All we can say is DUH! It is White Chalk Crime and it is going on all over this nation and it is the reason our schools are failing! NAPTA
Inquiry to focus on school collaboratives
Legislators cite Merrimack case
By Michael Rezendes
Globe Staff / July 26, 2011
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Legislative leaders said yesterday that they are preparing to conduct an inquiry into the governance of local education collaboratives following accusations by the state inspector general that educator John B. Barranco siphoned more than $10 million in taxpayer money from the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative and paid himself, a former girlfriend, and a handful of top aides lavish salaries and excessive benefits.
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, speaking with reporters yesterday, said he was “angered’’ by the findings of Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan, which were issued last month after a yearlong investigation of the collaborative and a related nonprofit organization, the Merrimack Education Center.
“This was such an abuse that it really drew my attention,’’ DeLeo said.
Sullivan’s report included accusations that Barranco used a credit card issued by the center to rack up $50,000 in personal expenses, such as improvements to vacation homes in New Hampshire and Florida, tickets to the Kentucky Derby, luxury clothes, and Christmas presents for his daughter.
Yesterday, state Representative Alice H. Peisch, the House chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education, said that because of Sullivan’s findings, the committee is planning to hold hearings on the governance of educational collaboratives, probably in September, after state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump completes a review of the Merrimack collaborative and two additional collaboratives.
“The questions raised by the inspector general are very troubling,’’ Peisch, a Wellesley Democrat, said in a Globe interview last night.
“His findings, along with earlier audits of other collaboratives,’’ Peisch said, “raise questions about whether there are systemic problems, as opposed to there being a single bad apple.’’
An education collaborative is a consortium of local public school districts that pool resources to lower the cost of providing educational services, particularly those dedicated to special-needs students. State officials have said there are 30 such collaboratives in the state.
In the case of the Merrimack collaborative, Sullivan said that Barranco seized control of $11.5 million in taxpayer money by transferring the funds from the collaborative to the center through two illegal 2006 agreements. Barranco was executive director of the center until last month, when he took an unpaid leave of absence after Sullivan released his findings. He has declined numerous Globe requests for an interview.
The Globe has reported that Sullivan’s findings are being reviewed by criminal and civil prosecutors working for Attorney General Martha Coakley. In addition, state Treasurer Steven Grossman is investigating accusations by the inspector general that Barranco and others working for the collaborative and the center used deception to enhance their state pensions.
Noah Bierman of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Rezendes can be reached at email@example.com. ￼
© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.