The Clarion-Ledger on March 17th requested the names of vendors vying for a multi-year contract to administer statewide assessments to tens of thousands of elementary and secondary public school students in Mississippi.
MDE plans to announce its preferred vendor to the state Board of Education on Thursday – one month after receiving the proposals and three weeks after denying the newspaper’s public records request.
The deal is worth an estimated $8.4 million per year, based on the amount of the current one-year contract, which MDE awarded under emergency provisions to Pearson in September.
MDE solicited the proposals in February after the state Personnel Services Contract Review Board rejected the agency’s original plan to give Pearson a sole-source, multi-year contract. The board said MDE should have solicited proposals.
Plagued by controversy since last year, MDE’s handling of the testing contract drew additional scrutiny after allegations surfaced last month that it deliberately wrote its request for proposals so that only one company – Pearson – would qualify.