The Board had a work session with Demond Means Thursday night. He gave us until June 23 to sign a contract agreement with him.
The Journal article made the Means proposal sound like there would be significant institutional and financial support for his efforts. Yet none of this support is promised or funded.
What became clear about the proposal is the following:
- The money “returning” to MPS through the “mirrored” instrumentality charter approach will be $8K per student, not the $10K per student, MPS presently gets. This pays for the staff, program and building operations of any chosen school.
- OSPP has no money for the work except the $8K per student. It was said that university volunteers will help.
- If the Board signs an agreement, the MPS administration and staff will be doing the work and paying the bills, doing the “heavy lifting” for all of this.
- We asked about the educational plan? It was said the turnaround efforts would be done through a “community schools” approach and increased wrap-around services. I pointed out that a community school needs $80-150K/year to just create the right conditions. Dr. Means said the County will assist with wrap-around. I pointed out that he told me 4 weeks ago that the County is already doing its limit on wrap-around support for MPS.
So the Board has “input” only. And the improvement plan is to improve schools with no extra money through programs we are already implementing (wrap-around services and community schools.) OSPP has no money to pay anybody, so all of the support work is free and volunteer. The only money available is the $8,000 per student and the MPS administration and staff will do the operations, teaching and support. We are to do more with less.
It was stated that “we are not trying to disenfranchise” the School Board. Actually one definition of disenfranchisement is “a person or group of people who are stripped of their power.” This is the intention of the authors of the law.
The proposed contract doesn’t change that.