Malloy, New London, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
Last week, at a forum sponsored by the Windham Federation of Teachers and the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), parents, teachers and other local Windham residents met with State Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-29) and State Representative Susan Johnson (D-49) to voice their outrage about the way “Special Master,” “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski has been undermining Windham’s schools.
Now the question is what are State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson going to do about what they heard?
The “Special Master” law that Williams and Johnson sponsored was supposed to give Windham (and later New London) additional state support and resources.
Instead, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski has spent millions of dollars in state and local funds to push his corporate education reform industry agenda on the unsuspecting students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham and New London.
Adamowski’s dictatorial and autocratic approach has angered parents, demoralized teachers, stunned local officials and left the schools in those two communities in chaos.
One of the most serious complaints has been Adamowski’s complete unwillingness to include parents, teachers and local officials in the decision making process.
Adamowski has repeatedly failed to follow Connecticut laws concerning the role of local school governance councils.
In Windham, Special Master Adamowski has completely mishandled the Windham Middle School “Turnaround” process. After months of work by a committee made up of local parents, teachers and administrators, Adamowski hijacked the process and demolished the locally grown plan by threatening Windham that it would not get state funds unless his proposals were substituted for the ones approved by the local committee.
When the committee balked at Adamowski’ effort, the Special Master, with the help and support of Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, threated to reject the plan leaving Windham without the funds it needed.
At the forum, Senator Williams and Representative Johnson also heard about Adamowski’s on-going efforts to reduce or eliminate bilingual and English Language Learner programs in Windham.
Both Windham and New London have seen an influx of families who use a language other than English as their primary language. Rather than rise to meet that challenge, Steven Adamowski has been forcing policy changes that teachers say are having a profoundly negative impact on students who need extra help to succeed in school.
Adamowski’s long list of failings has been well documented over the past two years.
What has also been well documented are the issues related to the way he has spent state funds.
Adamowski has spent upwards toward $2 million, almost all of it without utilizing appropriate competitive bidding processes.
Numerous consultants and companies that he has done business with in the past have benefited from his largess.
But nobody has benefited more than Adamowski himself.
During the past two years, Adamowski has collected a total salary of $450,000 plus full medical and dental insurance for both himself and his wife.
The state has also paid for his professional and general liability insurance plus a stipend to pay for his life and disability insurance policies.
In addition to his taxpayer-funded salary and benefit package, Adamowski was given 25 days of vacation time per year, 15 days of paid sick time per year and 3 days of paid personal time per year. Overall this means that in addition to all the paid holidays, Adamowski was able to use or accrue nearly nine weeks of paid time off each year…that is four and half months of paid time over during the contract period.
And to top things off, just this past August, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor made Steven Adamowski a state employee. The move was made before the State Board of Education had even decided whether to continue the Special Master’s role and the job Adamowski was given was never posted nor did he have to go through any process to get the position.
At last week’s AFT forum, State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson heard about all these issues and more.
But to reiterate the obvious, the question is now what are these legislators going to do to stop Adamowski from doing even more damage to their community’s schools.
Malloy, New London, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
[A long but important post] Tomorrow, (Oct 2nd) State Senator Don Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson are scheduled to meet with their constituents about the damage “Special Master”, “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski is doing to their community.
The children, parents, teacher and taxpayers of New London deserve a similar meeting with their elected officials.
No matter how well intentioned the effort to install a “Special Master” for Windham and New London may have been, legislators should recognize that Steven Adamowski has undermined the fundamental rights of those two communities while significantly damaging the local school systems in the name of corporate education reform.
With virtually no over-sight or appropriate checks and balances, Steven Adamowski has collected more than $500,000 in salary and benefits over the past twenty-four months and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds on no-bid contracts with people and companies he has worked with in the past.
Rather than step in to stop Adamowski’s abuses, state officials, led by the Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, have provided Adamowski with cover.
The latest, and most egregious of these actions was to give Adamowski a six-figure state job before the State Board of Education even voted to extend Adamowski’s role as “Special Master”
Adamowski’s unsupervised expenditures should have been enough to convince legislators to repeal the Special Master legislation. But sadly, Adamowski’s damage goes far beyond how he has expended public funds.
“Special Deal” Adamowski has earned that name over and over again; the time has come for Connecticut’s elected officials, and especially Windham’s state legislators to put an end to Adamowski’s reign of abuse.
As State Senator Don Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson review the facts, they should pay special attention to the following issues;
- The role of “Special Master” was intended to augment local control by administrators, teachers, parents and taxpayers. It was never intended to destroy the rights of local citizens to run their schools. In the United States, no one, especially in the Constitution State, deserves to be treated like second class citizen but that is exactly what has happened in Windham (and New London). When it comes to setting public policy and the use of public funds, Adamowski has consistently undermined the right of self-governance and has conducted himself in an autocratic and dictatorial fashion.
- Legislators may have believed the Special Master legislation was a mechanism to get more attention and financial support for their district’s schools, but the process has become a tool for Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Steven Adamowski to push their politically driven corporate education reform agenda. Windham’s students, parents and teachers have become guinea pigs in a failed education reform experiment that undermines the role of teachers, privatizes local education and seeks to pigeon-hole students into pre-determined categories and outcomes.
- Sold as a way to institute an additional level of professional management over Windham and New London, the Special Master has spent minimal time in the districts, less time in schools, and virtually none observing teaching and learning. He has made virtually no effort to get to know the community or is constituencies and has taken no time to learn about the impact his policies are having on the students, parents and teachers who have been forced to live with them. More
Alan Taylor, Malloy, New London, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, New London, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
Why did the Malloy Administration rush through hiring Steven Adamowski?
Why did Adamowski start in his new state position even before the State Board of Education voted to extend his appointment as Special Master for the Windham and New London school systems?
It turns out the answer, at least in part, can be found in the no-bid contract Adamowski was given in July 2011.
More than two years ago, with the support of Windham state legislators, State Senator Donald Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized the creation of a Special Masters position with the adoption of Section 138 of Public Act 11-16.
A month later, without any open, competitive bidding or review process, Malloy’s Acting Commissioner of Education gave the Special Master’s job to Steven Adamowski by directing the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hire him, a move that later drew a rebuke from the Connecticut State Auditors.
The contracted, signed July 25, 2011 provided that Adamowski would begin on August 15, 2011 and that, “The Agreement term shall be from August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2013.” The amount of Adamowski’s compensation was set at $450,000 for the two year period.
Fast-forward two years later…
By stuffing Steven Adamowski into a state position effective August 30, 2013, the Malloy Administration was ensuring that Steven Adamowski wouldn’t miss a pay-period despite the fact that his no-bid SERC contract ran out effective August 15, 2013.
Although Adamowski has been making $4,327 every two weeks for the past two years, Commissioner Stefan Pryor cut corners to put Adamowski on the state payroll effective August 30, 2013 even though the State Board of Education hadn’t even voted to extend Adamowski’s term as “Special Master.”
Was the State Board of Education taken for a ride or worse, did they know that a special deal with Adamowski was already a done deal and chose not to say anything?
On September 4, 2013, the State Board of Education, under the leadership of Board Chairman Allan Taylor, voted to extend Adamowski’s contract as Special Master. At the time, neither Pryor nor Taylor publically informed the State Board of Education or the public that Adamowski had already been hired by the state.
In fact, Pryor clearly implied, and his public relations staff confirmed to the media, that the vote would allow Pryor to hire (future tense) Adamowski as a state employee.
However, a set of state emails acquired this week reveal that Pryor’s staff was already working feverishly to get Adamowski on the state payroll long before the State Board of Education voted to allow Adamowski to continue his role as Special Master.
In an email dated Wednesday, August 28, 2013 (5:47 p.m.), for example, Stefan Pryor’s Chief of Staff, Adam Goldfarb, wrote to Malloy’s Office of Policy and Management saying, “the very time-sensitive durational position we discussed is heading to your approval queue. Could you please do us a favor and look out for it? Need to get it all the way done by Friday! Thank you, Adam.”
The entire episode raises numerous questions, but the most significant question of all is what did the State Board of Education know and when did it know it?
If would be disturbing indeed if the State Board of Education knew about this charade and remained silent.
Malloy, New London, State Budget, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Teach for America, Windham Malloy, New London, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
Since the Malloy administration gave Steven Adamowski his no-bid contract to serve as “Special Master” for Windham and New London, Adamowski has collected a salary of about $450,000 for himself and another $168,000 for his staff. Add in over $140,000 more for health and insurance benefits, $17,000 for travel and $29,000 for equipment and it starts to become clear just how much Connecticut’s taxpayers are “investing” in Adamowski and his “management style.”
Equally troublesome is Adamowski’s free hand with the state’s check book.
According to documents collected from a series of recent Freedom of Information requests, over the past two years, Adamowski has been on a massive spending spree of public funds in his capacity as “Special Master.”
In addition to ordering local officials in Windham and New London about how they should be spending their funds, Adamowski has his own stash of state funds to play with.
Over the past two years Adamowski has spent $132,000 on engineering projects and studies with a company called Friar Associations (There was no competitive bidding conducted related to those projects). Another engineering company, Gale Associates out of Weymouth, Massachusetts picked up another $15,250 courtesy of Adamowski.
The Center for Reform of School Systems, a consulting group out of Houston, Texas was given $39,000 in a no-bid contract to “provide 6 additional days of service for New London Special Master Grant Program.”
And the National SAM Innovation Project, a consulting operation out of the Jefferson County Public School System in Louisville, Kentucky collected $12,700 in another no-bid contract for services.
The law firm of Shipman & Goodwin received $34,000 (no-bid contract) and Adamowski dropped $12,370 on a company called Telogis for some refurbished computers, which came on top of his $29,000 equipment budget.
The organization called Leadership Greater Hartford was paid $34,000 to train Windham’s local school governance councils which is particularly ironic since Adamowski has consistently refused to include the school governance councils in key decision making, despite a Connecticut law that requires these local councils of parents, teachers and citizens to be consulted.
Another direct beneficiary of Adamowski’s spending has been CompassLearning, the Dallas based corporate entity that owns the rights to sell site licenses for the so-called Renzulli Academy. Despite very strong opposition to Adamowski’s push to open Renzulli Gifted and Talented schools in Windham and New London, CompassLearning was paid $22,500 in public funds for Renzulli Annual Site Licenses for ALL Windham schools.
The Connecticut Science Center, the publicly funded science museum in Hartford, which was supposed to “partner” with Windham’s new STEM Magnet School, was paid more than $90,000.
And Teach for America collected a finder’s fee of at least $35,000 from Adamowski, on top of the $33,000 that Teach for America received from the Windham School System. Wait, What? readers may recall that while TFA charges most cities $2,500 to $3,000 for each TFA recruit they place in a local school, Adamowski signed a deal with Teach for America that guaranteed them $4,000 per TFA recruit.
Add in another $72,000 for computer based “MAP Assessment testing” and tens of thousands of dollars that are simply listed as “teacher stipends” or “professional development” and we start to get a clearer picture of how the “Special Master” is spending taxpayer funds in a “special way.”
Perhaps the oddest expense of all are two checks totaling $125,000 that were written as part of Adamowski’s on-going effort to “persuade” the Town of Windham to purchase the propriety municipal finance software called MUNIS. Adamowski has been engaged in a similar effort to force New London to choose MUNIS as their software vendor.
It all bring us back to the key question of why Connecticut’s legislators or Connecticut’s auditors haven’t stepped in to put a stop to Adamowski and his no-bid, no-rules spending spree of our scarce public funds.
Malloy, New London, Paul Vallas, Pension, Retired Teachers, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, New London, Pension, Retired Teachers, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
On August 29, 2013, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski was completing his second year under a $225,000 no-bid contract that the Malloy Administration had run through the State Education Resource Center.
The next day, August 30, 2013, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski was a Connecticut state employee, holding the title of Durational Project Manager.
Same duties, different employer.
Steven Adamowski is so “special” that the Malloy/Pryor Operation didn’t even bother to post the position or follow any type of competitive or open hiring process.
The words Steven Adamowski and Special seem to go hand in hand.
Although only certified teachers are allowed to participate in the State Teachers Retirement System, a loophole in the state statutes will allow Steven Adamowski, who IS NOT CERTIFIED to teach or certified be a school administrator; to use his new job in the Malloy administration to add years to his Teachers Retirement pension.
Alternatively, Adamowski can use his new state position to guarantee himself full retired state employee health benefits assuming he works for the state for five years.
As retired school teachers and administrators know, Connecticut’s teacher retirement health insurance program is limited and getting more and more expensive.
While retired state employees receive more substantial and less-expensive health insurance, retired teachers are facing higher and higher premiums. Some retired teachers are coming face to face with the reality that they simply can’t afford even the more limited health insurance package that is available to them.
But thanks to Governor Malloy and Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski will not only collect a pension from the Teachers Retirement System, but if he continues to play his cards right he’ll get to retire with the state’s retired state employee health plan that could be worth $20,000 or more a year…..for life.
But as noted above, Steven Adamowski is used to special treatment.
- On the last day of the Connecticut General Assembly’s 2007 legislative session an amendment was added to a bill that allowed Steven Adamowski to serve as Hartford’s superintendent of schools despite the fact that he did not have the certification to be a superintendent in Connecticut. He held that position for five years. The only other person to benefit from that section of the Connecticut state statutes is none-other-than Paul Vallas (although they had to change the statute to try to fit his particular circumstances).
- Then, speaking of special treatment, in 2012, when Governor Malloy introduced his “Education Reform” legislation, Section 32 of Malloy’s bill sought to retroactively give Steven Adamowski Teacher Retirement pension credits for his time as Hartford’s superintendent. Following widespread publicity about the end-run to boost Adamowski’s pension, the legislature removed the special language.
- Meanwhile, it was about the same time that Adamowski got his no-bid, $225,000 plus benefits contract to serve as “Special Master” of Windham. His role was later expanded to serve as “Special Master” for both Windham and New London.
- The contract to serve as “Special Master,” included language that tried to allow him to tap into the Teacher Retirement System for his time as “Special Master,” but he was once again blocked from adding years due to his lack of teacher certification.
But now, thanks to the decision to make him a state employee, Adamowski is back in the driver’s seat, where is able to add years to his Teachers Retirement Pension or go for the more generous health benefits.
Whether you call him a Friend of Dan (FOD) or a Friend of Stefan (FOS) there is simply no question that Steven Adamowski is special!
Malloy, New London, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, New London, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
As if it couldn’t get any more unethical or bizarre, official State of Connecticut documents reveal that “Special Master” Steven Adamowski became a $162,000.09, Durational Project Manager on August 30, 2013….
Five days before the State Board of Education met to receive the Special Master’s report on his work in Windham and New London and to decide whether or not to extend his term as Special Master for the two communities.
As reported here in Wait, What?, the Hartford Courant and other media outlets, Steven Adamowski was given a no-bid $225,000 plus benefits contract through the State Education Resource Center two years ago.
On September 4, 2013, upon the recommendation of Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, the Connecticut State Board of Education meet and voted to extend Steven Adamowski’s term as “Special Master” for one year.
At the meeting, Pryor announced that Special Master Steven Adamowski would taking a $62,000 pay cut to become a state employee in the State Department of Education, rather than remain an employee of SERC, the State Education Resource Center.
The move by Pryor and the State Board of Education generated a post here entitled What the Hell is going on: Pryor and State Board of Education make Adamowski a State Employee (September 5th)
Yesterday, a follow up article was published entitled News Flash: Mystery solved: Pryor’s appointment of Adamowski as state employee will push up Special Master’s pension! (September 9th). This story reported that the move from SERC employee to state employee would allow Adamowski to boost his pension. The post read, “Well the mystery has finally been resolved and the answer lies in exactly a dozen words deep inside the existing state statutes! Subsection 26 of Section 10-183b of the Connecticut State Statutes defines the term “Teacher” for the purposes of the Connecticut Teachers Retirement System…And subsection (D) of subsection 26 of Section 10-183b provides that “a member of the professional staff of the State Board of Education” may elect to be in the Teachers Retirement System instead of the State Employees Retirement System. The phrase, “a member of the professional staff of the State Board of Education” is not limited by whether or not the individual is certified to serve as a teacher or administrator.”
But now comes even more incredible news.
According to the hiring papers filed with the state, Commissioner Stefan Pryor appears to have hired Adamowski BEFORE the State Board of Education even decided whether to extend Adamowski’s term as Special Master.
The hiring documents reveal a hire date of August 30, 2013.
It is not clear how Pryor received the legal authority to hire Adamowski to the $162,000 durational project manager job….
It is even less unclear how Pryor could have managed to hire Adamowski before the State Board even met to consider continuing Adamowski’s status as Special Master.
Malloy, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
Tom Drewry is a teacher in the Windham Public Schools and a Willimantic resident. Until recently he held a position with the Windham Federation of Teachers.
Tom is also one of the most articulate, dedicated and forceful advocates for the students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham.
One of the most important agenda items as this week’s State Board of Education meeting was whether the State of Connecticut should continue to force Windham and New London to suffer under the “oversight” of a “Special Master” and whether Steven Adamowski should continue to serve as the State’s Special Master for those two communities.
The agenda for the State Board of Education’s meeting was published less than 24 hours before the meeting was to be held and during the “public input” portion of the meeting, members of the public were required to limit their remarks to no more than three minutes.
As we’ve learned in recent years, the notion that the State Board of Education is a public entity and its primary purpose is to serve the public seems to be a concept that eludes some members of the Board.
Of course, as we now know, even before the public comments were taken, the members of the State Board of Education had already decided to extend Adamowski’s tenure as Special Master and had even decided to make him a state employee.
The following link will take you to the full written testimony of Tom Drewry. While the State Board doesn’t seem to be impressed or persuaded with the educated assessments from those living under Steven Adamowski’s autocratic rule, the citizens of Connecticut deserve to know the truth.
And it is exactly that truth they will get from reading this testimony.
Windham’s Adamowski Experience: Thomas Drewry, Testimony for State Board of Education 9-5-13
”I also wish to speak briefly against the resolution to extend the term of the Special Master to Windham. I had been checking for an agenda for this meeting for weeks for assurance that the Commissioner’s Network was indeed on the agenda- no sitting member of the Turnaround Committee was ever informed of the meeting, no less asked to attend. When the agenda did appear yesterday, I was surprised to see that also on it was a resolution to extend the appointment of the special master. That such important information was not publicized until last minute seems an indication of a lack of willingness to entertain public input on vital and controversial decisions. It disturbs me further that few people knew that such an extension was required at the point: if I have spoken about the status of the special master position with lawmakers, local board members, lawyers and union officials seeking specifically to find out when and how he is appointed, contracted, evaluated and reappointed. It is an unjustifiably and undemocratically murky process if extensions can be generated with fewer than twenty-four hours for citizens to prepare to deliver testimony at an earning work-morning meeting.
To be straightforward on the central issue, I believe that an extension of the special master’s appointment in Windham is disastrous for my community. The reasons are legion, and include, of course, what I’ve written about above regarding the Commissioner’s Network. Others will flesh-out the story of his destructive reign, though I have spoken and written about it elsewhere.
I feel I must point out that I feel a bit resentful having to make my desperate appeals on matters of education to a board of education on which exactly one educator sits. No other board or committee of this state government is constituted in such way where the non-experts decisively outnumber the professional experts. This is not a statement about the intentions or personal investment of any individual member. Rather, it is a critique of an institutional culture that actively denigrates educators and in the process puts politics before children. I believe that state legislators need to consider a measure that would guarantee that at least fifty percent of the appointees to this board have had substantial classroom experience.”
Note: I urge Wait, What? readers to take the time to read through Tom’s entire testimony. It speaks the truth and lays out the facts in a way that should worry every single parent and citizens of Connecticut.
The actions of Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski and the others pushing Malloy’s corporate education reform agenda are undermining the sanctity of our public education system. The damage is occurring quicker in some towns than in others. Windham and New London are presently “ground zero” in this effort to destroy our public schools….but every public school in Connecticut will be impacted by these so-called “reform” programs.
Again, Tom’s full testimony can be found at http://www.scribd.com/doc/166041994/Windham-s-Adamowski-Experience-Thomas-Drewry-Testimony-for-State-Board-of-Education-9-5-13
Malloy, New London, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, New London, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
At yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, recommended that the Board of Education grant Steven Adamowski a one-year extension in his role as the Special Master for the Windham and New London school systems.
And then, in a surprising and extraordinary turn of events, Pryor announced that Special Master Steven Adamowski would become a state employee rather than continue on as a consultant through the State Education Resource Center (SERC), SERC being the agency Pryor used to hand out over half a million in no-bid contracts to various companies that helped him write Malloy’s education reform bill.
As reported by the Hartford Courant’s Kathy Megan, Pryor and his spokesperson explained that Adamowski’s position “belongs” at the state agency. They also announced that Adamowski’s salary would be reduced from $225,000 plus benefits to $162,000 plus benefits in order to make it “comparable to other top-level salaries in the department.”
Wait, What? readers will recall that Governor Malloy’s original education reform bill included special language that would have retroactively added five years to Steven Adamowski’s Connecticut Teachers Retirement Pension.
With the addition of his time as Special Master and his ability to purchase out of state time, the Malloy/Pryor maneuver would actually have increased Adamowski’s annual pension by as much as $35,000 or more per year.
However, as a result of the publicity generated by the media coverage (see Wait, What? blog links below), Connecticut legislators removed the Adamowski gift from the final bill.
Now two years have gone by and, out of the blue, Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education announce that Adamowski will be no longer be a paid consultant but will become a state employee and is willing accepting a $63,000 pay cut.
Since Adamowski’s compensation package at the State Education Resource Center included a generous health insurance package, it stands to reason that this latest move is somehow related to trying to boost Adamowski’s taxpayer funded pension. However, it is not clear yet how the move would actually increase the Adamowski’s annual pension.
What is clear is that some extraordinary deal has taken place, but it is a deal hidden from public view.
Connecticut State Government continues to face a fiscal crisis and hundreds of vital state positions are going unfilled including critical vacancies at the state Department of Education.
In fact, the more one understands about the decision to make Adamowski a state employee, the more serious are the questions that are raised.
The Special Master position WAS NOT part of Commissioner Pryor’s infamous departmental reorganization plan that was approved by the State Board of Education in 2012. This means the position for Adamowski doesn’t even exist under Pryor’s operating plan.
Of course, any new senior position would have had to have been approved by the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Administrative Services and the Governor’s Office. Yet no mention was made yesterday that such a process had been successfully pursued.
Even if a new senior position at the State Department of Education had been created, state laws and regulations would have required some sort of effort to post the position and there would have had to have been some type of recruitment and review process before the state position could have been filed.
But in this case, no position was posted and no recruitment or review process took place leading up to the decision to make Steven Adamowski a state employee.
Equally troublesome is that the decision to make Adamowski a state employee was clearly made prior to the review process that was required before the State Board of Education could extend Adamowski’s role as Special Master.
And all of these issues are clouded by the notion that this effort is somehow related to a renewed attempt to get around the General Assembly’s decision to keep the Malloy administration from boosting Adamowski’s pension by tens of thousands of dollars a year.
The Special Master system is an unfair and destructive program to begin with.
Steven Adamowski, in particular, has used the position to undermine the fundamental rights of students, parents, teachers and local officials in Windham and New London.
The Special Master program should be eliminated but instead, yesterday, the State Board of Education took made a truly unprecedented step to continue the Special Master’s role and reward Steven Adamowski for his failures.
The entire situation should leave the people of Windham and New London, ever very other state employee and every Connecticut taxpayer asking the question….What the hell is going on…?
Governor Malloy has an obligation to immediately step forward and fill in the missing pieces to this controversy.
If Malloy doesn’t reveal what is going down then the Connecticut General Assembly must act to force the Governor and his appointees to come clean on exactly why this inappropriate action has been taken.
You can find the Hartford Courant’s story about yesterday’s meeting here: http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-state-board-education-0905-20130904,0,4111459.story.
And if you want to read more about Malloy’s effort to pad Adamowski’ pension, here are some of the earlier Wait, What? blog posts;
Pension, Pension, who wants a Pension – Steven Adamowski this is your lucky day.
A Hundred Thousand Dollar Plus Pension? The Adamowski Pension Controversy Part II
The Adamowksi Pension Farce: Part III
Heeee’s Back: Malloy Ally Adamowksi Continues to Maneuver for a Larger Teachers Retirement Pension.
The Adamowski Pension: A Story of one Education Reformers Sense of “Entitlement”
Malloy, State Representative Susan Johnson, State Senator Don Williams, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
As if the term “Special Master” wasn’t bad enough, the fact that Steven Adamowski’s insulting, arrogant and undemocratic style is moving Windham Schools in the wrong direction makes the whole situation truly offensive.
In a very enlightening article in the Reminder News, reporter Melanie Savage provides a window in to the devastation that Adamowski is visiting upon the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Windham.
With a growing Latino student population, Adamowski’s utter disregard for Windham’s bilingual and English Language Learner programs are a prime example of Adamowski’s approach to “education reform.”
Services for the district’s growing population of bilingual and English language learners have been virtually eliminated.
Despite the fact that intensive instruction is needed to provide students with the English language skills they need, Adamowski has systematically reduced intensive support programs and replaced them with what is being called “bilingual support.”
Morale among Windham teachers is extremely low and many of the communities’ best teachers are leaving to take jobs in communities where they are given the administrative support needed to properly service their students.
As one courageous teacher explained, “We’ve seen things happening that we know don’t represent the best interests of our students,” said Kathy Koljian, an English and language arts teacher at Windham High School. Koljian is the Teacher of the Year at Windham High School.
And Windham Middle School Teacher of the Year, Patty Roy added that Windham’s students are simply “not getting what they need…”
Even the most basic analysis of the situation reveals the absurdity of some of Adamowski’s actions.
The article reports that, “programs that were designed to support students struggling with behavioral issues have been dismantled. The Connections program at WHS and the Green Team at WMS were functioning very well for these students, say the teachers. But the programs have been eliminated, and the students returned to regular classrooms. This has affected students across the spectrum; needier students are not getting the support that they need, and average and above-average students are having their classrooms disrupted, according to the teachers.”
The reporter goes on to explain that, “Another hurried decision made unilaterally by the special master, said teachers, was the division of Windham High School into two separate academies – the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy and the Academy of Humanities and Arts. As teachers prepare for the second year since the change, ‘We still don’t have curriculum for either one,’ said Koljian. And this year’s CAPT scores show significantly lower performance by students in the Humanities and Arts academy than those in the STEM academy across most areas, suggesting that the academy model is serving to segregate students rather than unite them.”
Although state and local resources are extremely scarce, Special Master Adamowski has also dramatically expanded the number of administrators and diverted money toward hiring TFA recruits rather than teachers who went through Connecticut based teacher education programs such as those at UConn and Connecticut State University.
Certainly one of the most troubling developments has been Adamowski’s unilateral, and arguably illegal, maneuvers that will led to further racial and ethnic segregation in Windham’s Schools.
In two highly suspicious deals, Adamowski created new programs to allow a limited number of students to attend Norwich Free Academy and Parish Hill. Calling it a “school choice” program, Adamowski’s initiatives drain resources away from Windham’s underfunded schools and because student transportation isn’t provided and neither NFA nor Parish Hill are equipped to provide meaningful English Language Learning programs, Adamowski’s plan is a de facto mechanism to discriminate against poorer students, those who aren’t fluent in English and those that come from families in which English is not the primary language.
While Connecticut’s Constitution and laws clearly forbid discrimination, Adamowski’s actions are taking Windham in exactly the wrong direction.
Taken together, the recent developments in Windham leave Adamowski with nothing short of a failing grade.
The question now is whether the Connecticut legislature will step in to reverse the damage being done by Governor Malloy’s Special Master.
You can find the full Reminder News article on Windham at: http://www.remindernews.com/article/2013/08/26/teachers-speak-out-about-changes-in-windham
Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowksi, Windham
As Rome burns, Adamowski tells Windham taxpayers which companies to hire and what they must do with their public funds….
(An update on Windham by Jonathan Pelto and Mary Gallucci, a Windham parent and education advocate)
As a result of inadequate state funding, Windham’s public schools are among the most underfunded in Connecticut and Windham taxpayers are consistently being told they need to put in more money to keep their schools afloat.
Windham’s lack of resources was one of the reasons the Connecticut General Assembly went along with Governor Malloy’s proposal to install a “Special Master” to oversee Windham’s Schools.
When passing the Special Master Law, the Legislature also allocated an additional $1 million per year to help fund Windham’s schools.
Of course Steven Adamowski’s $225,000 salary came out of those funds, as did his tens of thousands in employee benefits and a secretary housed in Hartford.
Since then, Windham’s parents, teachers and taxpayers have learned, the hard way, that Adamowski somehow thinks that money is his to dish out, rather than belonging to Windham and its schools.
Over the last few months, Steven Adamowski announced that “he” had $125,000 to contribute toward an incredibly expensive proposal to combine the financial systems of the Town of Windham and the Windham School Systems.
Just last month, the Willimantic Chronicle newspaper reported that the Windham Town Council had approved a $114,000 contract to pay the consulting firm of Blum Shapiro to serve as the project manager for Windham’s financial management project.
Now comes word that the Windham Board of Finance will discuss and possibly take action today to allocate $448,000 to acquire the proprietary “MUNIS Financial System.” Apparently the $448,000 is only a portion of the cost that Windham will incur. There are unpublished reports that Windham will also have to come up with $399,000 for a company called Tyler Tech and at least $20K for the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology to host the new system.
While Windham’s school are facing unprecedented financial problems, Adamowski is going well beyond his statutory authority and diverting scarce state funds to leverage Windham’s financial decision about what software to purchase.
It will come as no surprise that one of MUNIS’ existing clients the City of Hartford, Connecticut where Adamowski served for five years as superintendent of schools.
Lost in the rush to purchase the MUNIS system is that the Town of Windham currently uses a software package provided by a company SunGard. Purchased a decade ago, Windham has spent significant amounts of money upgrading the system and there are certainly communities that successfully use SunGard instead of MUNIS to handle coordinated town and school finances.
As the saying goes, the whole thing seems increasingly odd.
Especially considering when Adamowski’s duties were expanded to oversee the New London School System the first thing he did was inappropriately STOP their attempt at a coordinated consolidation of their town and school finances system. See: http://nlweb.sx.atl.publicus.com/article/20120704/NWS01/307049912/Special-master’s-action-to-halt-consolidation-effort-in-New-London-criticized. At the time he made of point of saying such a move required picking the right software.
And meanwhile, when it comes to following the law, just try to find the competitive bid that is required on a project of this magnitude (For example, any bid in excess of $5,000, Windham Ordinance 2-84).
The time has come for Connecticut’s State Auditors to look into how Steven Adamowski is using the funds allocated by the Connecticut General Assembly.