Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in January paid millions of dollars to Meharry Medical College Ventures (MMCV) to help students return to school, however, according to a person who worked in a city public school, the workers did “almost nothing.”
“It was boring, it was really boring and I said to this guy, ‘So this is what you do? You sit in this room for 8 hours?’ He said ‘No, occasionally I get up and walk the hall and at the end of the day go to one of the doors where the children leave’ and that was it,” an unidentified person told Fox 17 News.
The no-bid contract cost Nashville taxpayers “$11.1 million for just 4.5 months of work,” Fox 17 News reported. Originally, the contract between MNPS and MMCV costed a total of $18.5 million, but then got reduced down to $14 million because of MMCV’s slow start and not needing to hire as many people, according to WPLN.
Training for these workers costs $245,000 a month, according to Fox 17 News. Despite this, the unnamed person, who worked as a COVID-19 monitor, told the tv station that there was almost no training.
“There was no training, you went online and answered some questions about COVID and that was your training. The only hold up was a very in-depth background check that took 2.5 weeks to return,” the person said.
The unnamed COVID-19 monitor said she made sure children were wearing masks and socially distanced, “but the teachers were already doing that and school already had that in place.”
Another thing the unnamed person told Fox 17 News was the temperature scanners the city spent $1.9 million were not used at the school this person worked at. The unnamed monitor started working at the unnamed school in April, but the temperature scanners were delivered according to a March 15 invoice, the Fox News affiliate said.
This is yet another complaint MNPS has received about how it has used city taxpayer dollars during this MMCV contract.
In July, The Beacon Center of Tennessee called for an investigation into a contract MNPS had with MMCV that saw the school district paying MMCV $1.8 million to create a new COVID website.
“Anybody who works on websites—even understands the basics of websites—will look at this site and say, there is absolutely no way this should cost over $75,000; that is the absolute maximum,” Beacon Center Vice President Mark Cunningham said on Fox 17 News. “When you say $75,000 and then $1.8 million, there’s a big middle ground there. Where is that money going? We need to know.”
Many questions about this contract have been raised ever since the deal was approved by the Metro Nashville City Council in January. In June, Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle issued a statement defending the deal with MMCV.
“[MNPS] worked with Meharry, a trusted institution in our community, to develop as robust and comprehensive a plan as possible to enhance the safety of our schools, using federal funding designed specifically for that purpose, and we did so in such a way that no schools had to close down once we started bringing students back into the classroom in February,” Battle said, according to News Channel 5. “Ultimately, I believe it was a good thing for our schools and helped us to return students to the classroom while many other urban districts kept their doors closed.”
Metro Nashville Board of Education Chair Christiane Buggs said in March the contract with MMCV was quickly signed because the school district wanted to get students back into school, Mainstreet Nashville reported.
Meharry Medical College created MMCV to “partner with businesses whose missions center on eliminating health disparities in Middle Tennessee and beyond,” according to The Nashville Post.
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Zachery Schmidt is the Digital Editor of Star News Digital Media. Email tips to Zachery at [email protected]. Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.
Photo “Getting Ready for Class” by Phil Roeder CC2.0