It was kind of surprise! The letter was from the Rutherford
Board of Education talking about "Technology Committee"
and asking me to join and attend the first meeting.
How did they know that I am computer professional?
How many other people are invited?
Do they really want to use other's ideas and expertise to improve
the technology education in Rutherford Schools?
I marked my calendar and made sure to attend this historical
We met at "Multi-Media Room" and sat at student's
chairs. Seven to Nine other people attended and I think three
of them were parents and the rest from the staff and teachers.
After a brief introduction, speaker defined the goals and
outlined what may be discussed in this meeting and what may not!
"We are not going to discuss a Hardware Platform",
I was surprised "again", why is he dictating us
what to talk about? Why is he trying to stay away from any discussion
related to hardware and equipment?
He continued with the news of purchasing 100 typing devices
for students to practice keyboarding for $350.00 each. These
typing devices are almost the size of a notebook computer, but
unlike notebook computers, they have no floppy drive and no print
At that time Toshiba Notebook Computers with Floppy Drive,
had a market price of $100.00 and there was no customer for them.
Computers without Hard Drive were becoming history. I simply
knew that these devices are at least $250 overprice. But maybe
that's just a mistake! Maybe he doesn't know about market value
of computer products! after all he is just a teacher! He already
asked us not to talk about the hardware and I don't want to embarrass
him by creating the idea of possible mistake or abuse or corruption.
The meeting continued with some presentation of the equipment
and what the students learn and ended with the idea of forming
I didn't want to continue with a committee who dictates what
to talk about and may possibly want to use us just to give a
democratic face to their decisions and plans. I also didn't want
to be a member of a committee who has one speaker and ten listeners.
So I didn't continue with them!
But shouldn't be any type of control on such purchases? Shouldn't
we have a purchase committee formed by volunteers to monitor
or watch or audit the financial transaction? If 400 over priced
typing device is a $100,000 loss for Rutherford people, shouldn't
they be concerned and get involved?
I certainly hope that my estimate is wrong or it has been
just a simple mistake.
I also know that it is not easy to purchase overpriced items
and get some "Cash Back Bonus" while hundreds of people
may watch. It is really difficult! First you have to buy items
that are not popular and nobody knows it's real price! Then you
have to buy it from a remote location that makes it more difficult
to trace! You must also make sure that the product has a high
list price. So in case if you got in trouble, you can claim that
your information source was the list price. It is so difficult
that you have to be a Computer Wizard to handle that without
When the idea of closing three schools and building one was
announced by Rutherford Board of Education and I noticed the
objections of some people about the contractor who is selected
for this plan, I simply decided to remind that there must be
some control over the Board of Education Purchasing Decisions.
A 23 million dollars job on a corrupted transaction can simply
bring a profit of $7000,000 for a team of corrupted individuals.
I am not sure that how is it possible to monitor or audit
all financial transactions of the Board of Education but I think
that it is needed. It may be possible to form a purchasing committee
to verify the prices and quality and quantity of purchased material
or equipment. If you can help, please write to my attention and
e-mail it to MHamzeh@Home.com.
Let discuss and find a solution.