Unit 4's contract with Dr. Alves

I submitted a request to see the contract that Unit 4 has with Dr. Alves; I received a printed sheaf of documents. So, I scanned them in and had FreeOCR converted them back to electronic text. Aside from the markup (bold and underlined words), it came across … decently. I still had to clean it up.


It is mostly legal jargon. I intend to look it over and try to make heads or tails of it. At first glance, I did not see any set money amount at all. In fact, it looks mostly to be for some “software” that we are licensing. Which confuses me, because I know we pay him for more than just a software license (software which we do not have, by the way). Lots and “ifs”, “ands” and “buts”. (*sigh*)

So, feel free to peruse this and let me know what you find. The more eyes the better. I have a feeling I am going to go back to Unit 4 and say something like “umm… this is not quite what I asked for.” But I want to read it thoroughly first. Or at least attempt to.


18 Responses to “Unit 4's contract with Dr. Alves”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Actually, the contract is much easier to read than I expected – all it says is “blah blah blah.”

    This is crap!

    No fees are discussed, no services… it’s all standard boilerplate stuff. Disgustingly so.

    “I am disappoint, son”.

  2. Sena Cooper Says:

    Where is Schedule One??? Seems to be that will contain the missing pieces.

  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    Yup, I asked about that last night after I got done reading it. I am setting up a phone call with Dr. Wiegand to ask. It is rather strange that it is missing, does it not?

  4. Sena Cooper Says:

    Maybe they hoped no one would notice it was missing!

  5. Greg Novak Says:

    For the record, the School Board was supplied with the same contract in response to similar questions it asked – and has the same questions based on what was found in the district files.


  6. chat with Dr. Wiegand: Dr. Alves, and top priorities « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] premise of our call was to chat about Dr. Alves’ contract. Unit 4 does not have “Schedule One”. Or at least, they cannot locate it. This just […]

  7. charlesdschultz Says:

    You are going to love this – Unit 4 cannot locate “Schedule One” in their offices at all. Oh… I see my trackback to my most recent blog entry kinda says the same thing…. anyway. I am beside myself. How does one misplace something like that? How do we keep paying him money if we don’t even know exactly why?

    In a way, I feel bad for Judy and how she inherited this. What a mess.

  8. pattsi Says:

    This is a clue as to the problems. 🙂

  9. Sena Cooper Says:

    And how embarrassing to have to ask the other party in the contract for a copy of part of said contract!

  10. Karen Says:

    So the board has questions about it. Since when? Since years ago? If so, no kudos for simply having questions (if you did nothing to get to the bottom of it—-as in, resolved). If it is more recent (say the last few weeks) and the board is looking into it, how about for transparency purposes and the promotion of trust with the community, please post updates on the Board’s website WRT to steps taken and progress made to date. I am sure the tax-paying community would like to be assured that Unit 4 is a good steward of the $$ they handle. And, even if this is not directly what the school board does, break out of the mold for once! I am imagine there is no Board by-law or whatever preventing board members from looking into glaring red flag issues related to the school district they serve. I guess that’s asking too much though as it often seems people are admonished when they want the school board to kind of step up to the plate during ‘exceptional’ times because, afterall, they are just volunteers. Well, that is not the fault of the people the board is serving. Board members weren’t pulled off the street to serve. They campaigned and talked about their passion related to the positions they sought. It should be understood that the people on the board do this, because they WANT TO. Don’t come back after the people who elected you for what you ran for/wanted to do, crying foul in the sense that you’re not appreciated enough. This shouldn’t be about hubris. Get ‘er done. The accolades will follow good service. They shouldn’t be a prereq to lifting a finger (not that one) in the direction of good service. Doesn’t apply to all board members, but, there are some among them that quite frankly need to go. Term limits might serve that end well.

  11. charlesdschultz Says:

    The saga continues – here is the response from Mr. Alves:

    “The scope of basic-services were for providing technical assistance in support of the implementation of the District’s controlled choice student assignment plan for Kindergarten and middle schools assignments. The contract was to be automatically renewed annually and the fee for my services was set at $100 per-hour. I have been providing assistance to the District since 1998 and my fee has not change over the past 14 years.”

    I noted in my response to Unit 4 that we still do not have Schedule One. My uneasy feelings just went up another notch.

  12. Karen Says:

    It’s like getting info out of the ex, lol. Ended up having to subpoena. He knows darn well what you’re asking for. Maybe remind Mr. Alves that this info is easily found on his tax forms for the past 14 years?

  13. SC Says:

    And how many hours per year does he bill CU4 for?

  14. charlesdschultz Says:

    @Sena: Here are the numbers prior to March 2010 – I have not requested an update.

    @Karen: My first plan is to talk to Dr. Wiegand since I know she is concerned about the money we are spending. And I also want to find out what the heck the Board is doing, since Novak was kind enough to let us know they are doing something. I am curious how serious they (Administration) are about submitting an RFP for the School Assignment process ASAP. Dr. Wiegand indicated she was rather serious about it.

    The fact that Unit 4 does not appear to have had monthly reviews (which are spelled out in the contract), nor annual reviews to renew the contract (I think), nor have a handle on exactly what Alves is doing, rather scares me.

  15. charlesdschultz Says:

    Latest: Unit 4 is going back to try to get Schedule One (again). Karen, yes, very much like a soap opera.

  16. Alves Schedule One « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] those that are wondering why this is noteworthy, I refer you back to a post about Michael Alves’ contract; I had asked to see the contract that Unit 4 has with Michael Alves, an educational consultant […]

  17. G. David Frye Says:

    Anyone who grew up with “Schools of Choice” knows exactly what this is about. Is this a case of people who came late to the party and need an explanation? I don’t think anything is being hidden here – I’m not terribly surprised that the U4 contracts people are having trouble finding the documentation, but it is a pretty simple situation. I don’t necessarily disagree that it’s Alves’ golden egg, but one could argue he earned it and did it in such a way that he retained proprietary rights to the technology that underpins his service.

  18. charlesdschultz Says:

    My argument is that we can find local resources to fulfill this need, thereby spending money locally and supporting the local economy. I would even bet that the desire/requirement for an unbiased 3rd party could be worked out, somehow – maybe by ensuring that the school assignment process is 100% computerized and thus no human decision making goes into the process? In any event, no matter how you slice it, it seems that the $85,000/year (plus or minus) we pay to Alves is extravagant from my point of view. Perhaps he is actually providing services that are commensurate with that kind of price tag, but I have no evidence of such. Ultimately, we have to let the Superintendent make that decision, and I know she is already thinking about it. It bothers me that we cannot quantify what he does and that Unit 4 has not had monthly (or even annual!) reviews.

    By the way, the “technology” that Alves is using is not too complicated and I would wager that we can easily reverse-engineer it. I think the only reason I have not done so myself is because I do not see the value of re-creating what he does; I rather that we start from scratch and be a part of the design process (and document it) so that we (Unit 4) can explain what the heck the system is doing. 🙂

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