Cenergistic pulls out of Windham; Fails in Rochester

by Kimberly Morin

windhamschooldistrictthepatchOn Friday (see email below), Adam Steel, Business Administrator for the Windham School District, alerted the school board that Cenergistic has withdrawn their proposal. The day before, the superintendent of Rochester Schools sent a letter alerting Cenergistic that they are withdrawing from their contract as well. Apparently the Rochester School Board pushed through the same type of contract that the Windham School Board was trying to push through – little public input; not in the budget; no research done on the company and no one on the school board reviewed the contract before they were being asked to vote on it.

If you recall, the Windham School Board was asked to vote on a $577,000 ‘energy behavior contract’ with Cenergistic right after the new year. The board wasnot given the contract before being asked to vote on this proposal. One member abstained and another, Ken Eyring, asked that it be pushed back so that they could research and review everything and get public input. He was denied and the other members of the board voted it through, without seeing the actual contract first. They didn’t receive the contract until the next day.

The reason this story ever came to light was because Tom Murray, a member of the school board’s facilities committee, spoke out of turn during the meeting when this contract came up and the board was just going to vote it right through. Because he dared to speak out of turn, someone on the school board called the police on him. In emails received via a Right-to-Know request filed by Eileen Mashimo it was learned that Chairman Rekart requested the police be calledto the school board meeting.

Not surprisingly, the Rochester School Board pushed a similar Cenergistic proposal and contract back in October. This seems to be the forte of Cenergistic. Get to individuals and have them push the proposal quickly so that people don’t have time to research or review and there is little time for public input. Rochester signed the contract with Cenergistic but as the letter from the Superintendent of Schools shows, since Cenergistic failed to get a partner for the program, Rochester withdrew from the contract.Interestingly, the Rochester letter was on February 5th and on the same day Cenergistic voluntarily opted out of the Windham proposal:

Subject: Cenergistic
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 10:45:53 -0500
From: Adam Steel <asteel@windhamsd.org>

To: wsb@windhamsd.org <wsb@windhamsd.org>

Board:

Cenergistic contacted us yesterday to indicate they were no longer interested in working with our District at this time. They said that if we were interested in moving forward in future years, that they would keep that possibility available to us.

In another letter, not yet ready for public consumption, it appears that Cenergistic is withdrawing their proposal because it has become a “distraction for the district” and public perception is not currently positive about the company or the proposal. It is also mentioned that the program could be jeopardized if “district leadership changes.” Of course, the door is left open for Windham to engage Cenergistic again if they so desire.

That’s what makes this a bit more interesting. There are school board elections coming up in March. Two board members are up for re-election: Chairman Rekart and Mike Joanis. Both voted for the Cenergistic proposal without public input or reviewing the contract. Rekart is the board member who requested the police be called on Tom Murray, member of the facilities committee, who is now running for school board. Daniel Popovici-Muller is also running for school board and has been demanding accountability and transparency.

If Cenergistic’s program is so fabulous, there would never be a need to rush anything through without knowing every minute detail. Public input would be more than welcomed and the facilities committee would have been involved from day one. A responsible school board would never just shove through contracts such as this without fully vetting the company or the contract. Windham voters have a chance to make a difference in March, it’ll be interesting to see if the voters were paying attention.

NOTE: There is much more to this story that is being investigated as it comes to light.

Cross posted from Examiner

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: