A firm led by the brother of Michigan’s budget director proposed a five million dollar project as part of the state budget. The money was approved, and now the company, i-School Campus, is bidding on the contract.
The plan is to run pilot projects to test privately managing technology in the public schools. Budget Director John Nixon says, because of his brother’s involvement, he told the governor’s office, the Legislature, and his staff that he would not and could not play a role in deciding which company gets the contract.
“Apparently six or seven companies have bid on this contract,” Nixon says. “And so it’s not that my brother’s company got some sort of a sweetheart deal to come in and get this contract.”
Nixon is in charge of the state Department of Management, Budget, and Technology. The bid is being supervised now by the Department of Education, which is expected to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.
Nixon says he played no role in approving the money. And he says he’s made sure there is no conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict.
“In creating the firewall, I notified the folks that needed to be notified, and I have not been part of any discussions with the company, the legislators, or anybody else in crafting this proposal,” he says.