Saturday, April 1, 2017

On Say Yes Guilford "No Means No, But Sometimes So Does 'Say Yes'"

"The huge financial fail of Say Yes Guilford - a program established to help Guilford County families pay college tuition for high school graduates - has sent a giant shockwave through the community and left confusion, questions, finger-pointing, potential lawsuits and hostility in its wake.

Say Yes Guilford currently has $9.2 million on hand

Scott Yost

The program was presented to the community in 2015 as a "win-win" initiative: an endowment-based scholarship program that would pay the "last dollars" of the cost of college after other financial grants and loans were exhausted.

But on Thursday, March 12, ...Say Yes sent an email notification to Guilford County school officials and posted a web announcement for disappointed parents and community contributors that stated that the Say Yes Guilford program was financially unsustainable.

...The group had projected about $900,000 in payouts needed for the first year of operation - the 2016-2017 school year - but, instead, the actual cost of the first year totaled $6.1 million, nearly seven times more than expected.

Say Yes Guilford currently has $9.2 million on hand

Scott Yost

...instead of an expected needed endowment of $70 million, the program required about $550 million.
...the Say Yes statement reads; "While local and national leaders worked in good faith to create a scholarship program in the fall of 2015 that would be available to the class of 2016, the Scholarship Board's review has determined that the current formulas for scholarship awards are not sustainable. 

...with $5.2 million more costs than anticipated in the first year, it's not clear where that money is coming from.  Say Yes has been very secretive about its financial situation, and, presumably, most of the money donated to the nonprofit organization is legally committed to funding the endowment and therefore can't be used to pay costs for the first-year of the program.

...Many students based their decision of where to attend college on the promise of Say Yes money for that institution.  In some cases they chose higher-priced schools than they could have afforded without Say Yes funding, and they may have, for instance, chosen an in-state school largely or only because they had the promise that Say Yes would help cover the cost of their education while there.

Some students are very upset because they gave up scholarships to out-of-state colleges to go to one of the in-state schools that has an agreement with Say Yes.

If the parents and students in those situations had known the money wasn't going to be available for the entire college career of that student, they might have chosen a different college.  Also, in some cases, families who were planning to move to another county or state a year and a half ago have remained in Guilford County because of the promise of Say Yes money years down the line.  In other cases, the highly touted Say Yes program was one of the main reasons families chose to move to Guilford County.

Fewer students will get money from Say Yes for college scholarships 
and many will get less than before 

The biggest cost savings for Say Yes 
comes from cutting off families that make $100,000 or more per year

Say Yes paid about $5.85 million to fund scholarships for 2,426 graduates this year, 
drawing on money raised from local and regional donors, 
and overspending what their model predicted. 

The average payout— about $2,411— is more than expected

Scholarship board Chairman Chuck Cornelio 
said they are hoping to bring costs down to around $1 million per year.

...A statement by Marian Steele was typical: "So basically it's a BS program," that post read.  "It was one of the few ways my family could benefit as we earn too much for qualifying for need based financial aid yet we have nowhere near enough to pay out of pocket.  Thanks a lot for nothing!  And WHY is this not being loudly advertised so that kids don't have false hope?!?!?  Super angry [about] this.  If you are going to change the program you have the OBLIGATION to let people know!!!!!!!"

Another expectant beneficiary of the program, Bonnie Thyer, posted, "Seniors needed to know this information last fall when applying to colleges!  They have made decisions based on the promises of this program.  For most it is too late to change or to apply to other colleges.  Very disappointing!!"

...One high-ranking Guilford County Schools official who asked not to be named said: "I am appalled that that organization would come in here and do that to our students.  In the worst case, I would hope they could continue to fund the education of those in college now."

"How in the world could you miss it by that much?" the school official continued.  "If I were a wealthy benefactor and you had come to me and said that that burden would be $500 million, I would say, 'Forget it - you will never raise that much."

Among the many questions now filling the air are whether lawsuits might be filed by those affected families, as well as questions as to whether contributors who have promised money to Say Yes will be obligated to fulfill those pledges now that the program will be different from the one they initially agreed to fund.

...Paul Lessard, the founder and president of the High Point Community Foundation, [is directly responsible for misleading our community, along with Walker Sanders of the Greensboro Community Foundation]

...for some elected officials who voted to show support for the program, one of the big selling points that helped get everyone on board is that it benefited the middle class as well as the needy.

Our elected leaders are directly responsible 
for selling a scam to our county's children and their parents

One Facebook poster, Des Baker, stated:  "How can your program which was touted by our former superintendent and our current superintendent as the best thing to happen to our students all of the sudden change course and fund students that are the 'most in need?'  You do realize that the working class parents are the ones who will suffer, low-income students will already be receiving the most financial aid.  What about the parents and students who make too much to receive aid but don't make enough to pay for the $17000 plus it now costs to attend state school?  Thanks Say Yes, for essentially Saying No to my child."

Back in August, Skip Moore, the former president of the Weaver Foundation, spoke on the major effect the program would have on bringing people and businesses to the area.

Skip Moore lied, and is directly responsible for this mess

"This is as much an economic development program as it is an education program," Moore told the Guilford County commissioners at that time.

...the program was unequivocally sold to the community as a benefit to families of all income levels.

In September 2015, former Superintendent of Guilford County School's Mo Green and wealthy Say Yes founder George Weiss told a packed gymnasium at Ragsdale High School - amidst a sea of cheering kids waiving pom-poms and balloons with confetti falling from above - that the program was there to benefit all of the kids in the gym and in the Guilford County school system.

Mo Green is directly responsible

Say Yes has stated that the organization will release more data and announce the new guidelines by the end of March.  For now, there are a lot of questions hanging in the air.  Among those are how many students have been funded and how much money has been paid out and who will be granted access to the program for the 2017-2018 school year.

Still no detailed data as to who got what, 
and how former Greensboro employees Mary Vigue and Donnie Turlington misled so many, 
with the help of Nancy Vaughan and Tony Wilkins among others

The group may also provide more detail on how this happened.

Not yet

In this, the first year of the program, the 2016-2017 school year, Say Yes is so far only paying for one year - but the program is designed to fund four years of college for a student - so the actual cost, if the full program were implemented would be something close to $6.1 million times four - $24.4 million.  (The actual number would vary according to number of dropouts, class size in the coming years, etc.)  But $24.4 million would use up about half of the endowment, so the figures are even further off than they seem originally.

Yost on Say Yes Money in the Caymen Islands, Outsized Investment Returns and the School Board's Pat Tillman lying about it

Next Say Yes to Education victim; "Cleveland schools edge closer to free college for every grad"

Say Yes To Education: Are We Witnessing A Trend?

The end of Triad City Beat

"Say Yes Guilford currently has $9.2 million on hand"

Some Questions Say Yes Will Not Answer Today Or Ever

I Found The Missing Say Yes Funding

Say Yes Guilford Needs Your Help

Say Yes Guilford Hires Out Of State Public Relations Firm

Scott Yost on Say Yes to Education; "You Should Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"

Say Yes to Education is meeting at the O.Henry Hotel today until 3:30pm, including racial issues

The Rhino's John Hammer takes credit for breaking the Say Yes to Education story

Say Yes Guilford's Donnie Turlington on Say Yes to Education funding on March 1, 2017

60,000 print readers read 5,000 Rhino Times per week?

The beginning of the middle of the eventual end of Say Yes to Education in Guilford County

Seriously? Seriously?

John Hammer at the Rhino Times is starting to get the fcukedupness of Say Yes to Education

Former City of Greensboro Assistant Manager Mary Vigue used her position to personally profit via Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford

Guilford school board seeks more information from Say Yes

Interim executive director named for Say Yes to Education Guilford

An email sent to Say Yes to Education folks this morning;

I handed out about 100 fliers of this at the meeting; "Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford Unanswered Questions"

It's been about a month since the News and Record hasn't reported Say Yes Guilford has less than $11 million, and charter schools have to pay 100%

"Newcomers join Greensboro school board this month" and Say Yes Guilford

A comment awaiting moderation at Triad City Beat's "Say Yes says maybe to undocumented Guilford students"

Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford questions for Monday night at 6 pm

Friday, November 11, 2016 7:40 pm; "Council for Say Yes will hold public meeting Monday"

Say Yes to Education Red Flag; Mary Vigue; She is about to be in charge of more than $25 million for a 'non-profit' after shafting City of Greensboro employees out of investment fee cuts

Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey; President at Say Yes to Education, Inc.; Professional Fundraising Organization

David Colin; Just Say Yes raises lots of questions

Say Yes to Education Independent Contractor Compensation the News and Record's Susan Ladd failed to report

Say Yes to Education, Inc. (Say Yes), and Say Yes Guilford appears to be a legal Ponzi scheme and/or a Racket

How the Triad Business Journal got played for chumps by Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford

On October 3, 2015, Guilford County's Board of Education was shown a "Full Tuition Scholarship Incentive" plan, for every GCS graduate who goes to college

Monday, November 16, 2015, I crashed the Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford meeting at Smith High School and passed out fliers asking the following questions;

Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford are saying they are going to cover the last dollar costs between financial aid and total tuition

Triad City Beat Lying to their readers and Guilford County's rising seniors about Say Yes to Education

"Guilford commissioners hear update on Say Yes"

Say Yes Guilford Questions for Guilford County Commissioner and School Board Candidates

"Obtain free college tuition by “Saying Yes” to education"

"Some parents find it hard to believe their child is now eligible for free college tuition simply because they’re graduating from a public school in Guilford County."

City of Greensboro Public Information Request on Say Yes to Education; "Say Yes to Education designee on the Operating Committee, Scholarship Board and Community Leadership Council"

The News and Record's Jessie Pounds; "Guilford County Schools' seniors can sign up for Say Yes scholarships"

Ponzi? From Say Yes to Education's 7/1/2014 to 6/30/2015 IRS 990 tax form

Dear Donnie Turlington and Mary Vigue; Please explain why Say Yes to Education's money is in Central America

Say Yes to Education's amazing, quite unbelievable investment performance

George 'Say Yes to Education' Weiss and Associates;"...the hedge fund portfolio reportedly returned more than 50% per year on an annual basis", except for when it didn't

Former City of Greensboro Assistant Manager Mary Vigue used her position to personally profit via Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford

Gag order and censorship for Guilford County teachers by Say Yes to Education and Angela Jackson of Guilford County's Association of Educators

George Weiss doesn't mind using massive leverage and illegal tax avoidance

One Dollar; "Resolution Requesting Approval of Lease Agreement with Say Yes to Education"; Tuesday, November 17, 2015

George 'Say Yes to Education' Weiss and Associates;"...the hedge fund portfolio reportedly returned more than 50% per year on an annual basis", except for when it didn't

Friday, November 11, 2016 7:40 pm; "Council for Say Yes will hold public meeting Monday"

Former City of Greensboro Assistant Manager Mary Vigue used her position to personally profit via Say Yes to Education and Say Yes Guilford

Ponzi needs a new town; Jul 25, 2016 4:59 AM; "Say Yes to Education" program could mean free college for Louisville students"

Susan Ladd's oldest daughter appears to be in line for a Say Yes to Education scholarship

There hasn't been a news story out of Louisville on Say Yes to Education since; Boris hasn't called with questions yet

The City of Greensboro's former Assistant Manager Mary Vigue, now Say Yes Guilford Director, was directly responsible, along with City Council and other City staff, for doing Greensboro's employees wrong

"City of Greensboro, mayor sued over access to public records" by Roch Smith Jr.

More on what Say Yes to Education promised Guilford County students and parents

Let's not forget what Guilford County School parents and students were told; "New Say Yes to Education partnership means free college tuition for Guilford County students"

Remember what they told the kids; "Guilford County Says YES to Education - and Yes to College Tuition!"

How it began in Guilford County, only different; "City, schools working on $100 million effort to provide free college to Louisvillians"

"See Jane Lose"; How Say Yes to Education's Mary Vigue, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Tony Wilkins betrayed the City's employees

Gag order and censorship for Guilford County teachers by Say Yes to Education and Angela Jackson of Guilford County's Association of Educators

If Say Yes Guilford has $35 million,...

$832,000 Payoff; "Buffalo Public Schools award the contract to Say Yes for community program"

Richard (Skip) Moore's misleading statements; "8 Things to Know About "Say Yes To Education"

Oblivious Buffalo News Editorial Board "Say Yes is leading a vital improvement in the number of college-bound students"

Why did the Hartford Chapter of Say Yes close in June 2005?

Alan Duncan and Amos Quick; "Through Say Yes to Education in Syracuse, Contreras has worked with her community..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016; New Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras' = Say Yes to Education, Say Yes Guilford and Say Yes Syracuse = Say Yes now owns Guilford County Schools

Thursday, June 30, 2016; Say Yes to Education's amazing, quite unbelievable investment performance; This is a George Weiss special

Thursday, June 30, 2016; John Hammer on new Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras and Say Yes to Education

Wednesday, June 29, 2016; WEDNESDAY, JULY 29TH 2015; "The Say Yes to Education program has closed its Syracuse office"

Thursday, June 30, 2016; Say Yes To Education-- The E-mails: Part 1

Friday, July 1, 2016; Say Yes To Education-- The E-mails: Part 2