We have made it no secret that we've been in touch with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Attorney General's Office, Ethics Committee, Governor Patrick, IRS, and the Office of the Inspector General. In one of the nastier messages we received on this blog (which we posted) by someone at MVRCS, they made reference to having contact with individuals who should be concerned with the wrong-doings and/or issues at MVRCS who were not concerned with what we were saying. At the time we didn't pay much attention to their statements as we felt that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE WOULD pay attention and be as outraged as we are. We didn't believe that the agencies and government officials could turn their back on students who required special educational services, misappropriation of funds, or blatant disregard for laws. We must say that we have since been repeatedly disappointed at the lack of actions the agencies responsible for ensuring the folks at MVRCS are following the laws and educating our children. Some insight and background on who we contacted, what was reported, and what (if anything was done).
We have made it no secret that that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE or also known as the DOE) is willing to do very little in the way of ensuring Neil Kinnon and the Administration/Board follow the laws that govern them. Jeff Wulfson while offering to be our 'go-to' person at the DESE, has shown little interest and made little effort to address the issues we have brought to his attention. He was well aware of the open meeting violations yet did nothing to enforce the law other than pass the buck to the Attorney General's office. Mr. Wulfson actually ignored a number of our emails until we reached out to Governor Patrick for assistance. Unfortunately, Mr. Wulfson's attention and responses are limited and appear to only happen at the urging of Governor Patrick. Given that the DESE (aka DOE) is the agency mainly responsible for the oversight of our education system here in Massachusetts, not to mention their responsibility for charter school oversight, we can not stress enough how disappointed we are by his lack of concern and inaction. We feel we must also make mention of the fact that before reaching out to Mr. Wulfson, we had heard of several parents and a number of teachers reaching out the PQA (Program Quality Assurance) department of the DESE, again with no success. Our other issue and concern that the DESE would ultimately be responsible for addressing is that of the handling of the lottery and waitlist. We can not even begin to describe the amount of information that has been sent to us regarding violations of the laws that govern entrance into charter schools. We've heard of students being re-admitted, unethical handling of the waitlist, and the newest, being able to buy a students entry into the school. It appears as though the DESE is not concerned with any of this and is therefore allowing it to continue. So, in answer to the question 'who ya gonna call' if you have an issue with MVRCS, we DON'T suggest bothering with the DESE.
We must say that of all of the agencies we made contact with, the Attorney General's office was one of the most helpful, responsive, and seems to have made a difference. While the option exists to contact them regarding a number of different issues, we chose to focus on the Open Meeting Law violations at MVRCS. We must say that since speaking to them and sharing with them our communications with MVRCS, we have seen an improvement in the handling of the Open Meetings. We still have issues pertaining to obtaining the minutes of past meetings (specifically Executive Sessions) but those are due to more of a logistical issue. Although we do believe that an issue still exists (are the meeting minutes available as required by law for both the open and executive session meetings?), we have not figured out a way of obtaining copies without revealing our identities. We are still working on this issue, do not fear. In general, we would suggest that the Attorney General is someone one might want to call for assistance and guidance. Too bad they weren't responsible for education!
An agency that we have mixed emotions on and are holding off on forming an opinion at this time is the State Ethics Committee. We have filed NUMEROUS complaints with them regarding conflict of interest issues on behalf of not only Neil Kinnon but with the City of Malden, Chris Finn, and in the hiring of family and friends by Neil Kinnon. Unfortunately while a number of these have been filed on behalf of various individuals, a fair amount have also been filed anonymously which means we have no way of knowing what action (if any) has or will be taken. We do know that no action has been taken on at least one complaint at this point but are still waiting to hear on the outcome of others.We hope that the State Ethics Committee is at the very least taking our complaints seriously and not being misled, misinformed, or misguided by the folks at MVRCS. On the up side, we have heard rumors of certain individuals lawyer shopping for firms that handle ethical complaint allegations. We shall wait and see before we decide if this agency is one that one should call.
As for Governor Patrick, we must say that our letter to him did result in a response (at the very least) from Jeff Wulfson. We would have liked for more to have come from our contacting his office but at the very least, we know that he heard us! Another one we'll be contacting in the future.
The IRS and Inspector General - these too were anonymous complaints so unfortunately we have no way of knowing if our efforts resulted in any action being taken. It also may be too soon to tell.We'll keep you posted on this agency.
In closing, we've come to the conclusion that we are not the type of group to give up easily as we will continue to bring the many issues and concerns we have regarding MVRCS to those who SHOULD be able to help correct them.
- Complete List of All Links
- Massive List of Educational Consultants, Advocate, Attorneys...Plus
- Conflict of Issues and Lottery Issues
- MVRCS Management and Operations
- List of DESE, Community Leaders and Media Contacted
- Parents Questions, Concerns, and Misc Information
- Top 20 MVRCS Employees
- Boston.com Reader Comments
- Legal Disclaimer
- Copy: Top 50 Paid Employees @ MVRC Posted in the Boston Globe