Sunday, September 7, 2014

MarzanoGate - TRULY The Luxury Conference for Fox C-6 Administrators!

Marzano Conference - Orlando, FL - June 19-21, 2013

UPDATED: 09/08/2014 - 10:00PM
(with information obtained from Fox CFO John Brazeal)

Mr. Brazeal wasn't able to answer all of the questions that I sent him early this morning regarding this conference, but he answered quite a few and will be updating me as more information becomes available.

There were 9 Fox C-6 employees and 3 spouses (non-employees) that (Several of the Fox C-6 Central Office Administrators and and at least one spouse) attended the Marzano Conference which was held June 19-21, 2013 in Orlando Florida.

Those that attended the Marzano Conference for Teacher and Leadership Evaluation were:
  • Dianne Critchlow
  • Jamie Critchlow
  • Dan Baker
  • Angela Baker
  • Tim Crutchley
  • Kirstin Pelster
  • Andy Arbeitman
  • Andy Arbeitman’s spouse (not a Fox employee) [she returned from Orlando a couple days earlier than everyone else]
  • Jeremy Donald
  • Jeremy Donald’s spouse (not a Fox employee)
  • Stacy Dockery
  • Stacy Dockery’s spouse (not a Fox employee)
I never would have expected our district to send so many people to a 3 Day Teacher and Leadership Evaluation Conference.

Did those that attended the conference learn that much to justify the cost?

What did they bring back to the district and how well did they educate and mentor others in our district with what they learned at the conference?

Or, was this a boondoggle paid for with taxpayer dollars?

There are still quite a few unanswered questions that Mr. Brazeal is still looking into. I am very glad that Mr. Brazeal is working for the district. He is doing a very thorough job and has been very open and transparent about what he has found.

You're going to probably need to go for a run, bike and/or swim after reading what Mr. Brazeal has uncovered so far about the June 2013 3 Day Professional Development conference in Orlando Florida.

Fox C-6 taxpayers aren't going to like the fact that taxpayers paid for Fox C-6 employees to attend a conference only to find out that 4 of the Fox C-6 employees attending the conference played a round of golf that was charged to a district credit card. The charge for golf was dated the same day as the first day of the conference.

How much time did those individuals that played golf get to spend at the conference during the conference's first day if they played golf that day?

Fox C-6 taxpayers won't like the fact that Todd Scott DID NOT attend the conference even though the credit card assigned to him was used at the conference.

Mr. Brazeal's Response to My Questions
I think it's much easier to simply provide Mr. Brazeal's email response to my questions since he summed things up so well (in italics below):

I am short two staff members this week, so data production is slower than normal.

I do not yet have answers for all of your questions at this time, but I will share what is known.

There were 12 people at the Marzano conference held June 19 – 21, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. Nine attendees were Fox employees. Three attendees were spouses. Attendees include:

  1. Dianne Critchlow
  2. Jamie Critchlow
  3. Dan Baker
  4. Angela Baker
  5. Tim Crutchley
  6. Kirstin Pelster
  7. Andy Arbeitman
  8. Andy Arbeitman’s spouse (not a Fox employee) [she returned back from Orlando a couple days earlier than everyone else]
  9. Jeremy Donald
  10. Jeremy Donald’s spouse (not a Fox employee)
  11. Stacy Dockery
  12. Stacy Dockery’s spouse (not a Fox employee) 
Todd Scott did not travel to Florida for the conference. Various charges related to the Florida conference do appear on the credit card assigned to Todd Scott due to the fact that Dianne Critchlow borrowed the VISA card from Todd Scott. It appears the card was used by Jaime Critchlow during the Florida trip.
The charge on Todd Scott’s VISA card at The Villas of Grand Cypress in the amount of $336.54 on 6/19/2013 was golf fees for 4 (Jamie Critchlow, Andy Arbeitman, Jeremy Donald and Dan Baker). This was later reimbursed in full via a personal check from Dianne Critchlow dated 8/9/2013. 
There were two vehicles that exited the parking lot at Lambert at the same time and used the Todd Scott VISA as payment. It is currently unknown which vehicles belonged to which travelers. 
I only find two rental vehicles in Orlando. One rented by Tim Crutchley. The other rented by Dianne Critchlow. Please point out the third rental vehicle. [I asked why they needed rental cars for a 3 day conference since the conference was at a resort with shuttles.]
Everyone stayed at the same hotel. 
The meal receipt at The Palms for $774 indicates there were 9 guests. 
All receipts are under review. Appropriate reimbursements will be invoiced and collected. 
Additional data will be provided as it becomes available. 
John Brazeal

Conference Hotel Cost Comparison
The November 2012 website link for the 2013 Marzano Conference for Teacher and Leadership Evaluation has a link to the 2013 Marzano Conference hotel which was the DoubleTree by Hilton in Orlando. Our Fox C-6 Marzano Conference attendees ended up staying at the Loews Hotels Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando which states that you can "LIVE LIKE A ROCK STAR". It's just that they probably shouldn't have been living like a rock star since their "Professional Development" conference was being paid for by taxpayer dollars.

Since the Hard Rock Hotel is part of Universal Studios Resort, it is a much more expensive than the DoubleTree hotel where the Marzano Conference was held. To get a rough idea as to how much more it cost to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Studios Resort where Fox C-6 employees and their spouses stayed during the conference, I clicked on each of the hotels Price and Availability links from their websites. Then I selected the same date range for each of the hotels and compared prices of their standard rooms with 2 Queen Beds. The date range selected was (Tuesday-Saturday June 16-20, 2015). Selecting these options provided a good cost comparison between the two hotels for the same time of year when the 2013 Marzano Conference was held.

Prices may be slightly higher in 2015 than they were in 2013, but I was looking for a general price difference between the two hotels.

Checking prices without applying any conference discounts and standard room rates from their websites I found that the standard room rate for 2 Queen Beds during the dates of June 16-20, 2015 was $199 per night at the DoubleTree by Hilton verses $328-$350 per night for the Hard Rock Hotel. That's a difference of nearly $150 per night for a total of $600 for a 4 night stay per room paid for by the district.

That would explain why the cost for the Loews Hotels Hard Rock Orlando charge on Dan Baker's VISA card was $1493.34 for June 18-22, 2013 (5 days / 4 nights) which works out to $373.34 per night.

It seems that the Fox C-6 taxpayers were spared no expense on this trip!

My Original Post Below
This was a very expensive 3 DAY conference for Professional Development for the taxpayers of the school district.

Several concerned citizens put together some of the costs of the conference that spanned the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 VISA credit card statements and posted it on TOPIX yesterday. I have added in the additional information from the DISCOVER card as well as the airfare for Dan and Angie Baker that was charged to Tim Crutchley's VISA card as well.

There are a lot more charges that need to be accounted for in order to fully document the Total Cost of this conference for the Fox C-6 taxpayers. So far it's turning out to be a very expensive 3 Day Professional Development Conference.

Marzano Conference Total Cost (SO FAR): $9,045.73
This one conference alone cost the Fox C-6 taxpayer at least $9,045.73 based upon the charges posted on the VISA card and DISCOVER card statements available so far. 

Not all of the hotel and airfare charges have been accounted for so far for this conference. 

Missing Airfare Charges
Currently, the are no charges for airfare posted for Tim Crutchley, Todd Scott or Dianne Critchlow. We can reasonably estimate the additional cost of the airfare for those individuals to be the same as the airfare for the Bakers. The cost of airfare for the Bakers was $591.80 per person which includes the $25 upgrade charge per person per flight boarding.

Based on VISA card charges, it appears that at least the following people attended the conference: Dianne Critchlow, Tim Crutchley, Todd Scott, Dan Baker and Angela Baker.

So at a minimum the cost of the conference will increase by another $591.80 per person for Tim Crutchley, Todd Scott and Dianne Critchlow.  This will add an additional $1,775.40 to the overall cost of the conference.

By adding the additional airfare charges to the amount spent so far at the top of the article, the total cost for this 3 Day Conference would total: $10,821.13.

Wow!! That certainly seems like a lot of money for a 3 Day Conference for 5 people to attend based upon only the amounts that have been accounted for so far.

Missing Hotel Charges
Not all of the hotel charges have been accounted for as well. There are some hotel charges posted on Todd Scott's VISA credit card at the Villas of Grand Cypress for $336.54. There are also charges posted on Dan Baker's VISA card for the Loews Hard Rock Hotel for $1,494.34.

There were both credits and charges posted on Debby Davis's DISCOVER card for the Loews Hard Rock Hotel on the July 2013 DISCOVER card statement. But, since the total charges on her DISCOVER card resulted in a CREDIT to the Loews Hard Rock Hotel, we know there are charges for the hotel on her June 2013 DISCOVER card statement which we do not currently have a copy of. Once that statement becomes available we will update this article.

I'm not sure why some of the hotel charges were posed to Debby Davis's DISCOVER card. Debby Davis was Dianne Critchlow's secretary and the school board secretary. Did Debby Davis attend the conference as well?  Would there be a reason for a school board secretary to be attending a Marzano Educational Leadership Conference?

Did Spouses Attend?
I'm not sure why Angela Burns Baker attended the Marzano Conference. She is the Director of Title I or Federal Programs. She was previously an Assistant Principal but had been promoted to Director of Federal Programs. The Marzano Conference touts itself as an educational leadership conference. I'm not sure what the benefit was to the school district to have her to attend the conference as the director of Federal Programs.

If more spouses attended the conference, then the cost of airfare will increase as well if their airfare was charged to the school district. We will need to obtain the DISCOVER card statements in order to determine the total cost of this conference for the Fox C-6 taxpayers.

Rental Car Expenses - $1,757.20
The rental car charges for this conference were very expensive considering that the conference was in one central location and the attendees could have taken a shuttle bus to the conference. The total expenses for rental car charges accounted for so far is: $1,757.20.

Marzano Conference Related Charges on VISA Card

Todd Scott - Total: $561.44
June 18 $   20.90 - Burger King - 63145 (Food on way to airport)
June 19 $ 336.54 - (Luxury golf resort)-- The Villas of Grand Cypress - Orlando, FL
June 24 $ 102.00 - Lambert Airport
June 24 $ 102.00 - Lambert Airport

Dianne Critchlow - $1,160.11
June 18 $   362.04 - Margaritaville - Orlando, FL
June 18 $   770.16 - Alamo Rental Car - Orlando, FL
June 22 $       9.49 - Panera Bread - Orlando, FL
June 22 $     18.42 - MCO Enterprises (airport food) - Orlando, FL

Dan Baker - $2,638.72
June 18 $   128.18 - Loews Hotel Beach Club (check in June 18) - Orlando, FL
June 19 $     79.18 - Loews Hotel Beach Club (check in June 19) - Orlando, FL
June 20 $   774.29 - The Palm Restaurant - Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, FL
June 22 $       9.32 - Loews Emack & Bolio (Gourmet Ice Cream) - Orlando, FL
June 22 $     16.90 - Loews Hard Rock - Orlando, FL
June 22 $ 1493.34 - Loews Hard Rock Hotel - Orlando, FL
June 22 $     30.51 - MCO Au Bon Pain (airport food) - Orlando, FL
June 22 $   107.00 - Lambert Airport

Tim Crutchley - $3,008.79
June 07 $     12.50 - Southwest Airlines (Daniel Bryan Baker - Early Bird Check-In)
June 07 $     12.50 - Southwest Airlines (Daniel Bryan Baker - Early Bird Check-In)
June 07 $     12.50 - Southwest Airlines (Angela Marie Baker - Early Bird Check-In)
June 07 $     12.50 - Southwest Airlines (Daniel Bryan Baker - Early Bird Check-In)
June 07 $   541.80 - Southwest Airlines (Daniel Bryan Baker) - STL - ORLANDO - STL
June 07 $   541.80 - Southwest Airlines (Angela Marie Baker) - STL - ORLANDO - STL

June 17 $   987.04 - Alamo Rental Car Orlando
June 20 $     92.50 - Learning Sciences Int (Orlando Conference?)
June 20 $   288.44 - Hard Rock Orlando
June 22 $   314.53 - Bubba Gump Orlando
June 22 $     46.98 - MCO Au Bon Pain Orlando (airport food)
June 22 $     95.70 - The Parking Spot St. Louis

Marzano Conference Related Charges on DISCOVER Card
There are very few people in the district that have DISCOVER cards. Debby Davis who is the superintendent's secretary and the school board secretary has a DISCOVER card. I'm not sure why there were Hotel charges for the Marzano Conference on her credit card rather than on each individuals credit card. It could have been due to the limits placed on some of the credit cards.

July 2013 DISCOVER Card Statement Charges

Debbie Davis - Positive Charges Only: $1676.67
Total of ALL Charges on Statement - ($905.7)
June 22 $-2306.03 - Loews Hotels Hard Rock - Orlando, FL
June 22 $  -276.34 - Loews Hotels Hard Rock - Orlando, FL
June 22 $ 1574.02 - Loews Hotels Hard Rock - Orlando, FL
June 22 $     57.51 - Loews Hotels Hard Rock - Orlando, FL
June 22 $     45.14 - Loews Hotels Hard Rock - Orlando, FL

More Information Needed (Airfare and Hotel)
More information will have to be obtained in order to fully appreciate the total cost of this "Professional Development" conference that is known as the Marzano Conference in Orlando, Florida which was held June 19-21, 2013.