Saturday, December 13, 2014

"WHOOPS"



The 5th District Scott School Board election results continue to reverberate, with incumbent School Board Chair Roger Ward failing to carry any of his nine precincts.  We will explore this rout and the mandate it insists in our next post addressed to the 2015 School Board, and will resume  our analysis soon after of Scott’s payroll heavy  budgets.  For now, and with some holiday levity, we want to illustrate with a single example why Chair Ward lost by such a landslide and why the community holds the School Board in such distrust. In itself it really wasn’t a big deal.  But as is always the case, the bigger deal lies in the cover up. 



The Superintendent presented the Scott County School Board at its December 2nd  Work Session, her desire to change School Board meeting days and times.  After some discussion, Board Member Haley Conway suggested tabling the issue until January so the newly elected Board Members could have a voice in a decision that will affect them.  Before the last word left Mr. Conway’s mouth, Vice Chair JoAnna Fryman reminded him that the meeting schedule had to be approved before year’s end, with no explanation as to why.  With no further protest, including none from the Board Attorney, a vote was scheduled for the next week’s regular scheduled Board Meeting.  It intuitively felt wrong, but no big deal – yet.  But for intrepid board-watcher Carol Landry, we would be none the wiser still.

Turns out Mrs. Landry had discovered in the meantime, that should the Board proceed with a vote (as their published agenda for the Dec. 9, 2014 meeting called for) they would be in violation of their own Board Policy 01.42.  01.42 restricts establishing a meeting schedule to a meeting in January for the very purpose of preventing lame duck Board Members a vote on an issue that will not affect them, but will affect their replacements.

In an attempt to prevent this impending policy violation, Mrs. Landry signed up (per Board policy for public comment) to speak at the Dec. 9th meeting and alert the Board to avoid the vote.  How did the Board show their appreciation?  With a shameful attempt to humiliate the genteel  Mrs. Landry.

Board procedure curiously restricts that public comment concern only items published on that evening’s agenda, and the commenter must list with their request to speak, the agenda item number of which they wish to speak to from that agenda.  The agenda is published prior to Board meetings on the school district’s website, and from that published agenda for the 12-9-2014 meeting, Mrs. Landry listed item #21 in her comment request.  Item #21 read “APPROVE BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2015.”  The “approve” means there is to be a vote.

Keep in mind that, that same curious Board procedure for public comment requires the speaker make comment at the beginning of the meeting and does not allow public comment once the Board reaches and considers the item, an awkward process indeed.

At the beginning of last Tuesday’s meeting, Board Chair Ward recognized Mrs. Landry to speak about Item #21 but feigned confusion when she read the title, even though he had approved the agenda from which she read.  Mr. Ward insisted that Item #21 concerned a completely different topic.  Confused, Mrs. Landry attempted to seek clarification, but a delighted Chairman Ward took great pleasure in his charade to humiliate Mrs. Landry, knowing he had revised the agenda without updating the district’s website.  And in their quietness, each and every other Board member became complicit in failing to stop what they each knew was going on.

You see, a School Board has two mechanisms at their disposal if they wish to alter an agenda after it’s published.  The typical way, as occurs after many agendas are initially published by the Scott School Board (see archived agendas on the district’s website) is to publish a “REVISED agenda.”  Mrs. Landry correctly pointed out to Mr. Ward that she had checked the district’s website for any revision just before leaving home to attend the meeting and there was no revision, giving her confidence that Item #21 remained “APPROVE BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2015.”  Without Chair Ward or any other member explaining to Mrs. Landry that an unprecedented, unpublished revision had taken place, thus replacing her Item #21 with another, unrelated item, the humiliation continued.  Not one to stand for such humiliation, Mrs. Landry finally stated that her intent was to alert the Board that a vote on meeting dates and times would be in violation of Board policy.  Then it happened.

Chair Ward, prepared to continue with the meeting, was interrupted by Vice-Chair  JoAnna Fryman, wishing to address Mrs. Landry.  Mrs. Fryman proceeded to explain to Mrs. Landry that the official agenda is the one that is approved as the first action at each and every Board meeting and that once approved, it is the agenda the Board must proceed with.  She continued that the official agenda they had just approved at the beginning of the meeting had no such item title as “APPROVE BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2015”, basically stating “sorry about your luck.”  Confused, Mrs. Landry sat down and acquiesced.

No one bothered to tell Mrs. Landry that the agenda item she was referencing had been renumbered.   More importantly, no one dared mention that its title had been changed to “FURTHUR DISCUSSION OF BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2015” to avoid the very vote and violation Mrs. Landry was alerting them to. 

Turns out the Board had become aware of their impending violation at least as early as the previous Sunday evening, when a Facebook post went out from schstoobig.  That post revealed Board policy 01.42 and assured readers that a “revised” agenda would now be forthcoming from the Board. Turns out that Facebook post was correct, but schstoobig could not have predicted the Board would keep the “revision” a secret.  A "secret" agenda prevents public comment due to the Board's policy that only agenda items can be spoken to by the public. And it turns out there was a little more to the story that resulted in some even more embarrassing “revisions.” Before getting to that, recall Mrs. Fryman’s explanation to Mrs. Landry about the official agenda and recall our stating above that there are two ways to alter an agenda after it is published on line.

Having chosen to secretly revise their agenda in this case, the Board could have instead chosen to “AMEND” its agenda.   However, unlike a “secret” revision, an amendment leaves an audit trail, as it would be recorded in the meeting minutes (an agenda amendment occurs after a motion is made to approve the agenda, but before a vote is made and is recorded in the minutes). Unexposed, a secret revision remains secret for posterity.

Let’s see now.  Mrs. Fryman made clear that after approving the agenda before them, that agenda becomes the official agenda that cannot be deviated from.  What explains then, that later in this meeting and concerning an unrelated “consent” agenda item,  the Board arbitrarily dropped item “g” from the consent list?  No vote, no nothing,  just approved the consent item, stating it no longer included item g.  It was clear the need for this change was known before the meeting and should have been amended before approving the agenda. More “making the rules as we go.” This improper deletion should be recorded in the meeting minutes.  We shall see.  Our point here is, we suspect the Board wanted no record of any amendments occurring at this meeting that would further illustrate they could have amended for the Item #21 change as well.

But the kicker - the “secret” revision held another secret.  Included now on the secret revised agenda was an additional agenda item titled “APPROVE SPECIAL CALLED MEETING, JANUARY 13, 2015”.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we first set out to deceive.

Before we explain this “special called” meeting, we must ask – why not just be truthful? Why not just tell Mrs. Landry that they too had discovered they were about to make a mistake so they changed the agenda item to avoid doing so?  Better yet, why did they not publish the revision as they so often do?   The fact is, this little failure to recognize an impending Board policy violation was no big deal.  A simple “whoops” would have been sufficient and respected.  Instead, our Board chooses first to cover up, rather than be forthright.  And the web tangles.

For as long as we can remember, the Scott County School Board has set its (required by law) regular scheduled meeting for the second Tuesday of the month.  So what are they doing scheduling a “special called” meeting on that same date in January?  This is where the tangle gets funny, and has to be an embarrassment for the Board Attorney.

Turns out the last time the Board published its annual meeting schedule, it failed to schedule any meetings beyond December, meaning no regular scheduled meeting was scheduled for that second Tuesday in January, 2015, just assumed.  But because policy 01.42 states that establishing the next year’s worth of meetings must occur at a meeting in January, our Board was caught between a rock and a hard place, unable to schedule meetings until January but unable now to schedule a meeting in January to do just that.   LOL, this oversight has now required that the Board invoke a “special called meeting” provision that comes with it restrictions not applicable to a regular meeting, but will salvage the Board so they can swear in their new members and establish a meeting schedule for the rest of the year (and hopefully a meeting in January, 2016). 

You can decide for yourself if the vote originally scheduled for the December 9th meeting was knowingly done so in hopes of avoiding having to schedule the first meeting of the new Board members as a special called meeting.  Our hope is that those new Board Members, with the inevitable errors that will come their way, will instead just be forthright and just say “whoops.” We can respect that. We all make mistakes.


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SUPER SWEET


Twenty four qualified individuals, many with PhD’s, met the February 19, 2008 deadline to submit their application packages for the position of Superintendent of Scott County Schools.  Yet the 2008 Scott School Board hired Patricia Putty, a name not amongst those 24.  Here’s what we know.

At his retirement announcement at the November 2007 school board meeting, then Superintendent Dallas Blankenship introduced Mike Oder, a “superintendent search facilitator”  the district had contracted with to aid in the search for Dr. Blankenship’s replacement.  Mike Oder, a retired Superintendent from Woodford County Schools but working in retirement for the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), presented our school board with a necessarily aggressive schedule that the Scott County School Board would be required to meet in order to have a new Superintendent hired before the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. It was a necessarily aggressive schedule because many applicants operate on annual contracts and their individual employment decisions must be made by late spring for the upcoming school year.

This aggressive schedule required that Mr. Oder  immediately post and advertise the vacancy by Dec. 1, 2007;  assemble a Superintendent Screening Committee (required by state law and made up of 6 individuals, Feb. 1, 2008);  prepare, mail, collect and organize application packets (deadline for applicants – Feb. 19, 2008);  present those packets to the Screening Committee (Feb. 25, 2008);  facilitate the Screening Committee’s winnowing of the 24 candidates down to 5, facilitate the Screening Committee checking backgrounds of the 5 selected and  then present those 5 to the Board (Mar. 13, 2008);  allow the Board’s consideration of the 5, allow the Board time to make a choice, investigate a choice, negotiate and prepare a contract, and then present the new Superintendent to the community (April 4, 2008). 

But something went wrong. And we do mean – WRONG! A Board Member even resigned his position shortly after the fiasco.

With all previous deadlines met, the Board’s April 4th deadline came and went. The first sign of trouble came two days later with this paragraph from a front page article in the April 6, 2008 News Graphic. “The screening committee, composed of representatives from each segment of the school population, recommended five candidates to the board BUT THE BOARD DECIDED TO EXPAND ITS SEARCH (emphasis added) chair Becky Sams said”, meaning (so everyone thought) that the Board was not satisfied with any of the top five candidates vetted and presented by the screening committee and they were instead looking at the other 19 candidates who had applied.

And then, an actual News Graphic editorial (maybe the last ever critical of the schools) in the May, 20, 2008 edition titled “CLOCK IS TICKING IN SEARCH FOR SUPERINTENDENT.”  Actually the clock had since expired back on May 15th, a date by which the 24 candidates would have needed to have made their employment choices for the next school year.

On June 8th, a full two months after the Board’s deadline, a front page News Graphic article reported just how wrong things had gone.  Titled “DISTRICT CONSIDERS INTERIM LEADER”, Board Chairwomen Becky Sams is quoted as saying, “I wish I could explain right now what we’ve done and how we’ve been going about it, but by law I can’t. After it’s over I would be glad to let everyone know just how we reached our decision.” She never did.

And then it happened, an interim appointment was avoided. A scant two days after the June 8th News Graphic report, Patricia “Tish” Putty – a name seemingly coming from the blue, certainly not from the list of 24 applicants - was presented as Scott County School’s next Superintendent.

Mike Scogin – publisher of the Georgetown News Graphic – was quick to jump on board as his very next editorial just days later screamed - “Superintendent Putty looks to be excellent choice.”  In that editorial, Mr. Scogin stated “Putty is no stranger to Scott County. Her husband, Don, is employed with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky” and that “all indications are that the board made a sound decision in selecting the new superintendent.”  Really Mr. Scogin?  You could declare that, when just days before you knew nothing of Mrs. Putty’s consideration and thought an interim superintendent was going to be named?

That June 15, 2008 editorial exactly marks the point when the News Graphic stopped editorializing anything but positives for the Scott County School System, and pretty much avoiding any controversial or negative news of district affairs.  But not without warning. Late in the same editorial, Mr. Scogin stated “It is clear the board worked hard to find the best candidate, but questions about the search process have also justifiably arisen. It is time to put those questions to rest.” And that he did. Seems no one wants to explore Scott School’s past to this day.

Never did Mr. Scogin report how Mrs. Putty came to be Superintendent when she hadn’t applied. Never did he allow, even after his prior questioning of the search process, Chairwoman Becky Sams her “opportunity to explain what the search process involved and how the board went about it.” But the kicker - he never mentioned when citing Mrs. Putty’s qualifications in that editorial that Mrs. Putty and search facilitator Mike Oder had a past.

Yes, with the reputation of the School Board and KSBA’s search process, as well as Mr. Oder’s personal reputation as a search facilitator on the line, the Scott School Board hired Patricia Putty, once an employee of Mr. Oder’s during his tenure as Superintendent at Woodford County Schools. Hmmm. Just two days previous to Mrs. Putty being named Superintendent, Mr. Scogin’s newspaper was reporting that an interim superintendent appointment was imminent, then out of the blue a colleague of the search facilitator’s was named, preserving several reputations. And not a mention in the newspaper. Hmmm.  We are not newshounds, but the odor from this stench should have attracted even a Pomeranian.

                              $148,470 plus benefits and perks. Here’s how we got there:

The current Scott County Schools Superintendent’s contract was signed June 12, 2012 by then School Board Chairwoman Phyllis Young. That 2012 School Board included her; current Chair Roger Ward; current lame duck member Becky Sams; Luther Mason; and abstaining – Haley Conway. Highlights of the contract include a $19,740 raise, creating a $147,000 annual salary with subsequent annual raises equal to the highest percentage given any other district employee for any subsequent year, explaining the $148,470 paid last year; the School District contributing not only its own share to the Superintendent’s retirement but also covering what would otherwise be the Superintendent’s share – sweet; the most premium health, dental and vision plans are provided with any upcharges paid by the district; 24/7/365 Toyota Sienna van and all fuel and maintenance provided; a $148,470 life insurance policy; 20 annual vacation days plus district holidays and 10 sick days as well as 2 emergency days and 1 personal day with full compensation provided for any vacation days not taken. And more. The contract can be viewed here - http://education.ky.gov/districts/FinRept/Pages/Superintendent-Compensation.aspx


Sweet indeed, but certainly not out of line with what private sector CEO’s  compensation packages provide (the School Board calls the Superintendent their “CEO”). But a distinction must be made between private and public sector jobs.

Certainly the private sector often provides some ridiculous CEO compensation packages, ones that can in no way be justified by the value added by a sole individual. But that is a private entity’s prerogative. If you don’t like it, you neither have to invest in or engage in commerce with that company. You have a choice. The public sector is different.

Tax dollars fund the public sector. You can opt to privately school your children, you can even ignore your stake in public education, but you will fund public education with your tax dollars regardless.  Of that YOU have no prerogative. Responding to findings from State Auditor Adam Edelan’s multiple public school audits, KY Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday stated – “We’re seeing far too many cases of where adults are making choices that are right for them rather than what’s really right for students and their futures”. We might understand the wide range of salaries paid private sector CEOs, but what explains salary differentials of public school CEO’s (Superintendents)? It’s entirely up to their School Boards.

We think a case could be made for a State Standard School Superintendent Salary.  Fact is, the larger the school district, the more layers there are of Central Office personnel relieving and equalizing Superintendent responsibilities. Scott County’s Superintendent Salary is 14th highest of county school districts in the state, while 90 school districts boast higher average daily attendance percentages than Scott.   


Next up?  Central Office Administrators – past and present.

Monday, October 13, 2014

LET THE ANALYSIS BEGIN


 
Lets start at the top.
 

“We’re seeing far too many cases where adults are making choices that are right for them rather than what’s really right for students and their future. The focus needs to be on supporting what happens in the classroom.” – KY Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

 

“School Boards are to be watch dogs, not lap dogs.” – State Auditor Adam Edelan

 

And those at the very top aren’t even on the salary list. But they allow 84% of Scott County’s $54 million dollar operating budget to be spent on salaries, leaving a mere 16% for inconsequentials - such as textbooks, heat, and the like. Those at the top are our elected School Board members and at the very top – the Board Chairman. And the Board Chairman controls the agenda.

Current Scott County School Board Chairman Roger Ward joined the School Board as an appointment from the State to replace the resignation of Randy Mayo in 2008 and ran unopposed in 2010 for his current term. He was “elected” Board Chair in what can generously be called a “curious” vote at the first meeting with two newly elected Board Members in January, 2013.

Roger Ward did not create the overcrowded Scott County High School – that occurred over the 20 years of Chairwoman Rebecca Sams’ reign. But Roger Ward’s signature rests on the now famous “letter of lies”, the letter the Board produced to defend their choice to rob the monies dedicated to build a second high school.  Instead they built another elementary school. All but Board Member Haley Conway signed that letter on January 10, 2012.

And as if to continue the legacy of Mrs. Sams, Roger Ward set about his Chairmanship resisting a second high school. Not until continued community pressure, along with two new sympathetic Board Members joining Haley Conway, did Roger capitulate -  a’la Romm Emanuel (“never let a good crisis go to waste”). If the community insisted on a second high school – the community would pay.

And hence, the Roger Ward 27% tax increase.  Does it strike anyone as curious that after claiming the district could not afford to build a second high school without the 27%, then passing the 27% only to face a public recall, not only would Roger Ward not allow the tax to be placed before the voters, but overnight discovered  he could indeed build a second high school with NO ADDITIONAL TAX MONEY! What was Roger Ward up to as School Board Chairman? Extorting the taxpayer? How could he overnight afford the second high school?

Roger Ward was also around for the Superintendent’s 2012 15% raise, a $19,740 raise making the Scott County Schools Superintendent the 14th highest paid in the state! What was it the Commissioner of Education said? “We’re seeing far too many cases where adults are making choices that are right for them rather than what’s really right for students and their future.”  Yes we are.  Far too many.

But most telling was Roger Ward’s refusal to place School Board Member voting district re-districting on the agenda for a Board vote. Only a decree from a special called meeting of the State Board of Education made it happen.  Ask yourself – why would a public servant making $70 dollars a meeting goes to such lengths to protect  turf?  $70 dollar turf? Huh? Maybe if no one else were willing to do the work, you could explain it as high-mindedness, but Roger attempted to quell interest by keeping the vote off the agenda. Take a minute here if needed.

Roger Ward is up for re-election on November 4th.  Who can know how the voters will vote. The only thing for sure is that if Roger Ward is re-elected – NOTHING CHANGES!

Next up – Superintendent.

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.
 













Friday, September 19, 2014

ALBATROSS


Why do you suppose no "Board Meeting Summaries" were provided for the September 2 and September 9 Scott County School Board meetings? These "summaries" are posted front and center on the district's website and emailed to the district's 1100 plus employees after each School Board meeting. BUT NOT THESE TIMES!  Read on.

Lemons Mill Elementary School (LME) will always hang as an albatross around the necks of all who robbed the monies that the 2006 Scott County School's District Facility Plan (DFP) prioritized to fund a second high school. And now that same albatross will be carried to the polls of all Board members who approved a Phase II of LME that hid their intention to inappropriately spend restricted funds on athletic fields there. Make no mistake - the money spent on athletic fields and lighted tennis courts at this ELEMENTARY SCHOOL is a rebuke to the community that protested the planetarium originally and secretly planned. Had we known there was even to be a Phase II, much less athletic fields, we would have chosen the planetarium. We had no idea it was an either/or proposition. It shouldn’t have been.

But it turns out our School Board received their own rebuke recently. The crocodile tears were real and flowing at the September 2nd Scott School Board work session because of that rebuke and is why no "Board Meeting Summaries" were forthcoming. There it was revealed at the end of the meeting that a late June communication from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) failed to approve particular payments to contractors of the athletic facilities at LME because the Board failed to mention those athletic facilities in its District Facility Plan (DFP). What a tangled web you weave when you always set out to deceive.  Board member Haley Conway astutely asked upon learning of the rebuke - "Do you suppose it was because the fields were at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL that got KDE's attention"? Even the typically stoic School Board Attorney joined the chorus stating he knew of no law allowing the KDE to disapprove the payment and would demand KDE officials provide him that law at a hastily called meeting with those officials  scheduled for the next Monday.

Fast forward to the Tuesday, September 9th regular School Board meeting, a day after that KDE meeting. Two last minute revisions were made to that evening's meeting agenda. With little public explanation and no fanfare, the first of the added items quietly moved $263,337 out of our current HIGH SCHOOL'S construction monies through a mechanism called a Capital Outlay transfer, to pay the athletic field contractor. Yep, once again - robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Then came the kicker. With an apologetic tone of someone who had been served some come uppence, the Board Attorney quietly advised the Board to include any 2nd high school athletic facility desires in the Board's current DFP.  Apparently there is some law concerning such after all.

Who spends millions on lighted tennis courts and not one but two ball fields at an ELEMENTAY SCHOOL?  More importantly - who holds those that do accountable? Back in the day it was Penny Sanders in her role as Director at the Office of Educational Accountability (OEA). There is no Penny Sanders there nowadays.


A community depends on its local newspaper to hold its local government accountable. Not the front page reports mind you, but the page 4 editorials that are meant to provide background, context and "the rest of the story" and drive community issues. Most editorials in our local Georgetown News Graphic are reprints from other community's newspapers and the rare actual NG editorial is propaganda such as the one in last Saturday's (9-13-14) News Graphic. That one should prove once and for all that our local paper is in the pocket of its publisher's wife's employer - the Scott County Board of Education.

But in case you need more evidence – Mike Scogin, the publisher, is sitting on a list of over 1100 Scott County Board of Education employee salaries (including his wife”s) that state law requires school districts provide their local papers annually. State law and School Board policy require this provision for a reason. ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY!  The Superintendent of Schools claims the district provided the list to the News Graphic on August 29. Mr. Scogin is adament that he will not print the salaries, and granted has no legal obligation to do so. But in not doing so fails his community, as not doing so has for many years..

In the wake of Fayette County’s state audit travails, what else can possibly explain the Georgetown News Graphic not providing its circulation base with the reason our School Board must continually rob its Construction Fund (capital outlays) to feed the behemoth, salary swollen General Fund?

Not printing the list will become Mr. Scogin’s own albatross.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT


“SCOTT COUNTY SCHOOLS NEEDS SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS” screams the giant sign plastered to the side of a school bus parked roadside at the district’s Central Offices.  Think you couldn’t be hired as a school bus driver at Scott County?  Think again!

The criminal indictment reads:


THE GRAND JURY OF LEWIS COUNTY CHARGES:

COUNT 1:  That on or about December, 2009 and in Lewis County, Kentucky, the above-named defendant unlawfully committed the offense of:  SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE FIRST DEGREE, in violation of KRS 510.110 a Class D Felony, Violation Code 11220, when he subjected an adult female, P. H., to sexual contact by forcible compulsion.  ALL AGAINST THE PEACE AND DIGNITY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY.


The Commonwealth, with its dignity duly insulted, offered 4 years for a guilty plea for this Class D Felony charge and tendered this recommendation on July 27, 2012. As is often the case in our system of “swift” justice - with years of pre-trial hearings cancelled and rescheduled and after multiple prosecutors assigned and removed from the case - the Felony charge was ultimately plead down on March 7th of this year and amended to a misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct with 12 months, conditionally discharged for 2 years and no contact with the victim.

The details contained in the 80+ pages of court records in this case are difficult and disgusting to read.  Suffice it that the victim alleges that on that December day in 2009, her Director of Transportation at Lewis County Public Schools asked her to have a seat in his office while he dispatched the two other employees there on an errand and then instructed her to follow him out into the bus garage to show her something. Thinking he wanted to show her something on a bus, she followed but claims he pulled her into the garage bathroom out of camera view.  “While in the bathroom, the victim reported that the “examinee” held her against her will, rubbed her breast with his hand, rubbed her vagina with his hand and kissed or licked her neck”.  There’s more.

That last bit in quotation marks comes directly from the KY State Police’s Polygraph Report administered on April 10, 2012 and is why the defendant is referred to as the “examinee”.  Questions asked of the defendant in that polygraph included -  Q – Did you touch that woman’s breast while in the bathroom?  Answer – No.  Q – Did you touch that woman’s vagina?  A – No. -  The final narrative of the polygraph states - “The results show that (the defendant) showed Deception on the Polygraph”.  


So come on out, baggage and all – Scott County Schools is hiring!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

INSULT TO INJURY!


We get why the Scott County School Board wants to keep their July 8, 2014 unanimous and glowing evaluation of their Superintendent quiet.

Yep, it was just two summers ago that the 2012 School Board put this community in an uproar when they gave the same Super a $19,740 annual raise.  No wonder the 2014 iteration made no mention at this past meeting that they were going into executive session to conduct a summative (final) evaluation of their Superintendent.  And no surprise that afterward they purposely left that fact out from their “Board Meeting Summary”, published just after that meeting and still findable under the “more district news” tab on the district’s website.  And then, as if to cover themselves after we exposed that little omission in our last post, they laughably stuck mention of the evaluation deep in an unrelated article posted on the district’s homepage.  That article has now mysteriously disappeared  (even from the archives). 

But what explains our local News Graphic newspaper failing to mention the evaluation, now nine editions later? Neither of two separate articles concerning the July 8 School Board meeting published by the newspaper made mention of the evaluation or the executive session that produced it.  Folks, our School Board commands a $54 million annual budget (second only to Toyota and almost the sum of both county and city government) and an additional $100 million of bonding capacity that is not being held accountable. In any other community, this is the job of the local newspaper.  For whatever reason, that simply is not happening in Scott County. More on this in a future post.

But there may be another reason to hide this particular evaluation.  You see, it comes on the heels of Superintendent Patricia Putty’s finding that her recent Director of Transportation hire did not violate school board policy when he discussed and drew a penis in a bus driver training session (see our previous posts titled “NUMB”, “THE PRINCE WHO WOULD BE KING” and ”NO VIOLATION OF POLICY”).  Not that he didn’t discuss and draw the penis, mind you - those facts remain uncontested - but that doing so didn’t violate policy.  It did.

Let’s see?  Didn’t a Scott County Middle School teacher just begin serving a jail term for sexually engaging with a female student?  Hmmm.  And didn’t an indictment just come down on a Scott County High School teacher for sexually engaging with a student.  Neither should come as a surprise with the message sent by this latest evaluation.

Implicit in the Board’s evaluation is an endorsement that it is OK for Scott County Schools department heads to subject subordinates to sexually explicit discussions and drawings. Implicit in their evaluation is that it is OK for their Superintendent to ignore board policy. School Board - you hide your evaluation because of your shame.  Your evaluation adds insult to the injury of 28 brave school bus drivers who finally found the courage to say “enough is enough” and file grievance against the artist administrator.  Can you imagine the hell that would be paid should a superior of Board Member Jo Anna Fryman subject her to the same at Georgetown College?  

The 2012 School Board earned the Morehead News “Knucklehead Award” when they gave the same Superintendent the unprecedented 15% raise. The message this evaluation sends eclipses that absurdity and earns each member of the 2014 Scott School Board membership on Team Penis.  
Shame be on each and every member of the 2014 Scott County School Board.