Sunday, May 8, 2016

JPS needs mo' money.

Here we go again.  Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray went complaining to the Clarion-Ledger that JPS is about to crash due to budget cuts.  The newspaper dutifully complied with his histrionics by penning the headline "JPS in financial crisis, superintendent says" to the story.  Unfortunately for the readers, the reporter took every word spoken by the education guru as gospel and didn't challenge him anywhere in the press release, oops, make that article.

The newspaper reported:

The superintendent of the Jackson Public Schools said the district is in a financial crisis, and the culprit, he said, is inadequate funding by the state's lawmakers.

With less than one month left in the school year, Cedrick Gray, superintendent of the Jackson Public School District, said the 2015-2016 Mississippi Adequate Education Program budget will take an "impactful" hit of $559,555.

If the reporter had used the calculator on her Iphone, she would've found that this so-called cut is literally 0.2% of the JPS budget if one uses the 2014 budget of $265 million*.  However, Dr. Gray claims later in the story that the budget is $211 million.  The $559,555 cut is only 0.265% of the budget.  However, math seems to escape reporters at the state newspaper.  Dr. Gray then points out JPS will suffer more serious cuts next year:

The 2016-2017 MAEP allocation, pending Gov. Phil Bryant's signature, will be reduced by $4 million, Gray said.

"We've already budgeted it so that means we're going to have to really pull back the reins  in a lot of ways," Gray said Monday. "Not fully funding MAEP was already costing us. Now it's going to cost us an additional $4 million which means we'll have to figure out what we're going to do with it and how we're going to adjust."

Make no mistake.  $4 million is a great deal of money and JPS will have to make some changes.  However, $4 million is all of 2.0% of the JPS budget.  If the budget is $265 million as it was earlier, then the $4 million cut is approximately 1.5% of the budget.   However, the Superintendent says people will have to suffer if these draconian cuts take place:

 "We've already budgeted it so that means we're going to have to really pull back the reins  in a lot of ways," Gray said Monday. "Not fully funding MAEP was already costing us. Now it's going to cost us an additional $4 million which means we'll have to figure out what we're going to do with it and how we're going to adjust."

 Several options include closing schools, taking away programs like art and music and increasing class size.

"At this point, all of that's on the table," Gray said. With 28,000  students in the district, JPS has a current operating budget of $211 million and approximately $15 million in  its rainy day fund.

The  $500,000 cut for the current school year could fund the salaries for 10 teachers, Gray said. It could also fund an HVAC unit in need of repair at one of the district's 16 schools.

Plagued with aging school buses that are 15-22 years old, the district could use $500,000 to buy five new school buses. It currently operates with 150.

However, all of those needs are on hold with more potential cuts to come. Rest of article.
JJ is so glad he mentioned the $500,000 cut and what he could do with it.  Did these needs cross Dr. Gray's mind when he paid off his friends on the $118 million bond refinance last year?  If Dr. Gray wants to know where to find some money, perhaps he should go look in the mirror. 

JPS refinanced $118 million of 2008 bonds lasts year.  The professional service fees (bond lawyers, underwriters, and other bond pimps) were $538,416 in 2008.  However, Dr. Cedric Grey and his pals raised that cost to $1,233,824 last year*.  A difference of nearly $700,000.  $700,000 is more than $565,000 even in Common Core math.  $600,000 went to lawyers.  $350,000 went to a "financial advisor" who is not even registered to sell securities.  Dr. Gray said nothing about school buses or teachers when he was doling out the  money.  JPS doesn't even have any invoices for these payments. 

Dr. Gray also tried to award the "financial advisor" a $500,000 contract in 2014 to draft budgets and review finances despite having CPA's on staff at JPS.   Perhaps JPS should also quit spending an extra $50,000 for "minority participation" on its waste collection contract. Then there is the $3.5 million consulting contract JPS recently awarded but federal money paid for that contract so hey, that's ok.  Then there are the two attorneys.  JPS has two sets of lawyers at every school board meeting.  One attorney is employed by the district.  The other is an outside lawyer paid by the district.  Most school districts have counsel that is either an outside law firm or a district employee.  JPS can't decide which course to take so it hired Buzzsaw and retained Dynamo.  The more lawyers, the merrier and the best part is,  the Clarion-Ledger will just call it a "lucrative contract". 

The state newspaper makes no mention of these fees nor the bonds as the reporter just dutifully reported everything Dr. Gray said at face value, no critical reporting needed in this story.  The rest of the story is written in the same vein. 


*2014 audit submitted to the Office of the State Auditor. 

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has his DNA been checked. I think he's cousin of Hillary and Obama.

Anonymous said...

Why would you expect a liberal rag like the clarion ledger to challenge this? Luckily nobody reads the CL. Hell, I can't even comment on the articles because it cuts you off after 3 page views.

Anonymous said...

I have the answer to their problem. Sell tickets to the next brawl at a Jackson school. Should be a never ending line of cash as there seems to always be a fight, shooting, or stabbing happening.
Pee Wee Herman look alike should have figured it out himself.

Anonymous said...

When we checked your DNA, 4:05, it was discovered that you were missing a few chromosomes.

"NOBODY REEDS THUH CEE ELLL" A majority of these blogs posts here reference the paper, not to mention the endless comments. But no one reads it.

Anonymous said...

@6:05 are you obamas brother

Less Money Less Problems? said...

What else is new? We need more money, blah, blah, blah - it's time to take a hard look at how JPS is being managed, why they maintain a slush fund and what are the parameters for spending that money. My guess is that they will make the students suffer to maintain their financial relationships with their stable of consultants.

Anonymous said...

4:36, just clear your cookies and read away.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. Jackson County is about to pay a few attorneys $6.5 million for their work in a failed pension settlement that the current CEO of MBMC orchestrated along with an $88 million accounting adjustment. A lot of his friends benefited.

Anonymous said...

On the Clarion ledger website, I can't read the comments.

Anonymous said...

In Chrome, use an incognito tab to access Clarion Ledger. You may have to respond to the stupid surveys, but I just respond with the most ridiculous answers to skew their findings.

Anonymous said...

Sick burn, 7:49. That superior intelligence must come in handy when you're picking up cans along our state's thoroughfares.

8:12 Are you using any extensions, like Ghostery or AdBlock, in Chrome when accessing their site? Can't get the comments to show at all when I visit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am using Adblock Plus.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should pray for money to fall from heaven. The mayor thinks it will work for potholes.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the school year is essentially over. When you take a cut this close to June 30th there isn't much in the budget left to go after and schools have to have a balanced budget. Also, teacher contracts for next year have already gone out by state law so you lose your ability to cut contracted positions for next year as well. The Governor deliberately waited to make these multiple small cuts until after the session was over and the revenue cuts had been made. Schools have already been warned about next year- again, contracts were required to go out by state law in April and this news didn't filter out until after. JPS has its share of problems, but not every district does, but every district is scrambling to make these cuts with less than two weeks of the school year left.

Carrie Who? said...

How long will this bowtied-bandit manage to stay in town, ripping off the school system? He knew when he came here that his time was limited. It's by design. He left his motor running when he first arrived. he and his stooges will laugh all the way to the banks up north when they slip out of town.

Just like that woman in charge of The State Department of Education.

Anonymous said...

The government should not be in the education business. It cannot deliver. The same is true for the VA. Close all of those SHITHOLE hospitals. - give our veterans the very best blue chip gold diamond private insurance (WHICH THEY DESERVE) this will give them the best care possible- close the train wreck VA system and save the taxpayers billions in the process. Education would benefit from the same model. Just get the government out of it - we cant keep this stupid shit up much longer people

Anonymous said...

They always need "mo" money! No matter how much they are given, it's never enough! They will always spend (waste) whatever you give them and come back with their hands out asking for more. It will always be this way until you have someone in authority keeping an eye on the budget and watching what they spend. They should be required to make a request at the beginning of each semester and write a requisition as to what they need and the cost of each item. When that is gone, it's gone and they do not get more until the next semester. That way, they can learn to live within their means.

Anonymous said...

Veterans should have the same medical care as the politicians. At least the veterans earned it.

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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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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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