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Parents concerned about transparency of education nonprofit
OCT 18, 2019
Friday marked the first public meeting of the partnership's new board of directors, which will oversee a $100 million contribution from the foundation of Barbara and Ray Dalio , founder of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates; and $100 million in matching state taxpayer funds over five years. State legislation creating the entity also calls for another $100 million from other yet to be named philanthropists and business leaders.
Check out facebook page, In the Public Interest, where it was posted.

Billionaire Shuts Public Out Of $300M “Public” School Fix
Excerpt: "After Friday’s meeting, Gov. Lamont asked for everyone to give the partnership a chance to prove itself by making an initial round of grants. But parents asked what they’re hiding in the meantime."
Read the full article here. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/dalio_philanthropy_partnership_foia/

At first meeting of Ray Dalio-funded Partnership for Connecticut, Gov. Lamont defends closed session as ‘something new’
Amanda Blanco
OCT 18, 2019
At its first meeting Friday, board members of the Partnership for Connecticut sought to calm concerns about transparency around the $100 million in public funds that will go into the $300 million partnership -- and spent over half of the three-hour session behind closed doors.
The foundation’s bylaws allow board members, including Gov. Ned Lamont and state legislators, to privately discuss any topic they choose, even though the foundation is using public funds.
Aresimowicz said that in his 16 years at the Capitol, he has learned that public deliberations lead to pandering more than problem-solving.
“It’s about time we have honest discussions free of political consequences,” he said. “You don’t get real [in public discussions], you don’t get to the root of the problem ... This transparency issue is being made way more than it is."
[Related] Goodspeed announces Adam Souza as new music director; Michael O’Flaherty retiring after 28 years » Klarides disagreed.
“I want to state on the record my concerns with operating any of this partnership not in the full public view,” she said during the meeting. “I’ve made my intentions clear to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and my reservations about transparency on this board.”
She agreed to attend the executive session in this meeting, but asked the board to carefully consider these closed sessions in the future.
The board does not currently have a next meeting schedule, but will notify the public once one is planned. Read the full article here. The Dalios’ $100 million gift has strings attached

APR 17, 2019
Last week, Ray and Barbara Dalio announced their $100 million donation to support education and economic development in Connecticut. It’s an impressive amount, almost impossible for our struggling state to reject.

But it comes with strings attached. It gives the Dalios’ faith in metrics, algorithmic decision-making, and metric-based accountability problematic influence in urban public schools. This should worry us all."
Read the entire article here.

Dalio’s Partnership For Connecticut Invites Public To Its First Meeting
Excerpt:"The Dalio Foundation’s educational partnership with Connecticut is to hold its first board meeting next week. The $300 million not-for-profit public-private partnership has been controversial since lawmakers granted it exemption from state disclosure and ethics rules.
The Partnership for Connecticut has asked the public to attend its first board meeting to be held in New Haven on October 18.
But it’s not clear which parts of the meeting will be open to the public."
Read full article here.

AUDIO INTERVIEW: CT's Education Commissioner
47 minutes
The new education commissioner in Connecticut has a lot to manage. Keeping students safe at school, dealing with inequality and making sure the curriculum prepares students for life after school. We'll discuss education in Connecticut, with guests:
  • Miguel Cardona, Ed.D., Connecticut commissioner of education
  • Gwen Samuel, founder and president, Connecticut Parents Union
  • Jeff Leake, president, and Donald Williams, executive director, Connecticut Education Association
Listen to the full interview here.

Lawmakers balk at being excluded from decision making in education partnership
Keith M. Phaneuf
Excerpt: "A proposal that would dramatically weaken oversight of - and public access to - an initiative that will pump hundreds of millions of public and private funds into Connecticut schools has run afoul of state legislative leaders.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers told the CT Mirror last week that the oversight proposal crafted by representatives of hedge-fund giant Ray Dalio's philanthropic group has little chance of moving forward, though bipartisan support for the partnership remains strong."
Read full article here: https://ctmirror.org/2019/09/11/lawmakers-balk-at-being-excluded-from-decision-making-in-education-partnership/

Dalio Foundation funding in Connecticut: Where does it go?
Marc E. Fitch
Excerpts: "Below is a list (see full article) of the foundation's ten largest Connecticut donations in 2017.
Passed as part of the 2019 budget deal, some lawmakers and media were upset when they learned non-legislative members of the partnership's board would not be subject to state Freedom of Information laws. The subcommittee suggested by Dalio Philanthropies would have had the power of the entire board but without public oversight because it would have excluded state officials.
Read full article here: https://ctmirror.org/2019/09/11/lawmakers-balk-at-being-excluded-from-decision-making-in-education-partnership/

Questions raised about lack of transparency in Dalio partnership at 'town hall' meeting
Kathleen Megan
Excerpt: "When Gwen Samuel first heard about the Dalio Philanthropies's five-year plan to donate $100 million to help the state's struggling public schools, she thought it sounded positive. "That's a great thing, there are people investing in our children," said Samuel, who is the founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, but then she learned more about the state's plan to match the foundation grant and about controversial provisions in the plan exempting the panel overseeing the partnership from state disclosure and ethics rules.
"I wanted to understand how there could be anything private in public spaces with public dollars," Samuel told the group. "We have to make sure that the rights of the citizens of Connecticut are not only protected, but that the dollars we pay into our government are spent responsibly and that we know how you're spending it. The days of ostrich head in the sand have to be over if we are going to survive as a state."
A spokeswoman for Dalio Philanthropies said the organization declined to comment on this story.
Read full article here: https://ctmirror.org/2019/08/20/questions-raised-about-lack-of-transparency-in-dalio-partnership-at-town-hall-meeting/

Hartford Courant: Tong: $300M education partnership between state and hedge fund billionaire
Ray Dalio subject to limited public scrutiny Legislation creating the Partnership for Connecticut specifically excluded its work from public scrutiny via the Freedom of Information Act, but Tong said that since its board members include legislative leaders, acting in their capacity as elected officials, records related to their work on the board would be subject to public disclosure.
Read full article here: here.

Dalio funds for CT schools come with 'problematic' conditions
Keith M. Phaneuf
Excerpt: "When Connecticut's partnership with Dalio Philanthropies to transform under-performing schools gets underway later this summer, legislative leaders will find themselves in an unusual role.
One of the conditions hedge fund giant Ray Dalio's foundation set in exchange for its unprecedented $100 million contribution was that top lawmakers would not make political appointments to the 13-member board overseeing the public-private endeavor.
Instead, legislative leaders must serve on the panel themselves.
Additional controversial provisions - exempting the process from state disclosure and ethics rules - raise a number of questions. How much information do these lawmakers owe to Connecticut's taxpayers, who will put up $100 million over the next five years and have an ongoing stake in the public school system?
"Who is my master? The way this is done is problematic," said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby. "Everything is supposed to be done in the light of day. I don't know what happens if a publicly elected official has a fiduciary responsibility to this nonprofit corporation. What rules do I follow?"
"To some extent we're going to have to find our way as we go," said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. "I would hope we would have as much transparency as possible. … It's always an issue and a concern when you're trying to build public confidence."
Some legislators say public confidence in this experiment took a hit in late June when Gov. Ned Lamont and his fellow Democrats in the legislature's majority unveiled an outline of how the partnership would function in the new state budget.
Read full article here: https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/Dalio-funds-for-CT-schools-come-with-14085225.php

Dalio philanthropies donate $100 million to CT
Valerie Pavilonis
Excerpt: "According to Friday's press release, the donation is meant to strengthen economic development and public education in the Constitution State, especially among underserved communities. Over the next five years, Lamont seeks to raise a total of $300 million for this purpose. While the Dalio donation accounts for a third of that amount, Lamont seeks to funnel $100 million in state funds to the same cause and have the last third covered by additional donors and businesses." Read full article here:

Dalio foundation spearheads major investment in CT schools
Keith M. Phaneuf
$100 million donation will be matched by state funds
Read full article here: https://ctmirror.org/2019/04/05/dalio-foundation-spearheads-major-investment-in-ct-schools/

In a State With Deep Inequities, A Billionaire Couple is Helping Catalyze Action on K-12 and Jobs
Caitlin Reilly
Excerpt: "The Dalios' contribution accounts for $100 million of a $300 million project in partnership with the state of Connecticut. The state government will put up $100 million, and will raise another $100 million through gifts from business leaders and philanthropists."
Read full article here: https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/4/9/in-a-state-with-deep-inequities-a-billionaire-couple-is-helping-catalyze-action

Finance Board Generates Dozens Of Questions On Budget Matters
John Voket
One time grant - $145,000 for Social worker School Psychologist. Why? What are they giving them? Curriculum?
Read full article here: https://www.newtownbee.com/03032017/finance-board-generates-dozens-of-questions-on-budget-matters/

Dalio blamed loss of superintendent, lack of Norwalk schools’ vision, in pulling $1.1M grant’s second half
Dalio dropped funding in Norwalk. Why? Issue with alignment.
Read full article here: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2015/08/dalio-blamed-loss-of-superintendent-lack-of-norwalk-schools-vision-in-pulling-1-1m-grants-second-half/

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