Miami-Dade superintendent defends against allegations over donation

MIAMI, Fla. – Miami-Dade Schools superintendent spoke out about the allegations into money donated to his non-profit foundation by an online platform that received a no-bid contract from the school district.

“Some of the recent headlines are hurtful,” Carvalho said Friday, taking a break from handing out school supplies and backpacks at Holmes Elementary School.

“Why wouldn’t they be? But professionally, I am here to tell you that we welcome the scrutiny of any good deed. Why shouldn’t we? Particularly a good dead, a gift, an investment, a recognition in the hardest working individuals anywhere in the country, our teachers.”

On Aug. 30, K12 Inc., the company that created the virtual learning platform for Miami-Dade Schools gave a $1.57 million donation to nonprofit foundation New Education Initiatives, Inc., of which Carvalho is chairman.

The superintendent said the money was to be used to give schoolteachers a $100 gift card.

“This was a recognition, an incentive, an appreciation for the really harsh conditions teachers face during a very difficult implementation of a platform produced and engineered by a company that has admitted it failed us,” Carvalho said.

The school district’s inspector general Mary Kagle is now looking into the donation, which was made before K12 finalized its contract with the Miami-Dade Public Schools — a $15 million no-bid contract. This week, the contract was severed by the school board. Members have raised concern about the propriety of the donation.

The superintendent has said the foundation would keep the money despite dumping K12.

“I always say sometimes it is not what it is, it’s what it looks like,” school board vice-chair Steve Gallon said on Thursday. “And the $1.5 million being received from a vendor that at the time had a pending contract for $15.3 million on the table, that will raise some questions.”

See a copy of the memo from the inspector general below:

About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local