Agenda Item
Docket No. 15-856
Advisory opinion request regarding whether the education model of Pathways in Education-New Orleans, Inc., and Pathways in Education-East Baton Rouge, Inc., comply with the Code of Ethics.

Pathways in Education-New Orleans, Inc., (PIE-NO) and Pathways in Education-East Baton Rouge, Inc., (PIE-EBR) are both Louisiana nonprofits that will be applying to the Orleans Parish School Board and East Baton Rouge School Board for Type 1 charters to operate charter schools. Both nonprofits will have officer positions occupied by members of the Hall family. Jamie Hall Donahue will serve as president for both entities; Joan and John Hall (Jamie's parents) will serve as Vice Presidents; John Hall, Jr. (Jamie's brother) will serve as treasurer, and Jodi Hall (Jamie's sister) will serve as secretary. None of Halls will serve on the Board of Directors for either entity.

The sole member of PIE-NO and PIE-EBR is Education in Motion, Inc., (EIM), a California nonprofit public-benefit corporation, which has received 501(c)(3) status. Members of the Hall family serve as the officers of EIM, but do not serve on the board of directors. Further, none of the Halls receive any form of compensation for services rendered to PIE-NO, PIE-EBR, or EIM.

In order to operate the charter schools, PIE-NO and PIE-EBR will contract with a number of vendors to provide goods and services to the schools. Five of the vendors will be nonprofits that already provide services to charter schools run by the Halls in other states. The Halls are officers of these nonprofits, but do not serve as members of the Board of Directors and none of the Halls receive compensation for their services rendered. These nonprofits are Pathways Management Group, Inc. (providing accounting, human resource and other management services); Prep for Success (providing special education services); Pathways in Education, Inc. (providing community service projects and arranging college trips); and Pathways in Education-Mendocino, Inc., and Rocky Mountain Pathways, Inc., (both providing experimental learning opportunities). PIE-NO and PIE-EBR will be entering into contracts with these companies prior to the award of any charter school contract.

PIE-NO and PIE-EBR will also receive donated IT services from a for-profit company and its subsidiary, Education Dynamics, Inc., and AllTech Enterprises, L.L.C., which are owned by the Halls and employ John Hall, Jr. as a salaried employee. There will be no contract, just donated services.

La. R.S. 42:1111C(2)(d) provides that no public servant and no legal entity in which the public servant exercises control or owns an interest in excess of twenty-five percent, shall receive any thing of economic value for or in consideration of services rendered, or to be rendered, to or for any person during his public service unless such services are: (d) Neither performed for nor compensated by any person or from any officer, director, agent, or employee of such person, if such public servant knows or reasonably should know that such person has or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relationships with the public servant's agency; conducts operations or activities which are regulated by the public employee's agency; or has substantial economic interests which may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the public employee's official duty.

La. R.S. 42:1113A states no public servant, or a member of such a public servant's immediate family, or a legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.

La. R.S. 42:1123(30) provides that a public servant, a legal entity in which he has a controlling interest, or a member of his immediate family may donate services, movable property, or funds to his agency.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Tracy Barker
2015-856 Draft Opinion
2015-856 - Advisory Opinion Request