An Interesting Week with Tulsa Public School Parents & Other Concerned Citizens

An overview of the emails I've received this week from Tulsans concerned about the direction of TPS.



In the past week, I’ve had several uncoordinated and unsolicited encounters with parents and others who are concerned about the direction of the administration at Tulsa Public Schools.

First, I want to say, I am not cheerfully trying to cast TPS in a bad light. My children attended TPS. They received a good education. I do feel, however, when so many teachers and parents are speaking to me or emailing me with their concerns, which they feel are not heard or addressed by Superintendent Gist, Deputy Superintendent Paula Shannon and other Service Center Administrators, then something is fundamentally wrong.

One parent emailed me that she is a “concerned parent with a kid in TPS.” I wrote a blog post about the Broad Foundation in 2016 when I noticed that Dr. Gist’s policies mirrored Broad goals. I checked out Broad Academy “graduates” and learned that Dr. Gist was, in fact, a Broad graduate. I included this link to give some background information: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/a-guide-to-the-broad-foundations-training-programs-and-policies/

That blog is still floating around because parents and teachers are seeing these policies, especially the bullet point items, happening at TPS. These were not my bullet points, but those of Sue Peters, a parent activist in Seattle, Washington, and part of the Parents Across America movement.

Here are the bullet points from Sue Peters. Sound familiar?:

How to tell if your School District is Infected by the Broad Virus

  • Schools in your district are suddenly closed.
  • Even top-performing schools, alternative schools, schools for the gifted, are inexplicably and suddenly targeted for closure or mergers.
  • Repetition of the phrases “the achievement gap” and “closing the achievement gap” in district documents and public statements.
  • Repeated use of the terms “excellence” and “best practices” and “data-driven decisions.” (Coupled with a noted absence of any of the above.)
  • The production of “data” that is false or cherry-picked, and then used to justify reforms.
  • Power is centralized.
  • Decision-making is top down.
  • Local autonomy of schools is taken away.
  • Principals are treated like pawns by the superintendent, relocated, rewarded and punished at will.
  • Culture of fear of reprisal develops in which teachers, principals, staff, even parents feel afraid to speak up against the policies of the district or the superintendent.
  • Ballooning of the central office at the same time superintendent makes painful cuts to schools and classrooms.
  • Sudden increase in number of paid outside consultants.
  • Increase in the number of public schools turned into privately-run charters.
  • Weak math text adopted (most likely Everyday Math). Possibly weak language arts too, or Writer’s Workshop. District pushes to standardize the curriculum.
  • Superintendent attempts to sidestep labor laws and union contracts.
  • Teachers are no longer referred to as people, educators, colleagues, staff, or even “human resources,” but as “human capital.”
  • A (self-anointed, politically connected) group called NCTQ comes to town a few months before your teachers’ contract is up for negotiation and writes a Mad Libs evaluation of your districts’ teachers (for about $14,000) that reaches the predetermined conclusion that teachers are lazy and need merit pay. [“The (NAME OF CITY) School District has too many (NEGATIVE ADJ) teachers. Therefore they need a new (POSITIVE ADJ.) data-based evaluation system tied to test scores…”]
  • The district leadership declares that the single most significant problem in the district is suddenly: teachers!
  • Teachers are no longer expected to be creative, passionate, inspired, but merely “effective.”
  • Superintendent lays off teachers for questionable reasons.
  • Excessive amounts of testing introduced and imposed on your kids.
  • Teach for America, Inc., novices are suddenly brought into the district, despite no shortage of fully qualified teachers.
  • The district hires a number of “Broad Residents” at about $90,000 apiece, also trained by the Broad Foundation, who are placed in strategically important positions like overseeing the test that is used to evaluate teachers or school report cards. They in turn provide — or fabricate — data that support the superintendent’s ed reform agenda (factual accuracy not required).
  • Strange data appears that seems to contradict what you know (gut level) to be true about your own district.
  • There is a strange sense of sabotage going on.
  • You start to feel you are trapped in the nightmarish Book Five of the Harry Potter series and the evilly vindictive Dolores Umbridge is running your school district. Seek centaurs and Forbidden Forest immediately!
  • Superintendent behaves as if s/he is beyond reproach.
  • Superintendent reads Blackberry (Goodloe-Johnson, also see comments ) or sends texts (Brizard, see comments) while parents and teachers are giving public testimony at school board meetings, blatantly ignoring public input.
  • A rash of Astroturf groups appear claiming to represent “the community” or “parents” and all advocate for the exact same corporate ed reforms that your superintendent supports — merit pay, standardized testing, charter schools, alternative credentialing for teachers. Of course, none of these are genuine grassroots community organizations. Or, existing groups suddenly become fervidly in favor of teacher bashing, merit pay or charter schools. Don’t be surprised to find that these groups may have received grant money from the corporate ed reform foundations like Gates or Broad.
  • The superintendent receives the highest salary ever paid to a superintendent in your town’s history (plus benefits and car allowance) – possibly more than your mayor or governor — and the community is told “that is the national, competitive rate for a city of this size.”
  • Your school board starts to show signs of Stockholm Syndrome. They vote in lockstep with the superintendent. Apparently lobotomized by periodic “school board retreat/Broad training” sessions headed by someone from Broad, your school board stops listening to parents and starts to treat them as the enemy. (If you still have a school board, that is — Broad ideally prefers no pesky democratically elected representatives to get in the way of their supts and agendas.)
  • Superintendent bypasses school board entirely and keeps them out of the loop on significant or all issues.
  • School board candidates receive unprecedented amounts of campaign money from business interests.
  • Annual superintendent evaluation is overseen by a fellow name Tom Payzant.
  • Stand for Children appears in towns and claims to be grassroots. (It is actually based in Portland, Ore., and is funded by the Gates Foundation.) It may invite superintendent to be keynote speaker at a political fundraising event. It will likely lobby your state government for corporate ed reform laws.
  • Grants appear from the Broad and Gates foundations in support of the superintendent, and her/his “Strategic Plan.”
  • The Gates Foundation gives your district grants for technical things related to STEM and/or teacher “effectiveness” or studies on charter schools.
  • Local newspaper fails to report on much of this.
  • Local newspaper never mentions the words “Broad Foundation.”
  • Broad and Gates Foundations give money to local public radio stations which in turn become strangely silent about the presence and influence of the Broad and Gates Foundation in your school district.

THE CURE for Broad Virus:

  • Parents.
  • Blogs.
  • Sharing information.
  • Vote your school board out of office.
  • Vote your mayor out of office if s/he is complicit.
  • Boycott or opt out of tests.
  • Go national and join Parents Across America.
  • Follow the money.
  • Question the data – especially if it produced by someone affiliated with the Broad or Gates Foundations or their favored consultants (McKinsey, Strategies 360, NCTQ, or their own strategically placed Broad Residents).
  • Alert the media again and again (they will ignore you at first).
  • Protest, stage rallies, circulate petitions.
  • Connect and daylight the dots.

– Sue Peter

Back to the Tulsa parent who emailed me. She sent me a post on her school’s Facebook Page referencing my blog post that said, “I don’t know the facts here so I can’t judge the article. I’m just urging caution because I have found this publication and editor to be happy to present a one-sided story in a sensational way that does not fairly represent reality.”

Hmmm. First, if you haven’t read the “article,” which is actually a blog, then you’re right, you shouldn’t comment on it. Also, if you know what a blog is, it by definition has a point of view, and I would argue that my blog was not sensational and was supported by several links to good sources or pertinent background information. And, by the way, I’m not “happy” at all to have to be the person writing about this information. Discrediting those who disagree with you is one way to have an argument, but I would prefer that this person have some good, solid evidence that market-based reforms work.

The concerned parent was actually worried that her high-performing child was not getting the advanced classes that he needed, and she also expressed concern about the lack of consequences for serious classroom behavioral issues.

Another interesting email in the past week was labeled as a “dossier” from an anonymous parent. It was a 50+ page pdf outlining problems with an “emergency certified” principal. According to the document, the teachers and parents have no confidence in this principal and have many documented infractions. The “dossier” came to me because the teachers and parents do not feel that the TPS administration is listening to them.

This principal’s difficulty highlights what can happen when people are put into positions that they’re not qualified for, much like the emergency- certified teacher at Edison who threw the desk. TPS teachers tell me that veteran teachers are not leaving the district because of pay, but because they are treated poorly and disrespected. And KIPP (Tulsa University Prep High School) is being expanded in north Tulsa. I would assume since the University of Tulsa trains TFA teachers, this will be a direct job funnel for them. I love that students want to do community service, but teaching is a profession and requires more than a script to be successful. According to former TFA-er and teacher Gary Rubinstein, he viewed a video by TFA CEO Elisa Villanueva-Beard who said, “…experienced teachers are lazy because they don’t believe their students can learn” and “experienced teachers use their energy on pity for their students rather than working hard to teach them.”

He goes on to say:

One of the most ironic things about Elisa Villanueva-Beard is that she makes these oversimplified claims about how the problem in education is the status quo with low expectations while her own husband runs the YES prep schools in Houston which have a large number of TFA teachers. One of those schools, according to the latest 2018 rankings, is an F rated school and out of 328 rated schools in Houston, it is rated 312th.

Email #3 was a resignation letter from a long-time principal who was resigning, not for better pay or a wish to leave but because the TPS administration had made the job miserable.

Email #4 (and these are in no particular order) was a survey of TPS principals. Here’s an article about that by Samuel Hardiman in the Tulsa World.

Email #5 was about the June Consent School Board Agenda in which an item appeared to continue Kim Lewis’s salary. Lewis is a consultant whose behavior was questioned by several TPS employees. Letters were sent to members of the board, so the salary action item was tabled until the July board meeting where Lewis was kept on as a consultant despite the concerns of those who work under her. These letters are quite long, so I will leave it at that. I will say that one incident might be ignored, one unhappy, disgruntled employee might be waved away, but taken together, I have to wonder what’s going on.

Letter Number One:

June 13, 2018

To the Respected Members of the Board:

Members of the Special Education Related Services Department of Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) have composed this letter to express our concerns and dissatisfaction with the consultation provided by Kim Lewis Consulting.  This letter is an expression of a “Vote of No Confidence” in Dr. Lewis and her services as rendered to TPS. TPS has been a district that promotes learning and success through equity, character, excellence, team and joy.  We believe these values are at risk.

Dr. Lewis was contracted nearly three years ago to consult with TPS and the Special Education Related Services Department.  Serious concerns have arisen during this time regarding trust, decision making, ethics and integrity, competence, lack of respect for staff, and a disregard and a continuing lack of knowledge for Oklahoma special education laws.  We believe that Dr. Lewis’ actions do not align with the “Destination Excellence” strategies.  These strategies are:

  • Cultivate safe, supportive, and joyful school cultures
  • Attract, develop, and retain a highly effective and empowered team
  • Incubate and implement innovative classroom school and district designs
  • Modernize district office into a service and strategy partner

Dr. Lewis has created a hostile work environment by bullying and intimidating staff.  She uses profanity and inappropriate comments when dealing with employees, resulting in complaints being filed against her.  Her approach is divisive in nature, contradicting the vision of a safe, supportive and joyful environment.  Her actions have made it difficult, if not impossible, to attract or maintain qualified personnel.  Although she is a consultant and not a TPS employee, she has conducted employee interviews and been directly involved in hiring and firing employees.  This is not typically in the scope of a consultant’s authority.

Dr. Lewis has targeted several employees, then used their data and department plans.  Compliance reports were based on inaccurate data.  Accurate data was provided to her, but she rejected it.  She intentionally used the inaccurate data to create a false picture of how Special Education Department truly performs.

We believe Dr. Lewis’ aggressive leadership approach and lack of respect for employees of TPS has caused discord and disorganization.  We believe her lack of expertise and management skills to effectively execute her duties, as well as failure to recognize and respect the abilities of the valuable educational employees of TPS have had significantly adverse effects on the fundamental structures and operations of Special Education Related Services Department.  For these reasons, the majority of Related Services Department respectfully requests the board’s support of a “Vote of No Confidence” and relieve Dr. Lewis of her duties and responsibilities. 

TPS Special Education Related Services

Here is a second letter:

I am Linda Geier and I retired June 30, 2017 from TPS as a Student Engagement Coordinator in the Office of Student and Family Support Services.  In my eight years with the district, I served as the PBIS coordinator (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) and eventually worked with Kathy Seibold and the Boston Consulting Group to detail a plan to assist schools in creating tiered student support systems and a data system that would measure and identify needs in five areas: behavior, academics, social-emotional development, health and wellness, and family and community involvement. Having more than 10 years’ experience in leading schools and districts in the implementation of tiered support systems, I knew this was important and cutting-edge work that would put Tulsa Public Schools “on the map” nationally.  Unfortunately, I was a person who voiced opinions and ideas that did not fully align with those of Kim Lewis which would, ultimately, bring my career with TPS to an abrupt end. 

When she was first hired as a consultant for TPS, she worked solely with the Exceptional Student Support (ESS) department.  In the spring of 2017, she announced that she would be involved with my department as well.  Her first task was to give each person in my department 15 minutes of her time to discuss our work.  She boasted that she would be able to determine each person’s “skill and will” based on that brief conversation.  Imagine, 42 years of experience in the field of behavior – at classroom, district, and state levels – and I was to be evaluated, in a sense, by someone who I had disagreed with and who was only willing to give me only 15 minutes of her time.  When I showed her the work Kathy Seibold and I had developed, she refused to look at it and, literally, tossed that work across the table without a question or any sort of discussion to understand the work to which I had devoted myself – nights and weekends included.  I received my pink slip and was told I could interview for any position.  The position I was best suited for was the MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) coordinator position – and Kim was sitting in on those interviews.  It would have been pointless.  I was replaced by four people.  Yes.  Four.  Two people who are not familiar with MTSS are now in charge of learning it and rolling it out.  Another new-hire oversees the social workers and social service specialists that I used to supervise.  And another oversees the community mental health agencies that I used to monitor.  Let me emphasize: I was super qualified and I had a plan in hand.  Yet I was pushed out and replaced by four people who knew nothing about the roles they were assigned.  And this was all based on Kim Lewis’ recommendations and actions.

I have moved on and I am very happy to be an independent consultant.  However, I share my story to give insight on what Kim Lewis is like in the workplace and how her actions have thrown district efforts into chaos and set progress back significantly.  Believe me, there are others with similar stories.  The loss of their dedication and expertise in the district has hurt services and, in doing so, hurt our students.

I have obtained a copy of a document Kim Lewis drafted listing the guidance, support, and capacity-building she claims to have accomplished in TPS as well as the projects she wants to work on if given a continuing contract.  I went through that document and separated the entries into three categories: things that were already in place prior to her arrival to TPS but for which she seems to be taking credit (13 items); projects she has completed during her tenure with TPS (20 items); and proposed areas of focus for the 2018-19 school year (8 focus areas).  (See attachment) Let me emphasize, she is taking credit for 13 items that she had little or nothing to do with; while the coordinators who did the work receive no recognition. Unfortunately, that’s the Kim Lewis way. Of the 20 items she accomplished, nine could have (and probably should have) been done by TPS staff (Executive Director, assistant directors, and coordinators). I encourage you to examine the areas of focus she proposes for the 2018-19 school year (third column).  Every single one of those areas can and should be carried out by TPS staff members who are here to serve our administrators, teachers, and students every single day.  There is nothing on that list that cannot be accomplished by those we have in place on the ESS team.  Under Kim Lewis’ direction, that department has grown significantly so there is plenty of talent and expertise to carry out the objectives she has listed. 

I know she has also recently stated in an email that she needs to stay on to support Greg James, Executive Director of the Office of Exceptional Student Support because he is “green and doesn’t have her knowledge and skill set.”  What?  Then why did she recommend that he be hired as Executive Director for special education services in the second largest school district in the state of Oklahoma?  The position carries an enormous responsibility and should have been filled by an experienced and qualified candidate.  She should have recognized the need to bring in the most qualified candidate possible.    And why hasn’t she been able to get him “up to speed” in the past two years she has been directly working with him?  She’s had two years to mentor him and he is not ready?  Obviously, her recommendation to hire him for this position was a detriment to our district as well.  And, interestingly enough, he becomes part of the reason she needs a continuing contract.  Is it possible that in making a poor decision on who to hire, she has assured herself an additional year or two of work in our district? 

It’s time to say enough is enough.  To pay this person $185,000 to do limited work (that should and could be carried out by TPS personnel) and to allow her to do so using the spiteful practices that are her trademark is a slap in the face of the qualified and dedicated TPS personnel who are forced to work with her when she comes to town for one week per month.  I know she is paid with donor funds but that is no excuse for keeping her on contract.  As our School Board, it is your fiduciary duty to put an end to the milking of our generous philanthropists and do what is right for TPS employees and students.

…and the third one:

My name is CC Canfield.  I retired from TPS after working 31 years with the district last year.  I worked as a Speech Pathologist in various schools, and as a Coordinator/Lead for Speech Pathologists for over 10  of my 31 years.  Janice Graham, Lead School Psychologist and I lead the related service groups, not with threats, mean spirited statements, vulgar language, or profanities toward the group, but the core values the district made public as important:  Team, Character, Joy, Equity, and Excellence.  We were both fully staffed and able to serve the district students with highest quality of services. 

The request tonight, is that you vote NOT to renew Dr Kim Lewis’s contract.   If you feel its necessary to hire a consultant, hire one that knows how to lead and demonstrate the skills necessary to UNIFY the departments and re-ignite the high level of service to our students in TPS they were used to receiving.

  • Dr Lewis’s leadership is typified by bullying, mean spirited threats, sarcasm, profanity, and divisive tactics.  What is her history of successful consultation contracts without early terminations?  And if terminated early, WHY was the contract terminated early?   Was the TPS SPED department set up for failure at a cost of $400,000 so as to allow her to continue to re-new costly contracts??
  • If you vote “yes”to renewing this contract for $185,000, you will also be spending at least $500-800,000 for outsourcing Speech therapy, and recouping maybe $100,000 in Medicaid money.  This results in a net loss of $215,000 – $515,000, and possibly higher.  This situation was allowed to occur while Dr Lewis was “helping” the SPED department with its leadership roles.
  • Why is it not possible for existing SPED administration and new leads to help the related service personnel develop metrics and lead them WITHOUT threats, demeaning statements about their work ethics, and rude, sarcastic statements?
  • If you asked for a vote of confidence in her skills, you would receive a RESOUNDING “NO” vote of confidence by anyone who has worked with her the last 2.5 years.  Instead vote a CONFIDENCE VOTE for the related service people that have dedicated years and years of service to the district and allow them to develop metrics under the guidance of existing ESC staff and new Leads that demonstrate positive character, joy, and the true meaning of team.
  • PLEASE allow the related service groups to re-build their departments back to capacity, and utilize existing administrators and leads to create metrics and measure progress.  There is no need to spend $185,000 to do something that should already be a learned skill.

I would like to address three areas of concern, that are directly opposite of 3 of the 5 core values set forth by this board:  Character, Team, Joy.  Why does the district profess that these core values are important and yet continue to support someone that does NOT exhibit them??

  • TEAM:  Leadership style exhibited by Dr Lewis is hostile and divisive.  Teams are pitted against each other and are under constant threat. The leadership under Dr Lewis’s direction, has created an environment that is no longer desirable for related service people to continue their contract and have left, not for more money, but to work in other school environments that are pleasant or that have student needs as the main concern – not billing Medicaid just to fulfill a million dollar promise.
  • CHARACTER:  The character values demonstrated by Dr Lewis include sarcasm, bullying tactics, profanity,  foul language, and rude behavior.
  • JOY:  Dr Lewis made a promise to the district that with her guidance, the district could recoup a million dollars.  This promise is unrealistic and is pushing groups to bill for services when they are under staffed and unable to serve the students adequately.  This promise is also based on Maryland Medicaid rules, and not Oklahoma Medicaid rules.  She has successfully zapped the JOY from related service providers by forcing them to continue to attempt to bill with very limited results.  At the zenith of billing Medicaid, approximately 8-10 years ago we brought in approximately $400,000.  This year alone over 5,000 hours have been spent to recoup approximately $50-60,000.  Roughly bringing in $10-12 for an hours work.  I would have to say that’s not worth the time being taken away from serving and working with students.

In the past 2.5 years Dr. Lewis has proposed hiring people that are not ready to lead the second largest special eduction department in the state.  But with these recommendations she has successfully set up the continued need to have her on contract re-newed.  The department has been set up for failure by these choices.   The director for related services last year opened the first day reporting back to work with the statements that “no one would receive a score above a 3 on the their TLE job performance and that most people could expect a PDP for not cheerfully accepting a student caseload 50% higher than state mandated limits.  That’s a motivating speech to encourage people to have JOY in the work place isn’t it??  And to insinuate it won’t matter how hard you work, you will only be considered average, and maybe lucky she doesn’t target you with a PDP?  But again, these are the CHARACTER, TEAM, and JOY traits that Dr Lewis seems to value:  threats, bullying, and mean spirited statements. 

Let’s say NO to continually re-newing her contract and creating a bigger and bigger loss of valuable personnel to other districts!!

First point of concern is TEAM:  poor leadership skills as demonstrated by Dr Lewis with coordinators and new Directors.  With her assistance last year, the new design was a complete fiasco.  The district was short 6-8 Speech pathologists on the last day of school 2017.  The Director for Related services met with the psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational and Physical therapists and other related service personnel on their first day back to the 2017-2018 school year. They were greeted by this new Director, not with “welcome back” but that she had heard these groups were vicious, in particular the SLP group was vicious, they stole test booklets and other materials, and that no one would be given a rating on their TLE job performance above a 3.  In fact, most of the people in this group should expect to receive a PDP.  What a way to welcome back over 100 employees on their first day.  A real motivating speech, wouldn’t you agree?  Within 2 months, 6 more SLP’s quit due to the “welcome back” spirit they received, lack of school assignments by their new administrator, and then finally being pulled from the schools to do this as a group themselves.  THIS is the leadership style that Dr Kim Lewis believes is appropriate in TPS.  Bullying, making statements that are mean spirited, sarcastic, and threatening, and hiring people that are not skilled or experienced to lead.  This hostile and unorganized work environment was allowed to continue until NOVEMBER 2017.  Mr Devin Fletcher asked to meet with the related services group and others in the SPED department to hear concerns.  At that time Dr Lewis was wanting to stay in the room to take notes.  The group whole heartedly asked that she leave the room, because they had NO CONFIDENCE that she would not hold statements against certain people, even though Mr Fletcher assured them no one would.  He was surprised to learn of their concerns.  Their concerns regarding Dr Lewis was primarily that she exhibited poor leadership skills and continues to be disrespectful to others and targets people that do a good job,  but that don’t necessarily agree with her.  This brings to light my first point:   the related service people would vote NO CONFIDENCE in the renewal of her contract and they believe she will CONTINUE to wreak more havoc within the SPED department.

Concern number two, CHARACTER.  I have been a witness to, and on the receiving end of her lack of professionalism in meetings and her general demeanor.  I have heard her use vulgar language to describe people or situations, use cuss words to express herself, use threatening accusations toward anyone who did not agree with her, even within what should have been an open discussion with ideas being expressed.  She had expressed some distress over another of her school district contracts being terminated early for the very reasons I am sharing with you tonight.  They were just smart enough to have recorded one of many instances. There is strong probability of other districts terminating her contract early, pointing to a history of issues with professionalism, not just a matter of personality differences or the fact she is from a NorthEastern state.

The work environment in which she sets the tone is considered by most people to be a hostile work environment.  She is divisive by nature, and has stripped the SPED department of any feeling of “being a team”.  They have been pitted against each other and are under a constant state of threats.  The related service people believe that someone else could and should be able to help them develop metrics.  Wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect the ESC coordinators and Executive Director to share the knowledge of developing metrics that they acquired two years ago?  Or was this department set up for failure from the start?  If after two years the current administration can not help a group of related service providers develop metrics, then the nearly $400,000 already spent on her contracts have been wasted.  Only SHE can develop metrics? 

Third concern is JOY:  Dr Lewis has promised that the SPED departments can and would bill a million dollars in Medicaid money.  This promise may have been made in good faith based on MARYLAND Medicaid rules, but in OKLAHOMA the rules are different.  When this was mentioned by myself, I was on the receiving end of a threat and sarcastic remarks.  I believe my words have proven to be true.  If you look at the figures, you will see that for a variety of reasons, the district “maybe” received $500 the first year and I believe the statement I was told  is they “broke even” this last year.

The district has been at least 12 Speech Pathologists short this past year and may be this short again this coming year.  People did not leave the state because of money.  They left the TPS for other districts due to the hostile and divisive environment Dr Lewis has created.  It would be nice to find leadership that understood how to UNIFY the groups and give them a sense of JOY in the work place again.  The Speech Pathologists were told to “happily take 70-90 students on their caseloads, 20-40 students ABOVE state limits for Speech Pathologists, or they would receive a PDP and it would be reflected on their job performance evaluation.  Not much JOY in that statement is there?  The district encumbered $420,000 to help reduce the caseloads to 70-80 students.  Still over the limit. This coming year, at least $800,000 will need to be encumbered to cover for the 12 SLP positions short to keep the therapists within state caps.  The district will be in the RED due to the hostile environment Dr Lewis has brought to the district.

Each therapist reports spending 45-60 minutes a day to electronically document services for Medicaid billing.  This in contrast to keeping data as each session is held, or maybe 15 minutes during the day.  The time spent on printing, finalizing, and uploading signature pages for Medicaid is approximately  1 1/2 hours per IEP when they hold IEP meetings.  I calculate over 5,000 man hours of work to recoup enough money to break even.  Thousands of hours trying to bill Medicaid to fulfill a promise made by a consultant from Maryland.

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Living the empty nest life, and loving it.

About This Blog

Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of three children’s books, "May Finds Her Way," "That is a Hat" and "The Prince of the Prairie" (The RoadRunner Press). She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards, was a finalist in 2015 and won again in 2016. Most recently, she was named the 2017 News Blogger of the Year. She has also won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

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