone.

Capital Prep has reportedly conducted numerous other fundraising efforts as well.

So…

What (or who) is the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund?

Why isn’t the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund registered with the Secretary of the State?

Why isn’t the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund registered with the Department of Consumer Protection as required by law?

And how does the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund claim to be able to accept “tax-deductible” donations when the Internal Revenue Service has never authorized a charity called the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund?

How have the funds been handled?  How much was raised?  How much money was spent?  How much of the money was spent on administrative costs as opposed to actual scholarships?  And did Perry or any of his family members receive any financial benefit from the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund?

There is also the nasty little question about what happens to all the donors who have deducted their donations on their taxes when the IRS discovers that the entity doesn’t actually have the authority to make the “tax-deductible” claim.

Then again, there is one other possibility.

It is a possibility that raises even more questions.

What if the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund is none-other-than CAPITAL PREPARATORY SCHOOLS INCORPORATED which is the private company that Perry set up in his failed attempt to take control of Capital Prep and S.A.N.D. elementary school?

Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor were instrumental in recently putting together a secret deal that tried to hand Steve Perry and his private company financial and administrative control of two Hartford Public Schools and more than $15 million-a-year in public funds.  Malloy’s State Department of Education was even going to sweeten the deal by providing up to $3 million in additional one-time revenues to facilitate the deal.

What if it turns out that it is not the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund that has been illegally raising funds from Capital Prep parents, as well as, Hartford businesses and community members, but it has been Perry’s Capital Preparatory School Incorporated.

Is there really no one in the top echelon of Hartford’s leadership structure who has wondered who is controlling that “fund” and where all that money is going?

Since the Hartford Board of Education seems unwilling to investigate the growing problems associated with Steve Perry and Capital Prep, let’s hope that some independent agency will step forward and determine whether state and federal laws are being violated.

Where is the Hartford Board of Education’s promised investigation of Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry?

The Hartford Board of Education will be holding its last meeting of 2013 tomorrow from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Sarah J. Rawson School.

UPDATE:  The critical question was whether the Hartford Board of Education would discuss the status of any on-going investigation into Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry.

NOTE:  THE HARTFORD BOE AGENDA IS OUT….NO AGENDA ITEM ON PERRY.

A session would certainly be appropriate to discuss Perry’s record of excessive absences.

The Connecticut State Department of Education defines excessive absences or truancy as having missed 10 percent of the school days for excused or unexcused reasons.

Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry has missed closer to 20 percent of the school days so far this year as he gallivants around the country giving speeches for hire.

But a far more serious issue is whether or not the Hartford School Board will discuss the promised investigation into Steve Perry’s Twitter rant threat following the Hartford Board of Education’s failure to hand two public schools over to Perry and his private company.

Following the meeting, Perry used his public Twitter account to threaten those who opposed his takeover plans.  Perry’s behavior and threat even made the national news.

At the time, Matt Poland, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education, promised an investigation and demanded that Christina Kishimoto, Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, provide the Board with information within 24 hours.

But now – a month later – there is nothing but the continuing sound of silence.

Steve Perry’s use of cyberbullying and hate speech is well documented.  However, standing well above all of his other attacks is the tweet he fired off in November that read;

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.”

 When pressured about the meaning of the language he had used, Perry first called “ubiquitous tweet” (Not sure what that meant).  Then he said, “I used a colloquialism to depict the necessity to protect oneself in the battle for equal education.”

And finally he landed on the excuse that his phrase was nothing more than a metaphor?

A metaphor?

“Strap up” is widely recognized as a reference to carrying a concealed weapon.

And the phrase, “There will be head injuries” has a pretty clear meaning on its face.

If he had put President Obama’s name before or after the sentence comment he tweeted you can be sure that the Secret Service would be pounding on his door.

To claim that his words were nothing but a metaphor or even a joke is an insult beyond belief.

In fact, the Hartford Board of Education should pay strict attention to the fact that the courts have ruled, “The standard definition of a true threat does not require actual subjective intent to carry out the threat.”

If a student posted the phrase “Strap up, there will be head injuries” to their Facebook Page we would expect the superintendent, the mayor, the board of education and public safety officials at the federal, state and local level to move quickly to ensure that students and teachers were safe properly protected.

Steve Perry not only posted those words but he has maintained a barrage of attacks on those with whom he disagrees.

And yet we hear nothing but silence from the officials who have a legal and moral duty to recognize that when it comes to public safety, and especially the safety of our children, no one is above the law.

If the Hartford Board of Education meets tomorrow and does not take up the threat Perry made and does not explain what actions are being taken to investigate and discipline him, the message to the people of Hartford and Connecticut will be loud and clear.

And that message will be that there is one standard for the People and a very different standard for the so-called elite.

And as to the question of whether or not “strap up” does or does not mean to carry a gun, a basic internet search will identify hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of examples where the term has been used to reference a person carrying a gun.

Steve Perry is not naïve.  He may have been “joking around” but he posted a tweet that implied he was going to carry a gun and there would be head injuries.

As noted above, the Secret Service and the FBI wouldn’t think that was funny and neither should Hartford’s Superintendent, Mayor or Board of Education.

Sunday night and Steve Perry loses his cool… (Again)

Still angry over the fact that the Hartford Board of Education would not approve a plan to shift the management of Capital Prep and SAND elementary to a private company Perry created, the embattled Principal of Capital Prep. has lost his cool and his tweeting up a storm.

In the last few minutes Perry has tweeted the following rant:

  • “’Corporate’ is their big inditement. Even cities are incorporated. It’s simply a legal recognition of an organization. Stop scare tactics.” 
  • “To “incorporate” means that you filed paperwork w the state to be recognized as a legal entity. We’ve got to stop falling for this stuff.” 
  • “Union told parents I would make money if their school was redesigned. Another sign of the weakness of their position. Stop lying to parents.” 
  • “TEACHERS’ UNIONS are PRIVATE CORPORATIONS who take 100’s of millions in and use it to buy influence instead of improving education.” 

It is truly incredible that Perry is unable to conduct himself in an appropriate manner.

Here are the facts – plan and simple:

Capital Prep. Principal Steve Perry set up a private corporation and named it after his Hartford public school

He is not only listed as the corporation’s only officer but he listed the company’s address as his private residence.

Although he never changed the information with the Connecticut Secretary of the State, he moved the company’s address to a Hartford Public School and filed the paperwork with the IRS to turn his company into a private charter school company.

And then, with no opportunity for public input or any competitive bidding process, Perry – with the help and support of Christina Kishimoto, Hartford Superintendent of Schools and Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education – wanted the Hartford Board of Education to give him and his company a no-bid contract to take over and run two Hartford schools.

The details of proposed deal were never revealed but Perry admitted that his goal was to get out of having to work with the contract and rules that apply to other Hartford schools.

And then when this outrageous and unethical deal was stopped…

Perry lost his mind and tweeted that he was going to strap up and create head injuries…

And now, weeks later, he is still tweeting one insult after another.

The real question is when will the Hartford Board of Education finally step in to protect the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut from Perry’s bizarre and vicious behavior.

Action is needed before Perry does something truly dangerous or damaging.

You can read more of Perry’s tweets at: https://twitter.com/DrStevePerry

Steve Perry continues his record of excessive absences….

Yesterday Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry missed yet another morning of school, choosing instead to continue his unending list of paid speaking engagements.  Friday it was off to Massachusetts to be the key-note speaker rather than bother with his full-time job of serving as the head of Capital Prep Magnet School.

Today Perry is off to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy.  No word on who is picking up his travel expenses or whether he is receiving any other compensation for his Disney “work.”

Perry, the union-hater, brags that thanks to his union contract he has banked dozens of paid days off but Hartford Board of Education policy requires that principals get the approval of the superintendent’s office before they take vacation days.

Although Freedom of Information requests have been submitted to Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s office for the signed approval forms that Perry would need to cover his excessive absences , no such documentation has yet to be provided.

As Wait, What? readers know, Perry has been absent nearly 20 percent of time this school.

While the Connecticut State Board of Education and State Department of Education define excessive absences as missing 10 percent of school and state policy requires that steps be taken to address the student’s truancy – apparently neither the Hartford Superintendent of Schools nor the Hartford Board of Education have taken any action to discipline Perry for his policy violations.

Meanwhile, nothing but total silence from Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education when it comes to the “investigation” that Hartford Board of Education Chairman, Matt Poland, ordered after Perry threatened to cause some “ head injuries” after the Board of Education failed to approve Perry’s plan to shift management of Capital Prep and SAND elementary school over a new, private company that Perry has created.

Perry returns to the paid speaking circuit (while taxpayers pick up his salary and benefits)

Tonight, December 1, 2013, Steve Perry will be speaking at George Washington University from 7pm – 9pm (no word whether the will be back in time for school tomorrow morning).  But he’ll certainly be missing another school day on Friday when he speaks at the METCO Directors’ Association meeting outside of Boston from 8:30am – 9:30am.

This comes on top of last week’s self-promotion schedule that included multiple radio interviews, many of which occurred during the school day.  Perry’s radio interviews include time on the “The Bev Smith Show,” Washington D.C.’s WHUR 96.3 FM, Philadelphia’s WURD 900 AM and Cincinnati’s WDBZ 1230 AM.

Just imagine what would happen if any other public school administrator or teacher expected and demanded full-time pay while missing about 20 percent of the school days… And when they were at school, they couldn’t to all of their school related duties because they had to do media interviews multiple times a week.

The Connecticut State Board of Education defines excessive absenteeism as missing 10 percent of school – for excused OR unexcused reasons.

So far this school year, Capital Prep’s Steve Perry has been absent about 20 percent of the school day.

Neither Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools nor Hartford’s Board of Education have taken any disciplinary action….

The time for action is long past due.

Capital Prep’s Steve Perry must be held accountable for his abuses.

Superintendent Kishimoto, Mayor Segarra, Chairman Poland and the Hartford Board of Education… the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut await your action.

And while you are at it;

  • What is the status of the Perry’s failure to implement the eighteen month old bullying action plan that the State Department of Education ordered for Capital Prep.?
  • And what is going on with the investigation that BOE Chairman Poland ordered two weeks ago and told WNPR Connecticut Public Radio that he wanted answers within twenty-four hours?

Wait, what about Steve Perry Investigation #1; About Capital Prep’s failures on bullying policy.

Following a recent tweet by Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry in which he said, “Strap up, there will be head injuries, “Hartford Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland told WNPR’s John Dankosky that he wanted an investigation of Perry’s threating social media rant and answers within 24 hours.”

The status of that investigation remains unclear, but before the City of Hartford deals with Perry investigation #2 it should come clean on the status of Perry Investigation #1 which looked into Perry’s failures around having appropriate bullying policies at Capital Prep.

In a blog post entitled, “Capital Prep Steve Perry’s shocking record of failure on student bullying,” Wait, What? reported last week that “More than 18 months after a serious bullying incident occurred at Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Steve Perry has yet to properly implement the corrective action plan that was developed in response to the event.”

The facts are simple to follow.

Following up on a May 3, 2012 complaint about a significant student bullying event at Capital Prep in which one of the alleged perpetrators was a relative of Steve Perry’s, Connecticut State Department of Education sent in a professional team of experts to conduct a site visit at the school on September 4, 2012.

After meeting with Principal Steve Perry; Chris Fulton, Dean of Upper School; Kitsia Ferguson, Dean of the Lower School and Lauren Davern, Capital Prep’s Safe School Climate Specialist, the State Department developed a corrective action plan based on the numerous areas where Capital Preparatory Magnet School was out of compliance when it came to Connecticut’s bulling laws, regulations and policies.

Although the Corrective Action Plan laid out the specific problems that needed to be rectified and the particular steps Capital Prep needed to institute, Steve Perry failed to provide any detailed written response until May 2013, eight months after the site visit.

According to public state documents, Capital Prep’s response was far short of what was required in the Corrective Action Plan.

On June 5, 2013, the state Department of Education issued a directive that Capital Prep MSUT MAKE the required changes no later than June 21, 2013.  The demand letter was sent to Steven Perry and CC’d to Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Hartford Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto.

However, almost 6 months later, Perry and Capital Prep have failed to act and remain out of compliance with Connecticut laws, regulations and policies.

As disturbing as Perry’s failure to act is, equally troubling is the total lack of follow up or response by Hartford Superintendent Kishimoto.

Wait, What? filed a Freedom of Information request with the Hartford Board of Education on October 21, 2013 for any correspondence between senior members of the Connecticut Department of Education and Steven Perry, Principal of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Academy since September 1, 2012 that was cc’d to Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto…”

A few days ago, the City of Hartford responded with there were no documents in Kishimoto’s files that met my criteria.

The June 5, 2013 letter from the State Department of Education laid out the exact steps that Capital Prep needed to take in order to adopt the Corrective Action Plan.

The letter was cc’d to Superintendent Kishimoto.

With Perry continuing to refuse to implement the State Department’s Corrective Action Plan we know discover that Kishimoto didn’t even keep the letter in her files, let alone follow up on the need for action.

In addition apparently the Hartford Board of Education was never briefed about the May 2012 bullying event and complaint, the September 2012 State Department site visit, the State’s demand for a corrective action plan, the June 21, 2013 deadline or Perry’s continued unwillingness to implement the required changes that are needed to bring Capital Prep into compliance with the laws, regulations policies related to bullying.

As questions arise about who will be conducting a fair and comprehensive investigation into Perry’s recent twitter threats, the Hartford Board of Education and the State Department of Education would do well to ensure investigation #1 is properly resolved.

Otherwise, investigation #2 will be nothing but another ugly political joke.

Hartford School Board vote reveals more about secret deal within Malloy administration

As reported by the Hartford Courant, “The city board of education reversed itself Monday night and approved two proposed magnet schools for the 2014-15 year, nearly a week after voting to reject the plans that were negotiated as part of a settlement in the Sheff v. O’Neill case.”

The Hartford Board of Education also approved a proposal to proceed with selecting a Hartford neighborhood school to become a “lighthouse” school which would, in turn, attract additional state funds for the school.

As the Courant noted, “School board members voted Monday to pursue a “lighthouse” school model — essentially, a neighborhood school that would be entitled to special state funding for improvements… A lighthouse school in Hartford would receive at least $750,000 annually for improvements over a minimum of three years, school officials said Monday. Poland said the pledged funding from the state was crucial for the board’s reconsideration of the magnet school proposals.”

As originally proposed to the Hartford Board of Education last week, the “lighthouse” school was targeted to be the SAND Elementary School and was part of a package that would have allowed Capital Preparatory Magnet School Principal Steve Perry to set up his own company and the Board would then have transferred control of both Capital Prep and SAND to that private entity.

The funds mentioned in today’s Courant article would have transferred to Perry’s company along with nearly $15 million-a-year in state funding for the 1,000 students that would have been under his control.

The resolutions approved by the Hartford Board of Education removed any direct reference to Perry, but as late as yesterday morning, Perry was still lobbying hard for the proposal.

Yesterday morning Perry’s operation was handing out a flyer at Capital Prep entitled “SAND Kids Can’t Wait” that instructed parents to attend the meeting and demand the “$3 million and Capital Prep Light House School.”

The powers that be must have gotten to Perry in the afternoon because no demonstration or “demand” by the Perry supporters took place.

Instead of granting Perry direct control of the schools and the corresponding funds, the Hartford Board adopted a process in which Superintendent Christina Kishimoto will form a four-member lighthouse school selection committee.

Critics of Steve Perry will note, however, that there is nothing in the Board’s language that suggests Perry can’t be selected by Kishimoto and her committee as the “turnaround entity” and the announcement yesterday that the eventual “lighthouse” plan must be approved by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, makes it that much clearer that the Malloy administration has played a major role throughout this policy fiasco.

Since the story first broke last week, participants in the Sheff negotiations have revealed that the Governor’s Office, OPM Secretary Ben Barns and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor played the lead role in the talks, rather than the Attorney General’s Office, which has traditionally played a more direct role in the lawsuit and its related negotiations.

In addition, a number of sources have explained that the Perry boondoggle was proposed and pushed by the Malloy administration as a requirement for Hartford getting any additional state funds at all.

The notion that Pryor will now be a key player in the approval process reiterates the odd role the Malloy Administration has played in the effort to turn Capital Prep and SAND over to Perry’s private company.

According to the Courant report, “the [lighthouse] panel will be asked to convene at least one community forum and identify three or more city schools as candidates for a turnaround plan… By April 1, 2014, the selection committee is expected to recommend a school and its improvement plan, which must ultimately be approved by state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.”

The entire “lighthouse” concept seems designed to get around the Connecticut General Assembly’s language which prohibits the Commissioner of Education from taking over more than two schools in a district via his “Commissioner’s Network” program.  Concerned about giving Pryor and the Malloy administration too much control over local communities, legislators added the “two-school limit” as a way to preserve local control of schools.  The “lighthouse” school proposal appears to provide the Malloy administration with yet another way to undermine that language and the authority of local communities.

As to the two “new” magnet schools, the Hartford Board of Education voted 6-1 to move forward with creating the Capital Community College Senior Academy which will be a magnet school for 11th and 12th graders.

The board also approved converting “High School Inc., one of Hartford’s specialized high school programs, to a Sheff magnet school beginning with ninth grade in 2014-15 and gradually expanding to 12th grade by 2017-18.”

You can read the Hartford Courant story at: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-sheff-magnet-1126-20131125,0,3465187.story

NEWS FLASH: Is Perry mocking Hartford Mayor and School Board Chair in Capital Prep Flyer or revealing secret strategy?

Last week the Hartford Board of Education rejected the secret one-year Sheff v. O’Neill settlement agreement amid concerns that it was an inappropriate, and potentially even illegal, attempt to allow Steve Perry to set up his own company and then hand control of both Capital Prep and SAND elementary school over to that private entity.

The Perry issue also took down two other proposed magnet schools for Hartford; one at Capital Community College and one at High School, Inc. an existing Hartford school program that is connected to Travelers Insurance Company.

In response to the defeat, Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland called a special meeting of the Hartford Board of Education for tonight to re-vote the two proposed magnet schools and move forward with the idea of a more public process to help the SAND Elementary School or another neighborhood school become what is being called a “Lighthouse School” (whatever that is).

Chairman Poland and Mayor Segarra appeared to be salvaging what they could from the secret Sheff v. O’Neill deal, leaving aside Perry’s empire-building proposal.

The understanding was that proceeding with the “Lighthouse School” option WAS NOT an underhanded attempt to sneak Perry back into the picture.

But not to be outdone, Perry forces were handing out handing out a flyer and rounding up Capital Prep parents this morning instructing them to go to tonight’s Board of Education meeting to demand the “$3 million and Capital Prep Light House School.”

The headline of Perry’s flyer reads:  “SAND Kids Can’t Wait”

flyer (3)

Perry’s fancy flyer raises serious doubts as to whether Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland and Mayor Pedro Segarra were telling the truth about the purpose of tonight’s meeting or, alternatively, are they being had by Steve Perry, perhaps with the help of embattled Superintendent of Schools, Christina Kishimoto and others.

It is hard to imagine which would be worse… that the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education and the Mayor of Hartford would be lying to their constituents and the people of Connecticut or that Perry would be undermining their effort without their knowledge.

What is clear is that Steve Perry believes the “$3 million and Capital Prep Light House School” is his for the taking.

The $3 million is money that Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor, OPM Secretary Barnes and Attorney General George Jepsen put on the table to try to convince the Sheff Plaintiffs to agree to this one-year deal so that they can push-off any further discussion of the segregation lawsuit until next year, after the 2014 gubernatorial election.

The “Lighthouse School” concept was a shell of an idea that has never been spelled out but was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1997.  (See language below).

Regardless of what was intended back in 1997, Steve Perry apparently believes that he has been guaranteed the leading role in an incredible deal that would allow him to take two existing public schools (Capital Prep and another Hartford School), more than 1,000 students, all of their state funding and an additional $3 million in a special allocation and move it off-line to a private company in which he is the sole officer.

The funding stream would provide Perry and his company with approximately $15 million a year in taxpayer funds.

For Perry to be so outspoken about the fact that Capital Prep parents should demand the “$3 million and Capital Prep Light House School” means others are definitely involved in this scam…

But the question is – is it Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor, Superintendent Kishimoto, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford Board Chair Matt Poland or all of the above?

This will go down as a case study in how Connecticut public policy is made during the Malloy years and it doesn’t get any uglier than this…

 

Here is the definition of Lighthouse Schools from an old State Department of Education document:

A ‘lighthouse school’ is an existing public school or a public school planned before July 1, 1997, in a priority school district that (1) has a specialized curriculum and (2) is designed to promote intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice. During the 2000-01 academic year five lighthouse schools were operating in Connecticut. The State Department of Education provided up to $100,000 in grants to schools in each of the state’s three largest urban districts, Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven, to support the development of lighthouse schools into regional interdistrict magnet schools. Over a three-year period, each school must develop a unique educational theme, devise a governance agreement, revise its curriculum, establish a contract with surrounding school districts that will become feeders for the magnet school, recruit a diverse student body, and provide professional development for its teachers. After up to three years of funding as a lighthouse school, the school must open as an interdistrict magnet school whose purpose is to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation. As a result of the lighthouse program, one elementary school and one middle school opened as interdistrict magnet schools in September 2001

And here is the Agenda for tonight’s Hartford Board of Education Meeting:

Approval to Implement Anticipated Sheff Agreement – Lighthouse (Dr. Kishimoto, Honorable Pedro Segarra, Mr. Poland and Dr. McIntye)

That the Hartford Board of Education further authorizes and directs the Superintendent to identify at least three (3) neighborhood and/or community schools as potential Lighthouse Schools, as well as the model(s) which may be implemented. The criteria to be used by the Superintendent in making these determinations shall include those used in considering re-designs, as well as any other relevant considerations. Thereafter, the Superintendent shall conduct one or more community forums to discuss the schools and models so identified.

Based on the results of said community forum(s), the Superintendent shall determine whether one or more of the schools and/or models so identified should be removed from consideration and whether a school and/or model not already so identified should be considered. After making these determinations, the Superintendent shall identify one (1) neighborhood school as a potential Lighthouse School, based on whether the school has the potential to meet the Lighthouse school goals. Specifically, does the school have conditions necessary for school quality improvement and increasing natural diversity? The Superintendent shall meet with and consider the input of the School Governance interested parents, other stakeholders, and the faculty and administration of said school. Based on the foregoing, the Superintendent shall recommend to the Board of Education one school for conversion to a Lighthouse School as well as the proposed model.

Approval to Implement Anticipated Sheff Agreement (Dr. Kishimoto, Honorable Pedro Segarra, Mr. Poland and Dr. McIntye)

That the Hartford Board of Education approves the creation of a new Partnership Magnet School with Capital Community College, the Capital Community College Senior Academy;

Furthermore, the Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with Capital Community College regarding the creation of such new school; and

Furthermore, the Board of Education authorizes the conversion of High School, Inc. to a Sheff magnet school starting with the 9th grade in 2014-2015 with expansion to grade 12 by 2017-2018.

Hartford Board of Education schedule re-vote for Monday (Capital Prep deal not part of vote yet)

Matt Poland, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education, has scheduled a “Special Meeting” of the board on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. in the plaza level conference room at 260 Constitution Plaza in Hartford.

According to the agenda that was sent out at 4:59 pm Friday (for a Monday meeting, state law requires that agendas be publicly available by 5pm at the latest), it appears that Superintendent Kishimoto, Chairman Poland and Mayor Segarra are seeking to get the Hartford Board to approve all of the elements of the secret one-year settlement in the Sheff v. O’Neil case except for the language associated with Capital Prep Steve Perry’s ability to set up his own company and move management of Capital Prep and SAND elementary to his private control.

The language of the new resolution that the Hartford Board intends to vote on also appears to try and appease parents at SAND elementary by suggesting that rather than target SAND from the outset, Kishimoto must go through a review process of up to three schools, and include the local school governance councils, before picking a school for some sort of takeover/makeover.

The proponents of the re-vote will argue that Hartford MUST approve this secret Sheff plan in order to receive money that Governor Malloy and the State Department of Education has “put on the table” to fund additional magnet schools in Hartford.

On the other hand, there is no particular reason that these discussions have to be secret and a greater degree of transparency would assure parents, teachers and taxpayers that an honest plan was being considered.  Transparency would also have allowed the public to have a better understanding about how Steve Perry’s absurd and counterproduce initiative was inserted into the Sheff settlement.

Hartford is not a party to the Sheff v. O’Neill lawsuit and it is beyond insulting that Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor are dictating – in secret – what the Hartford Board of Education MUST DO in order to fulfill a settlement that is not made public until after the decisions are made and yet still needs legislative approval in order to be implemented.

Hartford and its children, parents and teachers deserve better from the state’s highest elected and appointed officials.

Meanwhile, you can read a Hartford Courant editorial on the original vote here: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-hartford-school-fiasco-20131122,0,7673428.story and a commentary piece by East Hartford State Representative Jason Rojas about finding a more common sense approach for moving forward on the Sheff issues here:    http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-rojas-sheff-school-plan-needs-new-look-1124-20131122,0,49998.story.