Yet another red flag concerning ADE and APSRC’s proposed digital provider

By CATHY FRYE – So even as Arkansas prepares to partner with Lincoln Learning Solutions – a Pennsylvania-based company under investigation for ripping off taxpayers – said company is bleeding employees.

According to a May 29, 2020, story in the Ellwood City Ledger, Lincoln Learning Services laid off HALF of its staff just a few weeks ago.

And yet this is the organization that the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas “Public” School Resource Center has selected to help with anticipated “blended learning” during the 2020-2021 school year. As in, Lincoln Learning Solutions would offer online courses. Yikes.

Per the newspaper story:

More than one-third of the staff at Lincoln Learning Solutions were laid off Friday.

The nonprofit education services company — which has ties to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School — laid off 122 employees, including 76 full-time, 12 part-time and 34 temporary workers, said Christina Zacek, director of communications for the company.

“It is with a heavy heart that Lincoln Learning Solutions acknowledges the layoff of 122 employees,” Zacek said. “After having lost a multi-million dollar contract, we closely reviewed our budget and determined we could no longer afford to maintain a significant number of our employees — even after initiating substantial cuts and adjustments. Cutting jobs was a last and difficult choice.”

Zacek called the decision “a punch to the gut.” Lincoln Learning recently signed a new contract with PA Cyber that resulted in a multi-million dollar loss of revenue, she said. The company had been rearranging its finances and trimming its budget after the loss of revenues. Parking contracts and leases were terminated, and additional business contracts were added, but that wasn’t enough to make up the difference she said.

While based in Rochester, the majority of Lincoln Learning’s employees are remote. In total, 84 of those laid off are from western Pennsylvania, including 43 in Beaver County, 23 in Allegheny County, 14 in Butler County and one in Lawrence County. An additional 11 employees in Ohio, just over the border from Midland, were laid off.

Here’s a link to the full story.

And here’s some background:

APSRC and the Arkansas Department of Education are endorsing a digital learning provider that is currently under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Auditor General’s Office.

Why an investigation? Because a five-year audit revealed that Lincoln Learning Solutions had received more than $110 million in taxpayer dollars.  Now, Arkansas’ parents and schools are about to get sucker-punched in a similar fashion. 

Parents. Ask questions. Play hardball. Be an advocate for your children. None of this is acceptable.

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