Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weast "I would caution against this...action"

At the March 23, 2009, MCPS Board of Education meeting, Board members asked for the information they had requested on March 10th on the schedule changes at Eastern Middle School. Board members were told that the memo had just been provided to them right before the Board meeting started. (13 days after their request.)

In the Eastern Middle School memo to Board members, Superintendent Weast cautions not to advocate for a solution that would address the needs of the teachers and the students. Superintendent Weast says that a proposed solution would be "significantly more costly".

Suddenly, when it comes to educational services for students, Superintendent Weast is watching every penny? But he has stopped putting out Requests for Proposals (RFP), stopped taking competitive bids, stopped obtaining contracts, and stopped bringing procurements over $25,000 to the Board of Education table for approval on multi-million dollar purchases? He has not been bringing funds obtained from an outside source to the Board table or to the County Council for appropriation? The Board of Education is complicit in this lack of fiscal oversight as they no longer approve multi-million dollar purchases and do not ask for actual cost-benefit analysis on services for students. Who pays the price for this lack of fiscal oversight? The students.

"Significantly more costly" is not a number. In fact, nowhere in the March 23rd Eastern MS memo is any cost-benefit information on any of the possible configurations of the Eastern Middle School school schedule. Why did it take 13 days to prepare a memo that contains no financial analysis of the proposed change or proposed solutions?

Making one small schedule change, at one MCPS middle school would be, in Superintendent Weast's opinion,"significantly more costly". But failing to bring multi-million dollar purchases through the legally mandated procurement process has no fiscal impact?

What would be the savings if Superintendent Weast was following the MCPS Procurement Manual? What would then be the benefit that students could reap from those additional funds? We will never know as there is no Board oversight over the spending of the $2.1 billion MCPS budget, sorry kids.

The March 23rd Eastern Middle School memorandum was not made available on the MCPS website but has been obtained for the public to view here:
03-23-09EasternMSSchedule 03-23-09EasternMSSchedule subscriptions07774 Eastern Middle School schedule change.

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