Saturday, April 4, 2009

Money is no object for Dept of Education

From the NY Times:

City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. said on Wednesday that the Department of Education had vastly overspent on contracts for goods like photocopiers and cafeteria equipment, with one in five such contracts exceeding estimated costs by more than 25 percent.

In blistering testimony before the City Council’s Education Committee, Mr. Thompson, a candidate for mayor, said a review by his office had found that over the past two fiscal years, the sum of certain contracts had ballooned to $1 billion from initial estimates of $325 million. That includes one contract with Xerox Corporation that was initially projected at $1 million and came in at $68 million, he said.

“It is outrageous,” Mr. Thompson said at a news conference that seemed aimed at chipping away at the educational accomplishments that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is making a cornerstone of his re-election campaign. “To see this lack of accountability on contracts is frightening.”


From the Daily News:

The DOE spent about $726 million above estimate. About a third of the companies got the contracts with little or no competition, the report says.

A three-year technical equipment contract estimated at $17,650 ballooned to $26.8 million.

A six-year textbook contract that was supposed to total $15,000 shot up to $6.5 million.

10 comments:

Taxpayer said...

Here's my suggestion for saving $80 to $85 million (the number keeps changing - but now we find that the inflating starts BEFORE the project starts): Kill the construction of the Maspeth High School.

Every part of the process for this HS has been based on one lie after another.

Let's see if Thompson has the spine to end this deliberate hoax.

italian girl said...

And that's nothing compared to the money spent on construction. Replacing windows and brick repointing(correct term?) takes roughly 2 years. Ludicrous.

Jeff said...

Having worked for a major American school district, I can tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't forget textbook contracts, principal's "discretionary funds," etc. etc. There are a lot of people getting rich off of public monies.

Anonymous said...

wow, what the hell is going on with this city. we are in a recession! let's stop spending and building. leave the money where it's at and let the shit grow. give it five years and then spend wisely. people are unemployed and the city keeps spending and building schools. hello there is no school right now and it seems to be working, as is, so give it five years, maybe people would actually stop having children, god knows they can't afford to feed them, with the way the city keeps raising our taxes on everything. time for change with the mayor/governor/city council and etc.

Taxpayer said...

In the early 90s, I was buying all sorts of PC software.

There were numerous ways to get very expensive software for almost nothing: The Upgrade.

It worked like this: If you wanted to buy what was a very expensive piece of software that sold for hundreds of dollars, you used outlets like PC Connection (who delivered by 10AM the day following the order).

The newest version was nearly always offered with a deep discount if you could prove ownership of a competing piece of software. Almost any software that was "competitive" was enough to get the discount.

At the time, Visual Basic was selling for about $1200. If you could show you owned a competitor, the price was about $120.

Since I owned something like VB, that got the discount.

Borland VB was selling for about $1200 also.

On the phone with PC Connection, I ordered Microsoft VB (on discount).

I ordered other software during the same call.

When I gave the credit card number and the sale was complete, the lady asked if there were any more purchases I wanted.

I asked her if, because I had just ordered Microsoft VB, could I now use the ownership of that (she had the proof) to get the Discount on Borland.

After a few supervisors got into the call, they finally agreed. By 10AM the next morning I had both.

All this to say that a relative who worked for the NY Board of Ed showed me a book as thick as the telephone book.

It was the itemization of all the software "bargained" for by the BOE.

The book said that there were no prices lower, and that all reimbursable software purchases had to be made using this book as the reference.

The book was a month old.

The software was more than 3 years old. The prices were triple, quadruple the prices found in distributors like PC Connection.

Anyone who would use this catalog to purchase a repertoire of common PC software would end up paying 5 to 7 thousand for 3 year old garbage.

I could get the most modern versions of that software for perhaps 500 to 700 dollars.

Who was making money?

The software vendors back then would have cheerfully given the software for $5 a copy on the notion that if that's what the students learned on, they would purchase their own copy. That's how software spreads.

So, the ONLY people making money (tax paid money) by the millions were the BOE crooks and some inside politicians.

When Commissar Death and Taxes, Klein or Weingarten or the others in the "education" racket talk about the need for educating the chillun, they are flat out lying about the money they plan to steal or are already stealing.

Dump these racketeers on November 3.

LINDA said...

STOP SPENDING STOP BUILDING STOP STEALING.......

Anonymous said...

You should see some of the terrible textbooks I had to use during the last fiscal crisis in the 70's.

My favorite was a 1935 copyrighted History Textbook. They should have saved the money and bought a "Current Events" text from 1935. It already would have been historic.

Wait till we see what will be fobbed off on the next generation of children. For those of us idled by this financial meltdown, I suggest time will be well spent attending meetings and asking sharp questions.

Furthermore, get ready to tutor your children yourself now. This is the only reason my siblings and I got a good education during the 70's in spite of "The New Math," the bankruptcy of New York City and everything else.

Our country is a great country and we will survive in spite of the "experts" and trough-feeding pigs. Now is our test.

If we have to start victory gardens to feed the poor, volunteer to teach the illiterate and roll up our sleeves let's get too it. Our grandparents did it during the 30's, our parents did during the inflationary 70's and we will too.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you post an item on this from today's NY Post? Because that would rebut the original criticism so of course Crapper just ignores it?:

Comptroller Bill Thompson's "gotcha" -- aimed at Mayor Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and mayoral control of the schools -- sure did backfire.

Thompson is running for mayor, and he likely thought he had the goods on Bloomberg and Klein when he laid responsibility for what he termed $700 million in school-contract cost overruns at their feet last week.

Thompson, for example, cited one deal -- $1 million for copy machines -- that came in at nearly $68 million, some 6,700 percent over the estimate.

Another -- $135,000 for software -- ran to $5.5 million, or more than 4,000 percent over cost.

Thompson said that was "insane."

Well, it sure would be. If it were true.

Klein says the comptroller got many key details flat wrong.

Such as: The software contract Thompson cited was set up by the city back in 1999 -- when Thompson himself was president of the Board of Education.

Plus, Thompson compared the contract's 1999 cost estimate, which covered one year's worth of service, to the accumulated tab for a full decade.

As for the copiers, Thompson compared a one-time, $1 million contract ex tension to the agreement's entire $68 million cost -- another appalling error.

There's more: The comptroller bashed Klein for laying out half a billion bucks on contracts with "little or no competition." But Klein says most of these were with state-approved vendors with which DOE is "required by law to contract."

Thompson refused to return a call for comment yesterday.

But if Klein is right, Thompson's inept accusations are breathtaking. It's the comptroller's job to get his numbers right.

And if he can't do that job correctly, what makes him think he's qualified to step up to the mayoralty?

Thompson seems to think that impeaching Bloomberg's management of the schools will be a campaign plus. And he'd be right -- if he had the goods.

Again, it seems that he doesn't.

Thompson not only failed to bolster the case for his becoming mayor; he also cast doubt on his fitness for his current job.

That's got to hurt.

Queens Crapper said...

Why didn't I post it? Simple. I didn't see it. Regardless, you just posted it. So go forth and be happy.

Anonymous said...

"Klein says the comptroller got many key details flat wrong."

Oh, so the Post is now basing its editorials a defensive response from Klein instead of examining the stats themselves. Laughable. How far up Bloomberg's ass are they willing to travel?