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News Article


  CrossPointe  18 August 2011
In 2006 the Republican led Sarasota County School Board entered into a long term agreement with CrossPointe.net LLC (a.k.a. CrossPointe, Inc., CrossPointe LLC) for a comprehensive hardware and software upgrade of the District’s information technology (IT) capabilities. The contract for $12 million was initiated under the leadership of then Superintendent Gary Norris and Bob Hanson, both of whom are currently under scrutiny by the FBI for the purchase of white boards from Promethean. The CrossPointe contract has continued under Superintendent Lori White who was Director of Curriculum and Instruction under Norris.

So what is wrong with upgrading the district’s IT capabilities? Nothing except that a simple Google search of CrossPointe and its owner Joan Marie Keebler would have turned up a series of lawsuits against the company dating back to 2001.

These lawsuits included filings for copy write infringement and ownership dispute of CrossPointe, Inc., now known as CrossPointe.net. Due diligence would have warned School Board members and District staff about entering into a contract where the software being purchased may have been “vapor ware”. There are indications that the contract in which the School Board entered was to develop the software rather than purchase it because you see the software did not exist at the time. So what did we taxpayers get for the $12 million contract with CrossPointe.net?

The School Board purchased the right to develop its own software and pay for that privilege all at taxpayer’s expense.

According to the School Board’s Capitol Budget Workshop of February 16, 2010:

“This past year [2009] emphasized the investment in the CrossPointe.net implementation . . .

The CrossPointe.net implementation began back in 2006 in an effort to replace our outdated, obsolete AS400 platform and move towards a 21st century platform that can be utilized within the district and help our families in obtaining information about their students. This multi-year project and its associated costs are spread out over a 3 year period and according to a defined work schedule. Our fixed price contract for the implementation will likely extend well into 2011 and thus the planned annual payments will be stretched further over time. [Emphasis added]

So the School Board has had the software over three years and has yet to implement this CrossPointe.net solution? Really?

There is another question that must be asked. Since the initial legal disputes on the ownership of CrossPointe Inc. began in 2001, why did the School Board approve a sole source contract with this particular company? Other companies, including IBM, offered better software at a lower cost. Why CrossPointe.net?

The answer may make your blood boil. You see Ms. Joan Keebler and CrossPointe may have been involved in fraudulent behavior.

Attorney Ronald W. Johnson wrote about the potential criminal activities of Joan Marie Keebler in a letter dated August 10, 2004 to State-Wide Prosecutor Steve White from the Office of Florida Attorney General. Mr. Johnson in his letter stated in part:

"In September, 2001, Ms. Keebler realized that CrossPointe was going to be able to make a $1,000,000.00 sale of TERMS software to Brevard County, Florida School District. Ms. Johnson was unaware that Ms. Keebler had the sale pending. Ms. Keebler began a series of tricks and schemes in September, 2001 to wrest control of CrossPointe from Ms. Johnson.

Ms. Keebler, with the assistance of CrossPointe’s lawyers at Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon in Pensacola manipulated corporate records in October, 2001 to attempt to take control of CrossPointe and to steal Ms. Johnson’s 50% ownership. Lawyers, Robert Kramer and Patrick Emmanuel were primarily responsible for preparing the documents to manipulate the corporate records.”

So with all of this information in the public domain how did the Sarasota County School Board, District staff, and the District attorney not question this $12 million deal?

Stay tuned more to come!

Posted By $12,000,000.00

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Promethean was the only company in the world that produced the computerized white board with a projector that teachers can use to show documents, so it got the $13.2 million contract without its going out to bid, Norris said. The decision followed a recommendation from a committee of teachers and administrators charged with looking at how to use technology in the classroom, Norris said.

Norris became superintendent in Waterloo in 2008. This past December, the Waterloo school district agreed to spend about $4.5 million to buy Activboards from Promethean.


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