Jon Pelto’s Blatant Attempt to Distract From District Misuse Of Alliance Grant Funds

Here we go again, indeed.

Once again, failed gubernatorial candidate and union mouthpiece Jonathan Pelto has come to a conclusion that’s so outlandishly illogical that I’m compelled to respond.

It’s been awhile, but this one’s a doozy.

In a recent tirade, Pelto blasted the state Department of Education for having the gall to propose a cap on the misuse of funds intended for reform programs.

To give you some background: On Wednesday during a State Board of Education Legislation and Policy Development Committee meeting, it came out that some districts were misappropriating portions of their Alliance grant.

According to the Connecticut Mirror, some districts used Alliance funds to cover operating expenses instead of implementing programs intended to improve student performance. Others didn’t spend sizable portions of their Alliance grants with the intention of using the grant money the following year.

For obvious reasons this is a pretty big deal. If districts are withholding money or using grant funds to cover budget gaps that means reform efforts are either being delayed or not being carried out at all.

This wasn’t just one or two districts either – Nearly two-thirds of the 30 districts that received an Alliance grant carried over money intended for reforms. In the most extreme case, New Haven held back over $2 million.

(In case you were wondering: Bridgeport was not one of districts to withhold grant money)

In response, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell proposed the state Board of Education require districts to use 97 percent of Alliance grant funds for promised reforms.

So, how does Pelto respond to this?

He blasts the consultants administering the problem rather than the districts who misused taxpayer funds — bashing the Commissioner for wanting districts to hold up their end of the bargain:

“Commissioner Wentzell is now blaming the Alliance Districts themselves for problems that have developed with the program, rather than the inexperienced, but highly paid consultants that she and her predecessor hired and coddled”

News flash: No one is talking about programmatic problems. How could they when districts aren’t spending the money on what they should be?

For that matter, what exactly do the consultants the State Department of Education hired to assist the Alliance district program have to do with districts misappropriating funds?

Of course this is all just an opportunity for him to rehash his old gripe with former Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and shake his fits at “corporate education reform,” which he blames for providing a lack of oversight:

“When it comes to actually overseeing Malloy’s Alliance District program, Barth and Mass Insight’s track record has been abysmal.”

Funny isn’t it. Pelto complains about a lack of oversight while simultaneously bellyaching over a proposal that would provide oversight to the program.



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