Thursday, August 31, 2017

UNPRECEDENTED

While certainly not winning the war, the battles won by schstoobig and its supporters are unprecedented. Consider the consequences that occurred after schstoobig's efforts to educate the Scott County community regarding the shenanigans going on at Scott County Schools:

Roger Ward / Scott School Board Chair - ousted by the voters losing all 9 of his precincts;
Becky Sams / Former long time Chair - smarter than Roger and chose not to run for re-election;
Phyllis Young / School Board Chair - ousted by voters;
Luther Mason / Board Member - ousted by voters;
Patricia Putty / Superintendent - contract non-renewed;
Mike Luscher / Director of Facilities - retired one more time after losing his alliance;
Alliance Corporation / Long time SCS project construction manager with curious bid skills - victims of a change order;
Matt Thompson / ASSL (Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning) - saw the writing on the wall;
Rick Culross / ASSO - followed Matt's lead as well as his coat tails;
Roy Prince / Artistic Director of Transportation - AWOL;
Roger Kerns / Roy's Igor - fizzled after Roy went AWOL;
Mark Wickersham / Safety Director - terminated after new Super determined he had no skill set outside driving on sidewalks;
Joetta Crowe / Cardinal Academy Principal - saw the writing on the wall;
Frank Howatt / Peter Principle Human Resources Director - demoted to an Asst. of an Asst. position;
Tom "Gerrymander" McKee / State Representative and father of football coach - ousted by the very Scott County voters he gerrymandered;
Sherman, Carter, Barnhart Architects - ousted after proposing to build GCHS on a fill site;
etc, etc.

ALL HISTORY! And an ugly history it is.

Probably the most consequential battle won for the benefit of Scott County taxpayers was the school district's dis-association with Alliance Corporation. The icing on that cake was the concurrent departure of Mike Luscher from his role of Facilities Director and Alliance liason.

Probably the most consequential battle won for non-administrative district employees was the contract non-renewal of Superintendent Putty and the subsequent mass exodus of her administrative staff, although of little recompense to the many whose vocations and reputations were ruined by this malicious bunch. Most affected were the 28 transportation employees who had the gall to complain that Putty's Artistic Director of Transportation Roy Prince discussed and drew a penis for them on a flip chart during a mandatory meeting. Putty found "no violation" but soon after made working for Scott County Schools pretty miserable for the 28, and found and even fabricated reasons for some to be terminated. Yet Prince remained on the payroll (although absent from the workplace for the last year or so) until his retirement was sufficiently spiked in October 2016.  Lawsuits are pending to this day, but lawsuits will not restore the reputations of good people.

And there were other battles won, but by in large the the most consequential battle lost was Great Crossing High School (GCHS) successfully being held hostage to a tax increase. All we can say here is that it is very difficult to "fix stupid". Anyone who believes that feeding the organism that is Scott County Schools even more money as an answer for anything is simply a useful idiot. Already underway are the filling of more and more unneeded positions as well as other efforts to consume the 25% increase the recent tax increase brought to the school district's annual coffers. (see the last paragraph of GCHS on page 16 of the August 15 edition of the Georgetown News Graphic) You see, the organism must always be able to demonstrate it "needs" more, therefore it must always consume all funds provided. The extra $5 million a year now going into the bottomless pit known as the General Fund was not needed, just as the increase in bonding potential (borrowing ability) that the $5 million supports was not needed to construct GCHS.

As this blog soon retires, do not forget the "two pots of money" - the General Fund and the Construction Fund. Do not forget that the General Fund is where money is wasted and the Construction Fund is where money leaks. Both funds are ultimately the School Board's responsibility and it is here that we hope the schstoobig facebook page is wrong in its assessment that despite the battles won, it seems to be the  "same game - different players". And don't be surprised if the "second" high school becomes just a "new" high school. The News Graphic has already quietly stopped referring to GCHS as a "second" high school, preferring now to call it a "new" high school.

We thank the ten or so who in 2012 expended their time and treasure to fill the Georgetown News Graphic's abandoned role of community watchdog of its taxing entities such as the school board and the library board. We thank the anti - tax committee who successfully overcame the 2013 School Board's outrageous attempt to raise property taxes 27% and the 2017 committee, whose valiant attempt to stop this last increase failed (again - it's hard to fix stupid). We thank all those who encouraged us along the way, including the 127,000 visits to read this blog.

To Roger Ward, whose conniptions we so enjoyed each time we weren't stupid enough to acquiesce to his elitist demand that we allow ourselves to be marginalized by giving up our anonymity - just ask Tish, Rog. She knows us by our middle name - Resolve.



P.S. - The folks at the schstoobig facebook page have committed to continue alerting you to the community goings on that the News Graphic avoids. Become a friend there if not already. They will watch the two pots and have also committed to keep an eye on Scott United's tax returns to see how Toyota's gift of $2 million gets accounted for by this Chamber of Commerce look-alike. And if needed we will resurrect the blog. Just watch the facebook page,




Monday, September 28, 2015

"PUBLIC SCRUTINY" the 2014-15 Salary List


Suspicion anyone who criticizes our release of this salary list. Remember this is public sector, not private. That is why KY law requires school districts provide for "public scrutiny" of the salary list for each fiscal year just ended. Shame your local newspaper to whom the list must be provided will not publish it.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recommends school districts spend no more than 73% of their annual operating budget on salaries.  Scott County Schools spends 83% of its $54 million budget. According to KDE's recommendation, Scott County should spend NO MORE than 73% of $54,000,000 or $39,420,000, but in fact spends 83% of $54,000,000 or $44,820,000.  $44,820,000 minus $39,420,00 means Scott County Schools spends $5,400,000 more than the maximum recommendation on salaries EACH AND EVERY YEAR!!!

No one, least of all us, begrudges any of the teachers and necessary support personnel in the list below their well deserved salaries.  But there's plenty of names on this list whose efforts have little or nothing to do with students in the classroom.  Over five million dollars each and every year is spent on employees whose activities lie outside the classroom, explaining all those bimmers and such choking the parking lot outside Central Office during school hours many school days. Who knows where they are when not at Central Office? And we wonder why we haven't the money to build a proper second high school.

Remember, there are two piles of money in school districts - the General Fund and the Construction Fund. The General Fund funds the operating budget, and the Construction Fund builds our schools.  Scott County Schools robs its Construction Fund regularly to satiate its salary appetite, yet never provides its Construction Fund any General Funds money, which is entirely allowable and even encouraged by law. The salary list below is where  $44,820,00 of the General Fund is spent each year, leaving just $9 million dollars to operate all other facets of the district. No wonder we could never (and still can't) afford all day kindergarten.

Each year in early September your duly elected School Board raises your school taxes 4%, just as they did a few weeks ago again this year.  Just a couple of years ago the Roger Ward led School Board approved an outrageous 27% school tax increase, but rescinded it only when a citizen petition forced it to be placed for a public vote. Our current School Board can not snap its fingers and undo the years of previous Board's complacency (or complicity), but contribute to our salary burden by not scrutinizing new hiring and new positions.  Analysis of the list below shows that in the last two years alone, non-school bus driving personnel costs in Scott's Transportation Department have increased over $200,000 dollars. Well over $200 thousand in fact, just in administrative positions in this one department. Where's the value added?  Take your 4% if you must School Board, but don't expect the taxpayers of this county to ante up any more to cover the excesses.

KY State Law requires school districts to provide the list below to their local newspaper.  Your newspaper's publisher, Mike Scogin, receives but chooses to not publish the list, claiming it too expensive to do so.  He also refused to provide a copy of the list this year (see previous post) and refused to quote a price for others to pay him to publish the list.  But his heart is truly revealed in his not posting it on his newspaper's website. There, it costs him nothing, save perhaps his wife's job in the school district and his paper's propping up.

Remember the list below is for what each listed employee was paid for the entire fiscal year ended this past June 30.  Low salaries may be explained by an employee not working the entire year. Oh, and understand there are many different contract terms - such as Mike Luscher's 100 day a year contract, all the way up to "full time" 260 day contracts that the list doesn't specify. Should you wish to compare to the 2013-14 list we posted last year, you must search the "older posts"  and go to the September 24, 2014 post "Public Trough".  The random nature of the list is Superintendent Putty's signature. Wonder who it is she has purposely randomize it.

While this list doesn't explain where the construction money goes, it does show why we can't fix Garth's AC.




















Wednesday, September 24, 2014

THE PUBLIC TROUGH


Can you remember when there was an element of sacrifice to work in a local school system?  The pay was not much but the benefits and the hours helped offset the sacrifice. Well, it’s still that way for the lower paid classified employees such as cafeteria workers, custodial staff and bus drivers, but the pay for the rest way outpaces private sector jobs. You will find the proof below. Yes, and all with job schedules unlike anywhere else! Just choose – do you want to work 100 days a year? 185 days? 240 days or a full contract of 260 days? Your choice and the excellent benefits remain. Plus there’s double, even triple dipping on retirement, meaning you can retire and draw your retirement check, all the while going back to work at your same previous high rate of pay, and the school system contributes money to your second or even third retirement account.

And now we know why so many keep quiet. These high salaries buy a lot of silence. So it’s no surprise that most of the complaints that come to the schstoobig confidential email account are from the lower paid employees. But most interesting is that none – zero – of those complaints have been about pay.  Rather, the complaints are all about either wrong doing or mistreatment they suffer at the hands of the high salaried.

Below you will find the purposely randomized, raw data the Scott County School Board provided the reluctant Georgetown News Graphic to minimally satisfy the latest state law we have called them on. The law does not require the News Graphic to print it.  But you should. A big "THANK YOU" to Carole Landry for acquiring this copy of the list from the News Graphic. Let us know if you need your own copy.

Some notes : the district went to pains to randomize the data. It is not organized either alphabetically, numerically, vocationally or otherwise - it is random to make it difficult to analyze. This alone should tell you more than you need to know.

It's not alphabetical for a couple of reasons. First, it prevents easily finding an individual's or a peer's salary. But more importantly, it prevents the community from seeing how many high paid administrators have spouses and children feeding well at the same trough.

The dollar amounts do not necessarily reflect a salary. The dollar amounts reflect what the Board paid out to each individual listed over the course of the 2013-14 school year - not necessarily that individual's salary. For example - newly hired Director of Safety Mark Wikersham worked only a couple of months after being hired before taking a leave of absence for the balance of the year after his DUI arrest (he was welcomed back by Board Member Becky Sams at the September 9th board meeting). His amount therefore is low as are others such as newly hired Director of Transportation Roy Prince, etc.

Another reason a salary may appear low is because no information is provided as to what position each individual holds nor, and more importantly - how many days their contract requires they work a year. While a typical full time job is a 260 day contract, many of these dollar amounts reflect greatly reduced days. For example - Director of Facilities Mike Luscher is a 100 day employee. Not bad pay for 100 days. Especially for a double dipper!
We intend soon to have some OCR software that will allow us to enter this list into a spreadsheet. Then some meaningful analysis can begin. We will also explore the hundreds of thousands of dollars Scott County taxpayers are spending yearly on employees who work not for Scott County Schools but rather for the KDE under an arrangement called – Memorandum of Agreement. Certainly notice the over $100,000 salaries but the big news here is the proliferation of $60 to $90,000 salaries. And remember, this data is for the last school year.  Those $90,000 salaries are now likely $100,000.  Enjoy.