SED Critical of Academy School, ResulTech
by Buck Quigley - posted 4:54 pm, July 24, 2008
The State Education Department has released its report on Academy School 44, and it faults—among other things—ResulTech, the Maryland firm that provides technical support for the failing school. Unfortunately, the project was turned in too late to receive any credit from the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, who already approved ResulTech’s $1.7 million contract extension two weeks ago, on July 8.
The approval came in the form of this letter, which was sent out without the approval of BFSA secretary George K. Arthur, who had requested more scrutiny from the control board regarding the ResulTech contract. You can read how that all went down in recent Artvoice stories here, and here. (For more background on ResulTech, check out these / three / stories as well.)
Contrary to claims in the Buffalo News from associate superintendent for educational services Will Keresztes—that Buffalo Public Schools officials requested the SED review—it may never have been conducted but for the strong urging of Buffalo Teachers Federation president Phil Rumore and the board of Regents. You can read the report’s cover letter, addressed to Rumore here. The claim that the SED was called in by the BPS is also made in the official press release from BPS spokesperson Stefan Mychajliw.
Read the Technical Assistance Report for yourself, and decide if superintendent James Williams, chief academic officer Folasade Oladele, Keresztes, school board members Mary Ruth Kapsiak (Board President, Central District), Catherine Collins (at large), Vivian Evans (East District), Florence Johnson (at large), and Pamela D. Perry-Cahill (Ferry District) have really been “doing it for the children.” They wrote and approved the ResulTech contract extension.
Imagine what $7.1 million given to ResulTech over the last three years could have really done for these at-risk students if it had been directed toward hiring caring teachers. We churn out hundreds of them annually at our area colleges, after all.
Also at fault is the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, for hastily approving a contract extension for a vendor just two short weeks before this critical report was released. What possibly could have been gained by rushing ahead with the approval? Who holds them accountable? Not Governor David Patterson, who spoke in glowing terms about both the city and county control boards when he was in town just yesterday.
If the control board can’t provide an appropriate degree of scrutiny to the contracts it approves, then it is merely an elite level of government operating above city hall, undemocratically appointed by Albany, and unaccountable.
Is it part of the school curriculum to teach our kids about this Authority? It would be good for them to understand that democracy only goes so far in Buffalo. Some of them may even want to stay here, and they might as well know the deal.
Of the report, Keresztes is quoted in the Buffalo News this way: “We welcome the recommendations and are eager to put these positive developments in place.”
Yeah, right. They could have been doing something all along. Instead, they’ve failed the very children they are paid to serve.