Friday, October 31, 2014

Tully Misleads Star Readers About Teach Plus Contract: Column Becomes Excuse To Plug Stand For Children-Backed IPS Board Candidates

Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully cannot be trusted. That's all I can conclude from his latest dribble in his column today. Tully claims the rescinding of a $750,000 Indianapolis Public Schools' contract entered into with an out-of-state company, Teach Plus, was all about "politics or pettiness." Tully, who was not present for the meeting, left out of his column the most pertinent facts. The contract with Teach Plus was not presented to the IPS board for approval until last week. Unbeknownst to the board members present for the meeting who voted to approve it on a 3-2 vote, the administration of Supt. Louis Ferebee had actually implemented the program called for in the contract at the start of the school year, which included additional pay and responsibilities for teachers participating in the program covered by the contract with Teach Plus.

Yes, Dr. Ferebee's administration improperly encumbered school district funds without authorization, a fact that completely escapes Mr. Tully. This comes on the heels of the discovery that the previous administration inflated its tax levy by crying to the public that it faced a $30 million deficit when the school district in actuality had an $8 million surplus. The administration suckered board members into approving larger budgets than were necessary by intentionally overstating expenses and underestimating district revenues. So board members have a duty to the taxpayers to pull back and demand more answers from the administration before giving its approval for new expenditures when the administration is being less than forthcoming to the board. Looking out for taxpayer interests might seem "bizarre" to Tully, but it's expected from the people paying the taxes, whom Tully too often takes for granted.

Another fact Tully intentionally withheld from his readers is the employment of one the board's newest board members, Caitlin Hannon, who is the executive director of Teach Plus' Indianapolis operations. Although the IPS contract represents the organization's largest in the state, Ms. Hannon filled out a conflict of interest form in which she stated she would not be involved in any of the payments made to her organization under the contract. She abstained from a vote on the contract's approval and the decision to rescind it. Despite her public abstention on the matter, it's hard to imagine how the person in charge of Teach Plus' organization in Indiana can wall herself off from her organization's largest contract in the state, but that's what we're told to believe. Teach Plus is bankrolled by the some of the same billionaire and multi-millionaire education profiteers who are financing Stand For Children's six-figure expenditures to purchase the three IPS school board seats up for election next week with candidates bought and paid for by them.

Not surprisingly, Tully uses his column to brandish incumbent board members who voted to rescind the contract at a special meeting called this week, including IPS board president, Annie Roof, Samantha Adair-White and Michael Brown, while offering an endorsement to each of the Stand For Children bankrolled candidates, Mary Ann Sullivan, LaNier Echols and Kelly Bentley. Missing from Tully's column are the conflicts of interest faced by each of these candidates, whose paychecks rely upon financial interests concerned most about how much money spent on public education they can bilk for themselves. It just proves once again that Tully will say whatever his corporate masters tell him to tell you to further their agenda no matter how fictitious it might be. The man continues to extinguish what little journalistic credibility he still possesses.

Speaking of Stand For Children bankrolling these conflicted candidates, I received in the mail the last few days nearly a dozen fliers promoting their candidates, most of which were duplicative and arrived in the mail on the very same day. Obviously, money is no object when it comes to buying this election for their out-of-state corporate interests, and the unscrupulous business doing the direct mail campaign on behalf of the organization is exploiting their deep pockets. It just proves the old adage that there is no honor among thieves.


Anonymous said...

If we Indy residents want news, we must come to Advance Indiana. God knows the Indianapolis Star and its hack "reporters" wouldn't know news if it walked up and introduced itself.

I am so darned tired of Matthew Tully’s blatant dishonesty in anything (everything?) he writes that I am going to express my opinion in a blend of street jargon and anachronism that may jeopardize my comment being posted. To wit: Tully is a complete through-and-through journalistic POS.

I will give this discredited man his due on one point.. no one, and I mean NO ONE, ignores the truth more than Matthew Tully (Erika is a close second.) That the Indianapolis Star suffers the anemic (and I am being kind with that descriptor) subscription rates comparable to its past has less to do with the current electronic newspaper preference and everything to do with crap reportage by Gannett corporatist favorites such as Tully.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything Tully hasn't misled the public about?

He is Gannett's poster for propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Lots of money flowing into the bank account of Wagner-Hendry thanks to these efforts. Big pay day for being a faux Democrat thorn in Glenda Ritz' side on the SBOE.