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Back in 2010, this bill was passed by the New York State legislature.  The purpose of the bill is to make an appropriation to the state education department for services and expenses related to implementing a state longitudinal data system.

The bill provides the following:
“S 3. No expenditure may be made from any appropriation in this act, until a certificate of approval has been issued by the director of the budget and a copy of such certificate shall have been filed with the state comptroller, the chairman of the senate finance committee and the chairman of the assembly ways and means committee provided, however, that any expenditures from any appropriation in this act made by the legislature or judiciary shall not require such certificate.”

(There has been no appropriation made by the legislature or judiciary so the last portion does not apply.)

This contract was entered into in October, 2012 between SLC (n/k/a “InBloom”) and NYSED.  It provides the agreement between InBloom and the  New York State Education Department and includes exhibits, one of which is the continuation of another contract (a memorandum of understanding dated April 13, 2012 (Exhibit “C” of Attachment “F.”)

During the February 28, 2014, Assembly Hearings, when Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan inquired about the approval required, Ken Wagner did not deny that the approval for the SLC/NYSED contract was not received.   There is a claim that the contract did not apply to that statute because no funds were initially exchanged between InBloom and NYSED.  However, Ken Wagner admitted during the February 28, 2014, hearing that NYSED has, in fact, “invested FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS ($50,000,000) of “US Taxpayer” money on this longitudinal project.  He indicated that NYSED did not pay InBloom directly but that philanthropic money was used to pay InBloom.  He also indicated that NYSED entered into 5 more contracts (fully contemplated in the SLC/InBloom contract).

It is my opinion that the contract between NYSED and InBloom is void ab initio since it was never approved by the budget director, no certificate of approval was filed with the state comptroller, the chairman of the senate finance committee nor the chairman of the assembly ways and means committee.  Despite the fact that no money was exchanged initially between SLC/NYSED, the contract contemplated funding being exchanged.  The philanthropic funds were how they tried to get around getting the approval and filing the appropriate certificate with those required by the statute.  Just because  NYSED didn’t pay them initially, doesn’t mean they didn’t contemplate funds being spent in the future. (Further proof of this back door is that a prior contract given to the budget director had been rejected!)

 

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