Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Half Asinine

Less than 2500 feet (shouting distance)  from where our Scott County School Board was making a sham of what state law intends to be an opportunity for the public to have the School Board's ear before deciding to pass a tax increase, Western Elementary's roadside school sign proclaimed INTEGRITY as January's "virtue of the month".       Maybe we should repeat that - in less of a run on sentence.      LESS THAN 2500 FEET FROM WHERE OUR SCOTT COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD WAS PRETENDING TO LISTEN, WESTERN ELEMENTARY TEACHERS HAD EARLIER THAT DAY BEEN TEACHING OUR CHILDREN THE VIRTUE OF INTEGRITY! Lessons obviously lost on the leaders of our district as they took leave of that very virtue, making a mockery of the intent of a "public hearing" by grunting their pre-negotiated "ayes" less than two minutes after "hearing" from that public. And all just so new Superintendent Kevin Hub could "check" a tax increase off his list and take a few days off work.

But it is the message on another school's roadside sign that had had us perplexed for weeks.


Yes, the message on one side of the Ninth Grade School's sign had escaped us - until we reconciled Hub's boisterous and dramatic behaviors here in his first six months at Scott County Schools with an account of his 18 month tenure at Logan County Schools.  Turns out the sign perfectly describes the chaos created by the drama Hub introduced, then abandoned at Logan County Schools just before his coming to Scott County. It's clear though that our Board has been taken in by Hub's unbridled takeover, although he an under-vetted Superintendent who fails to vest himself and his family by taking up residence and paying taxes in the community he raises taxes in.

It is our fervent hope that the Board's collective lapse of integrity Tuesday night was temporary, but we are disappointed that it included the only School Board member to date that had publicly made a difference in our school district, one we thought could tell when she was being served Kool-Aid.

Reading from an under prepared statement that was later posted to her BOE facebook page, Vice Chair Stephanie Powers acknowledged her own lapse of integrity by voting contrary to her campaign promise to NOT vote for a tax increase. Curiously, Mrs. Powers attempted to justify that lapse by claiming her no tax increase promise was based on the previous Board's passing of an "asinine" 27% tax increase. We must ask, doesn't that make this 13% increase - "half asinine"?   We think so.

Mrs. Powers also seemed to be duped by program capacity numbers, numbers that have little to do with physical building capacities. If the elementary schools were physically over capacity as some encourage her to believe, the state fire marshal would have long since weighed in. Those capacity numbers are PROGRAM CAPACITIES! Mrs. Powers also agrees on facebook with the "facts" that Mike Scogin published in Thursday's paper, one such fact in complete disagreement with her Director of Finance. But in fairness to Mrs. Powers, the entire Board's drinking of the Hub Aid qualifies as half asinine.


State law allows school districts to take a maximum of 4 "nickel" tax increases. Before this "nickel" was passed Tuesday night, Scott County had already taken 3 nickels over the years, placing Scott in the company of only 15 other school districts statewide to have done so. Tuesday's vote placed Scott County in rarefied air indeed, lending credence to Hub's boastful post on the district's website (posted immediately after the vote - as if pre-prepared) announcing his tax victory as "History In The Making For Scott County Schools". Well, you can say that again. Scott is now 1 of only 2 school districts in the state having maxed out their nickels. What else besides leaky books explains where all that money has gone over all these years and what explains our Boards not noticing? Our School Board should be ashamed to take so much from the taxpayers and still not be able to meet the needs of our students and school district.

A "nickel" in Scott County's case amounts to an annual influx to its General Fund of $4,068,017.57. That's a lot of "Hub-Aid". Money is a Superintendent's best friend and will allow Hub to collect his $200k a year without ever having to have a Plan B. Heck, with the extra $4 mil a year coming in, he doesn't even need a Plan A. Hub can just emulate Dallas Blankenship and put the district on cruise control by throwing cash at each and every problem that arises. There should even be plenty left over to throw some Scott United's and Mike Scogin's way.

But there was absolutely no need for a tax increase for facility construction at this time. We understand that most don't understand that the $4 million a year tax increase ISN'T what will build our new high school. We suspect there are even some who think the "nickel" tax means their property tax bill will only go up 5 cents. What concerns us though is that some of our School Board members might not really understand how the tax increase works. Most of the Board are quite new to the post after all. They have yet to recognize that their Superintendent has no incentive to be forthright with them. Veteran member JoAnna Fryman  has acknowledged repeatedly in open meetings of late that it has become obvious that Patricia Putty and her administration withheld vital information and provided false information to her Boards, yet there remains no consequence. Why shouldn't a Superintendent manipulate their Board in such an unaccountable environment?

Georgetown News Graphic Editor and Publisher Mike Scogin certainly doesn't understand the tax increase, but that doesn't stop him for spreading mis-information about it. After long avoiding editorial comment on the shenanigans of his wife's employer, Scogin published his second predictably pro-tax editorial in Thursday's edition. Scogin's words - "The tax increase can only be spent on facilities. It can not be spent on salaries, instructional resources, school supplies, etc." confirms January isn't the month for integrity, journalistic integrity having long since been abandoned by Mr. Scogin. Geesh, what a tool! And we all know for whom he serves as a tool.

In Scogin's own newspaper, TWICE, Scott School's Director of Finance Randy Cutright admits in the district's legal notice that $1,160,899.99 of the just passed yearly tax increase of $4,068,017.57 will go directly into the district's operating budget for General Fund items such as instruction, maintenance of plant, transportation etc. Maybe you should read your own paper Mike! Or were you just taking dictation? That million plus annual amount has nothing to do with building a new school Mike, and nothing commits the balance of the $4 million to be spent on any new facilities either. Will you print a "correction"? No - the tax doesn't build a school, the actual tax increase only pads the General Fund, the same General Fund that years of mismanagement (or something) has the district paying out $5 million a year in excess of what the state recommends on district salaries.

No - schools are built from the increase in a district's bonding potential (think - amount the district can borrow) that a tax increase generates. The tax itself goes into that General Fund black hole that greases the wheels and operates the school district. But the tax's impact on bonding allows the district to go further in debt when it issues bonds based on that increased revenue. But hey - taxes and debt are no sweat off a Madison County resident's back.

The $4 million plus tax increase, meant to be the vehicle to increase bonding for facility construction, is usually the icing on that cake of increased bonding. In Hub's case though, it is the other way around. For Hub, the cake was always the tax increase with the bonding increase being the icing. Scott County's desperation for a high school, regardless that we could already afford it, was the perfect leverage for Hub to coerce the annual influx of cash! Now nothing stands in the way of the real property (land) purchases the Board recently retired to Executive Session to discuss privately. Will Scott United's Mike Hockensmith conduct the property appraisals as he did when he valued the 110 acres where ECS sits at $21,000 an acre - at a time when five acre tracts were going for half that? Just sayin...

No - the tax increase was not needed AT THIS TIME. Yes it is true that because of previous Board's and administration's mis-management of the taxpayer's monies, facilities beyond the construction of a second high school will certainly require a tax increase. And we could have supported that tax increase at that time. But the Board fell for Hub's fabrication that Great Crossing High School could not be built without a tax increase, even in the face of the discovery of a suppressed $27 million of bonding potential and EVEN IN THE FACE OF THE REPEAL OF THE STATE'S PREVAILING WAGE LAW THAT WILL LOWER THE COST OF GCHS BY AT LEAST $10 MILLION. The travesty is that the construction of our long needed new high school was unnecessarily put on hold while waiting for the aye votes of our two newest Board members after an August vote was cancelled when it was determined the increase would not pass at that time. Hub gamed the vote because he wanted the $4 million now instead of when it would have actually been needed. He was willing to hold the construction of GCHS hostage to get that $4 million a year. And the Board allowed it. Talk about asinine!

We must also consider that there may have been even more than $27 million of bonding being suppressed and that this tax increase serves as a mechanism to slip the excess in under cover. Hub's sketchy defense of his and Putty's and Blankenship's Director of Finance and of where the $27 million came from does not explain why the Director of Finance was not aware of those sketchy circumstances. The DoF was either complicit or complacent. We are not sure which is worse but what Superintendent wouldn't want either or both of those qualities in the employee who might otherwise hold his financial decisions accountable? A Director of Finance for the ages if ever there was one. And by his numbers a $4 million dollar tax will generate $40 plus million of bonding potential, and if so it extends that our current bonding "capacity" is in excess of $240 million, a full $145 million of it debt! Notice that Mr. Cutright never offered what the district's bonding would have been at the time of their issue had there not been a tax increase. Matters little though for what his projections are worth, but you can bet it would have been substantially more than the $55 million admitted to. Coupled with the construction costs savings from the repeal of prevailing wage, we could have easily built GCHS with no tax increase. But that scenario might not have opened the opportunity for the land purchases, and land purchases open up opportunities for leaks.

What has really changed? Eras are recounted by the Superintendents and Board Chairs who served during those periods. Thankfully the Sams / Ward / Conway / Putty era is history, as ugly as it was. We thank the aforementioned Stephanie Powers for bringing that debacle to a close. But the Hub / Kidwell era is off to a bad start as Kidwell appears as strokeable as his predecessor what with his August NO vote magically turning YES about the same time he became Chair. Yes, we may well have jumped from the pot into the frying pan, maybe the deep fryer what with the Board hiring for its new attorney an old friend of Hub's; double dipping cronies still being hired in gamed job postings; blatant nepotism still being ignored; still no programs proposed to get the $5 million of annual salary excesses in line with state recommendations; the public's business continuing to be conducted in private all while claiming a new transparency has come to our school district; school construction costs changing daily as does bonding numbers; etc., etc., etc.

But it is done and we will try and get over it. In the meantime we will continue to explore how the Board got to this lapse of integrity. And as further therapy, we will watch the Board ever closer and dare they use a lack of funds as an excuse for anything whatsoever. Soon to be flush with funds, there is no reason that every repair, every upgrade, every "unmet need" (including the windows at Garth Elementary) not be met and completed before the end of next fiscal (or as Putty would say "physical") year.

We are nothing if not resolute. And we certainly are not the "half asinines" our board takes its constituents to be.




Saturday, January 7, 2017

NO PLAN B

Scott County School's Superintendent Kevin Hub has a flair for the dramatic. After an unprofessional mocking of previous School Board Chair Haley Conway at last Tuesday's School Board meeting, Hub cutely ended a power point presentation at Thursday's meeting with an empty slide titled "Plan B", meant to emphasize that without a tax increase, a second high school cannot be built.

Really? Our new $200k a year Superintendent has no plan B? That's what he claims so dramatically. He openly admits to having no plan should the taxpayers muster another courageous rebuke to the padding of the school district's largesse. Sounds like a play directly from the John Cooper playbook of "how to coerce a tax increase". Could well be, what with Hub's very first meetings upon his hiring (maybe even before) being with Cooper's Scott United.

What's particularly painful about this "No Plan B" admission, is that it is entirely for dramatic effect. You see, just as Hub asserted to his Board on July 21 - that he would never offer an employee the opportunity to resign in lieu of termination, but turned right around and did so repeatedly - Hub not only has a plan B, it is already being executed.

Plan "B", should the public not give the district $4 million more a year for perpetuity ($4 million a year that can be spent however the Board desires), is to build a "new" high school with the ample monies it already has. That process is fully underway with expenditures occurring daily. A "new" high school is coming regardless of any tax increase. The Board has the funds, no tax increase required! Yet Hub and the Board continue to shamelessly use the new high school as a pawn to extort even more spending money from the taxpayers.

After discovering upon his arrival in July that the district has $27 million more in bonding than the Putty administration would admit to, Hub was quick to double the new school's capacity from 750 students (the average size of a KY high school) to 1,500 to help consume that $27 million so a tax increase argument wouldn't further erode. And now we discover (with no previous public indication) that the Board approved upping that capacity to 1,930 Thursday night, lending further credence to the notion circulating that the "new" high school will not be a "second" high school. The kicker though (and as we predicted), is that today the KY General Assembly passed a bill under "emergency" language that immediately ends the government rip-off called "prevailing wage", saving Scott County an additional $10 million in construction costs of its new high school. We can afford this thing, folks! As we mentioned last post, this flurry of early January Board meetings is to get ahead of the public's learning of the new General Assembly's actions. The new General Assembly also spells trouble for Hub's selling point of a possible state match of the increase. That scenario, never guaranteed, looks very unlikely now.  A tax increase for the construction of a new high school simply isn't indicated!

But Hub can do nothing at next Tuesday's meeting (the third in one week to make all this work) without a minimum of three Board members approving it. What's particularly interesting is the Georgetown News Graphic's revelation in today's edition, that the same two Board members that caused Hub to postpone the August 18 tax increase vote because they were to vote no, are now all about voting YES!

According to the News Graphic, Kevin Kidwell and Stephanie Powers (who campaigned on a no tax platform) are now assured YES votes. Now, what could have caused a 180 for these two. Hmmm? The only thing that is different is that Kidwell is now Board Chair and Powers is Vice-Chair. Hmmm... Just sayin...?

Are these two OK that their Superintendent has no Plan B? Are they ok that their school district spends $5 million more each and every year on salaries than the Kentucky Department of Education recommends? Right there is your tax increase and then some! They must be ok with the excessive salaries, there have been more positions created by the Board in the six months of Hub than there were in the entire 8 years under previous Superintendent Patricia Putty, with the Board approving the creation of four more positions at Thursday's meeting alone. How about a Plan B that stops the wholesale consumption of the 4% tax increase the district takes each and every year? No - a Superintendent's credo insists on more and more of the taxpayer's money to throw at each and every problem instead of mustering the courage, energy and insight to manage effectively and efficiently.

Here's how the rigged tax increase system works. Should a district want even more than the 4% it legally takes each year, state law requires the district run a minimum of two ads advertising a public tax hearing, where the board can hear and consider the public's concerns about the proposed extra tax. Should a School Board, after considering public sentiment, wish to proceed, they must vote to pass their tax increase at a public Board meeting. After passage, law dictates the tax cannot begin collection for 45 days, allowing for a committee of 5 property tax paying citizens to form and collect 2,300 property tax payer's signatures and submit those signatures for certification to the County Clerk. Should the County Clerk certify those 2,300 signatures, the tax cannot proceed with collection before being placed on a ballot to afford all  registered voters an opportunity to vote for or against the tax. The News Graphic reports that new Board Chair Kidwell made a "plaintive" (pitiful) plea Thursday that a committee not form to oppose the increase, because that would waste $80,000 of the district's money for the special ballot it would have to sponsor. Well, cry us a river! Let Hub eat the $80k, it was he after all that cancelled the August 18 Board vote on the tax that would have allowed a public vote to piggyback on the November general elections - costing exactly nothing. On second thought, the Board should pitch in too since IT WAS THE BOARD WHO ALLOWED HUB TO GAME THE BOARD'S VOTE!!! Hub can do little without the Board's approval, but for some reason our Boards answer to their Superintendents instead of the other way around.

This legal "recourse" called a "recall", is mostly for looks. It is a near impossible task to accomplish in the short 45 day window, which is what the Board counts on. But a stalwart group of 5 citizens DID coalesce just three years ago when the School Board attempted a similar ruse. And the 5's monumental effort was rewarded with the Board cowardly dropping their tax to save the embarrassment awaiting them should they allow their constituents a voice. We thank that "stalwart 5" from 2013, but acknowledge it would be asking too much for them to undertake the task again. And this is where the "recall provision" is rigged. All a School Board has to do is grunt "aye" when the Board vote is taken, but the citizens are left with a near impossible task for "recourse". And the Board need only keep grunting "aye" time and again until they wear the populace down. RIGGED against the taxpayers for sure. If our Board's heart was right, it would allow the public a vote without forcing the recall burden upon them.

Worse this time is our illustrious School Board's satisfying the "letter" of the tax increase law, but giving the "spirit" of the law and their constituents a collective middle finger by scheduling their meeting to pass the tax immediately after the tax hearing. So much for considering and digesting the public's opinions and concerns. The Board's intentions are obviously a foregone conclusion.

Let us guess School Board - "it's all about the kids".  Yeah - right, the kids and Scott United! The Board has no legitimate reason to risk another construction delay that necessarily comes with a recall effort. The Board has ample money to construct a new high school yesterday and can make its case for future facility needs at a future time.

Shame on you "new" School Board!  With your taking advantage of the rigged system to force an unneeded tax increase and having your vote immediately after your little advertised "public hearing", we suppose you have no need for a "Plan B". 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

COVERT MEETING

So much for resolutions (see previous post).

KY State law provides for three types of public school board meetings - a required regularly scheduled monthly meeting; a special called meeting; and an emergency meeting. Nowhere does it allow for a "covert" meeting (or a "work session" for that matter). And boy has someone been busy playing with all these early January School Board meetings, adding last minute dates and then changing types of meetings back and forth trying to get them to balance. As of the moment there are three meetings in one week, four for the month, more than there are types of meetings, and tonight's meeting provides no agenda - a first and a very bad sign for what to expect from this "new" School Board. One thing's for sure - someone's in a big hurry to get a tax increase passed before the General Assembly gets underway, no matter how many meetings are required. But remember this - only the School Board can call meetings and hearings.

In a small column inch, legally required ad hidden in the "public notice" section of the December 27 edition of the Georgetown News Graphic was "notice" of a "public tax hearing" scheduled for next Tuesday, January 10. The notice was one of two such notices that state law requires be published in the local newspaper of a KY school district wishing to raise taxes even higher than the 4% those districts take each and every September. A second notice appeared in the same hidden location of the Tuesday, January 3 edition. Two new Scott School Board members were not even sworn in until that very Tuesday evening, well after that second notice was published. We can only conclude that these two new members were on board before they were even ON THE Board! We are accustomed to Scott School Boards conducting much of the public's business through serial private meetings, cell phone and email, but to do so BEFORE members are sworn in is a new low!

Nowhere in the Board meeting schedule the Board approved just after swearing in the two new members Tuesday evening was any mention of a Board meeting scheduled immediately after the public tax hearing (see today's News Graphic for that calendar of meetings). The January 10 "covert" meeting is for the purpose of passing the 9% tax increase. Now think about that. A "public" tax hearing is required by law so the School Board can hear from the public their thoughts concerning a proposed tax increase. Scheduling a meeting to pass the tax immediately after hearing from the public indicates a forgone conclusion and fulfills Superintendent Kevin Hub's sentiment that he "doesn't expect the community to get behind a tax increase, but does expect the community to not get in the way of one". Keeping the hearing and meeting covert helps insure no pesky public shows up.

Forgive us for not reminding you to be alert for Scott School Board shenanigans during busy Christmas breaks. It was over the 2011 Christmas break that the School Board famously put the construction of Lemons Mill Elementary ahead of a desperately needed second high school. And now under cover of Christmas Break AND the Garth/Principal debacle, news of the covert hearing and meeting is leaking.

Finally, in today's edition of the News Graphic (you must dig for it - it's hidden on page A12) is mention of not only a tax hearing just three business days away, but also the curious Board meeting that follows. The "covert" meeting is not included in the Board's meeting schedule just approved Tuesday evening, nor listed in the News Graphic's Community Calendar of Events. That calendar appears on page 4 of every News Graphic edition and always lists School Board Meetings. It was finally posted on the district's website today after this blog was posted. We had so hoped things would be different now?

In some ways they are. Gone is 12 year Board veteran Haley Conway, who spent his first ten years on the Board coveting the chairmanship, only to relegate his Chair duties over to his Superintendents once attaining that title in year 11. In his place now sits Chair Kevin Kidwell, overcoming senior Board member JoAnna Fryman's bid for that post.

Our questions are manifold. 1) Has the whole Terry Quillen forced resignation saga served as cover for the covert tax hearing and meeting? 2) When did the School Board vote to approve the tax hearing, its notices, and the expenditures for the publishing costs of those notices? 3) Are the two newest Board members ok with the hearing being scheduled before they were even seated? 4) Why did the school district avoid any mention of the hearing publicly on its website until this post forced them to? 5) Has the Georgetown News Graphic been complicit with the district in an attempt to suppress attendance at the hearing and meeting by not mentioning either in any news article until today or posting either in its Calendar of Community Events? 6) Was this covert meeting called by newly seated Board Chair Kevin Kidwell? If not, will he stand for it? If so, have things changed at all?

It's less than one week before a covert public hearing and meeting. Hmmm - covert public hearing and meeting? How's that for an oxymoron?

Looks like we will know if our new School Board is really "new" or themselves just another collection of oxymorons - in less than a week.





Saturday, December 31, 2016

COURSE CORRECTION 2017

Scott School Boards have abdicated many responsibilities over the years, choosing to lay most of those abdications off on their Superintendents. Twelve year Scott Board member and most recent Board Chair Haley Conway is famous for claiming his Board could not get involved in personnel matters. Superintendents hungry for power were fine with that and all sorts of shenanigans resulted, many resulting in lawsuits against the Board that yield settlements never making the newspaper. Will the 2017 Scott School Board continue the cop out and continue to let its policy responsibilities be co-opted by its Superintendents, and continue to allow the blatant nepotism so prevalent in the school district? A new Scott School Board Chair will be elected at an under advertised, recently added School Board meeting Tuesday night. If a first reading of Board Policy 03.11 is not on the agenda for that evening, we will know this - that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

State law directs School Boards to make, adopt, amend and repeal its policies and allows doing so without limitation, meaning it perfectly reasonable that a Board realizing a policy change mistake may change that policy at its first opportunity. That first opportunity comes Tuesday evening. That opportunity should be accompanied with an acknowledgement that the Board's action taken after returning to public meeting on December 15 after a private 3 hour executive session was ill advised, and a motion be put forth to strike said action. The result the Board was attempting with their misguided action can be properly realized by striking one sentence from Board Policy 03.11.

Of course this has to do with the recent forced resignation of popular Garth Elementary Principal Terry Quillen (see previous blog posts "Both Sides of Mouth" and "End Justifies Means") and questions the leadership skills of newly hired Superintendent Kevin Hub and questions the council the Board received during that December 15th Executive Session.

While Hub was within his rights (although contrary to a promise made to his Board on July 21) by offering Principal Quillen the option of resigning in lieu of termination, Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 161.790 makes it clear that outright termination is to be reserved for unrecoverable circumstances. 161.790 states - "As an alternative to termination, the superintendent may impose other sanctions including suspension without pay, public reprimand, or private reprimand" as just some methods of progressive discipline designed to foster growth for promising employees. This sentiment is repeated in Scott County Board policy 01.11.

Yet, newly hired Scott Schools Superintendent Kevin Hub made it clear at his first Scott School Board meeting on July 21st that his repertoire is limited to termination only, stating TWICE that once he sees opportunity to terminate, he will not even consider resignation in lieu of termination. Except when he does. Could it be Hub is jealous of the promise of the popular Principal and wishes to replace him with a Madison County friend?

We are finally rid of the last vestige of the School Boards that kept Scott County High School mired in overcrowding. 2017 can be a fresh start for a fresh Board. The Board can rectify the Garth debacle with a simple policy change. While at it, it can commit to constructing a "second" high school for Scott County with the ample funds it already has available, and save a delaying tax increase desire for future school facility needs.

2017 Scott School Board - please honor your constituents and take charge of your duties by directing your Superintendent to take his tax increase off the table, correct the Garth debacle, and address district nepotism. All this so our community can see real change - change that has an elected School Board directing the affairs of the district THROUGH its Superintendent, not the other way around.

It's 2017 - resolve to make this course correction! It is way past due.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

END JUSTIFIES MEANS?

We agree with all of our counterpart's point at the schstoobig facebook page EXCEPT that the Scott County School Board's contrived action at last Thursday's Scott County School Board meeting was "brilliant". Contrived for sure, but the action can't be brilliant, what with its being based on a lie and all.

At a meeting that spilled Garth Elementary parents into the hallway, Board Chair Haley Conway opened the meeting reiterating that the Board cannot get involved in personnel issues -  just before retiring to executive session to get involved in a personnel issue??? Maybe he means the Board can't get involved in personnel issues that it doesn't WANT to get involved in? Who knows? But even with the KY Commissioner of Education imploring School Boards to GET INVOLVED in personnel issues and not allow nepotism in their school district, Mr. Conway, with intimate knowledge of just such blatant nepotism in his district, avoids that personnel issue like the plague.

Returning from Executive Session almost four hours later, and in front of all those patient parents and sleepy children, 4 of the 5 School Board members had a lapse of integrity and voted to adopt a lie. And that is the ONLY action the Board took that evening regarding the matter. They did not "reject principal's request to rescind resignation" as the News Graphic headlined and reported, or anything else. They simply ruled that Principal Quillen voluntarily resigned, full well knowing the notion was not only not true, but contrived.

With it firmly established that new Scott School's Superintendent Kevin Hub offered popular Garth Principal Terry Quillen the option of resigning in lieu of being terminated for cause (see previous post below titled "Both Sides of Mouth") Board Members JoAnna Fryman and Jennifer Holbert, Vice Chair Kevin Kidwell, and Chair Haley Conway, made motion and actually VOTED to replace that reality with a lie. The lie - er - motion was worded "the evidence shows that it was more likely than not that the resignation was knowing and voluntary"!!! REALLY??? Hub had repeatedly acknowledged to Georgetown News Graphic reporter Dan Adkins that he had offered Quillen the opportunity to resign, and that acknowledgment had already been published in the previous Saturday's News Graphic! THERE'S YOUR EVIDENCE!!! Now we know few read Scogin's rag, but how about a little due diligence here people? Huh? And notice once again there has been no editorial from Scogin concerning a matter that involves his wife's employer.

Now maybe the Board, having painted themselves into this corner after approving Hub's "terminationlust" (wonderful term borrowed from the facebook post) policy change, was attempting to do right by the principal by revising established history with their lie of declaring that Principal Quillen "voluntarily resigned", thereby allowing the Garth Site Based Decision Making Council the option to rehire Quillen. But do the ends justify the means? We don't think so. A lie is a lie!

Consider this - previous Superintendent Patricia Putty found it an appropriate Superintendent's duty to "immediately" report a school bus driver's action to the police, who arrested and charged that driver. Now, a jury vindicated that bus driver and rightfully so, but the point is this - if the actions in this case warranted the "immediate" firing of the teacher and the forced resignation of a Principal, maybe the Board should fire its Superintendent for not "immediately" reporting the criminal action to the police. Just sayin. Or maybe he did. Maybe it's just that the Georgetown Police are a little gun shy (no pun intended) after destroying a good man's reputation, and are now facing a lawsuit for acting so "immediate". Who knows? Maybe the GPD sidestepped and passed it off to the State Police? If we had a legitimate newspaper that would investigate and report these obvious questions, we would know.

And has the "brilliant" School Board attorney considered this ramification - new members Diana Brooker and Susan Duncan will be asked to approve the minutes of last Thursday's meeting, cementing the lie for perpetuity. How fair is that? Recall previous Board Attorney Bob Chenowith reminding time and again that it is the Board minutes that are the official record of board events. Obviously whether those events are true or false, because this Board has approved minutes from many meetings that did not align with what actually happened at those meetings. But nothing ever like this! And now two individuals who had nothing to do with any of this will be asked to begin their Board tenures affirming a lie. Unbelievable! Unless that is, after reading this Conway calls a special meeting before the end of the year to approve those minutes before that eventuality, further cementing his own tarnished legacy.

That duly elected public officials choose to actually VOTE for a lie that allows history to be revised, just to get themselves out of a tough spot of their own making, speaks volumes.

Please Diana and Susan, bring some integrity to our school board. Ends never justify the means.






Sunday, December 11, 2016

BOTH SIDES OF MOUTH

Which are we to believe?

Scott County School Board Chairman Haley Conway opened the July 21 School Board meeting claiming it to be new Superintendent Kevin Hub's first School Board meeting as Superintendent of Scott County Schools. Why is that important? Because of what Hub had on his,   er,  the Board's agenda so early on.

While the Board was prepared to hear a second reading of Board policy 03.11 and its classified employee counterpart 03.21 that evening, Board Member JoAnna Fryman was understandably confused why there was a concurrent FIRST reading of the same policy. It was clear by the rest of the Board's muteness in response to Mrs. Fryman's questioning that Mrs. Fryman had not received the memo.

Turns out that new Superintendent Hub, again - at his first Board meeting, was asking the Board to change its long standing policy and specifically state in 03.11, that should the Superintendent terminate an employee of the district, that termination could NOT be effectively reversed by a Site Based Council or school Principal who could hire that employee back.     Uh, RED FLAG anyone?

Ask yourself, with all that was facing a new Superintendent at Scott County Schools, why would this policy change be a priority for Hub? AND TO ASK FOR APPROVAL OF IT AT HIS VERY FIRST BOARD MEETING? Why would it matter to Hub if he were on record with a termination of an employee and then a site based council or principal hire that individual back? That re-hire would not be on Hub should there be a problem. He would be on record as doing what he thought appropriate. Very Puttyesque indeed.

The Board, in typical Scott School Board fashion, voted 5/0 - aye. Incredible. And now, that policy change already has its first casualty. No matter how strong a case former Garth Elementary school Principal Terry Quillen may have, and no matter how much support he has from parents, teachers, PTO and Site Based Council - Board Policy 03.11, on record as being revised July 21, prohibits his being rehired, stating "Employees who are terminated for cause by the District, or resign in lieu of termination shall not be considered for any future employment by the District".  And we have the Scott County School Board to thank for giving up this critical prerogative and further empowering a position that has a recent history of abusing its workforce in Scott County. Wasn't employee abuse why this Board failed to renew former Superintendent Patricia Putty's contract? Go figure.

But believe it or not, that wasn't the most telling action of Hub's at his first meeting.

No - were you to take the time to watch and listen to the exchange concerning agenda items 22 and 23 on the video from the July 21 meeting (available under the Board of Education tab on the district's website), you will learn much about the character of Scott School's new Superintendent.

During the discussion of 03.11, Hub made ridicule of the policy's provision that allows a Superintendent to offer an employee about to be terminated for cause the option of resigning in lieu of that termination, stating he would never allow an employee he had determined worthy of termination that option. Then, five minutes further in that same discussion, Hub found it necessary to reiterate that in over 15 years of experience with such matters, he had NEVER allowed an employee he was terminating the option of resigning in lieu of that termination. What a tough guy!\

Except that two weeks later, with cause extraordinaire, Hub allowed Scott's Director of Safety to - you guessed it - RESIGN IN LIEU OF TERMINATION!!!

And now Hub has done it again, allowing Garth Principal Quillen the option of resigning in lieu of what Hub considered cause for termination.

A man of his word? Remember, Hub volunteered his vow to never allow resignations in lieu of termination. Trustworthy? We were first concerned of Hub's convictions when he stated that he "didn't expect the community to get behind a tax increase, but did expect the community to not get in the way of one either". Hmmm? First red flag. Now we learn Hub is hiring Madison County friends for the positions he terminates and allowing a festering nepotism situation to blatantly continue just because he will not be told what and what not to do. Tough guy indeed.

We ask again - will Scott County get a SECOND high school, or just a NEW high school? Who knows when someone speaks out of both sides of their mouth?  Hub is the one after all who doubled the proposed Great Crossing High School's capacity that absorbs the $27 million he materialized out of thin air. Should the Ninth Grade School be allowed to continue and remain where it is, the doubled GCHS capacity will make it sufficient as a single high school.

We know one thing - we don't trust this man or a School Board willing to cover up the hidden $27 million with a tax increase for whichever!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

November 8th's perfect storm presents a perfect solution for a Scott County School District that has failed its duty to provide for its high school students. Can you spell  "charter" ?  We can and it's spelled GCCS. Before you scoff, consider the case.

Even before the Republican sweep of the state house a couple of weeks ago, Governor Matt Bevin had proposed charter pilot schools for Fayette and Jefferson counties be considered in the upcoming General Assembly. Now, with the Republican sweep complete and President-Elect Trump naming charter school champion Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, the door is open - as are the ears. A case for a charter high school in Scott County is an easy case to make, compliments of the long ignored overcrowding at SCHS AND the shenanigans promulgated by Scott School Boards and Administrations past and present. Lets start with present.

Recall new Scott Superintendent Kevin Hub, on the job for less than a month, placing a vote on a 9% tax increase on the August 18th School Board meeting agenda. Bold, Mike Scogin commented.  Hardly.  We would characterize it as audacious. Even more audacious was Hub's removing that vote once he calculated the tax increase did not have the votes to pass.

Taking the audacity cake though, possibly unethical, was Hub announcing he would PRESERVE the vote until a more tax favorable Board is seated in January 2017. Now that's rigging the results folks. What is it with Scott School Superintendents? One meeting with Scott United and ethics appear to fly out the door.

And our Board and its Chair sat back as if bystanders.

In fact, this ethical lapse also falls on the Board Chair. You see, our Board Chairman was derelict in his duty to "direct" the Board meeting agenda, instead allowing Superintendent Hub free reign to assume that duty. In this case, conveniently so.  While Chair Haley Conway may well have endorsed the tax vote initially being placed on the agenda, once he realized he would end up the tie breaker, he discovered he had scheduled a vacation for the August 18th vote. Thus presenting Hub with a 2/2 tie that would fail to pass his recommendation to approve the tax increase.

Why would Conway, after "remembering" his vacation plans weeks before the scheduled vote, have not just postponed the vote until the next meeting? It is after all his prerogative as Chair (in this context we use prerogative in the pejorative). No, Conway wanted the tax just as much as Hub, but without the courage of his convictions preferred a future Board secure it. His silence concerning the entire matter demonstrated his support of preserving the vote for a future tax favorable Board. But he figured that his bud and fellow tax proponent Jennifer Holbert would be around for that vote. He figured wrong. On everything. What a legacy he leaves.

But even better to demonstrate Scott's deserving of a charter school to fix their mess is the case of the missing $27 million of bonding (see blog post below titled "Why The Cover Up?). And the cover up is on every Board member who accepts, by their silence, the ludicrous explanation by Hub and his buds at Hilliard Lyons of how our bonding more than doubled in six months time. Puleeze. You, each and every one should be ashamed for keeping the truth of this matter from the public. Who are you protecting? Nevermind - we know. It's Moon Pie. Shame on you.

But the zinger for a Great Crossing Charter School argument will be if Hub continues his call for a tax increase. You see, the same November 8 election results will finally repeal the "prevailing wage" legislation that requires workers on public construction projects be paid in excess of 25% above market wages. That repeal, coming in this winter's General Assembly, will save the proposed GCHS project around $10 million. The $10 million savings, added to the hidden $27 million, added to the $25 million plus already admitted to in bonding, and additional bonding growth, absolutely closes the case on whether Scott needs a tax increase. If Hub and the Board still claim GCHS cannot be built without a tax increase, they open the door wide open for a GCCS.

At Thursday's School Board meeting the Board approved essentially canceling the state approved plans for Patricia Putty's phased GCHS and replaced them by submitting a BG1 form that requests the state approve plans for a newly designed GCHS. These new plans will move GCHS to Betsy Way, well off the Luscher/Putty fill site. We heartily endorse these actions and note that this new GCHS has been quietly underway for sometime. And its been underway because GCHS will be built whether a tax increase comes or not. Why? Because GCHS must be built and CAN BE with no tax increase. There is no other choice save a charter school. And you can bet Hub nor the Board want that. Our only question is whether our "new" high school will be a "second" high school.

But should Hub and Co. continue their attempt to extort a tax increase from the construction of GCHS, we will make the case to KY Secretary of Education Hal Heiner that Scott County is the perfect test bed for a charter school, one that would have to turn students away.

Yes, elections have consequences. And so does corruption. Scott students deserve a charter school and would line up for one. But it is Scott School Boards and Administrations past and present that REALLY deserve a charter school.