Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seattle Schools' News Update


Dear SPS colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that Ron English, General Counsel, has been

placed on paid administrative leave.


Administrative leave is not disciplinary in nature. It is an

employer-directed removal of a staff member from the regular work

environment for an indefinite period of time. The leave is used to support

a fair, timely, and thorough investigation involving employee conduct. When

an employee is placed on paid administrative leave, there is to be no

contact between the individual and district personnel and/or students and

families.


As this is a personnel issue, the district cannot comment publicly on the

matter. We encourage staff to do the same in order to respect the rights of

the individual on leave as well as protect the integrity of the investigation.


Assistant General Counsel John Cerqui will lead the legal department during

this time.


Thank you,
Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent

45 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Why didn't they place all the lawyers on leave?

Po3 said...

Never a dull moment.

Inside as well said...

About time!

Plato said...

Who will cover for royalty?

Jon said...

Break out the popcorn.

Anonymous said...

More to come on this...thank you FBI

...PLP

Elsa said...

This may be a clue as to who the mayor might appoint to the board.

Anonymous said...

Ya maybe when he gets out and will need a new profession.

PAHA

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Stop deleting my post or I will sue you!

Ronnie Boy

Anonymous said...

Sign me -

JohnQ. Schadenfreude

3inSPS said...

Wow it is rumored to be a fraud thing brought forward by the FBI!?!? -- Not because his office has been hostile and reactive to family's concerns. Not because of the repeated and unprecedented disclosure of sensitive medical information, which seems in retrospect hostile and reactive to all sped families. At first blush I thought Nyland was finally pushing forward that change that we all wish for but alas it may be that his hand was forced. It was English who pushed Nyland's permanent placement forward, no? I guess I agree with other posters this may become very interesting.

Oh well

Elephant's Memory said...

"This may be a clue as to who the mayor might appoint to the board. "

Murray, LEV et. al better keep their hand off of the district.

Anonymous said...

Remember this said ....

From: English, Ron
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:31 PM
To: Banda, Jose L
Cc: SchoolBoard
Subject: Re: Conflict of interest in the legal dept.
I have forwarded this to the City Ethics Office for their action. I will note that we have spent
about $1 million annually on outside legal fees of all kinds and that I made the decision to
hire the Curran firm.
I welcome a review of our litigation management practices.
Ron English
General Counsel


Looks like the Board may have taken English up on his offer and found the smoking gun?

--Michael

Dora said...

It's about time.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating - so many options to choose from! Wonder if its related to the Garfield case? Got my popcorn ready :)

Reader47

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, it's about time. On the other, the timing couldn't be worse. Another "scandal" in the midst of so much "dysfunction!" Hold your popcorn folks. This could the just the sacrificial lamb the Reformers need to justify a bold move in Olympia. Cue the articles in the Times' hopper about more SPS scandals, dysfunction and the need for radical change, just like Mayor wants. 3...2..1..Go!

On the other hand, if the word gets out that this is part of a clean-up effort from Nyland and the Board, then WOO-FRIGGIN-HOO! This could be great.

All the usual spin doctors are working late tonight, we can bet for sure.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Ah - interesting point WSDWG - the "sacrificial lamb". Sadly, I could see that. Oh to be a fly on all the walls involved...
Reader47

Patrick said...

I can think of a lot of metaphors that could apply to Ron English, but "lamb" is not one that springs to mind.

Anonymous said...

The district's history spins in circles doesn't it? Lest anyone is new here, it was almost exactly 4 years ago that English and his slippery boss Gary Ikeda underwent investigation as to conduct in the Silas Potter scandal. English proclaimed his innocence in a series of front page stories - here are some past links.

http://seattletimes.com/html/education/2014788254_ikeda16m.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2011/03/02/2014380667.pdf

BTW, if anyone wants to enjoy some (un)fun times, do a search on English's name in the Seattle Times search function. The whole sordid history of the past 10 years comes tumbling out, because he has been quoted in almost every case. Numerous and embarrassing cases.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Could it be related to the FBI investigation into contract fixing by the EX-SPED director? Didn't she claim SPS legal signed off on the fixing tactics?


http://www.kplu.org/post/state-freezes-part-seattles-special-ed-funding-district-takes-step-improve

Ka Boom

Anonymous said...

I am exhausted by the school district. Our daughter is now in 9th grade and we've been in the SPS since 1st grade. It's been nothing but chaos and personnel issues and legal craziness for the 9 years we've been part of it. I've been a very active parent, serving on PTAs, etc. Will it ever stop? What the heck is going on? Is this what is happening in all city school districts?

Roosevelt Mom

Anonymous said...

I have first hand knowledge of the collusion between SPS legal/ Ron English and the Curran law firm. Ms. Curran, who is the ONLY member of that law firm was paid over $30K to "investigate" me for such serious infractions as, allowing 11 minutes for students to pose questions during a class discussion, differentiating assignments for ELL and Special Education students, not turning on the lights to high after using the projector, etc, etc.
Of course I was guilty of all these heinous crimes and dismissed from SPS. I have remained unemployed for over 18 months because of the actions of English and Curran. There is a special place in Hell for these liars who have no regard for those they attack and dismember.

CJ Wiley

Anonymous said...

@ CJ Wiley are you saying you where fired from SPS for helping ELL students and special education students? What did the union do about this?

--Michael

Anonymous said...

According to their website there are 11 practicing attorneys at the Curran Law Firm, and they represent over 25 school districts, so perhaps there's some misunderstanding going on with CJWiley's post.

I'm sure time will give us a clue on this all - there are so many possibilities - the SPED data breach case - Garfield incident, and probably other things that have never made the light of day.

We'll just have to wait for the other shoe to drop - because there is one, we just don't know who's wearing it yet.

reader47

mirmac1 said...

CJWiley refers to Curman (Sebree) who performs one-sided HR investigations @$200/hr.

Curran is the former firm of current SPS SpEd attorney and nemesis Andrea Schier. She brings them lots of work, to the torture, chagrin, and abuse of SpEd families. SPS paid Curran's Holkit $$ to defend against and lose a slam dunk FERPA/IDEA violation. Money is no object so long as they can deny, deny, deny.

I wonder if they're the ones who opined that English was right to withhold a PRA re: McWilliams.

They need to purge the whole lot of them.

SeattlePublic said...

So happy

Anonymous said...

I don't see any collusion with the Curran law firm. It is common practice to hire attorneys from firms with which you do work. Mr. English is not related to Ms. Schiers. Where is the ethics violation?

Head scratcher

Anonymous said...

I made a mistake. It was Curman's law firm that conducted highly questionable work for SPS to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

At any rate SPS has been practicing irregular ethics for years.

It is about time that there is serious query.

After years of humiliation, false accusations, harassment and dehumanization by the SPS legal I was worn out and settled for a pittance and an admission that I had done no wrong.

This was a small victory. SPS was able to eliminate a large core of experienced teachers over the past five years using questionable legal practices. The goal was to higher new teachers and save on salaries. A large body of evidence demonstrates that these practices were highly successful.

CJW

Anonymous said...

SPS hired Ms. Schiers from Curran law firm, no problem there.

In contrast with SPS policy Ms Schiers within the first 365 days of her employment contracted Curran Law firm to deal with Special education issues. Mr. English attempted to cover insisting he hired Curran when the evidence shows that not to be true. SPS Legal uses semantics often to subvert laws or policy.

Mr English is so brazen in doing so he often openly admits the practice at public meetings.

He recently informed the board on how he could twist the law or policy to allow Nyland to pursue buying the downtown federal building.

Is this really how we want SPS to operate?

BYEBYE Ronnie

Anonymous said...
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Patrick said...

Maybe Nyland will be better than he looked?

-- cockeyed optimist

Anonymous said...

A wild guess? Huge conflicts of interest in the most recent 6 figure settlement case. But only time will tell.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Ron English's proclamations on behalf of the District were responsible for a federal civil rights investigation for violation of Title IX. Will the District hire one of its "independent investigators" to exonerate Mr. English?

--Curious onlooker

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the name of the lawyer the family used in the Garfield case?

Need lawyer

Anonymous said...

@Need Lawyer

Try inquiring at the Stop Sexual Assault in High School Facebook page.

Adam

Anonymous said...

I am out of the SPS sphere, but reading these posts tells me that my experience in Edmonds SD is consistent with the general "purge" that has been going on in many large districts for years. Upper admin is not your friend, whether you are a teacher, parent, or student. There is a tremendous amount of effort, time and money invested in power and the keeping of it. Frankly, I don't trust any of them. There no incentive to be an inside whistleblower and there is little incentive for a do-gooder attorney or agency (FBI) to try to straighten up the mess. That's part of what makes charter takeovers so attractive- lots of money and power with little accountability.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not the problems of the Seattle school district have made their way to the desk of Obama.

The DOE audits have uncovered actionable issues that are actively being investigated. These issues are being dealt with discreetly for now in hopes of limiting any negative impact on the districts students.

Cats out

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Curious onlooker,

English should get "Sebree-ed" just like the minions.

Anonymous said...

C. Sebree (not to be confused with Curran?) is mentioned as an investigator for the Beacon Hill test tampering.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024800035_beaconhilljanitorxml.html

mirmac1 said...

repost for anonymous:

"C. Sebree (not to be confused with Curran?) is mentioned as an investigator for the Beacon Hill test tampering.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024800035_beaconhilljanitorxml.html"

If that is true, then you can bet that administrators' in tight with JSCEE-ites will be exonerated/promoted/kicked-upstairs and the janitor will be shown the door. Sebree never lets facts color her investigative reports.

Earl said...

Sebree is a joke brought in by MGJ and is a friend of the (MGJ retread) HR Director. English kept her on while he cycled thru some other districts after Pottergate.

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