packet for Tuesday's SC meeting, page 166
Another $27,000 in Legal Bills & $8,800 in Accounting Consulting Bill This Month
plus $2,000 for Title 6 (racism) Training Consultant: SANGHAVI LAW OFFICES
plus $10,517 taken from METCO grant to pay a Nurse agency (since the MVMMS quit due to harassment by CT & BC)
plus MORE legal bills $13,185 p.192 Nuttal
Am learning how to read these "meeting packets," which is not an easy thing because they are anything but transparent, carefully prepared, well-prepared materials. The shoddiness of the work is evident throughout. The lack of transparency is really quite astonishing in its breadth. Everything is couched in generalizations, euphemisms, administrator-speak. What those things don't conceal, the amateurish presentations do. The powerpoints are incredible in their sweeping generalities (poorly supported by fact--we do know a thing or two about education and about how to research a matter!), their obviously cooked conclusions that aren't supported by data, their obvious washing over the red flags. This week's packet has the School Improvement documents, for example, and there is nothing whatsoever addressing the many red flags in the obligatory standardized test scores for each school, in some cases huge red flags that confirm what we've read about the past few years. Instead there is just a lot of hooey about superficial stuff that is supposed to seal the deal and keep us quiet.
The financial documents are so poorly done. It's obvious that there is a mix-and-match put things anywhere kind of approach, with no heed to anything approaching industry standard, let alone their favorite buzz word, "best practices." Why, for example, are the aforementioned legal bills (Hollender & C plus Nuttal/McAvoy) in two different sections of the Warrants? It would seem that it is because they have, in their eminent contempt for honest accounting practice (or the taxpayer who has a right to see these things done correctly!) decided to charge them to different categories, one to METCO when it's highly improbable that those $13,000 charges are because of a METCO issue, and one to another category.
What's more likely is that since the district long ago used up its annual budgeted amount for legal expenses (blaming it on OCR), that it is now putting the bills anyplace it thinks it can get away with this, hearkening back to the mocked "Toshiba" thing that CKK grilled them about last year (where they charged legal bills to something computer/tech under Toshiba, if memory serves). But that's just a supposition because how would anyone out here actually know what they are doing? Maybe we all need to learn to file public records requests, since that's the only language the administration understands, and even then, they think they can fling their collective noses at the law and at us. So now the district has a complete novice (pretty much what the predecessor was also, from all appearances) and a CPA consultant firm ($8800 for one bill--really?) putting together all these amateurish documents for the school committee's "consent agenda" (the bunch of district agenda items, we've learned, that they put forward as one lump vote with nary a close look except the occasional SC member now trying to make political points by pulling some inconsequential item to be voted separately, meanwhile bypassing the screamingly obvious items that should be of concern scattered all over the place).
We were curious about the escalating charges and all the claims by both the administration and CKK when she resigned. My wife and I got curious about one of the superintendent's claim about OCR that she spoke of during a meeting last winter, that supposedly OCR "wouldn't talk with anyone but attorneys" which was supposedly why the bills got so high and 2 years of supposed "negotiations" were taking place. Well, they most certainly WILL talk with anyone who contacts them, and that included us, as mere citizens (albeit taxpaying ones!). It is not difficult to talk with OCR because we did. They were very responsive. They explained that they are only too glad to talk with any parties involved in a complaint process, that this is in fact what they hope for. It is only because our administration hired attorneys who told them that OCR could only talk through them that this happened, not that OCR wouldn't have been willing and preferred to deal directly and simply for a speedy resolution. Seems that there is a lot of creativity, as it were, involved in answering anything that feels like a tough question (translation: anything that is getting too close to the truth they want to hide, which in this case is that the administration obviously has/had a lot to be defensive about).
It's no wonder that so much is allowed to be hidden since it really is a convoluted and unpleasant path to the actual truth of the matter. Luckily we have AC and nice music in our computer room! This is like mining some ancient "civilization," though, in all the layers of concealing debris.
Thanks, "learning" for taking so much time and putting so much effort into understanding things. Good role model for all of us! I learned just from reading what you'd discovered. Very discouraging situation, but apathy is no answer. That's how we got into this mess, both locally and nationally/internationally. By choosing to look the other way and believe the fairy tales, Melrose has its own Brexit versions.
It did not go unnoticed that the meeting packets disclose invoices for "shredding" of documents at every school in the district. You can be sure CT and RVC will ensure they never leave evidence of civil rights and other violations laying about to be viewed by OCR attorneys for the next OCR investigation(s). Do they realize or even care that by law (603 CMR 23.00) they must contact parents before they intend to destroy documents related to a student in case the parents want copies?
So for just this month's reporting, an additional $40,000 in legal bills, added to how many hundreds of percentage over the $50,000 annual budgeted amount??? How would we even know with the way they bury the costs they don't want us to see??? This is outrageous. And now with new lawsuits blooming, the sky's the limit, apparently. Why do these people even pretend to have a budget process??? None of it is real. They just make it up as they go and expect that none of us will care. So so disgusted....
603 CMR 23.06: Destruction of Student Records
(1) The student's transcript shall be maintained by the school department and may only be destroyed 60 years following his/her graduation, transfer, or withdrawal from the school system.
(2) During the time a student is enrolled in a school, the principal or his/her designee shall periodically review and destroy misleading, outdated, or irrelevant information contained in the temporary record PROVIDED that the eligible student and his/her parent are NOTIFIED IN WRITING and are given opportunity to receive the information or a copy of it prior to its destruction. A copy of such notice shall be placed in the temporary record.
(3) The temporary record of any student enrolled on or after the effective date of 603 CMR 23.00 shall be destroyed no later than seven years after the student transfers, graduates, or withdraws from the school system. Written notice to the eligible student and his/her parent of the approximate date of destruction of the record and their right to receive the information in whole or in part, shall be made at the time of such transfer, graduation, or withdrawal. Such notice shall be in addition to the routine information letter required by 603 CMR 23.10.
(4) In accordance with M.G.L. c 71, section 87, the score of any group intelligence test administered to a student enrolled in a public school shall be removed from the record of said student at the end of the school year in which such test was so administered.
603 CMR 23.00: M.G.L. c. 71, 34D, 34E.