Maya Consulting LLC, which states its mission is “to support equity and excellence in community,” has a number of contracts with school districts across the state of Texas, as well as with the Texas Education Agency. This raises a number of questions given that one of their consultants is a sitting legislator in who currently serves on the House Committee on Public Education.
PDE filed public records requests with the following districts. $1,503,573.75 was paid by districts to Maya Consulting.
- Victoria ISD: Signed contract for $36,345 for 2019-2020 “to provide support for Victoria ISD’s Strategic Planning process.” District records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $27,258.75.
- Dallas ISD: Two signed contracts totaling $131,250 for “School Transformation Fund Planning Services” and “Pre-K Partnership Grant Consulting Support for Early Learning.” District records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $93,750.
- Galveston ISD: A signed contract for $200,000 for 2018-2020 for (no scope of work attached). District records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $183,326.
- Livingston ISD: No contract was provided, but district records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $69,489 between 2019-2021 through 4 transactions of $17,372.25.
- Beaumont ISD: Signed contracts totaling $94,000 to “Support Beaumont ISD’s Strategic Planning Process” and to “Support Beaumont ISD’s Call for Quality Schools” (broken out into three separate contracts). District records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $484,000.
- Edgewood ISD: Signed contracts totaling $234,000 to provide strategic and technical assistance to “support the launch and implementation of an 1882 partnership” and to “support LEAs in the District framework development process during the Strong Foundations Math Framework Development Grant.” District records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya was $555,750.
- Bloomington ISD: Email correspondence between Maya, TEA, and the district appears to indicate that Bloomington ISD allocated at least $90,000 for Technical Assistance. No contracts were provided.
- Roscoe ISD: Roscoe ISD has failed to respond, and a complaint was filed with the Texas Attorney General’s office on February 24, 2023.
- Edcouch-Elsa ISD: “Edcouch-Elsa ISD did not have any contracts associated with Maya Consulting or had any vendor transactions.”
- Springlake-Earth ISD: Springlake-Earth ISD did receive services from MAYA, however, the district did not have a contract with MAYA nor did the district directly pay MAYA. The contract was directly between TEA and MAYA.
- Hearne ISD: “Hearne ISD has no record of a vendor being paid by the name of MAYA nor a contract for any services.”
- Fort Worth ISD: “The District has reviewed its ﬁles and has determined there are no responsive documents to your request.”
- Katy ISD: “There are no responsive records to your request.”
- Conroe ISD: “The District has no responsive documents as this is not one of our vendors.”
- Klein ISD: “There is no information responsive to your request.”
- Northside ISD: “The NISD AP Department performed a vendor search for the listed vendor (MAYA Consulting) and they were unable to locate the listed vendor in the database.”
- Houston ISD: “The district does not have any responsive data for the below/attached request.”
- Pasadena ISD: “Unfortunately, Pasadena ISD is not in possession of documents responsive to your request.”
- Cypress-Fairbanks ISD: “we do not have any responsive documents for your request. We have not contracted with Maya Consulting LLC.”
- Plano ISD: “PISD has reviewed its files and has determined there are no responsive documents to your request.”
PDE also filed public records requests with two charter school providers:
- KIPP: Signed contract totaling $5,950 to provide Board Scorecard updates in September 2022, November 2022, and January 2023.
- Great Hearts Academy: Signed contract totaling $10,000 to provide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) support; one invoice was sent totaling $1,500.
Finally, PDE filed public records requests with the Texas Education Agency.
Signed contracts with TEA total $5,161,750 for “Resilient Schools Support Program Data Fellow Cohort Facilitator” at $1,635,000 and $3,526,750 for “Resilient Schools Support Program III and IV” via an initial contract of $3,578,000.08, less a net budget decrease of $51,250.08 executed via amendment.
In addition, another contract was signed with Larkin Tackett, founder of Maya Consulting, for review of charter school applications, paid at a stipend of $100-300 for each charter school application reviewed, scored, and returned to TEA. In other words, the founder of Maya Consulting has direct input into whether charter school applications are approved or rejected by the state of Texas; this is significant authority for an individual whose company maintains contracts with at least two charter school providers.TEA records indicate that the total amount paid to Maya Consulting between 2018-Feb 6, 2023 was $1,374,437.50.
Maya Consulting’s Ties to the Texas Legislature
Texas State Rep. James Talarico (Round Rock) is employed by Maya Consulting, although as of May 2, Talarico is not listed on Maya Consulting’s site. However, the Wayback Machine has an archived copy of his bio page from January 20, 2023, where he was listed as a consultant.
In addition, numerous social media posts connect him to the company:
In a comment on the Facebook post above, Talarico noted:
I appreciate your comments and concerns. MAYA Consulting helps a wide variety of educational organizations from nonprofits to state agencies to districts to schools. This includes organizations affiliated with charter schools and organizations affiliated with traditional ISDs. Therefore, the firm includes folks associated with charters and folks associated with traditional ISDs. In fact, the majority of folks in the firm have experience working in and with traditional ISDs — including me.
Another comment notes:
Texas ethics laws prohibit an elected member of state government (like me) from being employed by another political subdivision (like a public school district). Otherwise, I would’ve loved to go back into the classroom and teach — which is my true passion! MAYA Consulting is a privately owned firm, not a political subdivision. That’s how most state legislators make a living (since we only make $400 a month on our legislative salary).
What is Maya Consulting?
Under the heading “Equity and Excellence,” Maya Consulting states:
We believe that building truly inclusive spaces where power is shared, and where privilege is recognized, and actively utilized for good is the best way to achieve equity and excellence, whether this is in nonprofit management, school systems, or family programs.
The company’s “Our Focus” page notes:
Quality Learning Environments for Student Success:
We utilize the system-level levers in schools, districts, and nonprofits such as talent, program, instruction, educator development, and assessment. We do this to improve and sustain student learning outcomes through:
- Strategic staffing, especially in light of the Great Teacher Resignation
- Curriculum, instruction, professional development, and assessment advising
- Learning acceleration and strategic planning to efficiently close gaps of learning
- State and Federal program assistance
Innovative Systems and Models
We build the capacity of community leaders to redesign and codify new models that directly improve results and influence policies. At the heart of this is:
- Impact for regional ecosystems by aligning on a common agenda and a set of results
- Innovation with Local Education Agencies (LEA), Career Technical Education (CTE) and Institutional Higher Education (IHE) from cradle to career
- Advising to support students and families navigating pathways to postsecondary goals
- District post secondary partnerships to connect PK-12, CTE and IHE ecosystems