, 81 tweets, 24 min read Read on Twitter
According to the @MNPSDirector, the recent Metro audit of @MetroSchools is complete vindication. What follows is my analysis. 1/
The Tennessean's lede: "A Metro Audit inquiry into Nashville schools purchasing practices found all but two of 15 allegations against the district were unsubstantiated." 2/
The audit is written in an interesting way. My best analogy would be a report saying: "The allegation that he was hit with a sledge hammer was unsubstantiated." Then, as you read down, you learn that it was really a claw hammer. 3/
That's why i analyzed the audit this way. 4/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
For example, remember Metro Schools' own admission that it broke the law in the awarding of a $1M contract to Performance Matters 5/ newschannel5.com/newschannel-5-…
But the audit concludes that MNPS' purchase of computer systems from Performance Matters did not require competitive bidding b/c state law exempts "educational consultant services." 6/
You lawyers correct me if I am wrong in suggesting there is a big difference between offering a product and offer advice. 7/
But there's more. That same law cited by the auditors also includes this provision: 8/
Contracts for "information management services, including but not limited to, computer program analyst services shall ... be procured through a request for proposals process." Lawyers, does this apply to a technology company offering computer systems? 9/
That provision applies to counties with a population between 470,000 and 480,000 in the 1980 federal census - which, according to Google, is Davidson County. Lawyers? 10/
The audit report says that $845,000 contract with Performance Matters for professional development software was properly piggybacked on a Shelby County contract. But, as we reported, MNPS negotiated new terms. 11/
This is state law: 12/
MNPS also piggybacked on other contracts, admittedly, w/o looking to see if they could get a better price. 13/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
We found that districts that put the professional development software out for bids got much better prices (per user) than the piggyback price offered by Performance Matters. 14/
Again, the Metro auditors were silent on this question. 15/
Metro auditors did not address emails showing the @MNPSdirector was in talks with Performance Matters about a potential piggyback before he formally took began the job. 16/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
Piggybacking, while legal if done right, is ripe for abuse. Dallas Dance served on Dr. Joseph's transition team and got into trouble last year for piggyback contracts. 17/ baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/…
This paragraph summarizes the issue: 18/
Here are the court filings: 19/ documentcloud.org/documents/5700…
Dr. Joseph responded this way: "We have had people across the country do bad things. We have not." 20/
But get this: MNPS signed the $1 million contract - paying for all 86,000 students to use it - then didn't require schools to do anything with the software. 21/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
Auditors were silent on that point. 22/
The audit agrees with our report that the school board approved two contracts with Performance Matters for $1.1 million, but Joseph's team signed contracts for $1.8 million. 23/
Here is that original report: 24/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
"However, this error does NOT appear to have been intentional," the audit says. The problem is that Dr. Joseph told the board back in June that it WAS intentional! 25/
BTW, before I move on too much, look at the emails where Dr. Joseph was discussing contracts with Performance Matters before he officially started in Nashville. 26/ documentcloud.org/documents/5699…
Notice that the PM people are talking about their hopes to "extend our relationship" and offering a "recent Shelby County RFP" to piggyback on. 27/ documentcloud.org/documents/5699…
Here is that excerpt. 28/
But @MNPSdirector told the school board that Shelby County "had been using it historically ... so it's not something that we brought in ... because we knew Performance Matters and said 'Hey, here's a contract.'" 29/
One email from Chief Academic Officer Monique Felder 30/
Another email 31/
The audit does not address the fact that the school board was misled by the Joseph's team about the urgent need for a non-competitive contract with PM 32/
The emails show that explanation was false 33/
Our story documented other areas where the board was misled. Please watch the posted videos, then read the emails 34/ newschannel5.com/newschannel-5-…
A classic example: MNPS told the school board that the Performance Matters professional development contract would be put out for bids -- THIS PAST FALL! 35/
That never happened -- which means Joseph's team will likely need to come back to the board and insist on another no-bid extension of the PM contract to keep tracking teacher training. 36/
The audit does NOT get into the fact that MNPS supposedly piggybacked two contracts - one for $1.25 million, the other for $2.5 million - on a contract with a smaller school system, Wilson County Schools, then paid the company a higher price. 37/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
The district's own purchasing director had told the board that piggybacking makes sense off of larger school systems and larger governmental entities. 38/
Back to the report, auditors say it was "unsubstantiated" that the administration tried to execute a $1 million contract with Scholastic following a trip to Amelia Island, but the report describes something really, really close. 39/
According to the audit report, that plan was thwarted when @jillspeering objected 40/
The audit does not address the fact that consultant Bruce Taylor's educational training is theatre management, not education. Just says he wrote books 41/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
The audit does not address concerns that Bruce Taylor got $105,000 in contracts, but those were never presented to the board, despite a $100k threshold that required approval 42/
Is there a reason that Joseph's team didn't want to bring this guy's contracts before the board? 43/
The audit reports that Research for Better Teaching had been paid $172,161, but only reviewed $147,858 of those expenditures in determining whether the administration violated MNPS rules requiring board approval for contracts of $100,000 or more. 44/
We published documents showing that MNPS was working off of written "agreements" with RBT, but no formal contract was ever presented to the board for approval. Why would that be? 45/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
On top of that, the school board will be asked at its next meeting to approve $350,000 in sexual harassment settlements. The lawsuit accused Joseph's team of running "sham investigations." 46/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
Remember, MNPS investigated this man's complaint and did nothing. If you haven't, please take time to listen to his story. 47/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
The school bookkeeper told MNPS that money was missing. Still, they did nothing. 48/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
Joseph's administration originally told the school board that they needed to ignore our reporting, that there was nothing to it. 49/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
This teacher also complained about horrific sexual harassment. Again, Joseph's team did nothing. 50/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
.@MNPSDirector refused to answer our questions, including questions about an email suggested he had not aggressively pursued sexual harassment allegations against one of his buddies 51/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
So, the district had to sign a $100k contract with a Nashville law firm to investigate its investigations! What could that money have been used for? 52/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
MNPS still faces a $1.2 million lawsuit that raises questions about the director's conduct. 53/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
And there's a lawsuit filed by a former HR manager who says Joseph's team forced him to resign b/c of his insistence that sexual harassment cases be properly investigated. 54/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
And, BTW, the sexual harassment report from the law firm - which had been expected back in November - still hasn't been released. 55/
FWIW, Mo Carassco - as he was struggling to save his job - made some interesting claims about contracting inside MNPS. 56/ newschannel5.com/news/newschann…
We haven't heard much, if anything, about these FACTS from city political leaders. 57/ tennessean.com/story/news/201…
Board chair Sharon Gentry (@ReElectSharon) can't understand why people are so "stuck" on the sexual harassment issue 58/
And now Gentry wants to tee up a discussion of extending Dr. Joseph's contract a year early 59/
BTW, on this contract, MNPS also paid a $118,000 "set-up fee." 62/
Some of Dr. Joseph's supporters have asked me, "Who cares?" This tweet is part of the answer 63/
Some of Dr. Joseph's supporters on the board are telling his critics that they should not try to "audit the audit." It will be interesting to see if they echo that in public. 64/
All of this tells me that I need to go back and read the previous Metro audits of MNPS which had lots of "unsubstantiated" findings. What did they find that they chose not to highlight? 65/
Back on the purchasing audit, auditors say the allegation that MNPS is the only source of income for READ America is "unsubstantiated" because, apparently, SHE says that's not true. End of story? 66/
Performance Matters offered two technology products - the Unify student assessment platform and the TrueNorthLogic professional development platform. 67/
Here’s a description of Unify 68/ edtechdigest.com/2016/08/26/coo…
The professional development product was called TrueNorthLogic 69/
What led Metro’s Office of Internal Audit to conclude these were “consulting” services boggles the mind! 70/
Metro Internal Audit is supervised by committee that includes @mendesbob, @JCooper4Council, and @Jim4ViceMayor. 71/
There is also a question of tone. Audit reports from @TNCOT highlight deficiencies that they found. These MNPS audit reports highlight what they did NOT find - which allows administration to boast about the lack of findings 72/
It is NOT a computer problem. If you read the emails, it suggests funding was often an afterthought 75/
One more thought: Prior to our report, I offered to copy the Metro Internal Auditor on our findings, as well any public record emails we had received. He declined the offer, saying he wanted to avoid the perception of being influenced. 76/
Audit committee member @mendesbob is beginning a conversation about the Metro internal audit process here: 77/
.@mendesbob: "There is also some evidence that the audit function has typically shied away from controversy." 78/ mendesfornashville.com/general-though…
And even more to the point by @mendesbob 80/
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