VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL
The corruption and the fleecing of the state taxpayers by Lawrence officials is staggering, and we believe the biggest scandal going on in the state. Yet the media and elected “leaders” on Beacon Hill continually look the other way.
At issue: Jeff Riley is the state appointed receiver in the Lawrence School System.
He is not certified to be a superintendent yet, he lists himself as “superintendent” on his letterhead and webpage. This is the tip of the iceberg of dishonest theater coming out of the most corrupt city in the state.
Riley took over the failing Lawrence School System a year ago promising transparency. He promised to put education dollars “directly into the classroom”. He promised to work with parents and turn the school system around by decentralizing power in central office and making sure state tax dollars go “directly to the children”. After all, this is all supposed to be “about the children”…. right?
Yet, here we are a year later. Riley has refused to tell the public how he is spending their money, refuses to communicate with parents, and violates the legislation which allowed the state to take over the schools.
He has stripped the School Committee of all power, even to run their own meetings. He conceals public documents, hides raises and the friends and former colleagues he has hired from outside the district.
Last month Riley increased the salaries in his central office by more than $6.1M. He increased salaries elsewhere by more than $3M, and he refuses to tell the public who is getting all those raises.
When we asked Lowell State Rep. Tom Golden why there is no outrage by legislators from around the state for the Lawrence schools, his answer was quite damning of the state’s Democrat leadership on Beacon Hill.
Golden said on 980WCAP’s Paying Attention Radio Program, that the last time he submitted a bill concerning all the money his constituents are paying for Lawrence, he was attacked by the Democrat leadership, who told him to mind his own business because Lawrence is not in his district.
Golden then went on to reveal that because of the pressure by Democrats on Beacon Hill, he was loathe to try again to address the lack of transparency in Lawrence’s spending of state tax dollars…even though his constituents are paying for it. This kind of Democrat bullying is why Lawrence Latinos have little chance of a good education in our public schools.
We would argue that Lawrence is everyone’s district. Especially since communities like Dracut, Methuen, North Andover and Lowell are pinching pennies to stop the closing of libraries or police and fire layoffs…. all the while their tax dollars are going into a black hole of spending in Lawrence with no transparency and no accountability…not to mention NO RESULTS.
We also find it damning that Deval Patrick and the Democrat leadership have no interest in the public’s right to know. They have no interest in increasing the educational opportunities for young Latinos in Lawrence. We find that to be racist based on their own definition.
We call upon our colleagues in the media to start investigating Riley’s spending. We call upon state officials to be leaders, and stand up to the pressure of their own party and do what is right. We call upon them to force Riley to publicly reveal exactly how he is spending our tax money. Given Tommy Golden’s revelation, however, we are not holding our breath that any of them really care about the children in Lawrence.