PLAINFIELD, NJ - Tuesday's Plainfield Board of Education meeting included a resolution to approve the appointment of Leverett Education Consulting, or LEC, for $17,100, and it was moved to the Finance agenda.
At the Aug. 22nd meeting, Dr. Larry Leverett and his colleague, Dr. Kaili Baucum Sanderson, gave a presentation to the Board and the public entitled "Building School Board Effectiveness and Efficiency."
Leverett's responses last month to questions from the audience stressed that "our client is the School Board, our direction comes from the School Board." He also said LEC doesn't have student achievement data that can be shared, only references, and stories about the changes they've seen.
At last night's meeting, Dr. Avania Richardson-Miller, who is on the November ballot for a Board of Ed seat, once again asked what success would look like if LEC were hired. "How are we validating the spend of $17,000?"
Board Member Carmencita Pile commented that LEC had given a business pitch rather than a presentation in August. She also noted it isn't written into the resolution the amount of time Leverett would spend with the Board for the $17K, although Board President Emily Morgan said the start date would be October 2017, and run through either May or June of 2018.
Pile continued to talk about the LEC appointment, saying, "what I see here is what we have been getting, at least I have been getting, through a lot of the trainings and the conferences that I've gone through. But what you're not going to get is something to fix this, you know, it's not gonna fix this."
Board Member John Campbell chimed in, and said he would vote in the negative.
Morgan responded to the comments by Pile and Campbell, saying, "when we send people on conferences across this nation, nobody sits here and browbeats them about how can we measure what you learned at the conference. The reports that we get back from people who attend conferences? Very minimal. And we spend a lot of money sending people to conferences."
Based on Morgan's comments, one would wonder why there is "very minimal" reporting from those who attend conferences if so much money is being spent on training.
She continued, "so, I mean, it’s nice to sit up here and talk about soul searching, etc. However, the bottom line is this; we need to do what’s best for our students, everybody sitting at this table except for the attorney and the administration has a vote. Vote with your conscience and when you think about that, think about this is a man who during his tenure in this school district, we were extraordinarily successful. Since he left the district, everything that would enhance the student achievement has been dismantled. I think it was deliberate."
The vote was taken, and failed 3-5, with Morgan, Anderson and Wyatt voting YES, and Rutherford, Pile, Hurtt, Bellamy and Campbell voting NO.