Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Saturday, October 3, 2015

SUPES IS BACK -- New names on the letterhead. Looking for more no-bid contracts from CPS

Joseph "Joey" Wise
“The primary leaders [Solomon & Vranas] of the former SUPES Academy have begun new endeavors and will not be joining us in this work ahead.” -- Joseph Wise
The federal investigation in Chicago of SUPES has obviously been sandbagged. Federal investigators have refused to comment on the investigation. Now even with Barbara Byrd-Bennett fleeing the scene and a grand jury supposedly in session, SUPES is trying to make a comeback.

After all, UNO did it with the feds on their trail, simply by shifting a few culpable leaders into different positions, changing the names on company letterhead, and relying on political powerhouses like Mike Madigan, Eddie Burke, and Rahm Emanuel to provide cover. So reported new SUPES owner, Joseph Wise figures he can pull it off as well, cashing in on the next round of no-bid deals CPS regularly hands out to connected consulting firms. Wise, whose companies have received at least $5 million in recent business from CPS, claims to have acquired "the best parts of the SUPES Academy."

Wise, who formerly worked for scandalized SUPES leaders Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas, also wants to get more business from CPS by opening alternative schools under contract with the city school system. He runs a company called Acceleration Academies which hopes to open open eight campuses in Chicago, four of them starting next fall in Belmont-Cragin, Washington Heights, West Englewood and Bronzeville. Acceleration Academies describes itself as being run by Wise and partner David Sundstrom with two investors, Bryan Daniels and Steve King, who “have a deep interest in providing quality educational communities for underserved populations in Chicago.”

Obviously, deep pockets as well.

Wait, things get better. Wise is also "looking at the possibility" of Acceleration Academies working with Distinctive Schools, a Chicago charter school management company that he started with Sundstrom in 2011. Distinctive oversees the operation of four CPS-approved Chicago International Charter Schools campuses.

Actually, Wise is chairman of the board of Distinctive. He was the chief education officer for the company as of June 2014, tax records the company filed show. So I don't think he will have any problem "working with" them.

According to the Sun-Times, Distinctive Schools already gets about $18 million a year in taxpayers’ money to run the four charter schools as part of CICS. The charter network was headed until recently by Beth Purvis, who left after eight years to take a $250,000-a-year job as Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education secretary.

SUPES will now be called the National Superintendent Academy which is “wholly owned” by Atlantic Research Partners, a Florida company founded in 2007 by Wise and David Sundstrom.

According to the Sun-Times:
Wise said he first encountered Solomon in the late 2000s while working for what was then known as Edison Schools, a national operator of private schools that hired PROACT Search to help with hiring. Wise said they spoke by phone and met when he moved to Chicago...
...Solomon mentioned Wise in an August 2009 email to Byrd-Bennett when she was running Detroit’s public school system, where he was then trying to get business.“Joey Wise suggested to try again to connect with you”... Asked about that, Wise said, “I don’t remember that at all.
Wise likes to talk to the press a lot about "transparency". He tells S-T reporter Lauren Fitzpatrick, "You have to be really careful to make sure you’re transparent enough about what you’re doing. And we worked really hard to have that transparency and not misuse that relationship.”

But when asked, he won't say how much his company paid in the deal with Solomon and Vranas. He said the deal included a "confidentiality clause".

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