Monday, March 11, 2013

Neil, Neil, Neil - Is it FINALLY Your Time? Or Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Oh yes, its been a long time since we've provided any updates or insight regarding good old MVRCS but it seems that Neil has FINALLY managed to draw the attention he so rightfully deserves! For those who have taken time out of their lives in the past to bring Neil and MVRCS the much needed at attention of the DESE, it appears that your efforts (nor ours) were not in vain. We know that the DESE receives calls practically DAILY regarding the shenanigans going on over corrupt, law ignoring, 'we are above all reprise' MVRCS, have finally brought them the much deserved attention they deserve. It seems that if Mr. 'I'll Do What I Want' has disregarded the DESE's directives for long enough that his actions have brought the schools charter into jeopardy.
In case you haven't seen the article in the Boston Globe, it can be found  at "School’s expansion request is denied". It would appear that although the charter was approved but with restrictions. Hmmm, could it be that King Kinnon has snubbed his nose at the DESE one too many times?

A quick over of the conditions that have been placed on the charter are highlighted below (although this came directly from the DOE (DOE - Board of Education 2013):
1.     Beginning in March 2013 and until further notice, the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (MVRCS) will submit to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), at or 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA, 02148, board meeting agendas, materials, and minutes prior to each board meeting at the same time these items are sent to MVRCS board members. The Department reserves the right to request additional information, such as quarterly or monthly financial statements, if board materials do not already include this information, and MVRCS must provide such additional information within two business days. (We wonder if that is as a result of good 'ol 'Thieving Gately' is at the helm. Also, let us NOT forget the BS that the Boston Globe went through to get copies of staff salaries AND the inability to view (as required by law) copies of the Board Meetings and Executive Sessions). *See Additional Infomation Regarding Finances Below.
2.     By May 31, 2013, the Board of Trustees of MVRCS shall amend its bylaws to set specific, reasonable limits on successive or total terms that a member may serve on the board of trustees. These limits must apply to all current board members. (Oh, King Kinnon, what ever shall you do???  We're sure this is going to be an area of contention for King Tut, especially as it pertains to his royal arse himself!)
3.     By May 31, 2013, the Board of Trustees of MVRCS will engage in a comprehensive self-evaluation of its own capacity and recruit additional members who have the needed expertise. (i.e. Neil, this does not mean YOU but rather individuals who may have the audacity to disagree or even challenge YOU).
4.     By July 31, 2013, the Board of Trustees of MVRCS will expand the board membership to at least seven members. (And again King Tut, this excludes you! It means that your current practice of you and your 'followers' managing the day to day needs of the school may be no more!).
5.     By September 30, 2013, the Board of Trustees of MVRCS will engage in training, conducted by an external consultant, accepted and approved in advance by the Department, on the roles and responsibilities of a public charter school board of trustees.  (We're thinking that this means that the training cannot be conducted by one of your friends, relatives, or campaign contributors - which is your MO).

This renewal is explicitly conditioned as follows. Failure to meet these conditions may result in the Board placing Mystic Valley Regional Charter School on probation, revoking its charter, or imposing additional conditions on its charter. 
"Citing a “clear record of insularity and opaque decision making,” Mitchell D. Chester last month placed conditions on the school’s charter and denied Mystic Valley’s request to increase student enrollment. -Gotta love this little mention of defiance (and he then claims they  are being singled out...?):
The school, Chester wrote in a Feb. 8 memo to the state Board of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “has not consistently operated with transparency or been accessible to all stakeholders.” 
We're thinking that all of the kool-aid drinkers, friends and family club members, and campaign contributors had better either boot your butt to the curb OR get ready to enroll their children in their district schools. While we're at it, should we mention to you the possibility of your teachers meeting with union officials these days? Oh, wouldn't that just be the DEATH of you???
No one should really be surprised but the DESE seems to have some concerns regarding the finances of MVRCS. Of course, not their financial viability per se but rather their management, record keeping, and/or use of funding. This was noted in the report submitted by Class Measures and includes the following:

"The first finding noted the procurement policy did not ensure no payments were provided to any vendors disbarred from receiving federal funds. The second noted that expenses charged to the ARRA grant were not discreetly accounted for, separate from non ARRA expenses. The third noted required procedures for charging of employee salary to two federal grants were not followed...The second finding, regarding lack of discrete accounting for ARRA federal grant funds, recurred in FY12 and the finding of noncompliance with ARRA regulations was continued."
Even more amazing to us is that 'Class Measures was able to obtain copies of the Board Meetings AND financial records (of course they were most likely cooked but at least they had SOMETHING) that have been kept from the rest of the school community.
Probably the most humorous and ironic part of the report was that the Board stated that "they thought of themselves as a 'bottom up' organization" - anyone else find that a bit much too swallow? Interestingly enough, teachers and parents characterized the school as a “top down” organization, with the board dictating the direction of the school. Furthermore, parents noted that it was difficult to communicate with the board.  (Really, you don't say??? BTW, we'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to know which friends and family members were 'randomly' chosen to meet with the 'Class Measures' team and we're pretty sure that it was not an open or publicized).

We would LOVE to hear Dr. McCleary's response to the Board being 'prohibited from exercising managerial powers over the day-to-day operations of the school'. You remember Dr. McCleary don't you? You know the name plate that was on the 'Director' door, the 'Director' who was given no say or voice in ANY aspect of the 'day-to-day operations', or the 'Director' who was ignored or treated with clear disrespect at Board Meetings (yes, in a school that embraces the concept of  respect...). Yeah, THAT guy.

Of course also worth mentioning for a good chuckle is that  "89% indicated that they were satisified with their decision to send their children to MVRCS". Now is that because they belong to the MVRCS 'friends and family club' (you know, those families that are related to Kinnon, Finn, or any of the other VIP's in the school), it is better than the alternative (i.e. and they live in Malden or Everett where they are doing great things but face a much more diverse population - both race, language, and special education related), or all the input they have into their childs education and the respect they are shown from Sir Kinnon and his minions? Oh wait, maybe its how inadequately and unequally they are treated and/or rules applied. Of course, the number one answer is probably the fact that any child who isn't doing well or parents that aren't satisfied were not only not included (and were not even considered for enrollment) but were probably ushered out of the school as their child a) didn't speak english, b) had a learning disability that could have been addressed but wasn't being adequately addressed (yes, you know Wicked Witch of SPED herself), or c) the parents DARED challenge Kinnon or one of his minions. It should come as no surprise that the student population still appears to be lacking regards to the (non-existent) ELL and special education students according to the report: "select student subgroup enrollment continues to lag behind the primary sending districts and the state."  One must wonder how when serving such language diverse communities such as Everett, Medford, and Malden, MVRCS still does not have any students who are identified as English Language Learners - especially considering how the state requires them to fully prepared and a program in place (oh, did yet another F and F member need a 'job' that paid exceptionally well yet had minimal duties or expectations cause THAT would make sense).

Kinnons response to the report is classic and makes one wonder if he is delusion, believes his owns lies, or grasping at straws. Enjoy!
"Kinnon took issue with the findings.
The school’s board of trustees does not believe it violated the Open Meeting Law,” he said. “Our board meetings are all open and we have [had] open sessions at nearly every one for 15 years.” - Is he really saying this? Does he actually believe it because that would be an even scarier thought than him just plain lying!
Kinnon said a recent conversation he had with Cliff W. Chuang, associate commissioner of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, revealed that Chester’s decision to impose conditions on the school and deny its request to expand was influenced by numerous complaints state education officials claimed to have received about Mystic Valley and its board in writing, by phone, and anonymously. Kinnon said state officials never shared those complaints with Mystic Valley’s board of trustees and claimed such notification is required by law. "- Again, REALLY??? Oh, next thing he'll blame it on McCleary and Finn!
"The only thing ‘opaque’ here is the Department of Education’s explanation on not providing us these complaints they supposedly have, and by law they were supposed to share, so that we could rectify the issues or determine they were baseless and report back to the department,” Kinnon said. “We don’t know if [those complaints] really exist.” And, as anyone who has ever dealt with him (or any of his F&F employees) knows, he would have addressed any and all issues immediately just as he did with the directive regarding the Board members, special education violations, reporting violations, lottery/admittance violations, the transportation fiasco, the nut allergy, and the list goes on. Please Neil, now you are just plain embarrassing yourself!
“We do not typically contact schools in these instances, which are the vast majority of the complaints that we receive,” Greene said, noting that state education officials are “in the process of compiling the written complaints [about Mystic Valley] on file, at the school’s request.” - Could Ms. Greene borrow the MVRCS truck to transport the enormous stack of complaints the DESE has received over the years? Worth noting is that the DESE has been visiting our site and will make denial on Sir Lie-Alot eer, Kinnon's part near impossible. May we also suggest they contact Dr. McCleary (maybe his buy-off, oops - confidentiality contract has expired...?).*** Given that Ms. Greene is currently compiling written complaints, may we suggest that anyone who questions whether the complaint was adequately filed with the DESE, re-fill any and all complaints.

Not to be missed is outrage and disbelief that ANYONE dared or would THINK of calling the DESE:
We expected that Sir Kinnon  would not only be less than pleased with the findings but that his 'friends' weren't able to fix this for him and his kingdom. One has to wonder how he likes being on the other side and having another individual make decisions and determinations that determine him and his kingdom. Poor Sir Lie-A-Lot, We are surely hoping that the parents and staff that have been subjected to the less that ethical, honorable, or morally correct actions (especially those have had implications on students) of him and his minions, are enjoying watching his slow descend.

Apparently it has been too long since since our last post as we could go on and on except that we've said it all before. Of course, maybe the collected efforts of parents, teachers, community members, and others who refuse to take part in the world of corruption known as MVRCS, are finally paying off and Kinnon (et al) day is coming sometime in the near future. We'll have to all stay posted and keep our chairs and popcorn nearby and ready for a show. Oh Sir Kinnon, you never fail to entertain us!

Of course should you have other insights, thoughts, or comments that you feel should be shared with the DESE or Class Measures (the company that conducted the review), you could always contact them directly. We've very conveniently included some contact information below.

Contact Details:

Jeff Wulfson @ 781-338-6500, Deputy Commissioner; 
Cliff Chuang @ 781-338-3222, Associate Commissioner; 

Class Measures
100 Tower Park Drive 
Woburn, MA 01801

1 comment:

  1. It's been a long time my friend. Thank you for all your work and for truly caring about the children at MVRCS.