Category Archives: Incompetence and Fraud

Million Dollar No Bid Contracts for Ex DeKalb Schools Employees

Intalage Leadership
Due to a shortage of math and science teachers, in July 2013 the BOE approved a $1.7 million dollar contract with IN-TALAGE to provide up to 30 “International Teachers”.  October 2013 the BOE approved another $1.7 million for an additional 30 international teachers.  June 2014 INTALAGE was given a $3 million dollar contract.  The July 13 board meeting has a placeholder for “International Teachers” with no details given for this action item.
Among the numerous questions I have, I don’t see where this contract was ever bid out.  Also, the INTALAGE website lists as its four leaders:

Dr. Patti Reed DeKalb Schools Director of Human Resources until 2013
Dr. Robert Tucker DeKalb Schools Human Resources Personnel until 2013
Dr. David Francoeur DeKalb Schools Assoc. Superintendent of Human Resources 10+ years ago
Karen Baron DeKalb Schools Special Education Director until 2012

I asked Dr. Green a series of questions and to look into what seems to be millions of dollars in no bid contracts for ex DeKalb Schools employees. Dr. Green immediately took this item off the agenda pending further examination.
Nevertheless, the questions still remain and these are the answers I received from Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer.
Question: Please provide the Vendor File for INTALAGE and GLOBAL TEACHERS RESEARCH & RESOURCES, historically referenced in the “International Teachers” action item, that appears as a place holder for the upcoming BOE meeting.
Dr. Ward-Smith: Please note that this action item has been pulled from the agenda. A request was made to the Board Office on Monday to remove it.
Question:  What is the DeKalb School District’s position regarding bidding out of this service?  Has it ever been bid out?
Dr. Ward-Smith:  As an initial point, our understanding is that only 3 companies in the Southeast offer this service. This service has not been bid previously, which may be the reason why we received such a low response.  However, the service is currently the subject of a selection process.
Question: What steps has the DeKalb School District taken to reduce the need to use international teachers to fill difficult/technical teaching positions?
Dr. Ward-Smith:  In an effort to reduce our reliance on this contract, the District pre-hired educators in critical fields as early as January 2015  to fill anticipated vacancies; however, we had more than 130 resignations in Math, Science, and Special Education (6 – Resigned for another Position; 17 Abandoned Contract; 59 Did not accept contract offer).  Recruitment is not our issue.  Retention is our issue, and it is mainly due to our salary schedule. Therefore, the teachers who were contracted early are slated to fill these spots.
Question:  Is DeKalb Schools INTALAGE’s only client?  What other districts use teachers from INTALAGE?
Dr. Ward-Smith:  Henry, Savannah Chatamn County, Walton, Clayton. I will have to request a list from the vendor.
(Note: Henry, Savannah and Walton contracts are for $100K – $250K.  The state has no record of a contract between Clayton and INTALAGE. I contrast this with the $3 million contract DeKalb gave this firm.)
Question:  It seems like school district officers left DeKalb Schools and started getting no bid contracts.  2 of the 4 leaders left just a few months before INTALAGE received contracts for millions.  What is the school district’s position on this?
Dr. Ward-Smith:  The correlation between Intalage hiring of former DCSD Administrators and the awarding of a contract for services has had no bearing on the my decision to recommend to the Board of Education that we continue doing business with this vendor. I can simply say that that is a hiring decision of the company.  In my role as an HR professional, I have to work very closely with the vendor to support the teachers.  I cannot say what relationship the above-mentioned former employees had.  Simply that these programs have provided a valuable service to the students of DCSD. Additionally, please note District Policies GAG (regarding employee conflicts of interest) and DJE (regarding purchasing ethics) combine to ensure that contracts are entered into appropriately.

Related Docs and Links
.pdf link icon INTALAGE – Business Registration – Secretary of State
Dekalb School Watch DSW – Update on the International Teachers contract
Dekalb School Watch DSW – The June 2, 2014 BOE meeting and International Teachers
Dekalb School Watch DSW – Again, the subject of international supply teachers

Dekalb – Incompetence Punctuated By Fraud – #TBT

Nancy Jester always said, “We only have two problems in DeKalb: Incompetence and Fraud.”  Many of DeKalb County’s leaders are either in jail or on their way to jail.  The AJC reported yesterday, “DeKalb County taxpayers forked over more than $34,000 to the boyfriend of Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, mostly for his advice on how to be a commissioner.”
Whether it’s DeKalb Schools or the County Government, Nancy Jester’s article, Subsidizing failure in government, is as germane today as the day she wrote it.
Subsidizing failure in government
By: Nancy Jester
So, what’s the solution to bad government? More government! DeKalb’s Interim CEO, Lee May, recently created a new full time position: Chief Integrity Officer. The word ironic comes to mind but doesn’t really do justice to the situation.
The problems demonstrated by DeKalb’s officials won’t be solved by an ethics board or an integrity officer. You know what solves ethical problems? Elected officials and government workers with ethics. DeKalb’s real and perceived problems will only be resolved with new leadership. Spending more money on faux ethics and integrity is simply just spending more of the people’s money. It doesn’t ensure or purchase ethics or good government. In fact, in addition to increasing the cost of government, it creates more opportunities for corruption. It increases cynicism. So in the style of Ben Franklin: A government that lacks ethics and public confidence to the point it creates a position to implement integrity, is likely to have neither.