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MN Dept of Ed Project Director questioned re: NAACP Parent Info Centers   |   Two letters from Morgan Brown to Commissioner Yecke & others

Two letters from Morgan Brown to Commissioner Yecke & others
In a letter Dated July 9, 2003, from Morgan Brown to Commissioner Yecke, Susan Heegaard, Chas Anderson, Bill Walsh, and Jim Bartholomew, with courtesy copies to Barbara Zohn and Marceline Dubose, (Subject: Mpls NAACP & Parent Info Centers) Mr. Brown writes,

"I wanted to give a brief update to those of you who have expressed interest in the opening of the Parent Information Centers by the Minneapolis NAACP using funding that the MDE [Minnesota Department of Education] received from a grant through the federal Voluntary Public School Choice Program.

"Unfortunately, the infighting within the Mpls NAACP membership has gotten steadily worse in recent weeks. Not only has this unnecessarily delayed the opening of the first parent center (which was supposed to have happened no later than June 30), but it has left us with serious doubts that the organization can fulfill the commitments it made in the grant proposal."

"Barbara Zohn, Marceline Dubose (Our grant manager), and I will be meeting with NAACP leadership ASAP to let them know that they need to resolve their internal problems immediately or we will find another partner who can deliver what was promised in the grant proposal. We cannot delay implementation of the parent centers any longer without putting all of the grant funding at risk, which we refuse to let happen.

"I will continue to provide you updates on this situation as it develops. Please give me a call if you want further details, have any questions, or are contacted separately by one of the factions within the Mpls NAACP.

"Thanks, Morgan"
Text of letter dated July 31, 2003 to Commissioner Yecke, Mary Ann Nelson, Chas Anderson, Jim Bartholomew, Bill Walsh, Susan Heegaard, CC: Barbara Zohn, Marceline Dubose (subject: Update on Parent Information Centers & NAACP):

"I wanted to give you a written update on the "parent information centers" that the Mpls NAACP is responsible for opening as MDE's grant partner for our Voluntary School Choice Project (VSCP). As you may remember, I had expressed some concerns earlier this month about delays in the opening of the centers and related internal disputes within the Mpls NAACP.

"However, following a meeting that we had with NAACP leadership on July 10, significant progress has been made. Marceline Dubose, our grant administrator for the VSCP, informed me today that the NAACP will officially open both of the parent centers tomorrow (we had only asked them to open one by August 1). The two centers will be located at the Mpls Urban League and Sabathani Community Center. A grand opening Ceremony for both centers is scheduled to take place on August 16.

"Because there remains a minority faction within the Mpls NAACP that is opposed to the parents centers for a variety of reasons, it is expected that there will be a group of protesters at both tomorrow's opening and at the grand opening. For this reason, I would not recommend that the Governor or Commissioner Yecke take part in these events. However, NAACP leadership is very open to hosting the Governor and/or Commissioner at a separate event later this fall since, by then, the centers will have been serving parents for several months and will have developed a legitimate presence in the community. In addition, the NAACP has developed a good communications plan to counteract any negative impact the protesters might seek to have in the media and/or community.

"Please call me if you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss.