Organizations that leverage money from the public in the name of helping the children, should be examined. One review of the state of Tennessee Foster Care Program, and you would believe the same. There is extraordinary theft from children in crisis. The findings there are devastating to see how many nonprofits and self-proclaimed do gooders skim all the resources earmarked for foster children.
It is highly appropriate to examine the role of the Public Education Foundation and their continual lobby for public monies, grants, and funds from the local corporate community under the protective color of saviors of public education.
I filed an open records to review Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) contracts last year to examine the financial relationship between PEF and HCDE. It is highly appropriate for the public to question these matters. No one should be upset at the public taking a look. I did find it interesting that HCDE felt a need to copy the PEF on my open records request. PEF is not the government. The open records obligation is upon the HCDE, only.
I learned that HCDE did not advertise for requests for proposals for all of their contracts for professional services from PEF.
I also obtained the 990 IRS filing for the Public Education Foundation that has approximately 25 employees, a CEO with a salary of $207,000, and four to six others of 25 total employees with six figure salaries.
The PEF organization has annual salaries of approximately $1.7 million largely funded from public grants and service contracts with HCDE.
We always read about PEF's giving, what about their taking? What is the PEF's net giving?
The PEF donates funds to HCDE that garner big press releases. However, the PEF never discloses the financial giving and taking relationship between PEF and HCDE.
PEF also contracts with HCDE to deliver services with the funds they contribute. PEF invoices or bills the HCDE for consulting services and recruitment. In other words, PEF gives and contracts it back to their organization. They are essentially leveraging funds that could go directly to the school system.
Many reasonable people question the need for PEF interjecting themselves into government hiring. PEF participates directly in teacher hiring by conducting background and screening in the Teach/Here Program funded by the Race to the Top Funds and a host of consulting services.
The first open records finding was that from the Period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011:
PEF Billed HCDE for services $495,160.
I respectfully ask that our elected School Board members examine the full extent of PEF’s financial relationship with the public school system and ensure that professional contracts with PEF are being advertised for requests for proposals.
I also request that our School Board examine the net giving from PEF.