Wake Supt. Email: Cuts to Teacher, Student Budget Items but 3% Increases to ‘Support Staff’

Wake county school officials appear unable to work with an increased budget of over $1.4 billion dollars according to an email to staff obtained by this site penned by the Superintendent of Wake County Schools and David Neter, Chief Operating Officer.

The emails detail the cuts to school level services to ‘close the $17.5 million dollar budget gap’ while simultaneously indicating a 3% pay raise and a half percent bonus for non-teaching support staff.

Cuts include, “Adjustments to teacher funding allotments for elementary and middle schools”, which translated could mean cuts to in-class teachers funding.

Also on the list are items that will impact students and teachers alike, such as changing thermostats in schools to cut costs, cutting the busing budget back again and cutting down on the number of days janitors clean the school.

Read the email:

 

Superintendent Merrill is currently one of the highest paid Superintendents in the state with his original aggregate salary standing at $275,000.  His contract states he can earn up to 5% ($13,750 a year) of his aggregate salary in performance bonuses.  In addition, Merrill receives $900 which is “in lieu of a transportation allowance”.

Merrill’s contract was recently extended through 2019 by the Wake school board  for ‘meeting his board approved goals’. This site reached out for the list of ‘goals’ but was denied access to the documents by Wake County Schools.  The reason cited was that the documents were part of Merrill’s personnel file.

This site argued that the goal list was directly tied to Merrill’s taxpayer funded salary and therefore was a public record.  Wake County Schools officials responded by refusing to turn over the goals list a second time.

The current Wake School Board also put a clause into his contract which has the effect of barring the next elected board from terminating him by attaching a two-year severance parachute of $560,000.

View Merrill’s Contract.

The Wake Board also approved a $1.98 billion building program in the last few months. The new building plan will span 7 years, multiple items such as 14 schools and 11 new miscellaneous projects.  All of this expansion is allegedly to ‘accommodate the student growth rate’ which the WCPSS board has inaccurately estimated in the past.  The real growth in Wake county appears to be coming from homeschooling and charter schools.


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Cooper’s Q2 Filings Reveal Big Out of State Cash, Including Former NBA Commissioner

It’s being widely circulated that the DNC leaked emails show collusion and cheering of the economic threats by certain businesses to North Carolina over House Bill 2 (HB2).

Yesterday, Governor McCory made a statement about these leaks:

“What’s most disturbing is that these emails have clearly shown something we suspected all along,” McCrory said. “That’s the state of North Carolina, the city of Charlotte and especially small businesses are being used as a pawn by Roy Cooper, by the mayor of Charlotte and by the Democratic Party, on an issue that was made up purely for political purpose and to raise money.”  – ABC11

[…]

“They cheered. They literally cheered when businesses would boycott our great state,” the governor said. ABC11

But how close is the North Carolina media looking at Roy Cooper’s involvement, donations to his campaign or mentions of him in the DNC leaks?

So far, not very closely.

As previously reported, the second quarter campaign finance reports for NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s campaign shows that the CEO of Lambda Legal , Rachel Tiven, gave the campaign $5,100.  Tiven did not list Lambda Legal as her employer on the donation filing, but instead her most recent former employer.

This donation is problematic due to Lambda Legal being one of the parties suing Governor Pat McCrory and the State of North Carolina over House Bill 2 (HB2). Attorney General Roy Cooper has abandoned his job duties and refused multiple times to defend McCrory or the state when it comes to HB2.

Tiven isn’t the only donor who has ties to the HB2 controversy.  Cooper’s second quarter financials also show that former NBA commissioner, David J. Stern, also gave Cooper $5,100 on June 8th, 2016.

A little over a month after Stern’s donation, the NBA pulls 2017 All Star game out of Charlotte as they had been threatening to do for months.   The preseason NBA games will go on as planned however in China,  which is known for it’s anti-LGBT laws and human rights violations.

Another high profile name was found in Cooper’s most recent campaign finance report, that of wealthy hedge fund manager, political activist and top Democrat fundraiser, Tom Steyer.

Steyer has been a devout big ‘green’ proponent and climate change true believer.  In 2013, he Washington Post described him as: “The man who has Obama’s ear when it comes to energy and climate change.”

As such a climate change proponent, Steyer refused to endorse Hillary Clinton until June of 2016 when it became clear Bernie Sanders was out.  Steyer, however, is also a top tier Clinton Foundation donor.

Clinton Foundation donors, including Steyer, pumped over $13 million into Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. McAuliffe was chair of both Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential attempt. McAuliffe’s very first Executive order as Governor was prohibiting discrimination based on “Sexual Orientation” or “Gender Identity”.

In 2014, Steyer was notably invested in Sen. Harry Reid to the tune of $5 million dollars. That same 2014 election cycle, Steyer dropped a total of over $75 million.

In a prior article, it was noted that the DNC leaker emails showed a meeting at Goldman Sachs between Cooper and various individuals. That meeting was facilitated by Zach Allen, a DNC employee and owner of TIPAH Consulting.

While the Goldman Sachs employee engaged in that leaked email conversation with Allen was not a donor, two other prominent Goldman Sachs employees were. Both Paul Parker and Timothy Ingrassia work as Co-Chairs of Global Mergers and Acquisitions at Goldman Sachs.  The pair gave donations to Cooper exactly one month apart:

  • 05-01-16 Paul Parker, $5,100 (Goldman Sachs, Co-Chair Global Mergers & Acquisitions)
  • 06-01-16 Timothy J. Ingrassia, $1,000 (Goldman Sachs, Co-Chair Global Mergers & Acquisitions)

Other notable donors included the CEO of HBO, the wife of Disney Company’s Board Chair, Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, and clothing mogul Ralph Lauren.

Not to be left out of the list is the billionaire who has funded nearly every far Left and progressive group at one point or another, George Soros. Both he and one of his sons, Alexander, gave donations to Cooper totaling $10,200.

Receipts of Note by Date:

04-07-16 George Soros $5,100 (Tides Foundation, Open Society Foundation)

04-07-16 Alexander Soros $5,100 (“Student”)

04-14-16 Cindy Harrel-Horn, $5,100 (Wife of Alan Horn, Disney Board Chair)

04-26-16 William E. Little Jr., $1,000 (#9 Obama Super PAC Donor in 2012)

04-26-16 Thomas Woodbury, $5,100 (HBO CEO)

05-01-16 Paul Parker, $5,100 (Goldman Sachs, Global Mergers & Acquisitions)

05-02-16 Dan Bross, $5,100 (Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft)

05-15-16 John R. Kosa, $5,100 (Bio /worked at Stanford)

05-18-16 George Little, $1,000 (Brother of William Little, Obama Super PAC donor)

05-18-15 Lorne Michaels $1,000 (Saturday Night Live/Producer)

05-25-16 Zachary Allen $5 (DNC Employee / CEO/Founder of TIPAH)

06-01-16 Timothy J. Ingrassia, $1,000 (Goldman Sachs, Global Mergers & Acquisitions)

06-06-16 Tom Steyer, $5,100 (Major DNC Figure/ Donor)

06-07-16 Ralph Lauren, $5,100 (Ralph Lauren Clothing, POLO)

06-08-16 David J. Stern, $5,100 (Former NBA Commissioner)

06-14-16 Stephen Henderson $2,000 (Held fundraiser at NYC home in June for Cooper)

06-24-16 William E. Little Jr., $2,000 (#9 Obama Super PAC Donor in 2012)

Posted in 2016, Elections, EXCLUSIVE, LadyLiberty1885, Pat McCrory | 1 Comment

E-Learning Academies Target Homeschool Students for Profit

GUEST POST ICONE-Learning Academies Target Homeschool Students for Profit

by Tammy J. Covil

As public school systems across the country lose funding due to steady declines in enrollment by parents choosing alternative education options, public school administrators have begun devising clever programs designed to coerce them back into the system.

Earlier this month, an article in the Lexington Herald Leader outlined one such program. The Wayne County public school system is attempting to connect with homeschool students through online courses in exchange for enrollment into the school system. Primarily geared toward high school students, these courses are completed online from home, with oversight provided by a public school teacher assigned to the class. The cost to the school system is about $100 per course. The state funding that flows into the district by virtue of student enrollment, however, is $3200 per student per year.

Days later, the New Hanover County school system here in North Carolina followed suit with an almost identical proposal. The details of the profit potential in their presentation was a bit more revealing. The New Hanover County school system is projecting Average Daily Membership (ADM) funding allotment of $5,000 via the state and $2,700 through local funds. The projected cost to the district for a student fully enrolled in the program (4 online courses per year) totals $2,800, which leaves roughly $4,900 in ‘excess funding for use by NHCS per student.’ In other words, 63% of the per pupil state and local ADM allotment is money that will not benefit the student the district is targeting.

So what does the homeschool student receive in return? According to the presentation, 150+ online courses from which to choose, the ability to remain in a small, at-home environment, and ‘FREE’ online courses. For those who know that public school systems are funded through taxpayer dollars, characterizing these courses as free is almost offensive.

To be clear, homeschooled children are able to access online courses through NCVPS without having to enroll in the public school system, although parents must pay for the courses.

One possible benefit to an e-learning academy is that it does allow high school students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement courses in preparation for college at a cost savings to the parent. Since there is such a disparity between the actual cost of the courses and the funding allotment the district receives through enrollment, states would be wise to meet school systems somewhere in the middle. By funding only the online courses instead of the full ADM allotment, homeschool families receive the financial break they need and the state saves their taxpayers money. After all, these children never set foot in a public school building, other than to take a final exam.

As suspected, homeschool parents are proving to be skeptical. In a recent article by the Wilmington Star News, the spokeswoman for a local homeschool support group offered her critique of the program. According to her, it’s doubtful that any of the families in the group will participate, as most don’t like the curriculum or the loss of freedom that comes with public school enrollment, which are two of the primary reasons parents choose homeschooling in the first place.

It seems administrators may have not only overestimated the level of interest but the trust level of homeschool parents in their districts. Families have grown increasingly pessimistic of the public school system’s ability to provide their children with a quality education, especially after parents’ objections to the federally-driven implementation of academic standards known as Common Core were met with disdain by public education leaders.

Clearly, the skepticism is justified.

Rather than tackle the problems that have caused families to flee the system and focus their energies on attracting them back through substantive improvements, public school administrators appear to be more interested in looking for creative – albeit deceptive – ways to pad their budgets.

Expect more of these programs to materialize over the coming months as public school administrators around the state awaken to their financial potential.

Tammy_Covil-SMimgTammy Covil is a member of the New Hanover County Board of Education. She also co-chaired the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission in 2015. The commission was tasked with reviewing and recommending changes to the math and English language arts standards (a.k.a. Common Core) for North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students. She and her husband, Tommy, make their home in Wilmington, North Carolina, and are the proud parents of four children.

 

Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Homeschool | Tagged , , | 1 Comment