Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fox C-6 Nepotism Problems in the News Again!

The Fox C-6 School District made it into the news again thanks to the nepotism problem that has become so well known across the state. This time Elliott Davis from Fox 2 News contacted Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones from Eureka Missouri about changing nepotism laws in our state that currently allow School Boards to hire school board member's relatives.

You can find the news story here:
You Paid For It: State May Revise Nepotism Laws

Fox C-6 School Board president Dan E. Smith sent a written statement to Elliott Davis regarding Fox School District's policy on nepotism. I downloaded the statement from the Fox 2 News website which is a Word document and posted it below.
Statement from the Fox School District on Nepotism Policy 
Dear Mr. Davis,
The Fox C-6 BOE and administration are in the process of reviewing all of the district policies and regulations, which include the policy on nepotism.  Once the policies and regulations review is complete and approved by the BOE I will be happy to discuss the matter with you further.  However we have not completed the process, so an interview at this time would not be beneficial.  The process should be completed by the end of August, and at that time I would be more than happy to sit with you and discuss any issues concerning our school district. 
Dan E. Smith
President, Fox C-6 BOE

I'm surprised that Mr. Smith even responded to Elliott Davis. Since our school board members were all given individual email addresses in February of this year, Mr. Smith hasn't replied to any of my emails sent to his new email address. In fact, I received a read receipt response from Mr. Smith last month stating that my email to him was deleted without being read. Not reading emails from the citizens you were elected to represent clearly demonstrates that our school board is NOT properly representing our community. Is this type of individual you want representing you as a school board president? I recommend emailing or calling Dan Smith and asking him why he doesn't read his emails.

Dan Smith our current board president, Linda Nash our former board president and former board member Pete Nicholas are all close neighbors. Dan Smith and Pete Nicholas both voted to hire Linda Nash's daughter-in-law Kelly Nash in November 2012 as the Director of Food Service by our school board. Superintendent Dianne Critchlow and Assistant Superintendent Todd Scott defended their recommendation to hire Kelly Nash despite her lack of qualifications and education on You Paid For It and in the Leader newspaper. Kelly Nash was hired over several other candidates that had the required credentials the school district was looking for. Mr. Scott defended his recommendation by stating it was her management experience and enthusiasm that stood out and that she could earn her degree and obtain her credentials over the next two years in order to be qualified for the job. It's a fact that it takes more than 4 years to obtain your degree and become a registered dietitian. I find it interesting that everyone has been touting Kelly Nash's management experience as her primary job while the district website has Kelly Nash listed as Director of Nutrition Services. Kelly Nash is not a registered dietitian and does not have the credentials or education in this area. She has a high school diploma and 17 years experience working at McDonalds. I recommend looking up and reading the job expectations of an assistant manager at McDonalds and compare it to what she was hired to do for our school district. If Kelly Nash wasn't qualified for the job, she SHOULD NOT have been interviewed. Kelly Nash should resign from her position and her mother-in-law Linda Nash should resign from the school board. Linda Nash has violated the trust of our community and the employees of the Fox C-6 School District. Stepping out of the room during a vote or discussion doesn't give the appearance of our board behaving in an Ethical manner. It's time our school district started having annual Ethics Training and Ethics Recommitment.

Hiring former school board president Linda Nash's daughter-in-law woke up our community as to what has been going on in our school district since Dianne Critchlow was promoted to Superintendent. Our community showed it's disdain for our school board's behavior when it decided this past April that it was time for Pete Nicholas and Ruth Ann Newman to be voted out of office. Our school board needs more oversight from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO DESE). The MO DESE Area Supervisor is over our school board but basically only acts as a liason. He doesn't enforce any rules, regulations or ensuring that our school board follows its own policies. This is a serious problem in our state and needs to be resolved in order to hold the school districts in our state more accountable for their actions. The other major hire unethical hire that was made in our school district was in 2006 when Dave Palmer was Fox's board president and his wife Gee Palmer was promoted to the district head nurse position and given a 75% pay increase. There were at least 9 or 10 nurses with more years of service and experience in our school district when Gee Palmer was hired. It is time for Dave Palmer who is currently our school board vice president and his wife Gee Palmer to resign from their positions.

How Many Years Does It Take To Update Our Policies?
I'm not at all reassured by Mr. Smith's response to Elliott Davis that our school district is working on addressing the nepotism problem in our school district. Our school district and school board have been reviewing our district policies and regulations since March of 2012. According to Superintendent Dianne Critchlow at the March 2012 board meeting, the district had completely overhauled the district policies and regulations and posted them on the district website for the staff to review and provide feedback before they were adopted by the school board. Our Superintendent stated that they would be on the website until June 2012. It's now almost June 2013 and our school board and administrators still haven't completed their review of our district policies and regulations. How long does it take to accomplish this task?

It's been 4 years since the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) informed Fox C-6 that our district needed to revise their school board policies and regulations to comply with Federal Laws. If they haven't been able to accomplish that task in 4 years, how long do you think it will take to change our policies that won't allow them to hire their family members? ED OCR has given our district multiple deadlines over the past 4 years specifying exactly what needs to be corrected. Our district has yet to make those corrections. Does that give you any confidence in their abilities to review and update our policies? The most recent letter from ED OCR informed the district that they still hadn't complied was sent to the district on April 25, 2013. The latest monitoring letter from ED OCR was originally due to be sent out in August 2012 and was delayed until November 2012 and then delayed to January 2013 and then delayed to March 2013 and then delayed to on or before April 22, 2013. It appears that ED OCR has a problem with meeting deadlines as well. The latest letter states that our district now has until June of 2013 to make the changes to their policies and regulations and submit those changes to ED OCR. Obviously they won't meet that deadline if Dan Smith says they are hoping to complete their review by the end of August 2013!

Our school board members swore to make sure that our school district follows state and federal laws when they took their oath of office. If a federal agency informs our school district that our school board policies and regulations must be updated in order to comply with federal law, shouldn't our school board be asking our Superintendent why she hasn't updated our policies and regulations to comply with federal laws for the past 4 years? If our Superintendent can't do her job, then she needs to be replaced.

Catching Our Superintendent In A Lie
At the March 2012 board meeting during the public session, Dianne Critchlow stated that the district would post the DRAFT copy of the updated board policies and regulation on the district website for the staff and public to download and review. However, a week after the documents were supposed to be posted on the district website, they still weren't there. I emailed our board president and board secretary asking when the documents would be posted on the district website. Our Superintendent responded to my email. She told me that the district wouldn't be posting the DRAFT copy of the policies and regulations on the website for the public. She said that the district doesn't post new policies and regulations until after the school board approves and adopts them. However, that's not what she stated at the board meeting. After I provided her a transcript from my audio recording of the March 2012 meeting of what she said, she recanted her statements about not posting a DRAFT copy of the policies and regulations on the district website. You can now download the DRAFT copy of the policies from the district website here:

It is up to you to make sure that our school board is held accountable for their actions and their decisions. MO DESE currently absolves themselves of this duty. It is also up to you to make sure that our school board listens to the community. Please email your school board members if you want to make a positive change in our school district and let them know what you think. Our school board doesn't think there are any problems in our school district because they never get any complaints. Everyone who works for the district is afraid to speak up because they know they will be retaliated against. It is time for the community to improve our school district and its reputation by taking an active role in holding our school board members and central office administrators accountable.

You can find our school board member's individual email addresses here: