Meier Rescinds Cancellation of Consulting Contract With Ferndale Schools
Ferndale school board president Jim O'Donnell confirms that Gary Meier has rescinded his cancellation of the ICE contract.
Ferndale school board president Jim O'Donnell confirmed Friday that Gary Meier is no longer cancelling his consulting contract with the school district.
In November, Superintendent Gary Meier said he had given notice to cancel the contract between his consulting firm Innovative Consulting in Education (ICE) and the Ferndale Public Schools.
Speaking as the CEO of ICE, Meier said in November that the decision to cancel the contract - which had become a topic of discussion in the community amid questions from political action committee CLEAR and was also discussed in the recent school board election - was a business decision.
Meier said the continuing discussion of the contract was part of the reason but not necessarily the only factor.
The three-year contract between ICE and the school district was approved by the school board in July 2011 and will continue to run through the end of June 2014, bringing in a total of $498,130 of revenue for Ferndale Schools in exchange for the use of district clerical, technology and financial services.
O'Donnell said school board members received notification from then-board-president Keith Warnick on Dec. 30 that Meier had rescinded the termination notice.
The school board hasn't had a chance to discuss it yet, O'Donnell said, but the topic will likely be an agenda item in the near future.
"I think we all have questions about the process," he said. "I will reserve judgement until I understand the context a little bit better."
O'Donnell said the question of record-keeping and disclosure for the consulting work remains. "Speaking for myself that would be one of the questions that I would want the board to address," he said.
Meier could not immediately be reached for comment via his consulting company e-mail address on Friday, however O'Donnell said his understanding of why the contract is no longer being cancelled is that Meier did not want the district to lose the revenue.
"I haven't seen the letter itself but it was because of the financial loss to the district. He did not want the district to not be receiving that $90,000 through the remainder of the current fiscal year," he said.
Questions had also been raised about when notice was initially given to cancel the contract. Meier had said in November that a 90-day notice was required and was given, which would have brought the contract to a close at the end of 2012.
ICE's consulting work includes working with public and private schools on improving the quality of school culture, teaching and learning.
O'Donnell said when the contract will be discussed by the school board is not yet determined.
"We're still gathering information so I can't say right now what meeting it will be addressed at," he said.