01-19-2022  6:04 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.

The Skanner Foundation Drum Major for Justice 2022 is Teressa Raiford

Through political campaigns, legal actions, founding the grassroots organizing group Don't Shoot Portland and through her fearless determination to speak up against racial injustice, Portland-born Teressa Raiford has made a lasting impression on our city and our state

Paid Workplace Training Internships Program Receives Support From City

Black, Latinx students receive skilled on-the-job training, career coaching, through POIC-RAHS program

Oregon Supreme Court OKs Dropping Bar Exam for Alternatives

The state’s highest court in a unanimous vote “expressed approval in concept” to a pair of alternative pathways designed for law students and postgraduates seeking admittance to the state bar

NEWS BRIEFS

Revamped TriMet Website Makes Planning Trips Easier With Map-Based Tools

Riders can now track real-time locations of buses and trains on their smartphone ...

PHOTOS: Founder of The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Honored

Delbert Richardson's Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha XI Chapter fraternity brothers presented him a plaque that reads “Your commitment to...

St. Andrew Parish Announces 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

Tony Jones was honored with the 2022 Parish Service Award, and the award for Community Service went to Terrance Moses ...

Culture + Trauma: An Artist Comes Home

An installation at the Alberta Arts Salon curated by Bobby Fouther is a visioning of the uncensored Black life. ...

MLK Day March Starts at Peninsula Park

Humboldt Neighborhood Association invites the public to participate in the March for Human Rights and Dignity in commemoration of the...

Lawsuit says new majority Latino district in WA a 'facade'

SEATTLE (AP) — A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence. The legal action in the U.S. District Court...

Man pleads no contest to shooting that killed 1, wounded 2

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — A Roseburg man pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a weapon in connection with a shooting outside a motel that killed one person and wounded two others. Devin McNamara, 34, entered the pleas in Douglas County Circuit Court...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Raw Senate debate in fight to end voting bill filibuster

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators faced off after an emotional, raw debate Wednesday on voting legislation that Democrats and civil rights leaders say is vital for protecting democracy but that almost certainly will be defeated without a filibuster rules change, in what would be a stinging setback for...

Timeline of events since George Floyd's arrest and death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A timeline of key events that began with George Floyd's arrest on May 25, 2020, by four police officers in Minneapolis: May 25, 2020 — Minneapolis police officers respond to a call shortly after 8 p.m. about a possible counterfeit bill being used at a corner...

Former Oklahoma jailer pleads guilty over inmate assault

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma jailer has pleaded guilty to violating an inmate’s civil rights by kicking and striking him in a 2020 assault, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Johnnie Drewery, 27, faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in a few months, the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Bronx native Cardi B offers to pay fire victim burial costs

NEW YORK (AP) — Cardi B has offered to pay the burial costs for all 17 people killed in a fire that ripped through a New York City high-rise. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday that the Grammy-winning rapper had offered the financial relief for victims of the fire in...

Singer Fred Parris of the Five Satins dead at age 85

NEW YORK (AP) — Fred Parris, the lead singer of the 1950s harmony group the Five Satins and composer of the classic doo-wop ballad “In the Still of the Night,” has died at age 85. Parris died Jan. 13 after a brief illness, according to his music manager, Pat Marafiote. Parris...

HBO leads GLAAD Media Awards for LGBTQ representation

NEW YORK (AP) — HBO and HBO Max have become the top contenders at the GLAAD Media Awards with a combined 19 nominations, landing the bulk of its nods for its TV shows like “Hacks,” “The Other Two” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” The annual awards honors media for...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Biden says Putin will pay 'dear price' if he invades Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday he thinks Russia will invade Ukraine and warned President...

US begins offering 1B free COVID tests, but many more needed

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, people across the U.S. can log on to a government website and order free,...

Colorado coal town grapples with future as plant shuts down

CRAIG, Colorado (AP) — In a quiet valley tucked away from Colorado’s bustling ski resorts, far from his...

Libya aims to maintain oil output after elections delay

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The head of Libya’s national oil company said on Wednesday that his country is targeting...

Red Cross: Hack exposes data on 515,000 vulnerable people

GENEVA (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is best known for helping war victims, says...

French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, dies after ski accident

LYON, France (AP) — French actor Gaspard Ulliel, known for appearing in Chanel perfume ads as well as film and...

Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

UPDATE: The Seattle Schools board voted to fire Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson  without cause, Wednesday evening.
Seattle Public Schools board appears poised to fire Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson Wednesday evening after an auditors' report said mismanagement of funds has cost the school district $1.8 million. The Washington state audit looked at practices in the district's small business contracting program, part of a $1.2 billion effort to improve school buildings called The Building Excellence Program.The board released a statement saying it will consider a motion at its regular meeting Wednesday night, to terminate Goodloe-Johnson's contract without cause, buying out her contract and paying her $264,000 in severance pay, the amount of her annual salary. The motion would appoint the chief academic officer, Susan Enfield, as interim superintendent.
"The mission of Seattle Public Schools is to deliver on the promise of a quality education for every student in Seattle," said school board President Steve Sundquist in a statement. "Public trust and confidence is fundamental to that mission. The revelations of financial irregularities and a lack of management oversight demonstrate a clear breach of that vital trust.
"Like all other parents and taxpayers in Seattle, we Board Members are angry and enormously disappointed."
Neither Goodloe-Johnson nor her deputy, Chief Financial and Operations Officer Don Kennedy, are accused of wrongdoing, but rather of failing to ensure proper oversight of the BEX program. Hired in 2007, Goodloe-Johnson reportedly was warned of problems with the program in a 2009 report by the Sutor group. That report warned that the district's program needed more oversight.

Audit Criticizes Management Practices But School District Disputes Conclusions
The BEX program was responsible for renovation and construction projects at  Roosevelt, Cleveland, Garfield, South Lake and Nathan Hale high schools; at Hamilton International Middle School and at .
The state audit found, "…the District did not always comply with its established policies and procedures or provide effective management and oversight. For example, for the seven school construction projects and 15 contracts we reviewed, the District did not always follow vendor selection rules; its employees bypassed some required approvals; and change orders were not always adequately justified and supported. In addition, we found overcharges, inadequate controls over project scope, and disorganized and incomplete record-keeping."
Included in the $1.8 million identified in the audit as wasted funds were:

  • $454,000 paid to a general contractor/construction manager (GCCM) in compensation for schedule delays
  • $93,900 in overcharges due to factors such as parking and mileage costs not agreed in the contract; a math error; double billing for a hauling payment; labor rates higher than agreed; bedrock removal that "should have been included as part of the final settlement agreement."
  • $353,100 in "unsupported costs" including: additional rock excavation costs; charges for removing excavated material; incentive fees and extra labor costs.
  • $334,000 in fees to an architect, without documentation of a change to the scope of the work.

 
A detailed statement by the school district (an appendix to the audit report) refuted many of the audit office's conclusions point by point. For example, the audit suggested that the interior design costs could have been substantially lowered by taking more bids when the contract was expanded. However, the district said the contract already had been advertised twice after the first ad drew only one bid. Two bidders responded to the second ad, but the first bid was the lowest.
"No other firms provide these services in the Seattle area," the statement says. "…it is unlikely that competition for the added work would have had any meaningful impact on price."
Other charges the school district admits as mistakes: paying for the same service twice, for example, and the math error. The response also points out that changes were made in line with many of the recommendations in 2009 and 2010. 

A criminal investigation, precipitated by the auditors findings is investigating the BEX program, and in particular its dealings with a small business support system. According to the state audit office investigation, the district paid $280,000 in services it did not receive or which benefited a private nonprofit. And it says $1.5 million was spent for questionable benefit. Those involved. But at least two contract recipients say the services were provided and many small businesses benefited. 
 
The Seattle Urban League Comes Under Attack
Implicated in the mismanagement are the BEX program manager, leading African American community activists and the Seattle Urban League, which provided $595 of the contract services at issue. They strenuously refute all charges of wrongdoing. Story here
The auditors' investigation into mismanagement of funds accused the Urban League of failing to properly bill and account for school district funds, which they used to run its Contractor Development & Competitiveness Center. The CDCC was set up in 2002 to help minority businesses – historically locked out of government projects - bid for a share of government work.
In a press conference Wednesday the Urban League said it had done everything required by the district liaison Silas Potter, who ran the BEX program.
"We absolutely did nothing wrong," said Tony Benjamin, manager of the Urban League's Contracting Development and Competitiveness Center. "The auditor said we did nothing wrong.  We just believe more clarification is needed on the items in question."
Potter told the Seattle Times that his supervisors approved his working methods.
"I've been thrown under the bus," he told the Seattle paper. "It's a lot bigger than Silas Potter. They're trying to minimize their exposure of what they've done and maximize what Silas has done." 
More About Seattle Schools, Maria Goodloe-Johnson and the Urban League program: Leaders say program was misrepresented

The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

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