Oct 16, 2006
Detroit newspapers have reported problems in how the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) awarded technology contracts earlier this year. Conveniently, this news came AFTER teachers accepted a concession contract.
On Monday, October 9, officials reported the final result of the teachers’ contract vote, in which they accepted a contract including a wage freeze and higher medical co-pays. This contract was imposed on the teachers after a two-week strike, during which the DPS officials talked about being 200 million dollars in the hole.
On the day after the vote was announced, the Detroit Free Press revealed that the schools superintendent, William F. Coleman, had “suggested” to a company applying for a technology contract with the school, that they hire an old friend of his – who is being investigated by the FBI for gifts he had accepted while he was a top school official in Dallas.
The company, Information Solutions Group Services, subcontracted from another company, GVC Networks, which had received almost four million dollars for a contract to handle tele-communications for the DPS.
Problems don’t stop there. The GVC contract was one of four technology contracts awarded in July, totalling 58 million dollars. One of these companies lists its address as the home of its founder, and didn’t incorporate until a month after it won its DPS contract. Two other companies listed offices that were either empty or closed on repeated visits.
Another company, Compuware, was the first to raise questions about how these contracts were awarded – because it had lost out in the bidding to be one of those companies lining up for the gravy train.
This has been the practice of the school board for years, whether they were elected by Detroit residents or appointed by the governor’s office: cut back on resources to the students and wages and benefits to employees, while awarding contracts to any fly-by-night company their friends set up.
And it’s awfully convenient that a story that had been in the works for months didn’t get reported until AFTER the teachers accepted their wage and benefit cuts. The Detroit papers clearly concluded that reporting the story earlier might endanger the School Board’s attempt to get those concessions.
The Detroit Public School board is ripping off children, residents and employees – and the Detroit newspapers are helping them do it.