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08/09/2020 11:02 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20150&cosponId=18816
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: August 10, 2015 12:47 PM
From: Senator Mike Folmer
To: All Senate members
Subject: Assessing Department of Education Contracts
 
I believe the foundation of government contracts is openness, transparency, and accountability. That’s why I’ve pressed the Pennsylvania Department of Education for background on its many contracts with Intermediate Units across the Commonwealth.

Fortunately, Education Secretary Rivera shared information on these contracts. Over the past five years, 207 contracts tallying over $151 Million; one-third of the 207 contracts and one-half the $151 Million were with four IUs: 74 contracts, nearly $85 Million.

While I’m not questioning the competency of any IU or the value of their services, I want to know both their selection by the Department and their performance was open, transparent, and accountable to the taxpayers.

Unfortunately, I have seen too many questionable contracts over the years, including:
  • Using an IU to lobby the General Assembly to budget more for education
  • Hiring a “Special Projects Director” to drive the Secretary of Education
  • Moving employees from the Department of Education to IUs
With tens of millions of dollars spent on IU contracts, I want to ensure there are no similar, questionable engagements. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to require the Department of Education to critically assess their contracts with Intermediate Units.

My bill is modeled after evaluations used to rate the Commonwealth’s international trade contractors. I propose to apply similar assessments to Department of Education IU contracts and that they be posted on the Department’s website.

Intermediate Units would be ranked against one another and their evaluations and rankings would include an assessment of:
  • The number of students served by each contract and agreement, the cost per student in fulfilling the contract and agreement, and the overhead costs of each contract and agreement
  • The number and types of actions taken by schools to improve student performance attributable to contracts and agreements with IUs
  • The yearly number and percentage of schools and students increasing or decreasing in performance directly attributable to each contract and agreement
My legislation would also allow the Department of Education to rebid contracts and agreements with Intermediate Units failing to meet 80% of established goals after two years. The Department would be required to rebid contracts and agreements with Intermediate Units that fail to meet 80% of established goals after three years. DCED has similar authority for their international trade contracts.



Introduced as SB1002