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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Metro VIEWS: OUSD Administrators and Million Dollar Consultants
"The Million Dollar Consultant" Allan Weiss with his dog and Bentley automoblie
Metro VIEWS ______________
Giving voice to the
Greater Orange Communities
an editorial opinion by the
Greater Orange Community Orgainization
With his recent call for Orange Unified to include the costs of consultants in the OUSD Administrative budget, Orange Unified Trustee Rick Ledesma once again proved why as the often lone fiscal conservative on the OUSD Board of Education, he is the best friend of the Greater Orange Communities taxpayers. For years we here at the Greater Orange Communities Organization have campaigned against the waste of millions of educational tax dollars on the education systems worst kept secret…educational consultants. Despite wasting millions of dollars on these fly-by-night snake-oil salesman, OUSD standardized test scores are well with-in the normal growth range for California school districts. Yet most California districts have not followed the siren’s call of the Consultant Culture that has become an addiction for OUSD. Ledesma’s call for transparency on this issue is while welcome, comes millions of wasted educational dollars too late.
Ledesma rightly points out that the OUSD Administration has bragged long and hard about having a noteworthy 2% cost percentage on one hand, but then argues that consultants supplement the work they are unable to perform. Well, let us put things into perspective. OUSD has spent $14,000 on “speakers” for just two engagements. Are there no talented administrators able or willing to provide a keynote address as part of their duties? The teachers they lead are required to make dozens of impromptu addresses, usually to audiences that are much more difficult than a meeting of adult educators. Yet, those administrators were willing to ask for, and the OUSD Trustees are willing to approve, $6,500 of educational tax dollars for Dr. Kenneth Strichter to make a 55 minute speech that, according to some of those listening, was far from motivating. Then you get the $6,600 for an “event mural”. That’s right, they will pay a company $6,600 dollars to do a “live” rendering of the workshop that will produce the next three year strategic plan. With a shortage of textbooks in OUSD classrooms, even that amount toward textbooks would be more educationally sound than wasting $6, 600 on an ”event mural” of a workshop. By the way that workshop will be run by two consultants who will earning $14,000 of your educational tax dollars.Trustee Ledesma voted against the mural and the two consultants. What ever happened to the “event mural” from the last workshop after it hung in the OUSD Board Room for a month?
The OUSD Consultant Culture is similar to the “good old boy” political culture that infests the rich halls of Wall Street and Washington’s smoke filled rooms. The OUSD millions of educational tax dollars dumped into the failed OUSD Focus on Results program was started when OUSD Principal Kathy Bruce recommended the program to OUSD Administrators. Bruce however failed to reveal that she was also listed as a Senior Consultant for the firm that raked in millions of OUSD educational tax dollars with no oversight of the services they provided (i.e. Principal Coaching) or the copyrighted intellectual material they freely absconded. Bruce later resigned her position with the consultant company when the conflict of interest was revealed by Orange Net News. The school she was principal at OUSD’s Prospect Elementary School is still featured on the Focus on Results website, but no mention of the nosedive in scores Prospect took after the 2003 listing shown on the site.
It is common knowledge in educational circles that it is who you know that gets you in the door to lucrative educational funding. Earlier this year after paying tens of thousands in educational tax dollars to send hundreds of OUSD teachers to a weekend conference with the poster boy of controversial consultants William Daggett (who has been documented outright making things up), former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley used the occasion to announce his retirement to the morning breakfast meeting of the hundreds of OUSD personnel in attendance.
Consultant Bob Sander who OUSD has hired twice now to “run” the community workshop to adopt the OUSD 3 Year Strategic Plan. It is Sander who has OUSD hire the “event mural” artist (using educational tax dollars) thus helping to create the symbiotic relationships of consultants. This year Sander has also been approved to have a second “helper” consultant help him-paid for by the OUSD taxpayers with their educational tax dollars. Sander is an associate of guru of consultants, Allan Weiss (see photo above) who is known as the “Million Dollar Consultant” and “consults” the consultants on how to ply their trade on the unsuspecting (see links below).
At one of the early budget discussions for the current budget, OUSD Trustee John Ortega asked then OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley if he was going to be addressing the community concerns about the widespread use of consultants by the district. An excited Godley gave Ortega the you-bet-I-am gun-ho response he and the community was looking for. Sadly, it is now obvious that Godley has left the job of ending OUSD’s addiction to its entrenched Consultant Culture to the new Superintendent Dr. Renae Drier. It remains to be seen if Drier is a leader who will be remembered as ending OUSD’s Consultant Culture, or just another one of the “good-old-boys”.
For more information:
Greater Orange Million Dollar Consultant
Allan Weiss Million Dollar Consultant Club:
Allan Weiss Consultant How To Books: