Questions Arise Around Montgomery Co Purchase

Guess it’s time for a follow up on the Montgomery County Schools Chromebook fiasco.

Many have asked why overpriced HP-branded Chromebooks were purchased from Pomeroy. And from all appearances, without proper board oversight, no less.

Well… here’s one (*cough*) theory…

Brett Higgins is currently the technology guy for Montgomery County Schools:


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Who is Brett Higgins? Other than a guy who frequently attempts to push this site off its server with denial of service attacks? Funny you should ask.

He used to work for… wait for it… Pomeroy. It’s well-documented with various government agencies like the Kentucky Department of Education:


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Which is still a client of Pomeroy:


A BIG CLIENT

Neither Higgins nor the school district have responded to requests for comment. But folks at Pomeroy say they have a code of ethics:


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Those Pomeroy folks also told us that Higgins sits on the board of the Kentucky Society for Technology in Education:


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Of which Pomery is a vendor/partner/sponsor:


KySTE PARTNERS

Picture becoming a bit more clear?

The tangled Montgomery County web continues to be unwound on a daily basis.

Why does this matter now?

Because as of late November/early December, the district hadn’t received approval from the Kentucky Department of Education. In fact, things were so up in the air that the former board wouldn’t even allow the purchase of protective cases and charging carts. Here’s a flashback from board minutes:

Discussion of Pulled Items:

J. Purchase of Chromebook Cases — Mrs. Anderson asked if the Board Attorney and/or the Kentucky Department of Education had approved the lease agreement for the Chromebook purchase. Mrs. Williams advised that she had reviewed the agreement, recommended changes, those had been completed, and the paperwork had been submitted to KDE for approval.

Order #2014-15:73 — Primary Motion Passed: Motion made by Mrs. Anderson, seconded by Mr. Gulley to approve the purchase of Chromebook cases, contingent upon Kentucky Department of Education approval of the Chromebook initiative. The Board directed that approval of the Chromebook initiative by KDE must be received prior to start of purchase process for the cases.

When we asked questions a week ago? No one could answer them. Not the board attorney, not the board, not anyone at central office.

No one could say definitively whether approval had been received. No one could say whether protective cases or carts were available for proper storage.

Typical, of course, though not exactly a great way to operate when spending millions of taxpayer dollars on big ticket luxury items.

Bonus: Higgins, along with illegally-hired Anna Powell (wife of superintendent Joshua Powell), applied for a KySTE grant last year, despite him serving on the board of directors. They didn’t get it.