Minority contractors say TPS broke promise of contracts

Report by Tanieya Lewis - email | bio
Posted by LS

TOLEDO (WTOL) - New buildings are still going up in the Toledo Public School District, but minority contractors say they're being left out of the project.

Some came with hopes. "I'm looking at being a part of any building that's out there right now," one contractor told us.

Others brought frustrations. Contractor Ralph Perryman said, "Haven't got a contract, haven't got a call, haven't got an email."

These men and women are contractors who say they want to help build new schools for Toledo Public. They want to know why only 6% other work has gone to minority-owned firms when the school board had originally promised them a 20% share, plus another 5% to female contractors.

In an informational meeting held at the Mott Branch Library, they got some face time with the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

School board members say they have been trying for years to improve minority involvement, but have run into excuses.

"I think this is the first time that all of us have been in the same room to hear the same information," said TPS Board Member Bob Vasquez.

Today, they walk away with a solution. "We were under the understanding that we could not break down some of these large jobs so some of the smaller contractors could bid on them, and today the state facilities commission says that we can," says Vasquez.

Larry Sykes represents minority contractors. "What has happened today has been a major accomplishment in understanding," he told News 11.

It's an understanding that smaller firms will have more opportunities to build for success. The individuals that supported this levy, especially the minorities that felt that they have been denied equal access to contracts will get a reprieve.

The school board will have the chance to discuss the idea in its upcoming board meeting next week.