Special education legal fees for outside counsel for June 2016 totaled $35,091.
The Jeffrey A. Krew bill for June 2016 totaled $32,445 and the Carney Kelehan bill for June 2016
totaled $2,646. The year-to-date total of $405,169 is $149,382 (58.4 percent) more than the same
period in the previous year.
Despite assertions by Jill Ortman-Fouse that "new procedures" have been put in place to look at special education legal fees spending, Montgomery County Public Schools ONCE AGAIN outdid themselves spending money fighting families of special needs children. This excessive amount of $405,169 spent in one year is only for outside counsel: it does not count the cost of the General Counsel in the Board of Education office, the salaries of the several lawyers MCPS already employs, the cost of the so called "Resolution and Compliance Unit," or the cost of having classroom teachers sit for days outside a hearing room.
This $405,169 does not include the cost of lost trust by the families that MCPS is supposed to serve. It does not include the lost taxes from families who move out of the county due to the *****y way their children and their family have been treated.
Immigrant, minority, and military families have all been victims of MCPS's overzealous litigation policies. "It's cheaper to litigate than educate," is the motto of MCPS. Unfortunately, children of all races, ethnic backgrounds, economic status, and family situation are the victims.
Rebecca Smondrowski asked at the BOE meeting why the special ed legal fees were so much higher this year than last year.
Zuckerman finally responded that he didn't want to answer without Joshua Civin (General Counsel) at the table.
Michael Durso responded that perhaps he could be available after lunch.
Civin, the General Counsel, showed up at the BOE table. He attributed the "slight increase" due to federal court cases and multiple day long hearings.
He claims he is putting processes and systems in place that will ultimately result in savings.
Smondrowski: What do YOU handle, vs what we contract out?
Civin: This report focuses on outside counsel. We do an RFP process, before I came along. The contract has been extended. Those are cases where there is counsel on both sides. We use outside counsel to support the work OF MY OFFICE. We review the cases.
We have provided trends over time data to the Board. Continues to be a small percentage. Could be longer day number of hearings.