Tag Archives: Blackmail in PGCPS

PGCPS to no longer cover cost of AP exam for all students.

– Students in Prince George’s County are outraged after learning they will have to start paying for their Advanced Placement exams.

The tests used to be paid for by Prince George’s County Public Schools. But now, due to a budget decision plan, the test will no longer be paid for.

It costs around $90 a student for each advanced placement tests and Prince George’s County Public Schools says it cannot afford the half-million dollars it spends every year on paying for the tests, so it’s pulling the plug on the funding. There will be exceptions, but school board member and Parkdale High School senior Juwan Blocker says the timing is terrible.

“We are just now finding out about this, and students – they’ve just now signed up for AP classes planning on taking these tests at the end of this year. So for you to now inform students and parents to pay $93 if they’re not on free or reduced lunch – that’s ridiculous,” said Blocker.

“We are certainly sensitive to students in extreme financial circumstances so we will continue to pay for those students who qualify for free and reduced meals and we will also pay for students who get a three, a four or a five on the exam,” said Raven Hill, a spokesperson for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Some students say they are not giving up without a fight. There is an online petition that already has 1,500 signatures. Students say they’re going to pack the Board of Education meeting on October 13 to have their voices heard.

via Fox 5 DC

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Audits should lead to sound decisions and not confusion.

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Over the last two weeks there has been a vigorous debate about the damming report of the Auditor General in Maryland on the financial management of the Prince George´s County public Schools (Pgcps). If you ask the average Prince Georges County résident, there is no doubt that senior level officials at Sasscer (school system Hq)  have been “eating” the revenue allocated to the County district school system instead of delivering services. Another report  issued by CEO’s Transition Team does not help much with the issues we advocated for. It appears to have been a cover up mission to some extend. However, that is another post for another day. We will give you our opinion as we know it.

As people who remembers Prince Georgés County tortuous journey to devolution after the passage of HB 1107 and appreciates that the only option available for a stable Prince George’s County is a devolved system of government, we welcome the criticism leveled against the vanguards of Prince George´s County’s devolution. Disappointment by in the financial conduct of the County government is legitimate and an indication that citizens expect higher standards of accountability for County government. This has not been traditional attitude to local government led by Mr. Rushern Baker. Year in year out, the Auditor Generals’ report chronicled massive theft of public funds usually eliciting little more than a yawn from the public. If well handled, the current concerns can only improve citizen faith in government.

Part of handling the issue well is ensuring that the debate is not misinformed. One of the concerns we have had over time is the way audit reports tend to mix issues of irregular, unprocedural and unexplained expenditure, with those that relate to outright fraud. CEO’s Transition Team does not highlight problems created by the unions representing employees in Prince George’s County Public Schools but covered up the issues like a fox in a hen house.

In this year’s Maryland Auditor General’s reports, only a professional accountant can distinguish between audit queries relating purely to missing documentation for legitimate expenditure and where it is obvious that the documentation is missing because money was stolen. Complex audit-speak in the reports leaves one confused between merely unprocedural and unlawful expenditure. There is no doubt that fidelity to rules is essential in expenditure by public institutions, but should these two situations not be differentiated? To see the negative impact of non-differentiation, one only needs to look at last  audit report of the activities of the County school District system.

As reported by the media, the Auditor’s report disclosed that $ 1 million of public funds was “lost”. To Prince George’s County’s unsophisticated public, duly informed by a fairly simplistic media, $ 1 million of public money was stolen in one year but we also know that, the number is much higher if the paper work had not been compromised. The problem with this report is twofold. On the one hand it is unbelievable. If $ 1 million, was lost through in overpayment and other questionable activity at Sasscer, What about the mismanagement within the schools after principals were given millions to manage themselves? In the average mind, it creates integrity issues on the entire report.

Secondly, for those who believe it, the enormity of the “theft” is too overwhelming. Not only does this unjustly delegitimize school system and the local government, it also leaves citizens helpless and disillusioned feeling that the accountability war is lost, so they should not bother. If however the audit had clearly distinguished between what was unprocedurally but legitimately expended from what is actually stolen, it would create more incentive to invest in accountability mechanisms. Pointing fingers only in a few areas when we know the procurement process is not very transparent, leaves a lot of questions than answers.

For the Prince George’s County report just released, this issue is even more critical in view of the public interest in the accountability of the current local government led by Mr. Rushern Baker. For example it is important to point out that these report does not address Federal funding involving Title I schools and how the money was spent in the schools. Prince George’s County government and school system has had no systems in place and yet were still expected to deliver services from day one. Most of the issues raised by the audit reports are therefore more about procedural; breaches as opposed to fraud. We know there has been fraud because of the way money has been siphoned off recently.  Look at the way Mr. Roger Thomas , Matt and others have acted in the past.

One only needs to read the much publicized report of the audit general in Maryland to see that the bulk of issues raised relate to documentation. When these issues are bunched together with instances of fraud, it makes it difficult to smoke out the real fraudsters. It also fails to appreciate that these issues call for different solutions. Issues of non-documentation and procedure may have to do with capacity and at times inability of existing law, in this case procurement law, to deal with emerging realities.

We do not say this to legitimize unprocedural conduct. We recognize this can quickly metamorphose to fraud of which some of members have been a witness to it through the system. We raise these issues to ask the Maryland Auditor General’s team to present future audit reports in a manner that does not confuse an already skeptical public but helps it make informed decisions on improving accountability in Prince George’s County and elsewhere.

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pgcps_logoWe need more transparency and  accountability in government so that people know how their money is being spent.  That means putting budgets online, putting legislation online. ~ Carly  FiorinaimageDemocracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is  enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no  sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption,  subjugation and indignation. ~ Atifete  Jahjaga

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Good riddance to Dr.William Hite Jr.

Dr. William Hite Jr (pictured above) is a pathological liar, there’s no doubt about that. He is also a cover-up artist. If the court reports in Greenbelt Federal courts are correct in its summary of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) corruption and sexual exploitation of children scandal, the public Dr. William Hite Jr of the last few years is a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite. He should not be a Superintendent of schools anywhere!

According to concerned citizens of Prince George’s County, we must abolish entire PGCPS leadership led by Dr. Hite and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs in the wake of findings by the federal judge that Scott Smallwood, of Upper Marlboro and an employee of PGCPS hid his crimes of being a child rapist.  The three-hour sentencing hearing on Wednesday July 18, 2012 involved home movies of sexual acts, trembling verbal testimonies from distraught family members and an exhibit of a homemade doll that resembled an anatomically correct adolescent boy Smallwood used in what U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus called his own “fantasy world.” (Read more) “This is a very sad day especially since this happened again not too long ago in Bowie High School in which students were forced in prostitution by athletic coaches”, said a concerned PG parent. Another incident involving student sexual exploitation happened in Flowers High school as well under the leadership of Dr. William Hite Jr.  We need to put a stop to Board of Education’s shenanigans. We have finally reached the tipping point for sure and we have had enough. Enough is enough with cover up and appointing select few who are politically connected like Ms. Monica Goldson as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in order to continue the status quo.

We have said over and over again that, The PGCPS leadership lacks vision, and they continue to bend to parents who lack the insight to recognize that their failure to have control over the student body and place the right staff in the right place has led to an environment in which few are educated but all get diplomas at the end of the school year. Thus very few college graduates emerge from this school district that has many students taking the AP exam but keeps no records on those passing the AP exam. This year for example Central High School had students photographing AP exams and posting the pages on the internet because students are used to using their cell phones while in class and the school staff is powerless to stop it. There is no doubt  Dr. Hite is an outstanding education reform propagandist. Unfortunately there is no substance underneath the propaganda. The Prince George’s County public school district has seriously deteriorated under his leadership which was certainly hampered by a know nothing and do nothing school board again led by one Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.

Therefore, it is disturbing that our members of the Board of Education recently spent untold hours debating who should be included in Executive Session in an apparent battle over whether our student Board member should be included to hear set of facts involving Adult matters.

That’s really not the issue. We want our curricula to be based on sound, empirical data and grounded in common sense. Unfortunately, the best interests of our students and our county have taken a back seat to the promotion of an ideological agenda focused on Board of Education chairperson’s rival in November 2012 election.

Do we need to have public input regarding curricula coming out of the PGCPS Education Agency? Certainly. But the actions of the PGCPS BOE provide more of a distraction than meaningful oversight of our public education system.

If Dr. William Hite knew about corruption, nepotism, professional misconduct  and sexual exploitation of children scandal within the system and refused to do something about it, then he isn’t and wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children and staff. There is no question he engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment in collaboration with Chief legal counsel Mr. Roger Thomas and others within and outside PGCPS.”

The only explanation we can find for this “striking lack of empathy” is self-absorption. In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Dr. William Hite Jr. is no different from Paterno who fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.

We can’t afford to continue applying Band-Aids, hoping for a cure. At the very least, we should depoliticize our county  board by taking partisan politics out of the mix. The last resort would be to abolish the board altogether.

The best solution, we suspect, lies somewhere in between. We  look forward to working with  legislators and community leaders to address the problems. The fates of our students and our future — even our history — demands it.

As Dr. William Hite Jr. prepares to jump off ship to Philly, it’s a good riddance for sure!

PGCPS General Counsel’s office epicenter for Corruption.

former PGCPS Chief Legal Counsel Mr. Roger Thomas is pictured above.

There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS): the Elevation of Dr. William Hite was a major blunder and the way the schools and school district in general interact with the students, staff and parents is not cordial. Most teachers enter the education field full of life with hope and desire to change the world and positively impact kids. However, that is not always the case in PGCPS where the life is beaten out of them and some become villains for speaking the truth. These issues need to be brought to light in many ways in order to create accountability. If our blog opens the door for that conversation, so be it.  Let that conversation begin. Stay tuned here for more evidence as time goes on.

While we never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see our words and we did not even intend them to, we stand by what we write here and think that it is a good thing that people are now aware of the many problems impacting our kids.

Reform Sasscer team which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents concerned with PGCPS corruption with a view to advocating innovation, fiscal stability and transparency has been receiving worrying reports in recent times.

It has been established with great shock and uttter dismay that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) is centered around the General Counsel’s office which is managed by one Mr. Roger Thomas Esq. who is the Deputy Superintendent of schools.

A closer look into the General Counsel’s office establishes that it is the source of much of the corruption and controversy: (Chief Human Resources Officer) Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. who is also known as Synthia J. Kucner and (Director of Employee and Labor Relations) James R. Whattam, Esq. are both affiliated with the Office of General Counsel. Synthia J. Shilling aka Kucner was formerly the Deputy General Counsel before becoming the chief Human Resources Officer. According to reports in Washingtonpost, she has been caught red handed several times drunk driving . (Read more).

Furthermore, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individuals actually have.

To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. Wiliam Hite without competitive bind against the rules of Board of Education in 2011 (Read the story here).  The said law firm (Thatcher law Firm) is being used to conduct illegal activities in support of corrupt agendas which includes bribing attorneys and defending illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department and Dr. William Hite to undermine transparency and accountability.  In addition, the same law firm awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq.  hence creating a conflict of interest during the time $5,000,000 was awarded. This is unacceptable.

Changing the PGCPS Board of Education while officials associated with the General Counsel’s office continue to keep their jobs will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. However, it is important to take a closer look into the activities of this office and the role it has played in denying job opportunities to staff, as well as educational opportunities to thousands of students. For example: Ms. Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. was in the center of a Filipino teacher’s fiasco (read the story here), Roger Thomas Esq. has been involved in shady deals which  includes the following: questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza, Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time, was involved  in  corrupt  illegal tender activities and the list is endless which includes Jack Johnson pay to play corruption.  (Others read article here). The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS which has no ties to corruption.   Roger Thomas Esq has been in this position for close to 19 years and he must go with his corruption exposed.   If the current board of education cannot do anything to enact any change in this office now, we are asking the general public to exercise its right and vote them out once and for all.  The Board of education has power to do many things, they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can fire! Let us demand full investigations concerning this office and let the chips fall where they may. Time has come for the school system to move in a new direction. We are watching!

General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:

  • The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
  • Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
  • Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
  • Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
  • Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
  • Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
  • Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel

A Woman is Killed in PGCPS Lot.

Paramedics were rushed to the Samuel Chase Elementary School on Monday morning for a serious accident.

Fire officials said a woman walking in the parking lot of the Prince George’s County school was fatally struck by a maintenance van.  The vehicle was backing up at the time of the accident.

The accident happened shortly after 11 a.m.  Investigators did not immediately identify the woman’s relationship to the school. 

Monday was a scheduled teacher planning day.  There were no classes held  and no students present at the time of the accident.

All embattled superintendent of schools Dr William Hite Jr could say was, “On behalf of the Prince George’s County Public Schools community, I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family of the victim involved in this tragic incident at Samuel Chase Elementary School,”   “We are working closely with the Prince George’s County Police Department to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident.”  (see statement)

The above tragic accident is once again a clear manifestation of failed leadership in PGCPS. We demand answers why a woman had to die in the school grounds without proper care taken by those involved. Because of this issue and many others in recent months, Dr. William Hite Jr needs to resign immediately.  We are tired of the cover ups and the corruption!

(Sign the petition here and retweet)

16 plantiffs join together in class action suit against PGCPS

Check out the story on PGCTV from October 2011. According to plaintiffs they have been in and out of court for this matter over the last few weeks. The hearings touching on discrimination, professional misconduct, nepotism and corruption etc.. will continue for several months in the Federal Court in 2012 and beyond.

Sign the petition~> Here

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Hite’s corruption.

PGCPS Corruption fights back.

Superintendent William Hite operates as if he is a sole administrator of the schools.  The law which established the board of education has not provided for sufficient checks and balances within the board of education (BOE) against the Superintendent who is the treasurer, the secretary to the board of Education and the CEO all rolled into one!  If the Chairman of the BOE operates without the effective input of other members of the board of education, and is not under the supervision of another organ of government, such as the county council to question his activities, then abuse and the impunities which we complain about will continue.

In recent days, Teachers, staff and students have seen some students being victimized at Largo – Laurel High Schools for expressing their thoughts on the current events involving some administrators.  This is not fair to, Students who have been victimized for expressing their views.  Children have rights too! Many of these students are aware of the adulterous relationship involving Mr. James Smallwood, – Assistant Principal and two teachers he supervised. (See the blog here). Many students observed and heard what appeared to be “noises of passion” coming from his office during and after work hours. The same thing applies to Principal Dwayne Jones and Ms. Debra Toppins who have been an item for years creating a conflict of interest.  The change in policy to suspend students who talk about these issues appears to emanate from the superintendent Hite and it’s misuse of policy to hold on to power. Similarly, William Hite’s desire to hold onto power has gone so far as to create AN OFFICE OF CONSTITUENT SERVICES, which happens to be nothing more than a political tool to spread propaganda to the citizens of Prince George’s County on how “Good Dr. William Hite Jr. is”. The same office is also being used as a tool for cover up.

 There are many other issues  we have with Superintendent Hite among them is; scheduling of Board of Education meetings during the middle of the day at 1pm when most parents are working.  Chasitating staff and students who voice issues of concern against their 1st amendment freedoms is another issue.  This is dictatorship.  We can do better!   The NAACP has complained about the scheduling of these meetings, but that too has fallen on deaf ears. It appears as if Superintendent Hite has something to hide by scheduling these meetings at times to minimize concerned parents.  The time has come to impeach William Hite EdD, a fight for the future of our kids and their education.    

Corruption is the biggest enemy the public schools of Prince George County have; it is linked to so many other problems that challenge the schools and communities in the county.  

“Don’t ever give up,” one parent said recently. “When you fight against corruption, corruption fights back.” “They want you to back off.”  We agree!

Fighting corruption is first and foremost, about establishing the rule of law, so this has been the primary focus of Reform PGCPS Sasscer team’s anti-corruption campaign.

In a county that has seen very few convictions for fraud or corruption before the beginning of our reform campaign; we are yet to see any actions from the county concerning these issues. Cases brought up by several employees will be heard in the Federal and Circuit Courts in the following weeks and months. Stay informed and put on the pressure!   

Prince George County’s reform efforts will end up being a success because they are home-grown; they are supported by the Prince George County’s people, and by some current Prince George County’s leadership. Prince George County’s citizens are sick and tired of being known the world over as scam artists. In credible polling throughout the county, the fight against corruption in public schools is measured as among the electorate’s top concerns, next to food and healthcare for their families.

But corruption fights back.

The process for identifying corrupt officials is open and transparent. However, those against whom we have laid charges use the resources they have stolen to fight back. They own radio and television stations, newspapers, email system, websites, and can hire the best lawyers. But they cannot run away from the facts, nor ultimately from the court of public opinion.

We have proven that we can tackle corruption on our own—but we are still asking for help and support from a wide range of citizens across the County and throughout the United States and abroad to guarantee that these efforts do not falter.

As Prince George’s citizens go to the polls to elect a new council member in a few days and in the future including 2012, we can only offer one piece of advice: whomever you choose, make sure that they are willing to wage a war against corruption in Prince George County’s public schools. Excuses made by those who collaborate with corruption, such as “it is not just me,” should no longer be tolerated. The same is true for all elected officials in the state of Maryland. We must get to a point where there is zero tolerance for corruption as the everyday way of life.

 The money confiscated from former county executive Mr. Jack Johnson that has been returned to the county government is money that ought to have been originally spent on healthcare and development. We hope the new county leadership will use it to improve our health sector, among other initiatives. Maybe one day those who are involved in corruption in Prince George County – Maryland will be treated like pariahs in all decent and civilized gatherings. Maybe then we can bid a permanent farewell to state and county kleptocracy across Prince George County – Maryland.

 Lastly, it is our hope that by making such critical self-help information available to students, civil servants and publicly exposing state and county workplace injustices we can propel a CHANGE to improve the state and county government workplace culture.   Wrongdoing within the state and county sector continues to impact public program administration fairness, safety and efficiency.   Notably, the cost of discrimination to the public, the taxpayer, remains in the $100,000,000 millions of dollars.   To better protect our citizens, we must protect our state and county workers and the students.   For the state and county government’s treatment of its workers and students is inextricably linked to the quality of goods and services it renders to the public.   Without question, employees who work for the state and county sector serve on America’s first line of defense with regard to protecting our state and the county.