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Hite hires his CFO from Prince George's County

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 21, 2012 06:10 PM

Superintendent William Hite has hired Matthew E. Stanski as chief financial officer for the School District. Stanski worked in that position in the Prince George's County school district when Hite was head of the schools there.

Stanski, 34, left Prince George's under controversial circumstances. Persons close to the situation indicated that it was the product of turmoil resulting from Hite's own hastened departure and did not reflect on Stanski's skills or fitness for the job here.

The controversy, reported in the Washington Post, focuses on Stanski's cutting of a severance check for another departing official that was not authorized by the Board of Education. 

In an interview, Hite said that Stanski has "a good bit of technical knowledge and the right disposition" for the job. Among other things, Hite said, Stanski helped Prince George's eliminate a $300 million deficit and turned in budgets that received clean audits after years of problematic ones.

Hite said that Stanski also has his trust, and that is important, given the District's history of poor communication between former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and former CFO Michael Masch.

"Part of it was a level of comfort, and I wasn't the only one who felt like he has the type of skills that we needed," Hite said.

School Reform Commission member Feather Houstoun said that Stanski was "head and shoulders above the other candidates that we met." Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen, who has already been working with Stanski, said in a statement that Stanski "has the full confidence of Dr. Hite. I cannot emphasize how important that is."

Houstoun said she was looking for a CFO who could assemble a good team, had been part of a high-performing organization, and could "translate and bring to understandable terms the complexity of what we are dealing with." 

She said that Stanski met those criteria.

"I was aware of the controversy in Prince George's County before I met him," Houstoun said. "We talked about it ... and it did not, to me, rise to be a disabling thing. I think he will be a real asset to the District."

Prince George's school board member Donna Hathaway also spoke highly of Stanski and said his departure took place in a "politicized environment."

"In my years working with Matt, I had the utmost respect for him, his abilities, the way he presented budgets and his knowledge," Hathaway said.

According to those with knowledge of the controversy, the Prince George's general counsel told Stanski to write a lump-sum severance check to former human resources director Synthia J. Shilling instead of paying out her severance in biweekly increments -- and he did so. Shilling left the district in August when she was facing trial for leaving the scene of an accident.

Stanski and the general counsel were dismissed. Stanski appealed the dismissal and was allowed to resign, according to persons with knowledge of the situation.

Stanski is the second Prince George's official Hite has brought with him to high-level positions. The other is Karyn Lynch, who is chief of student services.

He starts Monday, according to District spokesman Fernando Gallard.


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Comments (21)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Tom Knudsen brings absolutely nothing to the table. What a disgrace. Whether he stays around or not, unfortunately the damage is already done. From hiring BCG, which lead to nothing productive, to giving unjustifiable $20K+ pay increase (to almost $140K) to degree-less Chris Ward recently, nothing positive happened under him. Talking about saving money for the District, he should remove himself from the organization right away.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 22, 2012 6:45 am
Knudsen is staying on "part time." So, he will continue to make big bucks while teachers are paying out of our pockets for basic supplies.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2012 8:27 pm
Who is Chris Ward? Yes, Knudsen is used to conning and bull sh..........people. Ain't going to work here, Tommy Tune.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2012 8:19 pm
So they couldn't find somebody here who was competent and without enormous garbage?? OK, I give up. Plus, more and more real ugly stuff is coming out about Hite. And the beat goes on................................
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2012 8:54 pm
Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on November 22, 2012 9:08 am
There may be a new team of pirates on board, but they're still pirates. Who is on the administrative payroll now? What is the total now paid out, since there seems to be considerable duplication (and to rub in more salt, how does it compare to, say 5 years ago, or to other districts)?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 23, 2012 8:00 pm
Knudsen did absolutely nothing that he was supposed to do in his 6 months. He just conned the SDP out of hundreds of thousands in raises to a special few people when others have had to take furloughs and pay cuts. He has a nice gig of $300,000 a year plus benefits for warming a seat.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 23, 2012 9:07 pm
Knudson is staying on 2 days per week for at least 8 weeks - that is Dec. and Jan. He has raked in the bucks while hiring an outside firm - Boston Consulting Group - to do the dirty work. How many more consultants are on the payroll?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 24, 2012 8:46 pm
Too much damage is already done under Knudsen. Hiring incompetent and spineless high level positions, giving raises to people who do not deserve, (C.Ward raise is simply crazy,) and ultimately and most importantly steering the District into a wrong direction. It's sad lots of hard working people in the District have no choice but to follow his lead knowing it is not going to work... By the time people find out about the failure, Knudsen will be long gone...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 24, 2012 9:14 am
BCG is a puppet consulting firm being paid by people that want to destroy the public schools for charter schools. They are told what to say and they say it. They are not experts in anything. Neither is Knudsen.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 24, 2012 11:41 pm
The SDP still has Joe DAlessandro from Vallas' time. He is another know-nothing and they keep on promoting him. These are the people we expect to educate our children.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 25, 2012 3:42 pm
All negative comments all the time. How about positive suggestions, aside from give us more money from the taxpayers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 25, 2012 5:17 pm
We have given you "positivie suggestions", but you're too busy teacherbashing to notice. Set up teacher run charters instead of the carpbetbagging operations currently being passed off as educational alternatives. Pennsylvania leads in the number of charters, but there is not one teacher run charter. That's proof that the powers that be are scared of letting a new idea in that might work better than the self-serving scams they are currently offering the public. Put ALL administrators in the classrooms through the city as teachers too. What better way to gauge the real story than to be on the the "battlefield" themselves? Rotate them from classrooms and schools, one class a day or at least a week. From HITE on down! We don't ask for more money, but a fair share that actually gets to the classroom instead of the administration and politicians. Funny how you never point the finger at all the administrators who are STILL getting raises and bonuses while trying to bully down one lowest paid teacher groups in the entire state.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on November 25, 2012 11:19 pm
I second both motions:) Why shouldn't teams of teachers be allowed to collectively run some of the existing schools? Now seems to be the perfect time to facilitate such a model in Philadelphia. Jerry, are you listening?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 26, 2012 1:17 am
So your union fights tooth and nail against the establishment of charter schools for years,and now that you have finally pulled your head out of the sand and are beginning to accept the reality that they are here to stay, you want to run them? LOL!. How poetic is that?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on November 26, 2012 9:47 am
The original concept of charter schools is that they would be teacher led schools where the teachers would be in charge of the design of the educational program and be responsible for its implementation. The concept of charter schools was created by teachers and their union leaders such as Al Shanker. The PA charter school law even states in its Legislative Intent section, Section 17-1702-A: "It is the intent of the General Assembly, in enacting this article, to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure as a method to accomplish the following: (1) Improve pupil learning. (2) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils. (3) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods. (4) Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site. (5) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system. (6) Hold the schools established under this act accountable for meeting measurable academic standards and provide the school with a method to establish accountability systems." How many of our schools are actually led by teachers and parents? How many are being held accountable? How many actually use innovative teaching methods? How many have credible accountability systems? How many are being run as private schools for the benefit and monetary gain of those who operate them, and are not being run as public schools? How many are being run as operatives for the privatization of the American schoolhouse? For individual profit? Why is the SRC, Mayor Nutter, Lori Shorr, Governor Corbett, Secretary Tomalis, the BCG, the PSP, and the William Penn Foundation only promoting the "charter operator" model which is not a true charter school model at all? We need honesty in this discussion! And we need some honest answers. By the way, I am absolutely in support of true charter schools and those who created them for the right reasons. I believe that group of charter leaders includes Lawrence Jones, Naomi Booker, David Rossi, and many others.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on November 26, 2012 8:17 pm
Hey Dude, you want peace and positive comments then work for justice, a foreign concept to these crooks.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 26, 2012 4:23 pm
I don't know about anyone else, but I am extremely worried about what is going on. Does anyone have any inkling as to what schools will be closing? If so, which ones? What is going to happen?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 26, 2012 6:21 pm
They will close the schools and they will cut wages and benefits in the new contract because no one is fighting against it.
Submitted by Glad I live in Philadelphia! (not verified) on November 27, 2012 1:35 pm
Dr. Hite says, "please join me in welcoming Matthew E. Stanski (from MD) to The School District of Philadelphia as Chief Financial Officer". (Mr. Gas man who was gonna do great things for us!) Thomas E. Knudsen has filled his pockets via our Philadelphia tax dollars and now running. I say welcome to Philadelphia take what ever you want and run just as every other Superintendant plus their crony's they bring with them have done since Connie Clayton retired! S@#$w the hard working union members make them take pay decreases, as you give non union members raises. You've decreased the cleaning and maintenance staff that the buildings are unable to be cleaned and maintained properly. Just take as much as you can and run since the SRC doesn't ever seem to be watching anyway.
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