Chariho School Parents’ Forum

June 11, 2007

Education Options Committee member speaks out

Filed under: Uncategorized — Editor @ 6:45 pm

Also printed in the Sun on the same day as the editorial was a LTE from Dorothy Gardner.  She brings an interesting question in point #2.  Why would we sign a $420k contract versus a $276k contract?  Do you really believe it was because the $276k contract didn’t provide “research” to support the treatment program?  We have already outlined the fact that PC Inc uses MST, which is designed for “serious juvenile offenders” and as such has changed the treatment model for school kids (thus the research supporting MST does not apply to our population). 

Here is the LTE.

Each of the Chariho School District towns should seek legal review of the RYSE program

RYSE is not shining!

After viewing the tape of the last School Committee meeting, I have the following questions and comments regarding the “contract” with Psychological Centers, and consider this to be an open letter to the entire Chariho School Committee.

• Why was the original “Request for Proposals” (RFP) written such that it could not be addressed by a local provider when the program originally started? Not one provider was able to meet all of the requirements.

• Did the writer of this original RFP have previous affiliation with Psychological Centers? Did the writer of the original RFP have experience with a program of this type? What standard criteria were used to develop this origi­nal RFP?

• Why was this provider (Psychological Centers) chosen when it was noted in the original RFP that the provider must provide scientific proof that their program is effective. This could not have been done for this pro­gram originally designed and presented by Psychological Centers, as their pro­gram was specifically tailored for juve­nile offenders, and was not designed for the emotionally troubled or disruptive students who needed placement in an alternative environment.

As a taxpayer, I am concerned that this may be a case not only of an illegal contract, but one which was written and flaunts public requirements for ethical, honest, and transparent bidding for the original contract, since none of the orig­inal applicants were able to meet the requirements of the RFP.

The one chosen (Psychological Centers) was almost twice the cost of the other program, and the program had never been used in this setting.

If the School Committee had adhered to the legal constraints of the Chariho Act, the public could have voted on appropriate guidelines for choosing a vendor, if RYSE were approved. The program director could have been ques­tioned to determine her qualifications to develop such a program, and questions and recommendations to determine and develop a standard program which would encompass private, state and fed­eral funding for programs would have been developed. The entire current pro­prietary “model” used must be evaluat­ed and sent to the voters.

This model appears to be written so as to exclude any other provider from bidding to provide services. The School Committee seems unwilling to evaluate the ramifications of choosing a propri­etary program, and is unwilling or unable to require guidelines for services that are comprehensive, meet the needs of our children, and effectively integrate several models of treatment and super­vision.

The specific intent, goals, objective methods of evaluation for cost and effec­tiveness of this treatment “model” must be developed. These goals and objective methods should be used to evaluate any service provider.

Discussions to determine what type of program the taxpayers wish to support must also be a focus of discussion.

Since the program was never approved, and no real bid was ever used to determine a provider, I believe that this entire program is not only illegal, but the methods used are consistent with a burdensome legal liability for the parties involved in this deceptive, illegal practice of program construction, use of leased buildings in an attempt to cir­cumvent the legal requirements of the Chariho Act.

This process has been used to use tax­payer money to develop a proprietary “no-bid” program for profit company without measurable goals, objectives, and satisfaction ratings.

My next group of comments and ques­tions has to do with the ability of Chariho to hire a “for-profit” vendor (Psychological Centers) which is wholly paid for by the taxpayer, while refusing to allow parents to use their own health insurance and state-funded programs.

The cost to each taxpayer is not only excessive, but requires that a publicly funded school hire a for-profit company exclusively, without a bid!

This company, which uses the mantra “We are the only licensed provider of this model of services in RI,” fails to identify the fact that this for-profit provider is also the agent which pro­vides the license to their employees.

Once again, I ask for investigations into the legality of the RYSE program, the ethical considerations given to developing the program “model,” and the ethical, legal, and appropriate use of this “model” using a treatment plan that was not designed for the stated purpose. Indeed, the program had to be modified after the provider was origi­nally hired to provide the appropriate treatment “model” developed by them.

Finally, I would ask why a publicly funded school program, RYSE, has the right to disallow a parent’s right to use their choice of medical care for their children by using privately funded providers for the psychological and emo­tional treatment for their children. This would seem to be not only a conflict of interest for the school, but a violation of the rights of parents to seek privately funded care for their children, while denying taxpayers the right to expect financial control of public programs.

If we have a director, shouldn’t that director develop, with voter approval, and oversee the structure of the pro­gram rather than buying (at an inflated cost) a wrap around program?

 In that way, various treatment modalities using a mixture of privately paid care, state funded care, federal support if available, and chosen providers could work together to pro­vide the necessary support and treat­ment at less expense in an ethical bid program.

Also, why is the RYSE program being extended, again without taxpayer input? I believe this is another illegal act, fraught with errors, expenses, and unethical hiring without a bid of a for profit provider.

Within the current contract, addition­al services to other students will be pro­vided without a bid or full description of the services and methods of evaluation of those services. I have not seen any plan, no evaluation tools for any of the programs, and certainly no RFP for these or any of the other services pro­vided.

I would hope that each Chariho town would seek legal review of the RYSE program, methods of awarding con­tracts, and the legality of all of the pro­grams and contracts awarded for this program.

 Dorothy Gardiner Hope Valley


1 Comment »

  1. Perhaps Mr. Earle should have read Ms. Gardiner’s letter. Maybe then he might grasp the full scope of RYSE and how far it has gone beyond “educating children”.

    For anyone out there who has a fondness for government, this is the nonsense you deserve. These people will not be satisfied until all our children are under their control and they are the ones making the decisions instead of parents. After all, how dare we leave the fate of children to the whim of parents.

    Comment by Curious Resident — June 12, 2007 @ 12:44 am | Reply

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