Well, we must have struck a nerve that sent the lobbyists for the Catholic Jubilee Schools into action. Yes, that's right, the Memphis Jubilee Schools have not one, but THREE lobbyists: Mark Cate, Daniel Culbreath, and Stephan Susano.
You may be asking since when do struggling Catholic schools hire lobbyists? And how can they afford lobbyists with so many needy kids?
Well….uh, maybe, when they have a lot to gain from influencing elected officials, it's worth finding the cash for lobbyist?
Enter the Stones River Group, a lobbying firm hired by the Catholic Memphis Urban Schools, Inc. Yeah, you're gonna want to hit those links to see what one political blogger has to say about Stones River and how they get paid with taxpayer dollars. And you are gonna want to see the MILLIONS of dollars reported by Catholic Memphis Urban Schools on their 990 tax returns.
According to the Tennessee Ethics Commission website (TEC). Heading up that effort is Mark Cate who formerly served as Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief of staff where he was his top advisor, strategist and negotiator. Also employed as a lobbyist for Stones River Group is the former Executive Director of Tennesseans for Student Success, Jeremy Harrell who served as Haslam's campaign manager in 2014. But Harrell is not listed as one of the CMUS lobbyists. But hey!! They are struggling Catholic schools and can't afford to hire all the lobbyists.
According to the Tennessean "Cate and [Steven] Smith [who served as deputy commissioner for policy and external affairs at the Tennessee Department of Education] exchanged hundreds of texts before and after Cate’s departure from Haslam’s office on July 31, 2015. In the weeks after Cate left the office, he started his own consulting firm that has contracts with several companies, including Tennesseans for Student Success."
Oh you remember Tennesseans for Student Success, don't you? We understand there are so many of these out-of-state groups coming into Tennessee and they keep changing their durn names so it's hard to keep up. So, click this link for a refresher on Tennesseans for Student Success.
The Catholic Jubilee Schools have bought themselves quite a powerhouse of influence to get public school dollars for their schools. No doubt, they are going to need those fancy lobbyists. One Shelby County Commissioner has already declared he heard the Memphis voucher bill is on its deathbed. And if by some miracle, it passes, then he promises that the Shelby County Commission will challenge its legality.
Yes, sir. The powerhouse lobbyists can expect a fight on their hands to save the Memphis voucher bill. A group of parents from all over Shelby County including suburban municipalities are headed to Nashville in the morning for the 9:00am hearing on the bill.