Jeffco billed over $168,000 in PR Expenses

posted Apr 13, 2016, 8:58 AM by Jeffco Citizens For Responsible Education   [ updated Apr 13, 2016, 9:31 AM ]
  • Jeffco paid Novitas $84,830 for services between August 2015 to December 2015
  • The district was charged $77/hour on average, and Novitas provided about 57 hours of work each week.
  • Novitas was paid $168,892 for services over ten months last year.

        Back in August we wrote about the initial expenses Jeffco had incurred by using Novitas instead of hiring one or two people for the Communications Department.  Last week, we received a response to our recent CORA request that asked for the recent invoices from Novitas invoices.

        During the second half of the year, Novitas charged the district $84,830.  The charges overall are fairly consistent with prior invoices.  During this time, Novitas continued to handle emails sent to the board, and they charged $60/ hour for this service.  We will note that the district did receive a few more hours of work in the second half of the year compared to the first half.  This variance occurred because Novitas bills the district based on who completes the work.  Work completed by Novitas' CEO, Michelle Lynn, cost the district $200/ hour.  Work completed by Novitas' associates was billed at $60/ hour.  From August to December 11th, the average cost to the district was about $77/ hour.

 Amount paid by
district to Novitas
 September $17,867
October  $22,568
 November $16,125
 December 1st-11th $6,540
 Total $84,830

        We definitely understand that the district needs a Communications Department in order to get information out to the community in a timely and professional manner.  That said, we are very disappointed with the hourly cost for Novitas' services.  The district could have done the work internally for much less than $77/ hour, or they could have had more manpower for about the same price.  We hope our superintendent, Dan McMinimee, will consider this in the future.

        Overall, the district received services from Novitas for ten months.  The total expense to the district came to $168,892.  According to the records we received, Novitas has not provided any services to the district since December 11, 2015.