Thursday, August 31, 2017


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,

Thursday, April 20, 2017


What is the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce if not a "local private agency that focuses on economic development efforts that will benefit Georgetown, Scott County and the surrounding region"?

That description however was ascribed to Scott County United in the April 11, 2017 Georgetown News Graphic's coverage of Toyota's re-investment in its facility AND its generous $2 million gift to Scott United. What exactly is the role of this curious little "private agency" (as characterized by the GNG article) with zero web presence and tax returns that reflect upwards of 70% of their revenues are spent on "administrative costs" and whose stated purpose mirrors that of the local Chamber of Commerce?

It's a legitimate question, especially considering that Jack Conner, the Executive Director of the Georgetown/ Scott County Chamber of Commerce also participates as a principal of Scott United. And this quote from the same GNG article from local property appraiser and current President of Scott United, Mike Hockensmith - "From the standpoint of Scott County United, this (the $2 mil) puts us on a level to be competitive with the other communities and what kind of expenditures they have for economic development." Hmmm? This statement implies that Jack Conner and his Chamber of Commerce aren't getting the job done for Georgetown and Scott County. We don't think that is the case however.

We think if Scott County United were truly about its stated mission, it would minimally host a web site, don't you think? As of this writing it hasn't, but probably will now, lol. No, we think Scott County United serves some other purpose. Nothing else makes sense.

What could that other purpose be? Well, first consider what Scott United has contributed to the "economic development of Georgetown, Scott County and the surrounding region" all these years - other than its sponsorship of "Leadership Scott County", an effort that hardly consumes the amount of revenue that the "agency's" tax returns reflect passing through? Were this "private agency" performing any works, significant or otherwise, you can bet you would be reading about it ad nauseam in Scott United's pawn publication - the Georgetown News Graphic. But you don't. So we can only speculate, based on what little is known and what is observable from this little "private agency". Here's what we know and what we have observed.

We know that members of this group lay very low, but do show up whenever the Superintendency of Scott County Public Schools is up for grabs. Remember that the Scott County School Superintendent commands a budget ($60 million annually), second only to Toyota locally and commands almost $300 million of bonding capacity.

Recall next that the 2008 Scott Schools Superintendent search generated  applications from 26 qualified candidates, but produced as Superintendent one Patricia Putty, who did not even apply for the position. We also know that soon after her arrival, Patricia Putty served on a community committee to consider a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) arrangement that would have financed the interstate 75 interchange that was first proposed just before her appointment as Superintendent. Had the recession not derailed the TIF, Putty could well have helped the approval of the TIF.

We mention this because concurrent to the TIF effort, Superintendent Putty appointed influential Frankfort lobbyist, Scott County resident and influencer for hire John Cooper to Chair the 2010 Scott County Schools Local Planning Committee and populated the committee with Scott United principal Mike Hockensmith and other Scott United "agents". That very John Cooper chaired and Scott United populated LPC replaced the Scott School's District Facility Plan's next up second high school with an unneeded Lemons Mill Elementary, the outlandish elementary school now replete with lighted tennis courts and ball fields and commonly called "Putty Palace" (especially on Sundays). And we mention THIS because influencer for hire John Cooper was at the time representing the private developer needing an interstate exchange to develop a regional shopping center that would rival Hamburg just east of the Toyota plant. The project was contingent on the interstate exchange being provided by the TIF.

We call the whole debacle - "TIF for TAT". Tat being LME.

The same John Cooper, a long time principal (maybe founder) of Scott County United, was witnessed huddled at Logan's Restaurant in Frankfort with then Scott County Board of Education Chairman Haley Conway; Scott County United's current President Mike Hockensmith (who appraised those years ago the 100 plus acres where ECS sits and Great Crossing High is to be built at $21,000 an acre); Scott County Chamber of Commerce's Executive Director and Scott County United principal Jack Conner; and Toyota's Manager of Community and Government Relations and Scott County United principal Kim Menke. This delicious dinner with Haley Conway and Scott United's big four occurred during the period of time the Scott School Board was considering their choice to replace non-renewed Superintendent Patricia Putty. We are confident that the Scott United contingent called the meeting to "focus on economic development".

Toyota's Menke was also conspicuously witnessed in attendance at several Scott School Board meetings during the same period. Mr. Menke has not attended meetings since the appointment of tax raising Superintendent Kevin Hub nor before the School Board began its Superintendent search. Guess it all falls under his duties as Toyota's Manager of Community and Government Relations. Or whatever his duties are at Scott United.

Toyota's April 10 announcement of the $2 million gift to Scott United came shortly after the deadline for a petition effort that would have required Superintendent Kevin Hub's (or somebody's ) 11% property tax increase to be placed on a ballot had the petition effort been successful. From the same News Graphic article - "the company (Toyota) has been discussing the donations with local government leaders for some months". Hmmm? Wonder if they were waiting for the school's tax increase to pass before passing on $2 million to Scott United? Otherwise the gift may have been seen as a slap in the face to a school district claiming near destitution. Remember that the Scott County School Board was poised to begin construction of a second high school in the spring of 2016 but balked for a lack of $2 million to complete the proposed facility's library.

Where was Scott United, the Chamber of Commerce and Toyota all these years high school students have been packed like sardines in the single SCHS? Nary a word from the Chamber of Commerce or its mirror Scott United concerning a high school situation that surely negatively affected "economic development". It's hard to know where the $4 plus million per year school tax increase will filter, but its clear that all parties are now fat and happy. And it remains curious that Fayette County School's Superintendent Tom Shelton got the boot for a mere $20 million gone missing, yet no one, not even Scott County School's Director of Finance was held accountable for the suppressed $27 million that otherwise would be opening a second high school this August.

And this - in the same edition of the GNG, Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather praised the $2 million gift to Scott County United stating - "(the gift) will allow the agency to perform market research and target specific industries and companies to recruit to the county". Wonder what this leaves the local Chamber of Commerce to do, Mr. Mayor? It will be well after the fact but you can count on us to watch and report on Scott United's tax returns to see if the $2 million gift is spent as the Mayor claims it will.

If you think your elected officials are running Scott County, you are probably paying more attention to Camping World's flag than the fiscal affairs of Scott's public AND private agencies. Nonetheless, it's a legitimate question - why do we need a Chamber of Commerce when Toyota finds its money better spent with "private agency" Scott United?

Happy taxpaying!

Thursday, March 2, 2017


No, not the County Clerk lol - a tax increase, of course!  Next best? Malleable Board members.

Obviously taught Tax Raising 101 at Superintendent School, Scott School's new Superintendent Kevin Hub crafted a doozy. By gaming an assured Board tax vote loss from last August, Hub turned two NO votes into one School Board Chair and one Vice Chair, resulting in two YES votes on January 10. And by so doing avoided a sure loss at the November general election ballot box were a recall petition to have been successful back then, whereas he would stand a good chance of winning at a special called election in April. What's $80,000 of aging flooring to this guy to assure a win that will net him $4.1 million each and every year for perpetuity? Too bad Super School doesn't place the same emphasis on one's sincerity. Hub's letter to his Board honoring January as "School Board Month" was a verbatim copy (except for the Board members names) as was published prior in the January 18 edition of the Owen County News Herald by Owen County Schools Superintendent Robert Stafford.

Continuing the lack of vision legacy of Scott County School Boards of yore, by sidling up to Hub the 2017 Scott Board saddles the 2020 and beyond Boards with Hub's premature January 2017 11.5% tax increase. Emboldened after sweating for 45 days what they would do in the unlikely event of a voter recall (see the headline piece in the February 28 Georgetown News Graphic), only one thing now stands in the way of the 2017 Board delivering on the promises they made to sell Hub's tax increase  - basic MATH.

The 2017 Board promoted and justified his tax increase as addressing the current and future facility needs of the Scott County school district, some $206 million they claim to have in what they call "unmet facility needs". Rather, the bonding generated by the Board's 11.5% tax increase will do well to build its single taj mahal high school and at most one elementary school. And that is only if it is a small elementary school AND if the state allows equalization dollars of an additional $10 million. Both unlikely.

Although sold as a method to increase the district's bonding potential from its mysterious $60 million to $95 million (well short of the $206 million claimed needed), the tax increase now appears about TWO things - the tax increase itself with the annual $4.1 million and growing it will contribute each and every year to the district's out of control operating budget AND the construction of a "single" high school that will preserve the Scott Administrative State's (SAS) elusive athletic dynasty goal. PLAIN AND SIMPLE, and now no doubt about it, what with the fix seated. With ample bonding to have built a second high school without the delaying tax increase AND an opportunity to repair the divide between the Board and the community, nothing else explains the money grab.

The fact is that $60 million of current bonding potential, coupled with the savings from the repeal of prevailing wage could have built the second high school the district needed without delay, but could not build the "single" taj mahal high school demanded by the Scott Deep State (SDS) and the SAS. There simply is no other reason for the 2017 School Board to not acknowledge the community's deep and legitimate distrust of recent School Boards. Instead it squanders an opportunity to repair that relationship by forcing the tax increase. Don't they think we deserve to know how we got to the point of having $206 million of "unmet facility needs"?

Here's what to watch for -

     1 - a short lived quiet period for the now fat and happy district administration and SDS. Things will go well for them on cruise control with the additional $4.1 million a year the 11.5% tax increase adds to their current $60 million annual budget with which to throw at problems. The additional $4.1 million also effectively reduces by a few percentage points the current 87% that district salaries eat of the current $60 million annual operating budget. Not because of any effort to get those salaries under control mind you, but that those existing salaries will automatically become less of a percentage as the budget grows by the $4.1 million. Regardless, the district will continue its spending over $5 million each and every year more than the Kentucky Department of Education recommends they spend on salaries!

     2 - taxpayers to soon realize a "nickel" tax increase doesn't mean their tax bill only goes up 5 cents. This thanks to a Georgetown News Graphic that would never characterize the 11.5% tax increase as anything other than a "nickel" increase.

     3 - the total cost of the "new" taj mahal high school to consume most all of the bonding the tax increase will generate. Should the district be able to eek out a claimed needed 9th elementary school from the bonding, it will only be because of the state's recent and under acknowledged repeal of the oppressive "prevailing wage" and a possible $10 million State contribution of what it calls "equalization" dollars. You can forget a fourth middle school and an tenth elementary school. Those will require another tax increase and will be what saddles future School Boards - if they in fact are needed as claimed.

     4 - to not hear any mention should the state not contribute those "equalization" dollars.

     5 - as with all Scott school buildings, never to hear from the Board a final cost for the "new" high school or a final accounting each year of the additional and growing $4.1 million.

     6 - the other schools (a second elementary and a middle school) the Board claimed a desperate district need as justification for the 11.5% tax increase -  to be less and less mentioned. Already the GNG has dropped the second elementary from its report in today's paper. It is these needs that the 2020 and subsequent School Boards will discover will cause a revolt should they return to the taxpayers to bail them out yet again. Thanks a lot 2017 Board! Vision would have been to build an expandable second high school with the available bonding before approaching the community for the justifiable tax increase needed at that time. And one School Board member considers herself a "fiscal conservative". Yeah, right. Sorry, but actions speak louder than words Mrs. Duncan!

     7 - the 2018 Local Planning Committee appointed by the Superintendent to continue with a Ninth Grade School on its District Facility Plan, enabling the Board to claim a year later when the "new" high school nears completion that they, as prudent fiscal stewards of the taxpayer's dollars, now find it fiscally prudent for the district to remain a single high school district with a Ninth Grade School remaining. This despite the 2017 Board's claim of "EXPLODING" school population numbers used to coerce the 11.5% tax increase and the current District Facility Plan calling for the elimination of the Ninth Grade School.

     8 - Georgetown News Graphic Editor and Publisher Mike Scogin, whose wife is employed by the Scott County School Board, to continue his conflicts of interest and continue as the district's and the SDS's pawn.

     9 - no accountability or reasons for why Scott County Schools have not provided over the years for its student's facility needs ($206 million in unmet needs?) as even the poorest school districts in the state have been able.

    10 - the Scott Deep State's influence to grow.

    11 - the "new" high school opening as an unfinished facility (should it open on time at all)  in August of 2019. The Board will fall all over itself to assure all that "safety is of the utmost importance to the Board". Had the Board built the second high school that it could have and without the delay caused by the tax increase, GCHS would easily have opened as a completed facility even earlier.

12 - and lastly - a Charter High School!

So now we cede this noble battle and hence cede our public school system to the SDS and the SAS. For now. Now we turn our energies to House Bill 520 - Charter schools for KY. Although appearing stalled at the moment, Charter schools for KY are inevitable. We want to be ready when Charter is ready.

To that end, please consider joining our effort with a confidential email contact via There we will begin to assemble a confidential list of Charter supporters that with individual permission we will use to complement our lobbying effort to keep the issue before the General Assembly. We will not and have never violated the confidentiality of our email contacts. You do not have to be the parent of a potential student to support Charter in Scott County. You need only to care about the proper and effective use of taxpayer dollars as relates to the education of our young.

Charter will do that. And improve the public system at the same time.

And a public school Superintendent's worst friend? You bet!    

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Hitch Up Your Britches"

In our opinion, Georgetown News Graphic Publisher and Editor Mike Scogin has crossed an ethical line by criticizing the author of a "Letter To The Editor" published in his own newspaper. And by so doing chills the free expression and submission of opinions that otherwise doesn't align with Mr. Scogin's.

Scogin has long skirted ethical lines as regards his wife's employer, the Scott County Board of Education, but has come ever closer to crossing the line since a committee formed to oppose the Board's January 10, 10% tax increase. Scogin, in our opinion and possibly The Society of Professional Journalist's opinion, crossed an ethical line in a "commentary" in the Saturday, February 18 edition of the News Graphic. There on page 5 Scogin thinly veils the identity of his scorn by claiming he is addressing the pro-recall petition submissions of "several" people who he has published "over the past weeks". A review of all editions back to the January 2 edition reveals Mr. Scogin's target is most likely frequent contributor Judy Rembacki.  Since January 2, we find Scogin publishing only two pro-recall submissions, while publishing three pro-tax editorials, one pro-tax commentary and two pro-tax letters to the editor. Only Ms. Rembacki appears to have crossed Mr. Scogin's line by writing a "letter to the editor" supporting signing the recall petition published in Scogin's February 2 edition. Prior to that submission, Scogin had never criticized Ms. Rembacki 's letters or commentaries.

Hiding his singular target in plurality, Scogin claims he is responding to the writerS' "absurd logic" and claims the writerS are neither "visionaries, truth-tellers or supporters of education". And then he claims that "both (?) are quick to say Republicans are the antichrist, and therefore Scott County's children be damned". We find no such reprehensible language from Ms. Rembacki or any other contributor.

We do find Scogin skirting ethical lines by obvious intimidation through his recent editorials. His January 7 editorial titled "SCHOOL BOARD MUST APPROVE TAX INCREASE" was clearly written to intimidate a January 10 tax increase approval from the School Board when he wrote "For parents and grandparents with students from sixth grade and below, this vote hits home. Because it will be your children and grandchildren who will either benefit or suffer as a result of the school board's decision that will be made this week". Where was Scogin and his editorials when the School Board elected to continue the suffering by approving using the funds reserved for a second high school be used instead for John Cooper and Scott United's Lemons Mill Elementary? And why did Scogin not support a "suffering relieving" second high school that could already be under construction with the additional $27 million bonding that appeared from thin air last August? And Scogin never mentions the savings the School Board will realize from the repeal of the prevailing wage, or the Board's recent approval of $1.5 million of construction funds being spent to upgrade a sports track, preferring instead to say "all questions have been answered" as relates to the tax increase.

Then in a January 12 editorial praising the School Board's approval of a tax increase, Scogin outright lied to the community when he stated "The tax increase can only be spent on facilities. It cannot be used for salaries, instructional resources, school supplies,etc." Lie might be too harsh a word had Scogin's paper not TWICE prior published the Board's legal notice stating that of the additional $4,068,017.57 annual revenue the tax will generate, $842,459.29 will go to "instruction", $104,165.63 will go to transportation, $168,508.93 will go to maintenance and $45,766.14 TO THE COST OF COLLECTIONS!!!! EACH AND EVERY YEAR FROM NOW ON!!!  But Scogin to this day has not published a correction that we can find that corrects his "mistake" that has mislead this community and violates The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics that requires journalists "Admit mistakes and correct them promptly".

Then Scogin intimidates and lies again in a January 24 editorial titled "There's no Plan B; schools need tax" stating in giant bold print in the margin - "But make no mistake, Scott County needs a new high school and the only way that will happen is if the 5.7 cent property tax is levied. For parents with children in grades six and below, pay attention because this problem is going to land at your children's door step".  Make no mistake Mike - Scott County Schools could already have a "second" high school under construction with the bonding already at its disposal! Shame on you! And shame on you for intimidating the parents!

And there can be no doubt that Scogin's wife being employed by the School Board and the School Board's extensive paid publications in Scogin's paper violates The Society's admonition that "professional journalists" "avoid conflicts of interest, real or percieved". With his wife being paid by the Board and the Board providing Scogin's newspaper substantial revenue, Scogin should have recused his opinions from the tax increase issue. Should the tax recall petition not be successful, we are not sure that a case couldn't be made that Scogin and his enterprise have interfered with the tax passage AND the subsequent recall process.

And now, in Saturday's commentary, Scogin admits his "anger" about the petition drive and then threatens that "If the petition succeeds and a recall election is held" we are to "hitch up our britches" while he stands "beside our school board and superintendent fighting for each and every vote." He goes on to justify his threats because of his belief that "it is absolutely necessary if we truly want the vitality of our community to continue...".

We aren't sure that The Society of Professional Journalists might rather conclude that Mr. Scogin isn't instead more concerned with the vitality of his wife's paycheck and his newspaper revenue than the community he and his paper has failed. Mike Scogin has overstepped the "power of the press".

Anybody know an attorney willing to "hitch up his britches"?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


THE NOTION came to us some time back via a trusted adviser. As we always endeavor to post only what we can substantiate, we have sat on the notion. But considered in their entirety what might otherwise be individual coincidental circumstances, and now a certain facebook exchange, all has us asking you consider those circumstances through the lens of THE NOTION. Again though, with our disclaimer that the notion remains unsubstantiated as of this writing.

At the top of the list of conjectured rationale of why Scott County High School was allowed to grow to and beyond the point of overcrowding, has been a notion that an influential group demanded Scott County's high school remain a single high school - all to foster a sports dynasty. First came then Superintendent Dallas Blankenship's tax increase to construct a mega high school back in the early 90's that was summarily defeated once that tax increase went to the polls for a vote by the community. Our Georgetown News Graphic's publisher and editor Mike Scogin (whose wife is employed by the Scott County Board of Education) has over the years since and as recently as a month ago editorialized his complaint that Scott County School's facility quagmire resulted from that voter rejection. HARDLY! The downscaled, unexpandable and overcrowded SCHS sitting with its trailers on its current landlocked site with the subsequent decades of bonding being exhausted for other projects are payback to those voters of yore. All while the overcrowding grew.

The ultimate slap in the face though came from Blankenship's successor, Patricia Putty. Saddled with a 2006 District Facility Plan (DFP) requiring she complete a phased second high school before any other projects could be undertaken, Putty began dismantling that DFP. The 2006 DFP, recognizing a depleted bonding circumstance, called for a phased construction of a second high school with Phase I resulting in what is now called Elkhorn Crossing School (ECS). Embedded in the north facing wall of ECS to this day are expansion bolts for which Phase II was to be attached.

Putty's first step that sabotaged the second high school called for in the 2006 DFP was to quietly appoint a 2010 Local Planning Committee (LPC) populated with Scott United ringers and chaired by Frankfort lobbyist and Scott United's own John Cooper. That LPC relegated a second high school's priority on the DFP below the construction of what came to be called Lemons Mill Elementary (LME). When additional bonding potential accumulated after LME exhausted the initial $20 million, a Phase II was authorized by the Roger Ward chaired Scott School Board that included current Board Member JoAnna Fryman and recently ousted member Jennifer Holbert, all voting to keep our bonding exhausted and buy the elementary students the lighted tennis courts and ball fields surrounding their school now visible from McClelland Circle. We've yet to witness any of the school's ELEMENTARY students playing tennis at night!

And our Board wants more of our money???

Putty's next step effectively poisoned the second high school's Phase II building site off the north wall of ECS when she volunteered that building site as a dump for the debris from the US 460 road widening project along Elkhorn Creek, spoiling any hope of building additional Phases of the second high school as planned.

When schstoobig entered the fray at the now infamous 2012 Valentine's Day Scott School Board meeting, the single high school faction was vocal and was represented primarily by the SCHS administrative staff. Schstoobig never entered the single high school argument. A look back at our early posts reveals we were about and remain to this day about relieving the overcrowding at SCHS, and we even stated a mega single high school was ok with us except that we wouldn't have the bonding to build it for a decade. Little did we know though that someone was suppressing a bunch of the bonding! A 2014 LPC (LPC's are convened every four years) put a "new" (not a "second") high school back in the DFP as a number 1 priority for completion. And yet with ample bonding and now three years later, we still haven't started construction.     And now - the notion.

The trusted adviser brought the notion to us right after new Superintendent Kevin "No Plan B" Hub suddenly and out of nowhere doubled the 750 student capacity second high school that he was hired to champion and initially did champion before meeting with local "civic" organizations. Curiously, at the same time, the previously vocal single high school crowd went suddenly silent. Almost as if a switch had been flipped. Previous SCHS Assistant Principal, then Ninth Grade Principal, and now current Maintenance Director Dwayne Ellison went further than that, from an ardent supporter of a single high school to a facebook supporter now of the 10% tax increase for a 1,930 student high school. And seemingly overnight! Hmmm?

And more curious, at the same time the single high school contingent went quiet, their most vocal and most public spokesperson, former SCHS Assistant Principal Susan Duncan, announced her candidacy for the School Board seat to soon be vacated by then Board Chair Haley Conway. Mrs. Duncan had previously made an impassioned case before the Board citing rationals of how a second high school would compromise Advanced Placement successes and erase many of the opportunities a large high school offers its students. Then, previous School Board Vice Chair and now Chair Kevin Kidwell and previous School Board Member and now Vice Chair Stephanie Powers reversed their August "no" votes for a tax increase and joined Mrs. Duncan and voted FOR the 10% tax increase just days after Mrs. Duncan was seated on the Board in January! And then the 1,500 capacity quietly grew to 1,930.

And now this - a recent and otherwise amicable facebook exchange on the Scott Countians Against The BOE Tax Hike facebook page between Mrs. Duncan and our friends administering the schstoobig facebook page ended suddenly when the notion was brought up? Hmmm?

The notion is - if the Scott County School Board's 10% tax increase is upheld, Scott County will have a "new" high school sure enough, but may well not have a "second" high school.

Certainly such an eventuality wouldn't be discussed now, but no one should be surprised, should, as completion of the 1,930 student school building approaches three years from now, that the Board then announce that a single high school would be a more fiscally prudent solution to Scott County High School's overcrowding problem. Never mind that they won't mention that to accomplish such a plan, the absurd and costly Ninth Grade School would need to remain for the numbers to work. And the numbers would work with a 1,930 student high school, a 432 student ECS and a 650 student Ninth Grade School with plenty of room to expand in what would be the old SCHS.

Think about it folks. Why hasn't our School Board built the second high school we need with the ample bonding we have and as proposed when Hub arrived? Why increase the student capacity of the school from 750 to 1,930, putting the school out of reach without a tax increase? Why risk a further delaying of a school needed for over a decade should a voter recall be successful? Why would a new School Board fully cognizant of the contempt the community holds for the previous Boards not first demonstrate to that community a new fiscal sense of responsibility instead of allowing their new, out of town Superintendent demand a 10% tax increase from that community in his first 30 days on the job? Why would the impassioned voices supporting a single high school suddenly go silent at the same time their spokesperson files her candidacy for School Board and the the school's capacity almost triples?

We don't know the answers to these questions. The NOTION however, whether correct or not, sure answers them. The notion is sure to rile those in favor of the 10% tax increase, but those supporters, our School Board and its new Superintendent should not be surprised that such notions appear in a vacuum created by a lack of forthrightness and transparency. $27 million of bonding out of thin air? Yeah - right!

One thing is for sure - even without considering all the curiosities or considering the notion, the taxpayers of this community deserve a vote, BUT WON'T GET ONE FROM THIS BOARD UNLESS FORCED BY A 2500 SIGNATURE PETITION!

The petition deadline to bring the already passed tax increase to a taxpayer vote is February 23 and won't be successful unless YOU have signed it. Stop by Carriage House Gifts across from K-Mart and sign TODAY!

Should the notion be more than a notion, the next question is - what would the "new" high school be called - Scott County High School or Great Crossing High School?

What's your NOTION?

Monday, February 6, 2017


Know what a "natatorium" is?  No, it's not a swimming pool.  A swimming pool is a swimming pool. A "natatorium" is a swimming pool fit for a Taj Mahal!  More on the natatorium in a bit, but it leads us to ask  - how can a School Board that won't address its out of control spending dare ask its community for even more to spend?

It's now official! The Owen County News peripherally (and probably unintentionally), covers Scott County school affairs far better than our own Georgetown News Graphic (see our previous post - Silent Windfall). This time, in the January 25 edition of the Owen News Herald, the paper reports that the Owen County Public School system holds their salary expenditures to 73% of their operating budget, just as the Kentucky Department of Education recommends. Proving it can be done!

You won't read this in the Georgetown News Graphic, but the same Scott County School Board that is unnecessarily delaying the construction of Great Crossing High School (GCHS) as it holds that construction hostage to a money grabbing tax increase, spends far outside the KDE recommendation of spending no more than 74% of a district's operating budget for salaries. Far outside to the tune of $5 million each and every year on unnecessary salaries! No wonder they are willing to hold a much needed second high school hostage!

But, like the suppressed $27 million of bonding discovered last July and the silent $10 million windfall provided by the repeal of the prevailing wage law last month, you will not hear about Scott County School's out of control salaries either from the School Board or read about it in the bought and sold Georgetown News Graphic.

Scott County Schools has an annual operating budget of $60 million and spends 84%, or $50 million of that for salaries, leaving $10 million for all other facets of district operations. No wonder the school district has for years been robbing the Capital Outlay Fund (construction fund) to cover other district needs, explaining why Director of Facilities Dwayne Ellison cannot repair all that "aging flooring". The Kentucky Department of Education says districts should not spend more than 74%, or $44.4 million in Scott's case. Lets see, that's about $5.5 million a year spent unnecessarily, while our neighbor to the northwest holds their salaries to 73%, as probably does all those districts that can provide for their student's facility needs!

There is the second high school our students need, and then there is the second high school our Superintendent and School Board NEEDS to justify their 10% tax increase passed at the January 10 Board meeting. Now, we know that facebook cannot be relied on, but folks - there is a lady out on facebook claiming the $58 million GCHS will now actually cost at least $75 million as currently planned, and more likely $85 million if she gets the natatorium she is lobbying for! This lady may know from which she speaks. She did after all sponsor a pro- tax meeting this past Tuesday that was attended by at least one School Board member. Her cost estimates made facebook just after that meeting.

This same lady and her "johnny come lately" cohorts claim we need to get over Scott School's past, and only look forward. Her School Board member contact agrees, posting on facebook that the Board's tax increase "really is about the kids". OUCH! Here comes a natatorium!

We have resisted putting the past behind us for this reason - because doing so fulfills the adage "those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it". But we may have found putting that past behind more palatable had our new School Board and Superintendent shown some sign that they have learned anything from that past. Have you heard any indication that this Board or Superintendent recognize any opportunities where they might tighten the district's fiscal belt? Do you see any indication that this Board and Superintendent recognize that something that can't be accounted for happened to the taxpayer's money over the last 20 years? Is anyone being held accountable for that past? You must ask "Why can Scott County not build facilities when even the poorest school districts in the state can?"  You must ask it because our School Board members won't!

If our School Board is oblivious to the questions, there can be little hope that they will behave any differently than their predecessors. The biggest tell that this is true is that the Board is so willing to return to the taxpayer money well without putting forth even a facade that they intend to get their fiscal house in order. No discussion whatsoever that they spend that $5.5 million more each and every year on district salaries. Instead our "new" School Board asks its taxpayers to pony up another $4 million plus to add to their $60 million annual operating budget. And get this!!!  According to their legal notice, the Board will spend $45,000.00 each and every year JUST TO COLLECT THAT $4 MILLION PLUS! It's good work if you can get it!

The extra $5 million plus in salaries each and every year helps explain why a parking space cannot be found most school days at Central Office. What do so many people do in the course of a day outside the classroom? Let us be clear, our boots on the ground and classroom personnel are not the subject of our criticism. But a little attrition at the Central Office and individual schools administrative level would go a long way. Why, just letting a few spouses and family members of administrators go would probably fix a good deal of the overage.

The second high school that this community and its children have needed for a decade or more can be built yesterday with the Board's $60 million of bonding at its fingertips. Now, that $60 million is just the bonding that we know of - remember that $27 million of it appeared out of thin air this past July. It was then that new apparent plagiarist Superintendent Kevin "No Plan B" Hub realized we could afford to build the GCHS we needed, and so set about specing instead the school HE NEEDED to justify a 10% tax increase that would provide a perpetual $4 million plus per year that will help cover the same fiscal ineptness that put Scott Schools in the shape we find it in today.

But for now, the school our Superintendent and School Board WANTS, risks a voter recall that will continue to delay the second high school our students and teachers NEED!

But hey, who doesn't want a Taj Mahal - replete with a natatorium!

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Wouldn't you think a windfall of $10 million for our claimed near destitute Scott County School Board be worthy of at least a mention, if not a headline, in our community newspaper? And shouldn't that same windfall be a cause for celebration at Central Office, where our School Board met an unprecedented and unscheduled three times in one week, the very same week news of the windfall came out of Frankfort?

You would think! But any discussion of the benefits for Scott County Schools from the repeal of the long demonized "prevailing wage" law is taboo among school personnel and prohibited from mention at all in the Georgetown News Graphic newspaper by edict from on high.

Interestingly though, readers of the January 18th Owen County News Herald were not denied the happy news of their neighbor to the southeast's windfall. There, in the Owen County News Herald, Scott County's State Representative Phillip Pratt was published stating "As Scott County prepares to build a new $58 million second high school, repealing the prevailing wage law means that the taxpayers of Scott County will save an estimated 10 - 16 percent on the total cost of the project. A savings of approximately $6-$9 million on the second high school means we can do more with our precious tax revenues to serve our students."

Now that should be GREAT news to Scott County School Board Member JoAnna Fryman, who claims the district is so desperate for funds that they would not be able to afford a repair should a school building's HVAC system fail! Never mind that just such eventualities should be budgeted for in the district's $60 million a year operating budget. And never mind that the same School Board claiming it can't afford to fix the AC also claims that a second high school (whose cost is now lowered to less than $50 million) cannot be built with the $60 million of bonding potential they control, but just approved Thursday night an unbudgeted $1.5 million expenditure to repair and upgrade the sports track beside Scott County Middle School! Now how are we to reconcile that unbudgeted $1.5 million expenditure with the plaintive facebook post of Scott School's Director of Maintenance Dwayne Ellison?

There on social media, skirting an employee code of ethics violation, Mr. Ellison leads voters to believe that the cost of a recall election will prevent his replacing "aging flooring" but fails to mention what he could do for ALL the students with the $1.5 million being spent on a sports track. And where do you suppose the unbudgeted $1.5 million comes from? Hmmm. How many HVAC systems could Mr. Ellison replace entirely for $1.5 million, Mrs. Fryman? Can anyone spell "disingenuous"?

In his post Ellison agrees with News Graphic publisher Mike Scogin, who lied in a January 12th editorial that "This tax increase can only be spent on facilities. It cannot be used for salaries, instructional resources, school supplies etc." while the District's legal public notice spells out that $1,160,899.99 of the annual $4,068,017.57 10% tax increase will go directly into the district's General Fund, with $842,459.29 of it going for "instruction"; $104,165.63 to "transportation"; $45,766.14 to "cost of collections" (ha, who's doing the collecting - Scott United?); and $168,508.93 of the amount going directly into Ellison's maintenance of plant budget.

No, Superintendent Hub will not find Ellison's facebook post to be an ethics violation. Heck, Hub may well have written it for him. No wait - that's probably not it, seeing how Hub seems to prefer the George Lusby "model" for writing letters (more on this in a subsequent post)! But WE certainly find Ellison's misinformation "ethically challenged".

Shouldn't our School Board be shouting the great news of the $10 million prevailing wage cost savings from the roof tops? Sure they should, but that great news is directly contrary to the Board's narrative that they need a 10% tax increase to build a second high school, all while approving the aforementioned unbudgeted $1.5 million expenditure Thursday night. But no, the Board members are more than mum about the great news - they are absolutely mute.

There is no mention of the great news on any of their individual Board Member facebook pages that are otherwise littered with posts full of misinformation about school "capacities", leading the voters to believe those "program capacity" numbers are building capacities - THEY ARE NOT! No mention whatsoever of the great news at the unscheduled and unprecedented three meetings the Board conducted in just one week in early January and no mention at this past Thursday night's School Board meeting either. But especially interesting - no mention whatsoever in the Georgetown News Graphic newspaper!

Nope, cooperating in this news black-out is Mike Scogin, the News Graphic's Publisher and Editor whose wife is employed by the Scott County School Board. This is no surprise coming from the bought and sold Scogin who avoided any editorial comment about his wife's employer until his recent multiple misleading and intimidating editorials supporting his wife's employer's 10% tax increase. What explains State Representative Pratt's home county newspaper avoiding reporting his deserved great news that a neighboring county's newspaper finds absolutely newsworthy? Scogin has long provided his wife's employer a blind eye, but this news black out is beyond the pale!

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that our "new" School Board is no more "above board" than its predecessors, but we can certainly be disappointed. Complicit in allowing three Board meetings in one week early in January to hurriedly get their 10% tax passed before the news of the prevailing wage repeal could get out; complicit in allowing a Board tax vote that was destined to fail when originally scheduled back in August to be postponed until two new members could carry the vote once seated in January; approving a complete replacement of Central Office windows and a $1.5 million sports track expenditure while denying the upgrade of aging floors across the district; and now this suppression of the great news that the district will save upwards of $10 million for the construction of a second high school - all leaves that suspicion of their integrity is not only understandable, but unavoidable. It's as if our School Boards can find satisfaction in their successes only if there is an underhanded component that gets them to a success.

What a missed opportunity for our School Board to have regained the public's trust and support by simply building the long promised second high school with the ample funds they had instead of holding that construction hostage to their greed! Oh - and what about that mysterious $27 million of bonding appearing out of thin air last July that the Board still will not discuss?

It follows now that there would be a pro-tax minion parade, Juddites many, who are all over social media claiming schstoobig is against a second high school! WHAAAAAAAT? These neo toobiggers, who have never darkened the doors of a School Board meeting, accuse us of delaying a second high school. Geeze! Just check our blog posts folks. Time and again we have insisted we would support a tax increase for school facility bonding beyond a second high school and that the district's holding that school's construction hostage to a tax increase delays construction that could already be underway with the ample bonding we have! Having watched a second high school robbed time and again, how can anyone expect we should just fall for it and fall in line with the neo's under informed, devoid of historical perspective - perspective?

The tax is passed and although there are easily 25,000 voters opposed, the rigged recall provision leaves little hope that 2,500 signatures of those 25,000 can be physically secured in the short 45 day window, so there is little reason we should continue to attempt to educate the ill-informed 10% tax increase supporters of what is really going on here. But we will not fall for it or fall in line! Anyone denying that the tax increase is anything other than a money grab in light of this silent windfall, well - are no better than a School Board not operating "above board".

What a shame that Owen County residents are more aware of the truth than a State Representative's home county that keeps his deserved celebration of a windfall - SILENT.