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Q: Why is there no amount of money from any source (local, state or federal) that will ever be enough for school districts?  

A: The biggest racquet in all of education is that of educational vendors: consultants, professional development and programs just to name a few.

I would like for you to refer to the screen shot of page 7, letter M. which came from the link below. This is a picture of an official DCS school board meeting minutes page from 2009.  
http://deeds.desotocountyms.gov/W/W00639-00280.pdf
This shows an expenditure of just over $355,000 that we paid to the Bailey Educational Group for ‘educational services’. Gary Bailey was the architect of many of our schools under Kuykendall’s leadership. Architects make big money, so it says a lot about how much educational vendors make these days for him to decide to start this business after he finished with the last school built in our county.  

We paid Bailey Educational $1400/day. Nowadays, Bailey charges as much as $20,000-$30,000 for as few as 10-14 days worth of work. Not bad, huh?!

Now, I must admit that I have a few friends that work for some of these educational consulting companies. While I believe whole heartedly that these friends of mine are priceless, I know that the money charged for a days worth of work for them is insane, considering the financial status of our districts statewide. These educational companies charge $1500-$2000/person/day worked. The companies pay the employees $500/day + travel and expenses. The company makes the rest. These fees are actually on the low end considering industry standards. I love my friends, but this is just crazy!

What did DCS really get for the $355,000+ we spent? I can assure you that it wasn’t much!

There is VERY BIG money in standards, testing, data analyzers, programs, consulting and professional development. So what is all of this really doing to benefit our schools, our teachers or our kids?! It sure hasn’t helped our educational rankings. It hasn’t helped our teachers to not have to bring paper from home. It hasn’t provided more books or textbooks. It hasn’t provided tutoring services or extra resources for the classroom. What it HAS done is pad the pockets of all of the people involved with these businesses!

Maybe instead of suing the state for more money, we should be figuring out why we spend so much on all of these educational services. If it is required by the state, let’s change that! If it’s required by the federal government, let’s work on changing that! If its because we think these things are actually helping, then let’s reevaluate the situation and the people in charge. Clearly, this has not been money well spent.

Many of the people working for these companies are retired teachers and administrators, former MDE personnel, former superintendents and the like. Why should these companies profit off of schools struggling to make ends meet? Why not cut out the middle man and let districts hire these people directly? There has to be a better way to accomplish whatever the goal is than struggling to pay astronomical fees to these educational service providers. And it never fails that the more money districts get, the higher the fees charged by these businesses.  

People complain about charter schools, yet the biggest for profit businesses in existence are feeding off of the public school system right now! And no one is saying a word. Why do administrators and superintendents lose sight of what’s best for the teachers and our kids? The answer is simple. They are being wined and dined by these educational companies. These businesses are what guides and directs their actions in many cases. Teachers in DeSoto County often ask, “Why did we get MyON, because we don’t like it.” Answer: A trip to Colorado Springs for certain leader(s) and who knows what other perks they received. That’s the truth of it, and this nonsense has to stop!

If people want to make this ballot initiative about funding, then I think those people need to be researching where our money is going and to whom. Just some food for thought.
  

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