Friday, August 28, 2015

What's a few million dollars between friends?

Kate Royals of the Clarion-Ledger busted the Jackson Public School District for awarding a $3.5 million contract to some "consultants" who worked with the district to improve academic performance.  The newspaper reported:

A Ridgeland-based educational consulting company is entering the second year of a $3 million contract with the Jackson Public School District.

By the end of this school year, The Kirkland Group will have made $3.5 million in the past two and a half years working with teachers and principals at struggling schools in the district.

Several in top positions in the company are former employees of the Jackson Public School District. Executive Vice President Chan Cleveland worked in both JPS and Hinds County schools, while head coach Randy Bernamonti worked as an assistant superintendent in the district for seven years, according to LinkedIn.

When asked whether that poses any conflict of interest, Abby Webley, executive director of JPS federal programs, said it was a benefit.

"To me, when you hire someone who has worked with the district, that lessens the learning curve. That person understands where the needs are and understands where the challenges are," she said.

The group's work began in January of 2014 when the district paid The Bailey-Kirkland Group (The Kirkland Group temporarily merged with the Bailey Education Group) $493,000 to provide professional development and other consultative services to teachers and administrators.

"At the time we had 35 schools identified as D or F (by the 2012-2013 accountability ratings), we had a lot of new principal leadership in our schools, and I think we hired roughly 200 new teachers at that time," Webley said of the decision to hire the group. "We had a total restructuring that year, and had to bring in a group that could help us."

The services are paid for using Title I money, federal funds given to school districts with high numbers of students from low-income families. JPS receives the most Title I funding of any district in the state, according to the Mississippi Department of Education.

Six months later, the district then issued requests for proposals for the larger contract for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. According to the district, seven other companies besides The Kirkland Group submitted proposals, which a committee of administrators reviewed, eventually selecting The Kirkland Group, the second lowest bidder.

Green Education Services submitted the lowest bid for the contract, but it was not chosen because it didn't address certain needs in the district's request for proposals and "did not have the capacity" to meet the district's needs, Webley said. The school board then approved the contract with The Kirkland Group.

The Kirkland Group did not respond to specific questions about its work with JPS and other school districts but did issue an emailed statement.

"The Kirkland Group has a long standing record of improving the academic performance and achievement of students; Dr. Cedrick Gray's number one Wildly Important Goal (WIGs) for the Jackson Public School District," an email from spokesperson Karla McCullough said.

McCullough also said of the 18 schools in JPS whose performance increased in the 2013-2014 school year, it worked with 15 of them..... Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

So people who could do no better while employed for the district are now paid a king's ransom to improve the things they couldn't fix earlier?

Anonymous said...

Educational Consultancy is BIG business. The Bailey group has earned Millions of dollars all around the state to consult with local districts about instruction, leadership, and assessments. Why is tis news?

Anonymous said...

It's news because all the money in the state can't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

Those millions are paid on top of the pension they are getting. This gravy train of drawing a pension but continuing to reap compensation as a consultant needs to be put to an end by the legislature. Retire, get a raise.

Anonymous said...

When the state takes over a district the "retired" administrators rape the taxpayers. After 6 months they bring in another to do the same. Hazlehurst went through it.......still failing. What a racket!

Anonymous said...

JPS exists only for the purpose of paying a bunch of losers (the administrators) a ton of money they don't deserve. The whole thing is one big scam.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Correctional consultants are to the DOC as Educational consultants are to the DOE?

bill said...

Funny coincidence. When you posted this on Facebook it was accompanied by the ad for Rudy Warnock and Associates.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. How many multi-million dollar sweetheart contracts does MDOT dish out yearly to ex-MDOT employees gone into private consulting?

Anonymous said...

I taught in JPS. I never had anyone from Kirlkand "help" me teach.

The name Kirkland sounds vaguely familiar. I don't know if its because it was some b.s. group mentioned in a faculty meeting, or if I am thinking of the food brand at Costco.

How has Gray not been fired?

1) All the JPS employees who said in a survey last year that their work environment feels out of control.

2) Gray practically preaching at Convocation.

3) This

PS) We had to take a survey in JPS last year by some friend of Gray working on her PhD at Union in Tennessee. The survey seemed like it was written by someone less intelligent than every single UMC and Millsaps grad. It's time to draw straws at the corner of North State and Woodrow to decides who makes the decisions for this city.

Fingernails On The Blackboard said...

Correctional consultants are to the DOC as Educational consultants are to the DOE?


Meanwhile; the retired superintendent of the perennially poorly performing Canton School District is hired as a consultant to be an 'Interim Superintendent' at the Kosciusko school system. Where did they get his name, you might ask? Why, from the consulting group that retired educators belong to, that's where.

Do the parents and the school board members in Kosciusko want their system to join Canton in the toilet? Good question.

This problem is way worse than the Epps scandal.

The Whole World's A Racket said...

You would not believe how many borderline management level employees at school districts who have been or were facing termination, who then retired and became consultants to the State Department of Education. And the number of terminated employees who form or join companies hawking software to school districts. They wind up in the offices of principals and superintendents, often in the same school systems where they faced sanction or were fired. Cutting deals, selling software, promising results, leaving with a sack of peanut-butter cookies from the cafeteria.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to remain impartial on the Initiative 42 v 42A debate and listen to both sides before the official vote. But this seems to be one more reason to vote against 42. Jackson has wasted another 3.5 million in two years for "consultants", and yet there has been no sign of improvement at JPS, zero, none, nada. More money hasn't fixed JPS. In fact, according to the last round of numbers, JPS spends almost twice as much per student as other high-performing districts (Desoto County, Madison County, Lee County/Tupelo, etc)but yet has significantly worse results. Now, despite saying they need more money, don't have the needed books, teacher salaries being too low, etc, JPS spends 3.5 million on consultants who have not produced better results.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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