Saturday, December 08, 2012

King County Bears Down on Silas Potter

From KUOW:

Former Seattle Public Schools manager Silas Potter faces 33 new felony theft charges for allegedly embezzling more than a quarter of a million dollars from the district.
 

King County Prosecutor's Office Deputy Chief of Staff Ian Goodhew says prosecutors brought the new charges because Potter has declined to plead guilty to the nine original felony theft charges. "Each of those counts are for additional checks that we believe were laundered through dummy companies from the Seattle Public School system for services that were not rendered or that they grossly overcharged for," Goodhew said.

Hard to believe he wouldn't plead guilty given that one of his co-conspirators (Lorrie Kay Sorenson) did already.  The other co-conspirator, David A. Johnson, did not appear at the Potter hearing and a bench warrant went out for his arrest. 

Potter is to be tried in Feb. (let's hope AFTER the levy elections).   

He could get up to 10 years in prison for all 35 counts. 

19 comments:

David said...

Worth noting which school board members were around when this mess was allowed to happen. I believe it was Michael DeBell, Harium Martin-Morris, and Sherry Carr.

mirmac1 said...

And don't forget Lynne Varner of the Times editorial board will defend MGJ of connections with Potter until hell freezes over.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, Betty Patu and Kay Smith-Blum were also here but it is worth noting the Betty had her doubts almost from the beginning.

Martin-Morris, Maier and Sundquist had direct/in-direct knowledge of concerns with the program and yet seemingly, did not alert other directors.

Anonymous said...

for a huge percentage of us bottom feeders of the bottom 60 and 70+%, this is just another log on the fire of cynicism about our complete joke of a justice system.

there are scores and scores of 100 grand plus plus a year big shots making stupid policy and doing nothing to help anyone in the trenches do a better job. Year after year those scores and scores rip off the public, beat on us bottom feeders, and add nothing of value to solving the problems of educating hundreds of thousands of kids.

If Potter deserves 10 years for ripping of tens of thousands of kids and hundreds of thousands of tax payers, surely the scores and scores deserve 30 years for ripping off even more kids and more taxpayers? How many custodians and teachers and principals and librarians and and and have lost their jobs because these scores and scores target us with their Word Of God baloney ... I mean their management jargon baloney du jour?

I'll take Fanne Foxe Wilbur Mills Potter style corruption over scores and scores of

ParasitesAnyDay

Anonymous said...

Dear ParasitesAnyDay,

Melissa wrote:
Martin-Morris, Maier and Sundquist had direct/in-direct knowledge of concerns with the program and yet seemingly, did not alert other directors.

==============

Carr, Martin-Morris, Maier and Sundquist ignored the data on New Tech Network schools and voted for a contract they had not read. Then when a legal appeal was filed they had a do over vote 2 months later ... and still voted 4-3 to toss away $800,000 for the baloney tools used at seriously under-performing Project Based Learning New Tech Schools.

Same four directors also voted for "Discovering Algebra etc." for Seattle High Schools. ... These folks wasted more dollars than Potter took. Note MGJ, Enfield and Tolley were on the side of wasting dollars and conducting little or no sound research.

This is just another log on the fire of cynicism about our complete joke "Seattle Schools central office upper admin" and the members of the past school board.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dan. The shortcomings of the math curriculum are serious and these directors and past administrators have let students down in a profound way.

You can have all the special programs, tutoring services, endless testing, and charter experiments you want but they will not replace a fundamentally sound math curriculum. The students were really let down by these decision makers.

S parent

Anonymous said...

But for Potter, we'd probably still have Maier and Sundquist on the board.

I can't say I'm glad Potter ripped off the district, but his actions set the district on another path.

Michael H said...

Except for one thing, people. "Wasting dollars", as you say, is not illegal under the criminal code.

So, you can go on and on about "big shots" "ripping off" the public, but if you can't tie it to a specific criminal law violation, you just end up looking like unfettered lunatics.

And Dan, FORGET NTN AND DISCOVERING ALGEBRA!!! While these were stupid decisions on the part of the Board, keep in mind that you have never won your case on these issues. Continually harping about these years after they occurred negatively affects your credibility.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Michael H,

You wrote:
And Dan, FORGET NTN AND DISCOVERING ALGEBRA!!! While these were stupid decisions on the part of the Board, keep in mind that you have never won your case on these issues. Continually harping about these years after they occurred negatively affects your credibility.

The thrust for instructional practices that are ineffective apparently continues as Discovering Algebra etc. are still with us. Note the NTN contract was for three years service. It is still with us also.

It is not "years after they occurred" as they are still with the SPS.

word said...

As a parent who has to pay for math tutoring in order to supplement (a better word would be replace) the SPS math curriculum, I would like to know what Michael H. means. Is the battle over on improving SPS math curriculum?

Anonymous said...

Stupid decisions on math by past board members can be reversed. Look at Mercer Middle School and the improvement its students saw with a new curriculum.

When 60 UW science and math professors complain incoming freshmen have low math skills we need to listen. When companies say they cannot find skilled people to take good jobs, we should figure out what students need to learn.

We now have two new board members who get the math and a new superintendent. If they listen to Dan and parents our students will get a better curriculum. What could be more important than better academics?

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the problem - too many problems in the district.

S, yes, academics should be the number one focus but it's hard to do so with new initiatives (some of which may allow some schools to change math curriculum) and problems galore (with leadership vaccums and capacity issues).

Unless parents rise up in great numbers, no, I don't see anything changing.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Michael. If you don't know the difference between"criminal", "unethical", and "stupid", then you totally discredit yourself. The Potter scandal is about criminal and unethical behavior. Math book selection is about a difference of pedagogical opinion. Reasonable people have different opinions, and consider different evidence to reach their conclusions. When you lump both of those together as one issue, you prove yourself an idiot and self-serving to your cause.

reader

uxolo said...

@michael and @reader:
There is something called Academic Child Abuse and if there is something that is used in a classroom (such as the NTN garbage or Discovery Math) that feels abusive to the child or youth, it is, indeed, an ethical issue.

Anonymous said...

Yeah right UX, I've never met a kid who claimed they felt a math book was abusive. Challenging, confusing, boring those might be feelings they've claimed. Abusive is simply a ridiculous claim made up by adults with a policy disagreement.

reader

Catherine said...

While I am no supporter of the current math mess, it should be noted that in the late 80's many UW professors were already complaining that the best thing public schools could do was not teach math and science at all because very good and capable students were being ruined. I've been around the block enough times to have heard the stacked complaints for nearly 3 decades. By stacked complaints I mean, MS teachers complaining about Elem teachers. HS teachers complaining about MS teachers. College/U profs complaining about HS teachers. They did it while I was in school, they've done that while my son was in school. It's nothing new, so I don't see "this round of complaints" as particularly different than the complaints 25 years ago.

uxolo said...

Visit a classroom with kids frustrated for 50 minutes daily, a teacher frustrated, impatient and anxious, then everyone goes home for the next ~ 170 days to experience more anxiety and frustration because math homework is a frustrating, anxiety provoking situation- everyone is miserable, defeated, and feeling like a failure. That's abusive. Of course, for those who can afford tutoring, the picture changes.

Anonymous said...

I will add to the off-topic comments...

When I attended school decades ago, the science instruction contained much more content. This was true for the social studies, LA, and math as well. That is the biggest difference I see from what my children are now experiencing in Seattle public schools.

Where are the student textbooks? There are no textbooks for science, social studies, math or LA in all of elementary. If you're lucky, you might see a few in middle school.

We don't pay for tutoring, but an inordinate amount of time is spent at home trying to teach the basics that haven't been covered in school.

-a tired parent

Anonymous said...

My kids middle school has 1 science book to share between all the kids. SS is a little better, there's about a dozen 15 year old books ... all out of date. It gets worse as the kids age.

Reader