Tag Archives: Blackmail in PGCPS

Audits should lead to sound decisions and not confusion.


Over the last two weeks there has been a vigorous debate about the damming report of the Auditor General in Maryland on the financial management of the Prince George´s County public Schools (Pgcps). If you ask the average Prince Georges County résident, there is no doubt that senior level officials at Sasscer (school system Hq)  have been “eating” the revenue allocated to the County district school system instead of delivering services. Another report  issued by CEO’s Transition Team does not help much with the issues we advocated for. It appears to have been a cover up mission to some extend. However, that is another post for another day. We will give you our opinion as we know it.

As people who remembers Prince Georgés County tortuous journey to devolution after the passage of HB 1107 and appreciates that the only option available for a stable Prince George’s County is a devolved system of government, we welcome the criticism leveled against the vanguards of Prince George´s County’s devolution. Disappointment by in the financial conduct of the County government is legitimate and an indication that citizens expect higher standards of accountability for County government. This has not been traditional attitude to local government led by Mr. Rushern Baker. Year in year out, the Auditor Generals’ report chronicled massive theft of public funds usually eliciting little more than a yawn from the public. If well handled, the current concerns can only improve citizen faith in government.

Part of handling the issue well is ensuring that the debate is not misinformed. One of the concerns we have had over time is the way audit reports tend to mix issues of irregular, unprocedural and unexplained expenditure, with those that relate to outright fraud. CEO’s Transition Team does not highlight problems created by the unions representing employees in Prince George’s County Public Schools but covered up the issues like a fox in a hen house.  In this year’s Maryland Auditor General’s reports, only a professional accountant can distinguish between audit queries relating purely to missing documentation for legitimate expenditure and where it is obvious that the documentation is missing because money was stolen. Complex audit-speak in the reports leaves one confused between merely unprocedural and unlawful expenditure.

There is no doubt that fidelity to rules is essential in expenditure by public institutions, but should these two situations not be differentiated? To see the negative impact of non-differentiation, one only needs to look at last  audit report of the activities of the County school District system.

As reported by the media, the Auditor’s report disclosed that $ 1 million of public funds was “lost”. To Prince George’s County’s unsophisticated public, duly informed by a fairly simplistic media, $ 1 million of public money was stolen in one year but we also know that, the number is much higher if the paper work had not been compromised. The problem with this report is twofold. On the one hand it is unbelievable. If $ 1 million, was lost through in overpayment and other questionable activity at Sasscer, What about the mismanagement within the schools after principals were given millions to manage themselves? In the average mind, it creates integrity issues on the entire report.

See Also: Prince George’s County Public Schools Audit Report
Secondly, for those who believe it, the enormity of the “theft” is too overwhelming. Not only does this unjustly delegitimize school system and the local government, it also leaves citizens helpless and disillusioned feeling that the accountability war is lost, so they should not bother. If however the audit had clearly distinguished between what was unprocedurally but legitimately expended from what is actually stolen, it would create more incentive to invest in accountability mechanisms. Pointing fingers only in a few areas when we know the procurement process is not very transparent, leaves a lot of questions than answers.

For the Prince George’s County report just released, this issue is even more critical in view of the public interest in the accountability of the current local government led by Mr. Rushern Baker. For example it is important to point out that these report does not address Federal funding involving Title I schools and how the money was spent in the schools.

Prince George’s County government and school system has had no systems in place and yet were still expected to deliver services from day one. Most of the issues raised by the audit reports are therefore more about procedural; breaches as opposed to fraud. We know there has been fraud because of the way money has been siphoned off recently.  Look at the way Mr. Roger Thomas , Matt and others have acted in the past.

One only needs to read the much publicized report of the audit general in Maryland to see that the bulk of issues raised relate to documentation. When these issues are bunched together with instances of fraud, it makes it difficult to smoke out the real fraudsters. It also fails to appreciate that these issues call for different solutions. Issues of non-documentation and procedure may have to do with capacity and at times inability of existing law, in this case procurement law, to deal with emerging realities.

We do not say this to legitimize unprocedural conduct. We recognize this can quickly metamorphose to fraud of which some of members have been a witness to it through the system. We raise these issues to ask the Maryland Auditor General’s team to present future audit reports in a manner that does not confuse an already skeptical public but helps it make informed decisions on improving accountability in Prince George’s County and elsewhere.

***pgcps_logoWe need more transparency and  accountability in government so that people know how their money is being spent.  That means putting budgets online, putting legislation online. ~ Carly  FiorinaimageDemocracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is  enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no  sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption,  subjugation and indignation. ~ Atifete  Jahjaga



Dr. Hite and his ongoing scandals

On Monday Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, invited all non-incumbent candidates for the Board of Education to a private meeting in his office. Our investigations reveal that, Hite requested the discussion to probably sway potential board members. He is looking for ways to make sure it works for him since questions surrounding misappropriation of funds, professional misconduct and nepotism was first brought to light in our blog. Before highlighting more about the meeting we think it is important to get a few facts straight;

  • Hite’s scheduling secretary sent an e-mail early this month (February 2012) inviting the candidates to a brief meeting on Monday night at Sasscer Administration Building.
  • The invitation was not sent to all candidates but just all non-incumbents with an exception of two Board members close to Dr. Hite.
  • The invite didn’t mention the agenda. However, Since then, the meeting has taken on a life of its own.

Some of the BOE candidates chose not to attend the meeting with Dr. Hite because they felt it flirted with a line that they were not willing to cross. “Meetings of this type should not be done in private” Joseph Kitchen said.  There was the appearance that he wanted to tell “candidates what the board is supposed to do. It’s supposed to work the other way around.” He continued. We agree with him. Superintendent William Hite Jr is not a reformer in our view and is presiding over deep seated corruption in variety of ways in Pg County. Superintendent Hite who is a great friend of convicted former county executive (Jack Johnson) needs to be put on the spot light as he was elected corruptly.  Proper accountability is needed immediately.

According to Washington post, “among some of the topics discussed were the  district’s revenue, its enrollment, and maintenance and repair of school property”. The information shared by Dr. Hite never came as a surprise to us, and the issues he outlined are issues we have been involved in for many months now. We want to see proper accountability and transparency involving millions of dollars slated to be poured in Pg County towards construction projects and other matters in the next school year. We demand public scrutiny with proper checks and balances.

Accountability is a fundamental value for any system. Citizens of PG County should have the right to know what actions are being taken in their name, and they should have the means to force corrective actions when government acts in an illegal, immoral, or unjust manner as seen in Prince Georges County recently.  Individual citizens should have the ability to have some redress when their rights are abused by government or they do not receive the public benefits to which they are entitled.

Accountability is also important for Dr Hite and PGCPS itself.  It provides the school system or any government agency with a means of understanding how programs may fail and finding mechanisms that can make programs perform better. Covering up Financial corruption with the announcement that PGCPS got a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award will never fly with anybody. Staff we spoke to at Sasscer knows what is happening regarding the decay in PGCPS.

In the next several months, discussions on serious issues regarding corruptions and other matters will be discussed. It’s in these forums where true leaders will be identified to lead the next BOE in Prince Georges County. The decision regarding a private meeting with Dr. Hite should not have taken place in private especially in regards to issues pertaining to public funds. Let us demand transparency.

23 candidates are vying for the Board of Education seats. Citizens of PG County must do their work in order  to select the best candidates who have a good track record in fighting corruption. This is the key to accountability!

A Woman is Killed in PGCPS School Parking Lot.

Paramedics were rushed to the Samuel Chase Elementary School on Monday morning for a serious accident.

Fire officials said a woman walking in the parking lot of the Prince George’s County school was fatally struck by a maintenance van.  The vehicle was backing up at the time of the accident.

The accident happened shortly after 11 a.m.  Investigators did not immediately identify the woman’s relationship to the school. 

Monday was a scheduled teacher planning day.  There were no classes held  and no students present at the time of the accident.

All embattled superintendent of schools Dr William Hite Jr could say was, “On behalf of the Prince George’s County Public Schools community, I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family of the victim involved in this tragic incident at Samuel Chase Elementary School,”   “We are working closely with the Prince George’s County Police Department to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident.”  (see statement)

The above tragic accident is once again a clear manifestation of failed leadership in PGCPS. We demand answers why a woman had to die in the school grounds without proper care taken by those involved. Because of this issues and many others in recent months, Dr. William Hite Jr needs to resign immediately.  We are tired of the cover ups and the corruption!

(Sign the petition here and retweet)

Bill PG 410-12

 Call your elected representatives now and the media.  Ask them to support the accountability and transparency intitive bill.

 ~> Support Bill PG 410-12 – Education – Prince George’s County School Board Budgets – Transparency

Sponsor – Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith


For the purpose of requiring a certain Web site of the Prince George’s County Board of Education to include certain budget data; requiring the Web site to contain annual data and to be searchable based on individual schools; and generally relating to a searchable Web site of the Prince George’s County Board of Education.



Children no longer come first. If you notice the PGCPS website, “Children come First” logo has been taken off under Superintendent Hites orders.

According to confirmed and liable sources, Reform Sasscer Team has learned with great shock and utter dismay that, all PGCPS schools turned in their projected budgets to Dr. William Hite’s appointed subordinates this past week (early November 2011).

Every PGCPS school is now operating under “student based budgeting” which is being managed by Jeff Kang (jeff.kang@pgcps.org)

According to Dr. Hite’s newsletter, to PGCPS staff and on his blog “Getting into the budget”:

“School communities must have a greater voice in how their schools are funded. That is why we are rolling out our new Student Based Budgeting (SBB) program, which allows school administrators, parents, and community members to guide the decision-making process for how school budgets should be spent. This new process, done solely at the school level, essentially gives the school community more authority over their school budgets, encourages innovation and enhances school effectiveness”. From blog titled “Getting into the Budget”.

The above statement is simply untrue and is “bull crap”.

If you go to any PGCPS school and ask faculty, parents, students or community members if they had any input in the budget, the answer will undoubtedly be NO.  Teachers will tell you that the principals decided on their own how to spend the money. No faculty, parents and community members  were allowed to give input or recommendations.

Principals, off the record, will tell you that they have less money and received the same amount of dollars from last year even if they had the same number of students and same number of free/reduced lunch, special education, and MSA below basic including advanced students.

That is to say, we have a ploy here being perpetuated by Dr. William Hite Jr and his subordinates. They created a  pretense that everyone has input, but in reality they do not. All decisions rest with the principal and his/her “favorites” on the staff. The schools are being squeezed, but if you go to Dr. William Hite, Matthew Stanski or even your board member they will put the blame is on the principals.  William Hites also states in his blog “They were to confer with the community [and] make decisions about how to spend money and staff the school.” At the end of the day, the kids are getting a very unfair deal.

Once again, did you notice that the PG County Public Schools (PGCPS) took the “Children Come First” logo off the system’s website? Students no longer come first. Only William Hite EdD matters.

A good example of wasteful spending is the “middle college” program. The system pays $3 million for a program that benefits 100 students – $30,000 a student.  There is also a secondary school in PGCPS with about 200 students whose budget is $4 million.

Finally,  we need to make children come first once again and more than ever before and elect a new Supritendent. Dr. William Hite should resign immediately as a suprintendent and without delay.  (William Hite Jr  EdD is pictured below).

Hite’s Corruption.

PGCPS Corruption fights back.

Superintendent William Hite operates as if he is a sole administrator of the schools.  The law which established the board of education has not provided for sufficient checks and balances within the board of education (BOE) against the Superintendent who is the treasurer, the secretary to the board of Education and the CEO all rolled into one! If the Chairman of the BOE operates without the effective input of other members of the board of education, and is not under the supervision of another organ of government, such as the county council to question his activities, then abuse and the impunities which we complain about will continue.

In recent days, Teachers, staff and students have seen some students being victimized at Largo – Laurel High Schools for expressing their thoughts on the current events involving some administrators.  This is not fair to, Students who have been victimized for expressing their views.  Children have rights too!  Many of these students are aware of the adulterous relationship involving Mr. James Smallwood, – Assistant Principal and two teachers he supervised. (See the blog here). Many students observed and heard what appeared to be “noises of passion” coming from his office during and after work hours. The same thing applies to Principal Dwayne Jones and Ms. Debra Toppins who have been an item for years now creating a conflict of interest.  The change in policy to suspend students who talk about these issues appears to emanate from the superintendent Hite and it’s misuse of policy to hold on to power. Similarly, William Hite’s desire to hold onto power has gone so far as to create AN OFFICE OF CONSTITUENT SERVICES, which happens to be nothing more than a political tool to spread propaganda to the citizens of Prince George’s County on how “Good Dr. William Hite Jr. is”.

 There are many other issues  we have with Superintendent Hite among them is; scheduling of Board of Education meetings during the middle of the day at 1pm when most parents are working.  Chasitating staff and students who voice issues of concern against the 1st amendment freedoms is another issue.  This is dictatorship.  We can do better!  The NAACP has complained about the conflicts in scheduling of these meetings, but that too has fallen on deaf ears.   We can do better!   It appears as if Superintendent Hite has something to hide by scheduling these meetings at times to minimize concerned parents.  The time has come to impeach William Hite EdD, a fight for the future of our kids and their education.    

Corruption is the biggest enemy the public schools of Prince George County have; it is linked to so many other problems that challenge the schools and communities in the county.  

“Don’t ever give up,” one parent said recently. “When you fight against corruption, corruption fights back.” “They want you to back off.”  We agree!

Fighting corruption is first and foremost, about establishing the rule of law, so this has been the primary focus of Reform PGCPS Sasscer team’s anti-corruption campaign.

In a county that has seen very few convictions for fraud or corruption before the beginning of our reform campaign; we are yet to see any actions from the county concerning these issues. Cases brought up by several employees will be heard in the Federal and Circuit Courts in the following weeks and months.   

Prince George County’s reform efforts will end up being a success because they are home-grown; they are supported by the Prince George County’s people, and by some current Prince George County’s leadership. Prince George County’s citizens are sick and tired of being known the world over as scam artists. In credible polling throughout the county, the fight against corruption in public schools is measured as among the electorate’s top concerns, next to food and healthcare for their families.

But corruption fights back.

The process for identifying corrupt officials is open and transparent. However, those against whom we have laid charges use the resources they have stolen to fight back. They own radio and television stations, newspapers, email system, websites, and can hire the best lawyers. But they cannot run away from the facts, nor ultimately from the court of public opinion.

We have proven that we can tackle corruption on our own—but we are still asking for help and support from a wide range of citizens across the County and throughout the United States and abroad to guarantee that these efforts do not falter.

As Prince George’s citizens go to the polls to elect a new council member in a few days and in the future including 2012, we can only offer one piece of advice: whomever you choose, make sure that they are willing to wage a war against corruption in Prince George County’s public schools. Excuses made by those who collaborate with corruption, such as “it is not just me,” should no longer be tolerated. The same is true for all elected officials in the state of Maryland. We must get to a point where there is zero tolerance for corruption as the everyday way of life.

 The money confiscated from former county executive Mr. Jack Johnson that has been returned to the county government is money that ought to have been originally spent on healthcare and development. We hope the new county leadership will use it to improve our health sector, among other initiatives. Maybe one day those who are involved in corruption in Prince George County – Maryland will be treated like pariahs in all decent and civilized gatherings. Maybe then we can bid a permanent farewell to state and county kleptocracy across Prince George County – Maryland.

 It is our hope that by making such critical self-help information available to students, civil servants and publicly exposing state and county workplace injustices we can propel a CHANGE to improve the state and county government workplace culture.   Wrongdoing within the state and county sector continues to impact public program administration fairness, safety and efficiency.   Notably, the cost of discrimination to the public, the taxpayer, remains in the $100,000,000 millions of dollars.   To better protect our citizens, we must protect our state and county workers and the students.   For the state and county government’s treatment of its workers and students is inextricably linked to the quality of goods and services it renders to the public.   Without question, employees who work for the state and county sector serve on America’s first line of defense with regard to protecting our state and the county.   

PGCPS Boycott.

Boycott the Failing Prince George’s County Public Schools. (PGCPS).

The announcement that Superintendent Dr. William Hite Jr. of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) received a Directorship of National PTA Board of Directors is suspicious. We believe that this is a clever ploy to boost his ego after we published an initial  blog.  The announcement came  four days after publication of the second blog.  This is problematic for parents who want to see proper reforms and tough changes in the school system in order to support students, teachers and administrators.  Dr. William Hite Jr. wants to appear that he is doing a good job.  He sits on several boards but he does not have enough time to do what he was hired to do.  Most of the time he is either playing golf or is out in the field doing other activities that are unrelated to the education of our children. This is not fair to those who are stakeholders and citizens of Prince George’s County.  He is not a good superintendent becasue he is not doing the job we have hired him to do. Therefore, he should resign as soon as possible.  

 Before you decide whether to support the proposed November 4th, 2011  boycott of PGCPS, by not sending your child to school that day, first understand the issues facing these parents.  PGCPS has an approximate graduation rate of 50%.  Shockingly this is not the problem facing parents. The real problem is that 179 schools are rated as PLA.  PLA is a rating given to schools that have persistently breached the public trust and that have completely failed to educate the students who attend them. PLA rated schools have less than a 50% graduation rate. Infact, these schools are factored in with the twenty other non- PLA schools, such as County Honors, to give PGCPS its 50% graduation rate. Note that PGCPS is the second worst performing school District in the whole state of Maryland, barely above Baltimore City public schools.

The problem for many parents, particularly those with lower incomes,  is that they must send their children to a PLA school where the child will receive an inadequate education.  When these parents send their children to a PLA school, they face the stark reality that their children are set up to fail.  This problem is not a recent issue. These schools have failed several generations of students.  Year after year these parents are told that something is being done to address this failure, and they are given a list of what will be done.  Yet, the failure persists with no consequence to those accountable for this failure.  The issue has gotten worse under Superintendent Hite.  Recently, Dr. William Hite Jr., put up a questionable editorial (you can read it here) that claims tremendous progress was achieved last year.  This is contrary to the investigative  reports done by the Gazette newspaper. (Read the report here).

During the budget process hearings this past spring, we attended a board meeting that was coordinated by Superintendent Hite where he undermined several elected officials including senators and delegates, clandestinely, because they dared question his work ethic. We found out that  Superintendent Hite controls almost all the board members.  When the chair of the Board finally called for a vote to confirm the issues following presentations on the PLA problem by the PGCPS Superintendent Hites, they passed the budget without much questioning of his decision.  Local leaders and an auditorium filled with more than 100 Prince George’s County parents were astonished.  The turning point at this meeting for us was when Superintendent Hite suggested that parents are expecting too much and they should settle for children that do not always graduate but rather the standard should be that they are able to pass a GED test.  Hite actually proposed at the meeting to change the standard from expecting their child to graduate to minimally expecting their children be able to pass a GED test and be work force ready.  Hite  is the one primarily accountable for setting the educational standard and developing the plan to address the PLA crises.  These parents’ children are currently trapped in a school system that is led by a person that proposes setting low expectations and does not expect the system to succeed or improve.

 Whether you are located in the PGCPS or outside of this area, consider providing support to these parents and the PGCPS’s bold move to boycott.   The boycott is the first step in sending the message that without the children there is no PGCPS and that these parents do have power.  They should expect real corrective and preventive action.  The time for talk and playing the blame game is over.  Parents are vital in the process of reviewing and approving the plan that is proposed and acted on.  The Prince George’s County Council has the power to provide oversight to the Board of Education Budget and to ask tough questions following massive corruption unmasked recently.  There must be accountability and transparency without much delay!

A rally will be held in front of PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING in Upper Marlboro at noon in the near future (check back here for the date)– be there!

County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3050

“We need to support & encourage the parents of children attending failing Prince George’s County Public schools to keep up the pressure…”

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