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ACPS Board Seeks Legal Counsel Over Grants Foundation

The School Board for Alexandria City Public Schools has decided to seek legal counsel regarding a grants foundation set up by the superintendent and others.

The Alexandria City Public School Board is seeking legal counsel in regards to a grants foundation set up by the school division’s superintendent and others.

Several board members asked Superintendent Morton Sherman at a Jan. 10 School Board meeting why, if this foundation did not require board approval for its creation, does it use the ACPS name and keep an ACPS mailing address and contact phone number.

At that meeting, board members asked for more details about the foundation to be presented at its next meeting, which was Jan. 24.

The board received a stack of materials from the superintendent just prior to the 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 24 and decided it did not have sufficient time to review it to enable effective discussion at that time.

Members decided to turn the packet of materials over to their legal counsel, which is Fairfax-based Blankenship and Keith.

Board Chairman Karen Graf told Patch that the board is “trying to make sure that the foundation was set up in compliance with Virginia state code as far as the IRS is concerned and the state.”

Board member Christopher Lewis said he was disappointed that board members “did not receive all the requested information on the foundation from ACPS administrators in time to fully discuss the issue at Thursday's meeting.”

Graf said there is not a specific timeline when the board members could expect to see information from the lawyers, but they hope to address the issue in closed session at a Feb. 7 meeting.

“We felt the most prudent path was to get legal advice,” she said.

See also: ACPS Board Presses Superintendent for Answers on New Foundation (Jan. 15, 2013)

Edmund Lewis January 30, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Once again the leadership of ACPS finds itself bogged down in a quagmire of its own creation. Not ten months ago ACPS leadership had to address questionable decision making and mismanagement of CIP funds. During that fiasco the superintendent blamed the actions on "some staff". Those staff members are now gone and now a new issue has reared its ugly head. Who will receive the blame for this mess? After the mismanagement of CIP funds and subsequent audit, where was the action backing the Superintendent's words to the public that "internal documents and procedures" would be "updated and made more rigorous?" Did that pledge not apply to this set of internal documents and procedures impacting our school system and students? Were the superintendent's words merely a false promise to quell public outrage? One of the troubling aspects, among many, is that this foundation is the superintendent's pet project and even as such is rife with mismanagement. If the superintendent can not properly oversee the operation of his own pet project, how can the public be assured that he can properly oversee the operation of our city's school system? If there is concern that the superintendent's pet project may be out of compliance with the Code of Virginia, how do we know that all areas of our school system are in compliance with state code? It appears as thought the "dysfunctional environment" highlighted in the spring audit may extend well beyond the division's budget office.
Wanda Sikes January 30, 2013 at 02:06 AM
The real sin in all of this is the waste of millions (yes, millions) of dollars of taxpayer resources that did nothing to benefit the youth of our city. If the general public knew of the amount of money expended to perpetuate the Success for All reading program, if taxpayers knew how shoddily constructed it is, and how it has usurped quality curriculum, Morte would have been shown the door long ago. Incredibly, he remains as does Gwen Carol Holmes who, unbelievable as it sounds, is the former CFO of Success for All. Lying openly about the nature of the relationship between Johns Hopkins and Success for all, we, as Alexandrians, have been thoroughly fleeced. Some of the damage is beyond repair as thousands of faultless students have endured countless hours of mind numbing 'instruction.' God help you, Morte.
NoBS January 31, 2013 at 08:47 PM
The law firm representing the Alexandria School Board as it investigates Mort Sherman's "foundation" also represents Mort Sherman personally in other matters. I am calling upon the school board to replace the firm of Blankenship & Keith, preferably with an Alexandria based firm so as to keep dollars in our city, in order to prevent any potential conflict of interest. http://www.alexandriagazette.com/news/2013/jan/31/former-school-budget-director-files-discrimination/
NoBS January 31, 2013 at 08:56 PM
The actual lawsuit can be found here: http://www.alexandriagazette.com/documents/2013/jan/31/federal-lawsuit/ How many times does Mort need to get sued before someone figures out he's a fraud and a charlatan?
NoBS January 31, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Contact the school board from this link. Ask them to replace Blankenship and Keith and to fire Mort Sherman. http://www.acps.k12.va.us/board/contactsb.php

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