Saturday, December 09, 2006

PAY: TWO HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND AND 00/100!!!

I thought the headline should read like a check, because that is how much CPS put in the pocket of James Levin and Tru-Link Fence.

I know the outrage is shrill. To the point that if James Levin was encountered in a dark alley...Well let's just say I hope he doesn't encounter a teacher.

The headlines at the Tribune said James Levin of Tru-Link Fence (a business in Skokie, not even in Chicago paying taxes) bilked CPS for millions of dollars.

You need to read deeper into the article. Turns out the scandal is not just that he got the contracts (worth 2.87 million) to build fences, in my humble opinion (IMHO) it was the overbilling of $207,000 for snow removal that gets my goat.

The day this story came out, I, and everyone I talked to, was outraged. The conversation centered around the idea of what could we do for the children of Chicago with 2.87 million dollars.

But let's put that aside.

I will assume the best here. He got the contracts (fraudulently of course) but let's assume he did the work for the amount billed.

It is the $207,000 that sticks in my craw.

That is 100 classrooms outfitted with the latest technology including an LCD projector and screen. 100 classrooms.

How about pencil sharpeners? High end, groovy pencil sharpeners are $24.99 each. For $207,000 I could put a brand new sharpener in about 8280 classrooms. 8280 classrooms.

What did you need this year? What did you spend your precious $100 on? Hey, let's kick in the nice $50.00 "gift card" CPS sent to the teachers. (This, despite that the average amount spent by a teacher on class supplies is $522.) What could you have done for your building with $207,000?

Seriously, if I could have handed you $207,000 for your building, what would you have done with it? Methinks it would not involve paying Mr. Levin for work not done.

Check out this anonymous comment from over at Russo's District 299 blog (and keep in mind that Russo posted this on December 7 and as of this writing on December 9, there has been only one comment about this 2.87 million dollar scandal):

Levin couldn't have defrauded CPS without help from CPS. Who gives a snow removal contract to a fence company and then lets them overcharge them by a quarter of a million bucks? Of course the guy who hands out the CPS contracts is the brother of the Streets & San guy who hands out contracts. And of course the Mayor knows nothing. But the Civic Committee wants to cut more teachers and use charter schools to trim the CPS budget. Fogedaboudit.
Here is a tidbit for all of you to chew on from the Tribune, and I quote: "According to his plea agreement, Levin, 47, learned of the fraud in 2001 from an unnamed co-schemer who oversaw Tru-line's work for the schools." The bold face is mine.

So I ask you, in all seriousness, who is the "unnamed co-schemer"?

Who is the "unnamed co-schemer" who robbed 100 classrooms of LCD projectors?

Who is the "unnamed co-schemer" who robbed over 8,000 classrooms of a pencil sharpener?

61 comments:

teacherxchicago said...

But wait, we got $50 gift cards! Maybe I can use the money for the classroom library that I don't have!

Anonymous said...

Is no one concerned about the number of classroom teachers being lost to these charter schools? Where is our great leader? Oh, in Hawaii spending some of that 21% annunity. Sorry, that is not Ms. Stewart, the CTU president, she was in Europe some where, it's the vice president Ted Dallas basking in the sun.

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