By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education Jan. 13 unanimously approved a contract bid with 1 to 1 Tutoring for the tutoring of ESL and GED students in the Adult Education Department.
Of the 12 vendors included in the publicly advertised bid system, 1 to 1 Tutoring bid $54,000 and Studentnest.com bid $78,840.
Funding for the one-year contract for services from February 2020 to February 2021, with two additional one-year renewals, will be from Special Revenue Fund — Adult Education.
The board approved the contract on its third bid process because the district is allowed and did refuse two bids last year, and the board voted in a tie the second time around in the bid process in November.
According to the meeting agenda, 1 to 1 Tutoring will bring in tutors “to assist adult education students maintain a high completion rate and meet annual proficiency and growth targets in EFL (Educational Funding Level) gains as set by the state accountability system. The following describes the service and performance requirements that 1 to 1 Tutoring services will be required to meet.”
Student tutoring services required are:
• All tutors are either college students or have a college degree and a criminal history background check.
• Academic Levels Grades 1-12 in reading and math.
• Various campuses throughout the district.
• Aligned to college and career readiness standards in all subject areas.
The guidelines for format on campuses are:
• One-on-1 tutoring.
• Up to 5:1 student/tutor ratio.
• Small group tutoring.
• Preparation for GED/HSE.
• Student access to online tutoring.
• “Push-in” intervention where the tutor comes into the classroom to work with students.
• Tutoring sessions Monday through Fridays at the Heights Campus.
• Six tutors up to 15 hours per week during school day with a standard day being from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Academic year February through February following the Adult Ed calendar of 24 weeks.
Trustee Mary Petlichkoff said she was disappointed to see the board’s options weren’t improved from the bids presented at the Nov. 11 meeting.
“By having a new bid placed only saved a few thousand dollars with bid amount from the low bid of that last time,” she said. “We also are giving it so somebody who’s an out-of-state business. They’re based in Arizona, they will have some local component to fulfill the contract but they’re also an unknown entity. So, we didn’t accomplish — I believe what had been hoped for by the way the vote went in November.
“I just would like to be reassured that for future direction that when we have these kinds of concerns and I understand the timing looked bad from that perspective, but quite frankly, I think the unanticipated consequence of not putting that contract through could have left us in a more vulnerable position.”
Petlichkoff said there were students who didn’t receive tutoring for the last semester so they lost out last year. She also said that the vendor is unknown so the district is going to have to go into the agreement kind of blind as to what kind of quality and effectiveness they’re going to have.
“Hopefully they’ll be wonderful and they’ll be effective and produce the results,” she said. “Quite frankly, I think that because there was a concern in November people kind of did a knee-jerk response to it and hoped that we would get some kind of improved results with a new bid and we didn’t.
“We got two people who put in a bid this go-round and they both look like they’re not from this state so we’re not contributing to our local economy except for the tutors that they may employ here and we don’t know who these tutors are going to be from where.”
Trustee Mary Lane asked if the board could have a report at the end of the semester and good metrics for evaluating the agreement.
Board President Hussein Berry said he didn’t think anybody was looking for improved results, but that the board members had different thoughts on the prices.
“I was looking at the cost,” he said. “I don’t remember what it was but it wasn’t that big of a difference what we pay our teachers per hour. I was presenting other options.
“I know this is time sensitive and right now there are students who understand — already missed out on tutoring so I am going to vote yes on this moving forward, but part of the evaluation I would like to see maybe something, teachers are willing to do this work. If not, you know we have paraprofessionals in the classrooms, if that’s not an option and we have to go this way, please provide us if it’s working.”
The district’s budget for the tutoring services was set at $50,000, but Adult & Community Education Supervisor Loanna Garrisi said Nov. 11 extra room in the budget was expected due to staff leaving and that the budget amendment was taking place in December.
She also said that at over 1,800 adult education students, the district is one of the biggest in the state.
On the agenda at the Nov. 11 meeting was a resolution to award a $58,320 contract to EduCare Student Services over Danzy Business Development Group at $66,483; Studentnest.com at $85,860 and Sylvan Learning Center at $230,000.
The contract was set to be from November 2019 to November 2020. A vote on the resolution died in a 3-3 vote, with Lane, Petlichkoff and Michael Meade voting yes, and Berry, Mozip and James Thorpe voting no. Trustee Roxanne McDonald was absent.
Prior to the vote Thrope said he was concerned that the owner of EduCare Student Services was involved in the district’s BRICS bond campaign, so it could look like the board was rewarding somebody for helping them.
“It looks suspicious to many people if we place this right now,” he said. “I would say the same thing for somebody who had been against the bond not getting a bid at this time.”
When Berry asked if teachers in the district would be interested in tutoring, Garrisi responded by saying that the tutoring the adult education department needs in this case would be during the day.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])