Posts tagged ‘special privilages’

Coming Soon

This is just a quick little teaser to let you know that a new post will be coming very soon. We will tackle the question of why it’s been two years since the last post and provide some new documents that show just how far these people are willing to go to silence anyone from questioning them or exposing their unethical and potentially criminal activities. Stay tuned because our journey down the rabbit hole is about to get back in to full swing and this time we are going to be taking on even more!

Risky Business

I know I said in the last post it might be a little while before my next post, but I was not intending to take this long.  As most of you would understand, I am sure, life gets in the way of things you mean to do sometimes.  Today’s blog is going to delve into some of the inner workings of how business is done within Kennedale ISD.  I have been doing a lot of research and paid a lot of money to get copies of documents from the district.  I may choose to add to this blog as more records roll in and more information is learned.

We will forge ahead though with the information I have gleaned so far.  Now I will tell you that the information I give to you today has been looked into and the claims I will make have the documentation to back it up.  The only discrepancy that can be made on my information tonight might be the amount the owners of the business I-zone make but I will explain my reasoning and the possible fluctuations up and down once we get to that part.  I promise you that in no way am I exaggerating or overstating anything.  I will present to you the information I have discovered and expand upon it with my own opinion at times, but I will not lie about the risky little relationship going on between the district and a business with the full and complete knowledge of the school board.

I think we will get all the boring paperwork and legal logistics out of the way before we break into the juicy details of money!  Let’s begin with the Secretary of State’s office here in Texas shall we.  After paying a nominal fee, any person can access the business information and records of any business registered with the state of Texas to do business.  Imagination Zone Inc. is a for profit domestic business here in the state of Texas.  It is listed as being co-owned (50% each) by Jan Cleere and Karen Furman.  This business was created around 2004 and has been active since then.  They also have a state license to run a “for profit” daycare dating back to 2004 at the site of Delaney Elementary School in Kennedale.  They currently hold 2 licenses to run their daycare business at both Delaney and Patterson Elementary schools in Kennedale, TX.  I state all of this because the school board and the administration would like to make it sound as though this is some type of non-profit or some kind of benevolent program that is only concerned about the children and the families of Kennedale ISD.  In fact in the the video of the June 21, 2012 school board meeting several board members and even Gary Dugger the superintendent talk as though it’s a charity or that the school district itself in some way seems to be offering these services as an extension of their duties.  This cannot be further from the truth.  This is a PRIVATE business owned by Jan Cleere and Karen Furman.  This is a domestic FOR PROFIT business owned by Jan Cleere and Karen Furman.  Why create a business, make it for profit, unless you are planning on making profits.  I am a strong believer in capitalism.  I applaud anyone who starts a business and makes it successful.  I am not demanding that I-zone be removed from the schools though once the truth is out there I can’t imagine that things shouldn’t be changed in some way.  As you will see there are some things going on here that are not appropriate.  This business does not exist to benefit the district, it is here to benefit the owners and there are some questionable actions taking place that make this business a boondoggle for Jan and Karen.  I apologize if this blog is not as witty and engaging as others, there is a lot of meaty facts and documentation to explain and reveal so sometimes it gets a bit stale.  I promise though that the revelations are astonishing and worth all the rigamarole you have to put up with to get there!  Stick with me!

I know what might perk you up a bit.  Let’s talk about money!  Everyone loves money and in these hard economic times it is at the forefront of all our minds.  The district rents out its facilities.  That is no shocker.  Anyone who has driven by the PAC has seen it filled with competitive dance troops over the years who have rented the building or seen some of the amazing theater production put on by the Mansfield Community Theater Company (shout out to you great actors!).  The paperwork is available to download from the district’s own website and lists the amount each room or facility costs to rent for a certain amount of time.  Now you will hear on the video from the June 21, 2012 meeting that Gary Dugger states that they cut special deals when it only deals with “our kids” or is something that benefits “our students.”  I hope you can pick your jaw off the floor when I tell you that this is in fact not true.  I know, I know, I can just see your shocked face now as you learn that Gary Dugger would be misleading, but it’s going to be ok so stick with me as I prove to you how false this statement is.

First, there is a difference between something for the kids such as a PTA event or a Band Booster event.  These are non-profit, school sponsored organizations and therefore are given special treatment (even though they still charge them for clean up and a cafeteria worker on sight when needed).  But I-zone is not a non-profit and it is not a school organization.  It (as you will recall and hear from me a million more times) is a private, for profit business.  This would be the same as Burger Box using the cafeteria to make lunches for the students.  Can you imagine the district giving special treatment to the Burger Box to come in and do lunches?  Hold on to the Burger Box example because we will come back to it.

Karen Furman and Jan Cleere pay $175 a month to use whatever rooms they want per school.  Their total rent to the district for unlimited access to Patterson and Delaney Elementary schools is a grand total of $350 a month.  That wouldn’t even cover the electricity they consume in that time.  But again, they will tell you it is for the “our students”.  How funny to then learn that a Special Ed teacher at Delaney offers piano lessons 6 hours a week at Delaney after school.  The only people receiving these lessons are Kennedale ISD students.  In fact many of them are in I-zone.  This seems to meet the exact same criteria for “our students” that Gary Dugger spoke of.  Bet you can’t guess what’s coming.  Yup, you guessed it!  This teacher pays FULL price to use the one room he offers lessons in.  He is charged $90 a week.  You see the standard classroom rate is $60 for 4 hours.  Well he uses 2 extra hours so he pays an extra $30 a week for that.  That means since most months have 4 weeks, he pays $360 a month to use one room at Delaney to teach Delaney students piano.  He pays more a month for one room than Jan Cleere and Karen Furman pay to run their entire daycare at both elementary schools, and they get unlimited access to any number of rooms based on the contract signed with the district.  How is that for “Special Treatment.”

So how much should they be paying?  How much money is the district eating or as some would call it “subsidizing” this private business?  Well, I was at the school board meeting and I thought I would limit my estimation to just the rooms talked about by the board members and Mr. Deal Maker Dugger.  There were 4 places mentioned that they use, even though their contract gives them full reign of the properties.  The cafeteria, gym, playground, and computer room.  I looked at what each room costs based on the facility rental agreement online at the districts website. Cafeteria for 4 hours is $175 x 4= $700 a week for just the cafeteria. The Gym they were said to be using for 4 hours is $150 x 4= $600 a week. Computer lab (classroom rate) for 4 hours is $60 x 4 = $240 a week. Playground (classroom rate since it wasn’t listed as a price and I chose the lowest price rate isn’t that nice of me) for 4 hours is $60 x 4= $240. I multiplied everything times 4 because they are in the spaces between 15 and 16 hours a week. this comes to 700 + 600 + 240 + 240= $1,780 a week for just one campus. multiply $1,680 x 2 = $3,560 for both campuses for one week. Assume there are an average of 4 weeks a month and $3,560 x 4 = $14,240.

So in short let’s break it down to this statement: they pay $350 a month if they were made to pay just as any other “outside”, for profit business they should owe $14,240.  This doesn’t include cleaning up since they also throw that in as an extra perk for free to them too.  I believe the logic is that the cleaning crew is already there so why charge extra for them to have to clean up the kids messes from legitimate school day activities and the mess they make after hours while attending this private daycare.  Assume there are 9 month in the school year and the prices get even wider in amounts.  In 9 months (the whole time I-zone exists) they pay a total of $3,150.  The actual cost for these rooms for 9 months would be a total of $128,160.  Now I know what you are thinking.  You are saying WOW! no wonder the district is giving them a discount (all be it way WAY too big of a discount).  They couldn’t make a profit with that kind of money being owed!  Well that is where you are greatly mistaken my friends.

Let’s talk about profits!  Now this is where I will admit to you that when I am figuring the rent owed and the money the daycare takes in I am using what would be the ultimate numbers for them.  Because weeks aren’t always equal in a month were they may pay for 5 or pay for just 3 (In the case of Christmas break time) I have to find a way to standardize the amount so they are useable.  There has to be constants to get a general picture of the money trail here.  All the numbers might fudge a little high or a little low year to year based on the number of weeks in that school year or the number of kids who attend that month.  The variation would not be so great as to put the numbers off by more than $10,000 one way or the other.  Which when dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars as Karen and Jan are isn’t significant.  It is a 10% either over estimate or under estimate.

Ok that disclaimer out of the way let’s talk profits.  Listed on the liscense for their daycare I-zone claims to service 130 kids,  80 at one campus and 50 at another.  Their website states that parents pay $65 a week for child care.  Now I am aware they have some kids who get a discount of $5 for having a sibling, but let’s look at what their optimum revenue is for the 130 kids.  They may even have more kids than that, but they are only listed in the state records as these numbers so we will go with 130.  Here is how the math plays out. 130 kids at $65 a week = $8,450. $8,450 x 4 weeks a month = $33,800 a month. $33,800 a month x 9 months of school= $304,200. Assume 1/2 goes to pay workers and costs and that leaves around $152,100 for the two owners to split between them. Meaning they would be getting around $76,050 before taxes but still a lot of money considering how little they pay for rent. This is optimum, the numbers could move down slightly if fewer kids came some weeks but still a lot of money.  Again in full disclosure and honesty (not something you will get from KISD or their board a majority of the time) I want to again say that there could easily be a $10,000 over or under estimation here because number of kids fluctuates and some get a $5 discount or might half time it a week or so.  But even with a little bit of give or take those are astounding numbers!!!!

So now you see why paying only $3,150 is a ridiculously low amount for this profitable business.  The taxpayers are subsidizing a business that does not need help making a profit to stay viable which is the only reason a private business should be receiving help with taxpayer money to begin with.  A good question to ask though, is when was the role of a School District to subsidize private businesses?  I can’t find it anywhere that states schools in Texas were to be engaged in using taxpayer dollars to defer the costs for privately owned business.

I am in possession of an email sent by Mark Biondi to the head of non-profit private Christian school who used the athletic facilities at the Junior High because they did not own their own gyms or football field.  The topic was whether or not there could be discount to use the fields and gyms.  Mark Biondi stated that the rates were set by the school board and were firm and that there could not be any types of discounts made.  Funny that a for profit business can get a heck of deal off those standard rates but a non-profit private Christian school pays full price!

The last and final area I think we should hit involves why the whole situation is a conflict of interest if not an out right corrupt enterprise for the district to be involved in to begin with.  Let’s talk about the owners.  Karen Furman is an Assistant Superintendent for the Kennedale ISD and Jan Cleere works with (for) her in the administration as the district’s testing coordinator.  You won’t find that piece of information anywhere on their website and rarely are they tied to this private, for profit business.  Why does this matter?  They work in the administration that makes the contract for the relationship between them and the district.  This is a clear conflict of interest.  There are no conflict of interest forms filled out on behalf I-zone or by Karen and Jan on file with the district showing this very inbred relationship.  On top of that with the extreme amount of disparity between what everyone else would have to pay and what they are actually paying makes this a very, very questionable relationship.  This is by definition an example of corruption where “certain” people based on their positions receive favorable treatment at the expense of the taxpayer.  And if this special benefit also includes any equipment or anything else paid for with federal funds (such as computers, video equipment, programs etc) how is this not mismanagement or misappropriation of federally funded money, equipment,and other items.

I know for a fact, because I witnessed it, that teachers would receive emails on their Kennedale ISD email accounts reminding them of duties, responsibilities (signing their time sheets), and general information from Karen or Jan’s KISD email accounts in the middle of the dealing with I-zone.  That bothers me for two reasons.  1.This is theft of school property for use of their private business and 2.why were these women conducting I-zone business in the middle of the school day when they were being paid generous salaries to be doing Kennedale ISD work.  It wasn’t until a year or so ago that they spread the word to workers not to do this anymore because questions had been raised about the practice by people.  And lets not even get into how when I first started working at Kennedale ISD, I-zone was advertised on the front of the school districts website.  No other daycare services that were available to Delaney students (all off site private companies NOT owned by Kennedale administrators) were listed on the site.  Bet they didn’t pay for the use of the school website to advertise their business back then.  Oh don’t worry it isn’t on the website anymore and I am sure they will all have selective amnesia as to it having been there in the first place.

When I asked for the rental agreements and contracts covering I-zones relationship with the district to find out just how little they were paying each month I discovered some very disturbing information.  It seems that there are all kinds of facility use agreements dating back to 2006 for everyone and everything except I-zone.  I was informed that the earliest agreement or paperwork that existed began in 2010.  If everyone else had to fill out this paperwork to use the facilities why didn’t I-zone.  Where were the legal protections keeping the district from being sued if something went wrong or insuring that I-zone was properly insured and would accept the responsibility of something did go wrong?  Unless Mr. Edwards withheld those documents clearly asked for under the Open Records Request I made, then they don’t exist as he stated in his official response to my request.  So how can there even be a guarantee that before 2010 I-zone  was even paying rent for their use of the facilities at Delaney Elementary?  I am currently working on getting the financial and budgetary paperwork to answer that exact question.

The conflicts don’t end there though.  Look at all the people who are involved in the highest levels of I-zone and where they work in the district or their connection to the district.  The current director is a man by the name of David Glenn.  He is the husband of Dr. Missy Glenn.  Dr. Missy Glenn is the coordinator of Federal Programs in the administration building for Kennedale ISD.  She and Karen Furman received their Doctorates together at TCU and then she immediately recieved a newly created job in Kennedale (convenient little coincidence I’d say) working for her good buddy Karen.  The former director before Mr. Glenn and now just the book keeper for I-zone is Christy Miller.  Christy Miller is the K-8 instructional technologist in Kennedale ISD, which is another administration position.  She, Jan Cleere, and Karen Furman (that 1 or 2 years Karen actually taught in a regular classroom) taught next to each other at Delaney.  That position too was a newly and specially created position around the same time Christy moved back to Texas from California needing a job.  My, my, my, isn’t this just the happiest of little administration families running a private, for profit business out of the very schools they are in charge of overseeing.

I would like to invoke the Burger Box example one last time.  This is how it shakes out and ask yourself if this is how Kennedale Administration and school board should be doing business with taxpayer facilities and money.  This same situation would be equal to Gary Dugger, superintendent extraordinaire, owning the Burger Box ( a private burger joint in Kennedale) and having a contract with the district for them to sell “snacks” after school to anyone at Delaney or Patterson that wanted them.  I mean after all that is a service to KISD students.  They need a snack after a long day of learning and they might not get dinner until much later.  This is “for the kids.”  They would be given the facilities at a fraction of a fraction of the cost.  The district would give them the food to make for free and let them keep all the profits from making and selling the food, minus of course that monthly few dollars they pay in rent.  Sound like a good business investment for the tax dollars in Kennedale?  Because by discounting the rates so much compared to what they would charge anyone else that wasn’t owned and run by an administrator, this is exactly what Gary Dugger and the Kennedale School Board members are doing.  Wondering yet why Kennedale taxes are some of the highest in the area?  They’ll tell you it is to cover the cost of salaries.  I would agree.  It seems to cover the salaries that Jan Cleere and Karen Furman pay themselves from I-zone since they aren’t paying that money to the district to cover the true cost of doing business with the district.

I want to state once again that I am not opposed to a business making a profit.  In fact, I am and always have been a very dedicated capitalist, but I do not believe that this situation is appropriate.  This situation should never have happened.  It is one thing to make an honest dollar.  It is quite another to make a lot of dollars through “special” deals made through very unethical, conflict of interest filled agreements on the taxpayers’ dime.  I will attach the YouTube video where you can hear in their own words that I-zone receives special treatment and just how hard the school board and Gary Dugger fight to protect it from any scrutiny.  The attitudes by Janet Adams (brown haired on the left) and Rhonda Barnes (blonde on the right) are rude and confrontational.  They talk about Mansfield’s daycare but fail to mention that Mansfield ISD actually owns that program and it isn’t a private business.  The question that I will leave you with is this:  Nothing in Kennedale comes free!  You always have to pay in some way for special treatment.  In a good ol’ boy system, I only scratch your back if you scratch mine.  What kind of payment or personal benefit (of any kind: monetarily or otherwise), if any, are Gary Dugger, Rhonda Barnes, Janet Adams, Mike Walker, Joe Taylor, and Lori Glovier receiving for the many years of Jan Cleere and Karen Furman receiving such a sweet deal on their successfully profitable PRIVATE, FOR PROFIT business?

Here is the documentation for I-zone.  Please click Here

Here is a link to the low quality version of the video:

Here is the higher quality version of the video so you can read the green tiles better.  It is just a condensed version of the Money facts from the blog: