The state Education Department is poised to award a $27 million no-bid contract to a company former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein oversees, the Daily News has learned.
The money - part of the state's $700 million in Race to the Top winnings - will go to Wireless Generation, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., to develop software to track student test scores, among other things.
Klein took a job at News Corp. overseeing their educational technology business after he left the chancellor job in December.
City rules forbid former workers from contacting the agency that employed them for one year, but the rules would not formally bar contact between Klein and the state.
"It raises all kinds of red flags," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.
"It just smacks of an old-boys club, where large amounts of public money are spent based not on 'is this the best product?' but 'I know this guy and I like him and I want to be sure he makes a lot of money.'"
Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wireless Generation helped build a similar system in the city called Achievement Reporting and Innovation Systems, or ARIS, that has been widely criticized in the city. The contract would expand the ARIS system statewide.
In a request to the state controller's office to sign off on a no-bid process, officials cited the tight timeline for beginning the Race to the Top project and the company's record at producing results.
State Education Department officials declined to answer any questions about the possible contract for nearly three weeks, but a document obtained from the controller's office Thursday makes the case for the no-bid contract.
State officials argued the ARIS system already covers 35% of the state, and the system had received "national recognition."
They also said Wireless Generation had a "demonstrated capacity" and would be able "to extend and expand ARIS" to the entire state.
State Education Department officials, in response to requests for comment, provided a document showing the controller's office approval for a no-bid contract.
The controller has not signed off on the contract, but has agreed to let Education Department officials bypass the standard bidding procedures.
Oh, boy - expanding a shitty data tracking system currently used in NYC to the whole state!
What a great idea!
And it's being done in a no-bid process!
And the guy who has foamed at the mouth about Wireless Generation and ARIS - former Chancellor Joel Klein - is the guy now overseeing Murodch Corp.'s online education division, which now owns Wireless Generation.
He's the guy who originally signed off on the no-bid NYCDOE contracts with Wireless Generation for products that people hate using.
You just can't make this stuff up.
Hey, while we're at it, why not take the CityTime payroll system and make that statewide too!
I mean, sure it sucks as a payroll system, kinda the way ARIS sucks as a data tracking system, but at least the right crooks would be getting paid off in the process.
There are a whole bunch of people who ought to be going to jail on this one - from Klein to Tisch to John King.
Anybody who hands Wireless Generation even a nickel for the piece of shit system they have designed for data tracking is either a crook or one of the dumbest people on the planet.
Since I don't think either Tisch or King are dumb, that leaves crooked.
No wonder they want an accelerated time line for the contract and a bypass of the usual process.