You may remember that about a year ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to help improve the Newark public schools. New developments, however, lead one to believe that something’s rotten in New Jersey (at least relative to the Zuckerberg grant)!
The New Jersey Star-Ledger has reported that one of every three dollars of this generous grant has already gone to consultants and contractors. While the Foundation for Newark’s Future–the entity created to distribute the money — spent $7.4 million between January and September of this year on school-based programs, it has also spent $4.3 million on political and educational consultants. According to the Star-Ledger, this information was obtained from the Newark-based Education Law Center and the NJ Department of Education.
All of the expenditures took place between January and September of 2011. Looking at the chart prepared by the Star-Ledger, I can easily understand how the direct program costs added up. I’m having a slightly more difficult time swallowing the ‘consultants’ fees of more than $4 million–considering the accountant was paid only slightly more than $5000!
Mr. Zuckerberg is young and apparently anxious to do some good in the world. But he’s also arrogant and from what I’ve read, stubborn. Let’s just hope that he has knowledgeable people advising him and that he will insist on having a greater influence on ensuring that the grants will improve the lives of Newark school children, rather than just the lives of the consultants.