Last year the State School Board hired Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based company that “specializes in educational executive leadership searches”, to help identify a new State Superintendent. According to the contract, the company will be paid a base fee of $32,000 plus additional costs for expenses up to $17,875 – or a total of almost $50,000.

The RFP issued by the Ohio Department of Education requires that the firm “conduct a thorough search for appropriate applicants” after they “develop and conduct a thoughtful, timely process for gathering State Board of Education, staff, and appropriate stakeholder input for establishment criteria for the selection process.”

The State Board of Education committee responsible for finding the new superintendent announced today that they had narrowed the search down to two candidates:

1.  Michael Sawyers, Acting Superintendent for the Ohio Department of Education and

2.  Dick Ross, The Director of the Kasich’s Office of 21st Century Education

You read that correctly. After spending $50K developing a set of criteria for a new Superintendent and then conducting a “thorough search for appropriate applicants”, the State School Board has decided it will either hire the acting superintendent or Kasich’s hand-picked education adviser.

I’d like to say I’m surprised, but really I’m just relieved that it didn’t cost us more money.

To be fair, $50K is nothing compared to the $3.4 Million dollars Kasich spent on consulting firm KPMG to help convince Ohioans it was a good idea to burden the Ohio Turnpike with $1.5 Billion in debt in order to temporarily fund ODOT road projects.

And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the whopping $18.5 MILLION DOLLARS Kasich spent on consulting firm Moelis just to come up with recommendations on expanding gambling in Ohio that were surprisingly similar to plans Strickland had proposed two years earlier, but brought in less revenue for the state.

It looks like we’re seeing a trend here: Kasich makes a decision to expand gambling or put the turnpike in debt or hire one of his friends, then he spends a bunch of taxpayer money to hire a consulting firm to give him cover for that decision.

Humorous side-note: The RFP claims that “the current Superintendent of Public Instruction retired August 8, 2012”  The truth is: Stan Heffner, the former superintendent mentioned in the RFP, didn’t “retire”, he resigned because of a scandal that was first brought to light here at Plunderbund.