(Diane Ravitch, Diane Ravitch) Just when you think the corporate reformers had run out of ideas, another pops up. Why not invite a non-educator to reorganize the schools? Why not give him a no-bid contract? Be sure not to include either educators or parents in the discussion of the future of the public schools.
Nevada, case in point, just handed a $1.2 million no-bid contract to a non-educator to reorganize the public schools of Clark County (Las Vegas).
During the October 18 Legislative Advisory Committee meeting about the Clark County School District (CCSD) reorganization, Committee members were presented with a proposal from TSC2, a recently formed consulting firm headed by Tom Skancke, former CEO of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA). Firm consultants are slated to assist the CCSD with AB394 reorganization efforts, including administrative and financial changes, transition services and education policy development. The contract is for one year.
The $1.2 million contract caught some legislators and concerned parents by surprise. Several members of the Advisory Committee complained about having one day to review all the documents pertaining to the $1.2 million proposal. Legislators also wondered why there was no Request For Proposals (RFP), which would have made this contract subject to a competitive bid process.
Senator Mo Denis asked Glenn Christenson, a businessman who worked with Station Casinos and more recently collaborated closely with TSC2 principal Tom Skancke at LVGEA, how long the proposal had been in development. Mr. Christenson answered 6-8 weeks. Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz asked CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky how long it would have taken to go through a competitive RFP process, and he responded 6-8 weeks.
Senator Mo Denis asked, about parental engagement. He added that he couldn’t see the proposal succeeding without that input, and noted “there is no plan for parent outreach.”
Assemblywoman Diaz believed the scope of the work from the consulting firm was too broad and needed to be more focused and finite. In particular, she and Assemblywoman Dina Neal noted that the proposed work involved policy development, which is legally the responsibility of CCSD Trustees.
Assemblywoman Diaz also noted that the reorganization plan was designed to give power back to local administrators, parents and teachers and ensure that local schools were building a sense of community. Yet parents are completely absent from the proposed transition structure, she added.