Monday, July 25, 2016

Exclusive: BOE Spends $75,600 Fighting 1 Child. BOE would rather Litigate than Educate. BOE has No Idea how many Hours Atty Spends on Each Case. #waste #irresponsible

2016 MD State Legislative Audit of MCPS
The Maryland State Office of Legislative Affairs has flagged the Board of Education's contract with an outside attorney for failing to determine if the billing arrangement "obtained the best value".

The media has not reported on the 2016 State Audit of the Montgomery County Public School system, but the Parents' Coalition did follow up on this issue flagged by the Auditor.  We have obtained invoices from the Board of Education's outside attorney who handles special education litigation from October 2015 through May 2016.

These invoices show that the outside attorney handling Board of Education special education litigation never accounts for the hours spent on a case unless the matter goes to Federal Court.

The billing arrangement that the Board of Education has approved with this outside attorney enables the attorney to take a minimum fee of $3,150 on every case set to go before an Administrative Law JudgeEven if a case is immediately withdrawn or settled, the minimum fee is $3,150.

If a case goes before an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing, the fee is then based on how long the attorney can extend the proceeding.  One day before a Judge earns a $6,300 fee, no matter how much time was actually expended on the case prior to the day of the hearing.

The $6,300 daily fee equates to 26 hours of time based on this attorney's billing rate of $245.

Every day spent before a Judge, earns the attorney another 26 hours of fees, regardless of how many hours have actually been spent on the case.   

In this set of bills we see the following days charged on non-Federal Court matters.  On non-Federal Court matters, from October through April (7 months) this attorney billed the Board of Education for the equivalent of 904 hours or 23 weeks of full-time work.  We know this attorney represents other public school systems in Maryland.

Is the Montgomery County Board of Education obtaining the "best value" for these education dollars?  

Here is a list of the cases shown on the invoices obtained by the Parents' Coalition. For each case (shown by #), we have grouped together the charges shown on the invoices below.  We have divided up the charges by the hourly rate of $245 to shown how many hours would have to have been billed to have earned the charges shown.  The Board of Education has no idea if the charges shown on the invoices are justified, as the BOE does not require the attorney to actually detail the hours spent on each case.  

2015 October  Case withdrawn #29318       $3,150   = 13 hours

2015 October  Attend 1 day   #31838         $6,300    =  26 hours
2015 November 1/2 day         #31838         $3,150    =  13 hours   Total = 39 hours

2015 November  6 1/2 days #28847           $34,650    =  141 hours
2015 December   1 day        #28847             $6,300    =   26 hours
2016 January     4 days        #28847           $25,200    =  103 hours  Total = 270 hours

2015 December    1/2 day    #36487              $3,150     =  13 hours

2015 December    4 days      #35653             $25,200    = 103 hours
2016 January        3 days      #35653             $18,900    = 77 hours   Total = 180 hours

2016 February    Case withdrawn #18051       $3,150    = 13 hours

2016 February    4 days       #41442            $25,200   = 103 hours
2016 March        4 days       #41442             $25,200  = 103 hours
2016 April           4 days      #41442             $25,200  = 103 hours  Total = 309 hours

2016 March      Case withdrawn #05236        $3,150 = 13 hours

2016 March      Case withdrawn #07725        $3,150 = 13 hours

2016 March      Case withdrawn #05278        $3,150 = 13 hours

2016 March      Case withdrawn # 04604       $3,150 = 13 hours

2016 April        Case withdrawn  #08826       $3,150 = 13 hours


  1. For the two longest cases during this billing period, 15-28847 (11 days) and 15-41442 (12 days), Krew billed a total of 23 days for the due process appeals.  For the 11 day case, the cost was $72,640.  For the 12 day case, the cost was $81,483. A total of $154,123 or $6,701 per day was spent by MCPS for a private attorney (Krew) to represent MCPS.  If the average cost of educating a student in Montgomery County is approximately $15,000 per year, the total amount spent for legal fees for just these two cases would have provided public education for one year for 10.274 students.

  2. The BOE would rather litigate
    Than go ahead and educate
    It loves the adjudication
    And hates the legislation.

  3. In this case, MCPS spent more on the lawyer than it would have cost to evaluate the student.

    1. It's the nominal fee to maintain a "rule of law" society.

  4. BoE and Krew are absolutely disgusting.
    And to pay for this the County Council wants to raise our taxes?

    1. Raising taxes in this county is 'like shooting fish in a barrel.'


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