Over the Past 7 Years!
Was it unethical for the school board to approve hiring Gee Palmer or Kelly Nash to their positions? YES!
Did our school board members break the law by doing so? NO.
Did our school board members violate school board policy by hiring Kelly Nash? YES!
(Policy #4053 - The board failed to hire the best qualified person for the job. Policy #4053 DOES NOT state "most enthusiastic".)
Our school board has definitely violated the trust of the community and destroyed their reputations as board members with the exception of our two newest members who just started their jobs of representing our community. The community showed its disapproval of the former school board's actions by voting out both incumbent board members in the April 2013 election. Our superintendent Dianne Critchlow and her assistants most likely believed the incumbents wouldn't be voted out based on comments posted on the Topix forum. Normally the public doesn't pay much attention to what is happening on its school board unless there is trouble with district leadership or questionable decisions made by the school board. The hiring of then board president Linda Nash's daughter in law awakened the community. That one hire stood out and demonstrated how our school board and the superintendent had been taking advantage of the tax paying community to use their positions to help their families and friends and not necessarily the school district or the community.
When Gee Palmer was promoted to the Director of nursing position in 2006, she was given a pay raise of more than 75% according to salary data obtained from Missouri DESE via a Missouri Sunshine Law request. Prior to Gee Palmer's promotion, all nurses were making basically the same salary for the same number of years of service in the district. But, when Gee Palmer the wife of board member Dave Palmer was promoted to the head nursing position, the district increased her contract length and gave her a substantial raise.
Does a slightly longer contract justify a 75% pay increase?
What does Gee Palmer really do over the summer months to justify a 75% pay increase?
Do you think that a school board member whose daughter in law gets hired as a Director within the district with a salary of $65,000 while only having earned a high school diploma over candidates who already earned the desired 4 year degree and credentials is more likely to give our superintendent better raises?
I think so!
Our School Board Sets the Superintendent's Salary
It makes me wonder if our school board took into account the budgets and sizes of those other school districts when they are comparing our superintendent's salary with other districts?
Did our school district see a 79% improvement in MAP scores, ACT scores or the percentage of students taking the ACT or any other statistical improvements over the past 7 years?
I haven't found anything to justify those types of raises.
Comparing Gee Palmer's salary with her 15 years of service in the district to the highest paid nurse in the district who has 27 years of service, Gee Palmer was paid $202,134 more than our highest paid nurse since being promoted to the Director of nursing. That's nearly $30,000 more per year than the highest paid nurse in the district.
Not only should Kelly Nash and Linda Nash step down from their positions, but Gee and Dave Palmer should both step down from their positions as well. A personal gain of $211,146 from taxpayer dollars does not sit well with the community or district employees. However, district employees cannot or will not speak publicly on these matters for fear of retaliation. I have spoken on these issues and others and have been the target of many defamatory and retaliatory comments from people in our school district. I would venture to say that those comments most likely came from our school superintendent or her husband or one or two of the assistant superintendents in an attempt to defend their decisions. Their actions have really reflected poorly on our school district and our community. The district's tactic seems to be that those few administrators fearful of losing their jobs are willing to strike out at anyone that speaks out on these issues. Of course, they are speaking out anonymously in online forums or through a few people willing to post comments under their own name in support of our superintendent and our school board in the Leader newspaper.
Linda Nash and Kelly Nash, please do the right thing for our community and resign from the school board and from the Director of Food Nutrition Services.
Our community needs people on our school that they can trust to conduct themselves in an ethical manner and do what is right for the school district and the community and not their own personal gain. Mr. Palmer and Mrs. Nash, you have broken that trust and you need to step down. This is the only way for our community to start rebuilding the trust that has been destroyed by your actions. Board members are elected to serve our community in an ethical manner and several of our board members have failed miserably.
I certainly hope our school board does the right thing and removes the "grandfather" clause of the proposed changes to the district's nepotism policy before adopting the changes. Please email or call your school board members or show up at the next school board meeting to voice your concerns regarding this issue and others.