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Black Alumni Group Critical of Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent


No Peace
Can the once friendly relationship between Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Albert Carvalho and alumni from Dade's predominantly Black high schools be mended?


As quietly as things are being kept, some leaders in the black community in Miami are frustrated by what they perceive as disingenuous actions by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, they are even considering legal action. The move is lead by William "DC" Clark of ICARE (Inner City Alumni for Responsible Education) a consortium of alumni from several predominantly black high schools in Miami-Dade County. The tenor and tone of this latest public declaration of dissatisfaction with the Superintendent is more focused and deliberate than those previously posted by DC and shared with his 5,000 Facebook friends, including Superintendent Carvalho. 

The email below was forwarded to the Superintendent, school board members, community leaders and local media. Via surrogates, the Superintendent has reached out to Mr. Clark for a meeting but Clark prefers an update from the Superintendent with ICARE leaders rather than a one-on-one meeting. 

Superintendent Carvalho vs. Black Community

Did Alberto Carvalho win the Superintendent of the Year award because he is the best in the business, or was it because he showed other districts how to screw the Black Community?
The place was the Caleb Center, a government hub situated in the middle of Black Miami. It was approximately six years ago and the first night the newly selected Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, addressed the Black community. His selection came amidst some questionable mishaps along the way. Many in the community faulted Carvalho for the unexpected exit of the past Superintendent, Rudy Crew, who was Black. Many also witnessed various kinks in his armor. Among them was his alleged womanizing and a messy affair involving a news reporter. However, whatever his past history, he was able to overcome it with flying colors. After a stirring speech inside the auditorium, he came outside and walked into a circle of Black men who were having a conversation. Without hesitation, he stated: "If you walk with me, if you get involved, I promise you together we can make the necessary changes in this community that would make us all proud."
Fast forward to 2014 and Alberto Carvalho is taking a victory lap for being named the National Superintendent of the Year. His mantra of "One Community, One Goal" resonated to most he came into contact with. But the reality is that train didn't make it's scheduled stop in this neck of the woods. I was one of his biggest supporters, that is until several of the community's concerns continued to be placed on the back burner. Because of this apparent neglect, a new group was formed by the name of ICARE, which stands for Inner City Alumni for Responsible Education. It includes several Alumni Associations from schools like Central, Northwestern, Booker T. Washington, Edison, Jackson, Norland and Carol City. We felt that the same issues that affected one, affected us all. Therefore we started advocating as a group instead of as individuals.
However, one by one, our concerns were given nothing more than lip service. With the advent of the tunnel at the Port of Miami taking shape in the near future, we asked for Airport and Seaport academies to be placed in Urban Core schools three years ago. We realized that a lot of our children may not be ready for college, but they might be able to earn an industry certification, get a job and become productive members of society. Yet that idea was floated to other communities. We asked for the implementation of a Licensing and Branding Office that would bring much needed revenue to our schools. Everyone from national chains like Dicks and Kmart, to the local street vendors, were selling merchandise with our school's likeness without us getting just compensation. Teams like Central, Booker T Washington and Northwestern are in high demand nationally, but continue to be among the poorest in the land. A consulting firm headed by former Orange Bowl committee member Keith Tribble met with the Superintendent at our request and informed him that the licensing and branding idea could net the District some 10-15 million dollars per year. Yet there is still no movement on this plan.
ICARE also called for State and Federal dollars earmarked for Title 1 and ETO schools (Educational Transformation Office that deals with underperforming schools) were being diluted to include schools in our most affluent communities that didn't fall under either category. Those funds were also allegedly used to balance the District's books. In the meantime, the most needy schools continue to suffer, and it's all done with the District's blessing. We demanded the replacement of GMAC head Cheryl Golden. High school sports, with the advent of ESPN, Comcast, and various recruiting sites devoted to high school sports, have become big business. Yet, Miami-Dade County, being a hotbed of high school sports, appears to still be operating in the dark ages. We advocated for someone to take this District to new heights, which includes upgrading our stadiums for more lucrative contracts, having WLRN to televise our own games of the week, and knowing the value of our teams thus demanding more more value than we've been getting. Mr. Carvalho said he would address this issue some 3 years ago, yet it is still unresolved.
ICARE demanded fairness for Black Contractors after we discovered that a recent Disparity study, in which the District spent over $400,000 to conduct, was deliberately altered to inflate our numbers. For years, the District spent only 1.4% of it's gross with Black firms, slightly higher with women. Carvalho himself said in a meeting 4 years ago that those numbers were despicable and vowed to improve them. The recent Disparity study that was rolled out proclaimed the District was now spending a whopping 13.0% with Black contractors and they had the adacity to say that with only 12% of the population that Black firms were now over-utilized. What they did not say was the study was suppose to be done from the year 2005-2011. But the District lawyers involved realized the numbers would be more favorable if the study was moved up a year, from 2006-2012, because Black firms were given more work on new construction during that time span.
But what was more disgusting than anything imaginable, was the District tried to pull a fast one on everyone by saying the term Construction only meant new construction and that Maintenance should be placed under the heading of Procurement. Yet, we discovered that the Florida State Statue 1013 clearly identify Capital Outlay as all Construction, which includes repairs, maintenance, renovations, leases and new construction. The reason why the District lawyers, which had the task of rolling out this farce of a Disparity study didn't include Maintenance under the overall heading of Construction, is due to the fact that Black firms got practically zero percent of the District's Maintenance contracts. Do you know how much was doled out by the District under Maintenance during that time frame? Over 1 Billion dollars. When Maintenance is added to the overall construction performed for MDPS, that percentage of 13% given to Blacks over the course the Disparity study, our percentage drops to a few percentage points.
To add insult to injury, the District has a built in clause that says they do not have to use licensed contractors to perform a project if it is deemed an emergency and if the project is under $3,000. There are currently no Black firms on the emergency list and a $300,000 contract can be given to these unlicensed firms as long as the District is billed in $3,000 increments.
Last but not least, ICARE addressed the failure of the District to promote qualified African Americans in leadership positions. This we ask for 5 years ago. The pending departure of people like Ronda Vangates, a person who served as a buffer between the Superintendent and the Black community, is but a prime example of the neglect and apathy Mr. Carvalho has for our community.
Mr. Carvalho is a slick operator. He feels he can circumvent dealing with such issues and still get the Black community's support by merely going to the Black clergy who he knows aren't as informed on the issues as the members of ICARE are. I can imagine him sharing a good laugh with his cronies after realizing how unsophisticated some in our community are. His inaction leaves the members of ICARE no choice but to seek resolution elsewhere. We are currently talking to various officials about the possible misuse of State and Federal funds as it relates to Title 1 and ETO schools. We are also exploring a possible lawsuit as well. Again, we were among his most avid supporters when this journey began, but even a dog get tired of being kicked around. The Superintendent has continued to piss on our heads and convince us it's raining. But some of us know better and will continue to fight for our schools and community until the District does right by us.
William "DC" Clark

Prayerfully, this situation will finally be resolved quickly. What do You think?


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