Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank You For Reading My Blog!

I'd like to give a Shout Out to our Superintendent Dianne Critchlow and our school board members to thank them for reading my blog. Our Superintendent had a meeting yesterday with one of the citizens in our community who received one of the Cease and Desist letters. She told him that she reads my blog and that information on my blog isn't true. I would have to stop her right there and say that HER STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE!!

Everyone that knows me, knows that I always strive for the utmost accuracy and truth in the information I provide to our community. So, if our superintendent and school board members find ANY inaccuracies or what they consider to be false or misleading information, please contact me and I will correct it!!

Our superintendent and her supporters who claim my statements are "untrue" should be able to point out what information, specifically, is false or inaccurate. Our superintendent has pointed out to me in past emails, that "many of my concerns were false and inaccurate" only to end up having to make corrections to her own claims and learn that what I stated was true. It's one thing to make a claim and another to back it up.

Just as an example, I informed the school board at the August 2011 board meeting that their new policy for Allergy Prevention and Response DID NOT meet state law. Our Superintendent fired back an email informing me that it did meet state law and that the school district attorneys had reviewed it. It had even been sent out to the school board members and all of the building principals for review. The policy that the school board adopted at the June 2011 board meeting was only 8 sentences in length and basically stated that the school district would develop a policy. So I emailed our school board the sample policy developed by the state of Missouri, which was over 4 pages long. I even included the policy from the Mehlville School District where one of Dianne Critchlow's brothers is an administrator . Then behold, this district policy appeared on the November 2011 board meeting agenda and was re-adopted at the December 2011 board meeting. The re-adopted policy approved at the December 2011 board meeting looks very similar to the sample policy from the state.

I believe that the concern I brought up to the board was constructive, not "negativity". If our school board needs to address an issue I will bring it to their attention either by correspondence or by speaking during the designated public comment time at public school board meetings. It seems that our Superintendent (as well as some board members and staff) do not like the fact that I ask them to address issues that need corrections, and so my concerns are usually met with a blanket claim that my information is "false", "untrue" or "inaccurate".

I am not pulling information out of thin air or making it up. I am using the data available online through the Missouri Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website available at I am also referencing documents available in board meeting packets that were only available from our district by making Missouri Sunshine Law requests to our school board secretary and being charged a fee to obtain those documents only after I had provided some of the information from those documents to the public.

Check the date that our Superintendent's current husband obtained his teaching credentials. According to the school district, he was hired in August 2009 (before he married Superintendent Brown) and his salary was in the low to mid $30,000 range. Then, just 3 months later, he was promoted to "Director" of the Bridges program and his salary increased to $98,959.

According to the DESE website, our Superintendent's husband did not take the Praxis test to earn his teaching certification until 2010, and he did not actually receive his teaching certificate until January 2011. He may have obtained a "provisional certificate" upon his hire at Fox so that he was allowed to teach. He has a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Tyler from 2001. Also, according to DESE, Mr. Critchlow has not taken the School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA), a component of the licensure process for principals.

Interestingly, correspondence provided in the board packets, however, shows that Mr. Critchlow referred to himself with the title of "principal". According to DESE, however, he cannot be nor can he claim to be a "principal".

As a comparison, I looked at the qualifications of another "Director" within our District, the Director of the Fox C-6 Early Childhood Center hold's a Master's Degree in Education Administration and has completed the School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA) test. The Director of the ECC earns a comparable salary.

So, believing my concerns to be valid, I expressed them to the our school board at the December 2010 board meeting. Unfortunately, our school board never responded to my questions. Mrs. Hermann, the board president at the time, did tell me at the board meeting that I could call the school the next day and someone would be able to find the person that could answer my questions. However, I intentionally directed my concern to the school board since it is the board that had approved the hiring. Our Superintendent did send me an email a few months later letting me know that my information about her husband was false and inaccurate. She told me that he was not paid the $98,859 that I had claimed.

In case you're wondering, I did inform the Superintendent in 2011 that my data is from DESE. If the salary and/or certification from DESE is "false, misleading, or inaccurate", the Superintendent should have contacted DESE to ensure the information was correct. As you can see from the DESE website, as of this date, the DESE data cited to Dr. Critchlow has not been revised and remains the same as when I brought it to the board's attention and Dr. Critchlow in December 2010.

Oh yes. Then on August 24, 2012, I received a "Cease and Desist" letter from the Superintendent.

It is one thing to make a generalized comment that my statements are "untrue", that I'm "vindictive", or that I "have an axe to grind". But, will you back that up with any proof? Any documentation? Simply saying it's "not true" is cowardly. Show me exactly, what I've stated that is untrue and show me the data that supports it. Please.

I've asked this before. I responded to Dr. Critchlow's "cease and desist" asking her what I stated or written was untrue.

This may be shocking to some of you out there, but (gasp) I never received a response. Instead of responding to my direct request for this information, to allow me the opportunity to correct or defend my statement(s), Dianne continues to dismiss me by only saying "it's not true". Yesterday's meeting with the recipient of one of her "cease and desist" letters is just a recent example of her evasion tactics.

I asked before to no avail, so I will ask again: What's "not true" Dianne? Since you apparently read this blog, why don't you clarify to me exactly what I've stated here, on my blog, that you referred to as "untrue"? You have exerted the time and effort to read my blog and make it a point to state to others that it's "untrue", so why not use a fraction of that energy to contact me directly and let me know exactly which of my statements you believe are inaccurate?

I have the right to bring forth questions regarding hiring practices - whether they involve the Superintendent's husband or the Board of Education president's daughter-in-law. I believe that I, along with my fellow citizens, have the right to question our school board about the issues and inconsistencies   , and that our questions deserve to be answered. We may disagree, but to simply not respond, or to respond with a canned "it's not true", is not acceptable. And, it should not be acceptable to the members of our school board, not to any of the stakeholders of our community.