By: State Treasurer John Kennedy

By now most people know that Governor Jindal vetoed the extra $4 million for at-home services for Louisiana disabled citizens that the Legislature passed last session. In his veto message the Governor said the state can’t afford it.

Money is tight, but there is a way for the state to help restore the $4 million to help our disabled neighbors.

The Legislature, via House Bill 1, directed the Louisiana Department of Education to cut $2 million of its consulting contracts. The Governor vetoed that direct instruction from the Legislature as well. If the Governor would just reinstate this reduction in consulting contracts, he could make a good start in restoring those important services for the disabled.

The Department of Education pays tens of millions of dollars to consultants each year, many of whom are out-of state. In fact, from 2005 to 2010, the department issued 5,499 consulting contracts worth $615,773,580.74. Many of these contracts are still in effect, plus a lot of new ones. Below are just a few. It’s your money, so you be the judge of whether they are necessary, and more important than helping the disabled:

  • Contract #674139; “Contractor to provide valid and reliable data to parents to support informed school choice decisions;” $250,000.
  • Contract #656786; “The Contractor will develop a CD and workbook to enhance students cognitive and memory skills in recalling mathematical skills through the use of music;” $300,000.
  • Contract #662421; “Create a public awareness campaign targeting multiple audiences in Louisiana to establish a positive image of high school redesign;” $341,465.48.
  • Contract #717810; “Contractor [Columbia University in New York] will review materials for the LVS/Course Choice Program and provide detailed recommendations for improvement of the materials; “$49,000.
  • Contract #890897; “Contractor [New Orleans South Africa] will provide after-school academic enrichment opportunities for children attending low-performing schools through establishment and operation of community learning center;” $2,400,000.
  • Contract #709681; “Contractor will have comprehensive curriculum documents that are grammatically and technically correct by having them proofed by a person proficient in these skills;” $7,500.
  • Contract #710249; “Contractor will guide the school leadership teams … to use data to make informed decisions, build social cohesion, program coherence strategies that support literacy blocks, RTL, & support for developing a prioritized curriculum;” $22,500.
  • Contract #675091; “Contractor will assist teachers by enabling them to explain the important [sic] and use of movement to enhance learning;” $2,500.
  • Contract #699812; “Consulting contract with contractor producing and creating a professionally produced video of five classroom observations. Videos will include narratives as necessitated by specified video activity;” $44,950.
  • Contract #655743; “Contractor to provide services related to interactions with media, arrange interviews and provide reporters with information, draft written materials;” $100,000.
  • Contract #663689; “Contractor will select and train focused individuals from within education, as well as former educators, to become leaders in the RSD;” $200,000.
  • Contract #672230; “Contractor to provide consulting service to RSD central office to assist with the creation of sustainable relationships with professional unions;” $48,800.
  • Contract #667227; “Contractor will implement a coaching program that is designed to support principals through a combination of coaching, mentoring, and leadership dev.;” $98,000.
  • Contract #670884; “Contractor [Hop 2 it Music] to provide a one (1) hour keynote presentation at the general session of the conference and two (2) one hour long presentations to conference participants;” $2,600.
  • Contract #707552; “Contractor will prepare, facilitate and follow-up after the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) executive staff collaborative roundtable and the district superintendents’ leadership summit to be held in fall of 2011;” $14,020.
  • Contract #672113; “Contractor to provide program that will assist students to learn valuable social skills through organized play on their recess and lunch periods;” $94,000.

There are many problems government can’t solve, and shouldn’t try, but in this instance – restoring the critical funding that our disabled citizens depend on – the solution is easy: get rid of unnecessary consulting contracts at the Department of Education.

Sarah Mulhearn
(225) 342-0012