Monday, April 13, 2009

Weast Slush Fund Revealed

Did you know that Superintendent Weast has a separate source of income from the funding appropriated to the school system by the County Council? Did you know that the Superintendent had been carrying a surplus in unappropriated funds? An April 7th letter to the Council's Education Committee reveals the existence of some of the "slush fund" that is available to the Superintendent. There are two other potential sources of "slush fund" cash.

Below is testimony delivered to the Montgomery County Council on April 13th discussing these three sources of non-County income to MCPS. Will the Council seek out these funds and control their use and appropriation, or will the Council ignore these funds and continue to cut from other county requests?

April 13, 2009 - Testimony to Montgomery County Council

I may be the only person to sit before you during Operating Budget testimony and not ask for any money. Instead, I am going to tell you how to hunt down some cash. I am bringing you over $5.5 million in unappropriated funds. It will be up to the Council to bring these funds to the Council table for appropriation, or in the alternative to simply ignore their existence.

Where is all this cash?

1. MCPS has entered into a contract with Wireless Generation. The contract has not been made public but a paper on the relationship between MCPS and Wireless generation has been published by the Harvard Business School. I can’t attach a copy because the article belongs to the Harvard Business School. But I can tell you that this article gives a first look at the terms of this agreement citing specific terms of the contract. We learn in this Harvard publication that MCPS is collecting a per student royalty on every mCLASS: Reading ED software sold around the country. Click here to read about this contract.
Where are those royalties? When have they been brought to the Council for appropriation? Councilmember Marilyn Praisner had been following this partnership, but with her passing did all oversight of this arrangement also disappear? Click here to read about missing royalties.

2. MCPS has also entered into a partnership with TrueNorthLogic to develop a Professional Development online system. What are the details of this partnership? Is MCPS reaping any royalties or income from this partnership? Sorry, I can’t help you out on this one. The details of this agreement aren’t public. But take a look at the TrueNorthLogic advertisement available online to see the MCPS logo proudly displayed. Click here to see the TrueNorthLogic advertisement.

3. The last place you might want to check for unappropriated funds is the e-Rate surplus that Superintendent Weast has been carrying. In an April 7, 2009, letter to the Education Committee, Superintendent Weast reveals that he is carrying $3.9 million in unexpended e-Rate rebates. In addition, MCPS will be receiving another $1.6 to $1.8 million in e-Rate rebates this year. That’s $5.5 million in funds that are not coming to the Council table for appropriation this year alone. Why do I say that? Because in an April 2, 2009, memorandum to the Council’s Education Committee Superintendent Weast makes clear, once again, that he will not be bringing e-Rate rebates to the Council for appropriation. So if the Council wants these funds, they are going to have to go and fetch them.
See below for April 7, 2009 letter from Weast to Education Committee revealing surplus unappropriated funds that have been carried from previous years.
Click here for April 2, 2009 letter from Weast to Education Committee where he tells the Council he will not be bringing e-Rate funds to the Council for appropriation. (See what the Council President said about these funds here.)

I will end with a quote from Superintendent Weast:
"Nothing builds trust like transparency."
Jerry Weast, foreword to Getting it Right-
Why Good School Communication Matters, 2008.
April 7, 2009 Weast to EdCo. April 7, 2009 Weast to EdCo. subscriptions07774

1 comment:

  1. July 14, 2009 taxpayers learn about another source of outside cash - rebates from the 1,400 American Express cards used by MCPS employees! How much and where does this money go????


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