Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fox C-6 April 2013 Board Meeting Packet and Agenda Posted On District Website

The district posted the April 2013 Board Meeting Packet and Agenda on the district website on Friday April 12, 2013. Please download and review what our school board will be discussing and voting on at the April 16, 2013 school board meeting.

You can find the Board Meeting Packets here on the Fox C-6 Website:
Fox C-6 Board of Education Board Meeting Packets

Here are a some of the more notable Agenda Items for the April 16, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting:
  • 1.2 -  NEW SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS - Administer Oath of Office for newly elected board members Steve Holloway and Dan Kroupa. 
  • 3.1 -  DROPOUT RATE UPDATE - The Dropout Data Analysis/Comparison shows that the district is having a higher dropout rate than last year which is almost double to what it was in 2010/2011 (1.23%). For the 2012/2013 school year to date, the Fox High School dropout rate is 2.94% and the Seckman High School dropout rate is 1.04%. The District dropout rate is 1.99%.
  • 3.3 -  JEFFCO INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS - The City of Arnold is asking the school district to share in the cost of an engineering study for improvements to make the Jeffco intersection safer for pedestrian traffic. MODOT currently has budgeted money to do improvements along Jeffco in FY15 and this study is essential if it is to be part of the improvements. The city is asking us to pay for half of the study which will cost about $80,000.
  • 3.4 -  ADDITIONAL OFFICE SPACE FOR FOX SERVICE CENTER - In order to free up needed classroom space at Seckman High School (SHS), we will be making a series of moves which requires 4 office spaces to be built at the Service Center in the area just outside the main lobby. District Diagnostics will be moving out of SHS and into the area currently occupied by Food Service and CKC. Food Service, CKC, Nursing Director and Safety/Security Director will move to the Service Center. ICS (contractor for A/C and D/E zones) will be performing the framing and finishing of this area.
  • 4.5 -  BID APPROVALS - Bond Funds will be used to purchase 4 new vehicles for the district fleet and lighting will be replaced using loan funds from the Department of Natural Resources. 
  • 4.7 -  NEW FOX HIGH SCOREBOARD - Recommendation is made by the administrators that the Board of Education approve the scoreboard as presented for the Fox High football field. The cost of the new scoreboard is only $287,000. From the board packet notes, it is difficult to tell if the district will pay for the sign and receive the commission on the advertisements or if the district won't have to pay for the sign at all and Daktronics receives the first 5 years of advertising fees at a 10% higher advertising rate (meaning no out of pocket cost to the district).
  • 5.1 -  CONSENT GROUPING FOR ACTION - BUSINESS - PAYMENT OF BILLS - Since our school board did not post the Bill Payments on the district website again this month, the only way to obtain a copy of what the board is approving at this time is to submit a Missouri Sunshine Law request for the bill payment listing. The district has 3 business days to respond to your Sunshine Law Request and can charge you a fee to obtain that information. It should be noted that in the past, I have been provided with the bill payments with each board meeting packet I requested under a Missouri Sunshine Law Request.

Please note that the Public is NOT being provided the same information that our school board members are receiving in their board meeting packets. The school board members are getting the Bill Payments listing that they must approve at each board meeting. I have asked for the Bill Payments to be posted to the district website. Bill payments are posted on many other district websites for the public to review. That is your only way you have to review for yourself whether or not your district is being fiscally responsible. Dan Smith our current board vice president told me at the December 2012 board meeting that not everyone is going to agree on how the district spends it's money. However, you won't know how they are spending your money unless they provide you with that information.

The most recent reason as to why the district is not posting the payments is the one I received from Ruth Ann Newman in an email on Monday March 18, 2013. Mrs. Newman wrote that, "Right now, we felt like this was a privacy issue--not for the employees, but for the students. Someone is checking to see what other districts are doing and why, or why not." When I asked our school board to post this information at the August 2011 school board meeting, superintendent Dianne Brown (now Critchlow) told me that the district didn't have a full time person to maintain our website like other school districts do. She said that Fox chooses to put its money into the classroom instead. You almost get the feeling that the district is trying to hide things. Why is the district so unwilling to publish this information? If you really want the information, the district is going to make you pay for that information by submitting a Missouri Sunshine Law Request. Does that seem like the right thing to do for a school district that likes to flaunt their Character Education traits everywhere such as: Responsibility, Honesty, Integrity and Respect?

On Tuesday March 19, 2013, I wrote back to the entire school board asking the board several questions as to why they didn't document in the minutes that they were starting to post the board packets on the district website and asking why they thought the student's privacy was a concern for bill payments among others. I have not received a single response from the board in over 3 weeks. On this past Thursday April 11, 2013,  I sent a follow up email request and still haven't received a response after two more days. My most recent email was also sent to our new board members Steve Holloway and Dan Kroupa.

Take a moment to email or call your elected school board members and request that our school district post the Bill Payments on the district website. Who knows, you might be able to find out whether or not those "Cease and Desist" letters cost the taxpayers any money. Our superintendent's response to the Post Dispatch was very misleading as to how much those Cease and Desist letters cost the district. She made it sound as if they didn't cost the district anything. Well, actually anything more than the normal hourly rate the school district pays it's attorneys.

I know from the bill payments I have obtained so far, the district spent more than $100,000 in legal fees for the months of August and September 2012 combined. My Cease and Desist letter was sent out on August 24, 2012, so I'm sure it was a part of those legal expenses. The district paid out another $10,000 in the month of December 2012. I don't have any bill payment listings past December 2012 so I don't know if there were any legal fees for the most recent cease and desist letters. But, it certainly seems like an awful lot of legal costs for a district that is doing everything "above board" as Todd Scott pointed out to me in the past. Mr. Scott told me that while I was asking Dan Baker as to whether or not he had informed the school board about the USDA's Final Agency Decision that found the school district and the state Missouri Non-Compliant with federal laws in the National School Lunch Program. The state of Missouri was found to be Non-Compliant because they are responsible for ensuring that our school district follows the USDA Guidelines and Regulations.

So, do you think our school board and central office administrators want you to have the bill payments? It would allow you to review the payments and find out why Linda Nash, Pete Nicholas and Ruth Ann Newman all had to abstain from voting on approving the Bill Payments at the March 2013 school board meeting. Aren't you curious?