RALEIGH — An equity, diversity and inclusion training outfit co-founded by a sitting North Carolina statehouse lawmaker has raked in over $1.29 million in fees according to an analysis of contracts from just a handful of school districts.
Over the course of multiple years, The Equity Collaborative (TEC) was paid around $325,000 across just four North Carolina public school districts. In school districts outside of North Carolina, North State Journal uncovered around $905,000 in fees and purchase orders.
TEC made national headlines when over $422,000 in contracts for equity and Critical Race Theory training between Virginia’s Loudon County Public Schools and the organization came to light. One contract in Loudon County schools involved TEC receiving $24,000 for work at just one school, Parkview High School. The equity training rendered to Parkview staff was not done in person, but instead remotely, according to the services contract.
The Corning Painted Post Schools in New York spent more on TEC’s services than Loudon County did, with payments totaling $428,500 between 2017 and 2021. Contracted services included “equity focused leadership training,” equity training with the district’s school board, and administrative and superintendent coaching.
In the district of Clayton, Missouri, TEC was hired in 2017 for eight “Equity Coaching” training sessions costing $25,000, as well as a $5,000 keynote speech by TEC’s other co-founder, Jamie Alamazon. The original proposal from TEC had a bottom-line figure of $43,000.
Sitting state Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) co-founded the organization and has even conducted some trainings himself. North State Journal first reported on Meyer’s connection to TEC back in late April of this year. At that time, TEC was slated to run a teacher training course for Wake County Public Schools, titled “Intro to Critical Race Theory.”
Meyer, a white male, is currently seeking to exchange his current seat for one in the state Senate. Meyer announced his intent to run for fellow Democratic state Sen. Valerie Foushee’s seat which has been newly redrawn to include Orange, Caswell and Person counties.
Multiple districts in North Carolina have hired TEC for “equity, diversity, and inclusion training,” as well as for training on topics like Critical Race Theory. Some records received by North State Journal date back more than six years, to 2015.
The Chapel Hill Carrboro Public School District paid TEC $129,275 between the years 2014 and 2015 for equity coaching and training. Two payments made in 2014 included one for $3,500 and another for $96,750. In 2015, the district paid TEC $29,025.
Cumberland County Public Schools paid TEC $38,826 over seven different occasions. The largest payment was in 2020 for $15,000. The other six payments ranged from $325 up to $6,000. Only the payment amounts have been turned over to North State Journal by the district.
New Hanover Public Schools also contracted with TEC for training in 2020. The district paid $40,000 overall for two training items. New Hanover spent $24,000 for an “Equity in Education training workshop series” and $16,000 for a “Coaching in Equity workshop series.”
The state’s largest district, Wake County Public Schools, spent at least $97,000 for similar services to that of Loudon County, but purchase orders showed other items, which brought the total to $117,500. Records requests revealed $207,500 in contracts between WCPSS and TEC.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools (CMS) was also contacted, but there were no contracts or payments made to TEC.
CMS has been fulfilling their diversity and equity training using another North Carolina organization called the Racial Equity Institute. Between 2016 and 2021, the district has paid the Racial Equity Institute $219,100 for “Dismantling Racism” workshops.
A few of the topics included in “Dismantling Racism” are implicit bias, race and poverty, race and wealth, the history of race, internalized oppression and “the imperative of organizing.”
On the secondary level, North State Journal found that a $325 campus voucher had been made out to TEC by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. No other details were available on the voucher beyond it being issued in 2014.