State Senator Mario Gallegos Says HISD's Apollo 20 Contracts May Be Unethical

State Senator Mario Gallegos, a persistent critic of Houston school superintendent Terry Grier's Apollo 20 pilot program, has asked the Texas Education Agency to audit the contracts involved in it.

He says there are ethical questions involving HISD, the HISD Foundation (which he says is involved in fund-raising and contracting for the project), Harvard University's Ed Labs, whose Roland Fryer is the brains behind Apollo 20, and Blueprint, Inc., which he says has been hired by the district to implement the project.

HISD and the HISD Foundation are essentially the same, he says, as are Ed Labs and Blueprint.

"An examination of the Apollo program suggests that certain individuals may be enriching themselves at the hands of our children and taxpayers," he wrote.

He said he wants TEA "to ensure that private citizens are not improperly benefitting from the design and implementation of the Apollo program."

We asked HISD spokesman Jason Spencer for a response. "We're happy to address Senator Gallegos' questions and will do so in the near future," he said.

Gallegos says there "is an almost complete overlap" between the boards and staff of Fryer's Ed Labs, which is not receiving any HISD compensation, and Blueprint, which he says is.

Spencer says he'll pass on HISD's written response when they send it to Gallegos. They're "aiming for today," he says.

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