Florida Using Undisbursed RTTT Funds To Settle Lawsuit!

Race To the Trough Well, well, well! Now the truth is going to come out! People of Florida have been led to believe that the State as a whole, could not opt out of Common Core Standards because FL had taken the money from the RTTT grant and it had been disbursed to the school districts. Our legislators lied to us!

Well – that is a truth and it is a lie! How can it be both? Because the 6 school districts that did get awarded funds from the Phase 2 grant which we found out was a drop in the bucket of that $700M dollars. What do I mean? I mean in the State of Florida’s report to the Federal DOE 2011-2012 (Florida Report Year 2: School Year 2011– 2012) clearly states they retained 98% of the funds because they knew the individual school districts did not have the funds to pay for this “boondoggle.” That would mean they held back somewhere in the neighborhood of $686M. Under “challenge’s” in the report “Although FDOE struggled with executing contracts in Year 1 and early Year 2, the focus is now on ensuring that the contractors are producing high quality “deliverable’s”. This is particularly important in Florida as 98 percent of the State’s portion of Race to the Top funds is budgeted for contracts. It is going nowhere near the school districts!

Now we find out the state, more accurately the Florida DOE and it’s Commissioner have been sued and are going to pay what they owe in that loss they are going to use the RTTT funds to do so. How can they do this? Because Bennett ask the brand new Department of Education Communications Director Joe Follick, (4-15-2013) if they could use that money and Follick in speaking for the state Department of Education, said the agency has determined that using the grant money for the settlement is allowed and Follick has refused to elaborate.

So who determined this is ok? The State’s legal eagle George Levesque? Another legal entity? Governor Scott? The state’s CFO? Maybe the FL State School Board who seems to have taken it upon themselves to approve the hiring of “throw-away Bennett” and approving the implementation of the Common Core Standards!

TIME FLORIDA STARTED ELECTING ITS COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AND THE MEMBERS OF THE STATE SCHOOL BOARD!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Florida Using Federal Money To Settle Suit Over Website By GARY FINEOUT THE AP Thursday, May 23, 2013

TALLAHASSEE | Florida is dipping into federal grant money that was supposed to help improve the state’s schools in order to settle a bitter contract dispute. Education Commissioner Tony Bennett earlier this month agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against his department by a Tallahassee-based technology company.

The Department of Education is paying $1.25 million to Infinity Software Development. Infinity was hired to build a website intended to help students, parents and teachers master new academic standards.

But the deal ended acrimoniously with Infinity suing the state and the state terminating the contract. The money to build the website came from Florida’s $700 million Race to the Top federal grant, aimed at helping improve student achievement in the state. Before the contract was terminated, the state had already spent nearly $2.5 million on the project.

Joe Follick, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said the agency has determined that using the grant money for the settlement is allowed. Follick refused on Thursday to elaborate. An Internet news operation, the Florida Current, reported Thursday the settlement had been approved.

The settlement not only includes a payment to Infinity — it also calls for the removal of the company’s name from a vendor complaint list maintained by the state. The president of Infinity did not return an email request for comment.

Florida’s effort to create the website as part of its education reforms dates back more than two years.

In early 2011, the state initially chose Microsoft to design and build the website. Infinity, however, challenged the contract by contending Microsoft should have been disqualified because the software company was unwilling to hand over ownership of the equipment and software to the state.
The state agreed to hire Infinity in July 2011, but it took until December of that year to sign a final contract. Emails obtained by The Associated Press showed that one point of disagreement was who should manage the contract.

Those emails showed that Steve MacNamara, then chief of staff for Gov. Rick Scott, was involved in a push to give the governor’s office the ability to resolve any disputes related to the contract.

Then-Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson in November 2011 wrote directly to MacNamara to protest “your desire to have another party manage the contract.” MacNamara told the AP last year that while Scott and Robinson met once to discuss the contract, he was “not involved in the negotiations” and left all discussions to his deputy chief of staff.

Months after the contract was finally signed, both sides were at an impasse. Florida officials complained that Infinity was behind schedule and had turned unacceptable lessons and tests in areas such as math, civics and biology. (Supposedly only math and ELA are supposed to be put into the schools at this time! krd)

Infinity in its lawsuit contended the delay in awarding the contract shortened the time to get the work done by 10 months and required the state to meet tight timelines to keep the project on schedule. Infinity officials maintained the department did not review the work in a timely fashion or failed to sign off on work done by the company. Infinity in September warned state officials about the problems and asked for at least $3.23 million to cover completed work. The letter stated that if lost profits were included, the total due Infinity was $4.5 million.

The bitter dispute leaves in limbo the fate of the Web-based system that was intended to provide practice lessons and tests for the standards that will be phased in for math, English, science and civics. The department said last year it would rebid the contract.

NOW – Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is mulling a reorganization of the state Department of Education http://www.news4jax.com/news/commissioner-may-reorganize-dept-of-education/-/475880/20243938/-/caacwd/-/index.html

I often wonder how much people really know about the members of the Florida State Board of Education. This group is not elected nor are they Educators yet they make decisions about policy that affect students and teachers in the state. They have the ability to “pull the trigger” and raise requirements or lower them as they see fit. This group also selects the education commissioner.

This group has pushed the diversion of more and more money away from regular public schools towards charters, virtual schools, private schools and testing companies. Why are the district superintendents (most of whom received no RTTT funds) and the district school boards supporting Common Core? Something is extremely strange about this whole thing!

How About A Quick Peek At 3 Of Our State School Board Members!

Kathleen Shanahan: Kathleen is the CEO of URETEK. The FLDOE website says she has a distinguished career in many fields (not education). She is a prominent Florida businesswoman with a long and distinguished background in politics and public service. She has held federal and state public policy positions of chief of staff for Fl. Governor Jeb Bush, chief of staff to Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, deputy secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, special assistant to then Vice President George Bush, and staff assistant on President Reagan’s National Security Council. Ms. Shanahan currently is a board member of the Florida Council of 100, executive committee member of the Republican National Convention 2012, a fund-raiser for the Jeb Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education as well as being one of his “REFORMERS”.

Sally Bradshaw: worked for Gov. Haley Barbour and was an advisor to the Romney campaign in 2008. She served as a political advisor to G. H. Bush and was also a chief of staff to Jeb Bush.

Gary Chartrand: He is on the board of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and a director on the board of the KIPP schools in Jacksonville, FL. (Charter consortium) He is also NOT an educator!

Is there a particular reason why the Florida State Board of Education has NO EDUCATORS serving on the board?

The mantra of this cabal has been to divert more money away from regular public schools and triple down on testing. The coming quadruple down with Common Core cements the shameful legacy of this group of dilettantes.

Additionally in the same report “RTTT Florida Report 2011-2012” emphasizes their 2014-2015 Charter School Plan “Florida is committed to supporting charter schools through its Race to the Top efforts. As such, the State has provided funding to encourage charter management organizations and charter operators to open 30 to 40 new charter schools across the State and provided additional funding to support a program for the development of
turnaround principals in charter schools, educator evaluations in charter schools, and CCSS and LIIS implementation in charter schools. Identified under Race to the Top and the School Improvement Grant as PLA, priority schools identified as part of the State’s approved Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) flexibility requests!”

“Florida is working with 17 charter school participants to provide training to aspiring turnaround principals. This work is being done in conjunction with the turnaround principal work (see Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools). FDOE is in the early stages of its work with a vendor to provide training on educator evaluations in charter schools and is currently reviewing proposals from contractors to provide training on CCSS and LIIS implementation in charter schools.”

So if I read this correctly, Florida is using their RTTT funds to also pay individuals to train people to run Charter schools! Would we suppose they are part of the many Charter School Consortium’s also pushed by Jeb Bush?

You need to be asking the questions: “Why the big push for Charter Schools if all the schools in the end are going to have to go along with the Common Core Standards and the students to be robots?

Because – simply put – Charter Schools are part of the plan for the take-over of the Education system by the government! Never, ever forget the bottom line to Charter Schools – they use taxpayer funds and they are unelected boards which leaves Parents and taxpayers out the equation – you have no rights!

Now Florida Legislators and Powers To Be! Let’s be honest – just who are you working for? The children and teacher’s of Florida or those businesses and lobbyists who are packing your election coffers full as long as you “dance” to their “tune?”

Other Common Core States – you need to check out exactly what is happening in your states!

Stated in the report is what will be affected if we do not comply – section 80.43: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=086932763f55a79ee96960031ae55099&rgn=div5&view=text&node=34:1.1.1.1.26&idno=34#34:1.1.1.1.26.1.129.4

2 thoughts on “Florida Using Undisbursed RTTT Funds To Settle Lawsuit!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s