Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting Public Comment and Superintendent's Reaction

I spoke at the June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board meeting last night during Public Comments regarding the new anti-nepotism policy and the grandfather clause. I also pointed out to our school board the fact that it has now been more than 4 years now since the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) asked our school district to update their board policies to meet Federal law. They still haven't complied. I also pointed out the fact that our school district still hasn't complied with an August 2011 USDA Final Agency Decision as well that also caused MO DESE to be non-compliant as well.

Superintendent Dianne Critchlow reacted swiftly after I finished addressing the school board with my Public Comments. She doesn't want the public to know what's been going on in our school district and will take every opportunity to TRY and discredit me and my information. Her comments at the public school board meeting would constitute slander because they were false and meant to discredit me and attack my character. My statements are backed up by documents from Federal agencies.

Superintendent Critchlow, please post on the district website the Regulations, Guidelines or Laws that state that our district cannot discuss the findings or complaints that can easily be obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests from the federal agencies. The Post Dispatch obtained documents from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights back in 2010 to find out that there was a complaint filed against the Fox C-6 School District. The Post Dispatch ignored other complaints that were filed against other districts in our state. The newspaper then used that information to contact Missouri DESE to learn more about the complaint. That's when MO DESE provided emails to the Post Dispatch between Fox C-6 School District and MO DESE which personally identified me and my family. The Post Dispatch used that information to contact us and do a story. Those emails were released by Missouri DESE attorney Chris Morrow. It seems that privacy is only good when it's for the school district but not the public.

Superintendent Critchlow doesn't want the public to know that our district has been undergoing a District Wide Compliance Review since March of 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) and that there is a 2011 USDA OCR Final Agency Decision that found both Fox and MO DESE non-compliant with Federal Law and USDA Regulations and Guidelines. For Critchlow publicly state that the district is in full compliance IS FALSE. She counts on the public believing her. But, since it's not true, what does that say about her credibility?

Superintendent Critchlow wasn't happy about the fact that I brought up these points in public. Perhaps she believes that the district attorneys will make these findings and rulings go away as they vigorously battle the federal agencies with our taxpayer dollars. Perhaps she hasn't read the "long letter" from the USDA or the recent monitoring letter from ED OCR issued on April 25, 2013 that states that the district still had not fulfilled the requirements of the May 2009 Resolution Agreement signed by the district. Spending two or three hundred thousand in legal fees to fight the federal government doesn't seem like a very productive or fiscally responsible thing for our school district and school board to do, does it?

Here's what Superintendent Dianne Critchlow said after my Public Comment:
"Mr. Simpson, I would like to address, you know and we know that we cannot discuss. We are in compliance with every complaint to date and one is in litigation and we cannot discuss it. Moreover, Mr. Simpson, I find that your comments on the nepotism policy quite interesting since your father was an assistant "sup" and you were hired by him to work in technology as your mother worked here and your sister and now since they don't work here you want the policy changed? I find that interesting. And, to say that the school board doesn't read their emails. You don't know that. You can't just throw out things that are untrue."
Superintendent Critchlow cut me off as I tried to respond to her comments above. She said "Thank you" 3 times cutting me off as I tried to speak. The audience recognized what she did as you could hear their reactions. Dianne seems to be lacking people skills. She has a problem with the truth and she has a problem with telling the truth. She wants to silence the public to save her job. In doing so, she is alienating the community even further by her behavior.

I commented that my emails to some board members were deleted without being read. Superintendent Critchlow said that I "don't know that". Well, I do know for fact that I received automatic Read Receipt responses stating that my emails were DELETED and NOT READ. I have documented this in previous posts. I received Read Receipt responses from Dan Smith, Cheryl Herman, Linda Nash and Pete Nicholas all stating that my emails were DELETED but NOT Read. I sent my emails to the school board flagged with Read Receipt to ensure that they received them. Of course they could have ignored sending me back a Read Receipt. I DO KNOW that I received email responses telling me that my messages were deleted and not read. I DO NOT "throw out things that are untrue." Please go back and read my prior posts about emails getting deleted.

I also "find it interesting" that after I was interviewed by Elliott Davis on the You Paid For It Segment regarding nepotism in the Fox C-6 school district that someone posted comments on the Topix forum attacking me for the very same thing that Dianne attacked me for at the board meeting. I wonder if Dianne or her husband were the ones that posted those comments on Topix? Dianne was very fast to react to my comments at the school board meeting last night with the same comments?

I'd like to reiterate to our school board and our administrators that I haven't posted on Topix nor have I asked anyone to post on Topix since my last post on January 11, 2011. I've only made 18 posts in total and none of them were derogatory or defamatory in nature. I only posted facts about the district to which our superintendent and her husband did not like. Someone had my last post from January 11, 2011 removed from Topix. It was a link to Dianne Critchlow's husband's LinkedIn profile where he had posted his resume. His resume didn't list any teaching experience or degrees in education. That may be why he deleted his LinkedIn profile shortly after that post was made and why my post on Topix was removed as well.

Dianne is the only one in our district that would want to go after me and my family because her job is on the line and so is her credibility and reputation with the public. Yes, I did some work for the district between 1990 and 1999. I did a lot of work for the district for free for quite a while because my father was always having people from the district call me for help because I know a lot about computers and software. I'm a software engineer and used to be an independent computer consultant. When I did start charging the school district for my services I discounted my rates. Plus, I put very little markup on any equipment we sold to the district. I spent thousands of hours writing an attendance, scheduling and student database software package that was used in most of the schools in the district in the early 1990's prior to the district spending over $200,000 on new software from another vendor and an AS/400 computer system to run it.

You can compare what I charged the district for my student attendance software to what the district recently spent on the new Tyler software system the district purchased. The Tyler Systems software cost roughly $600,000 according to district documents and has a yearly maintenance fee of nearly $200,000 per year. In contrast, I charged each school $350 for the software I wrote for the district which totaled less than $3500. I definitely wasn't trying to reap a profit with the thousands of hours I put into writing and enhancing my software over the years. I wrote it to help out the school district I grew up in. I also employed several Fox grads at my company while we were helping the district in the early 1990's. And, my company wasn't the only computer company working at the school district at the time. So, Dianne's comments exude her desperation in trying to hide the truth.

I sat next to David Day at the school board meeting last night. I met him at the December school board meeting and didn't realize that he had a blog talk radio show. His show can be found BlogTalk Radio. It's called the Super Dave Show. I went to his website last night and found that he did a piece on Fox C-6 yesterday morning regarding the vote on the new policy. He mentioned the recent Post Dispatch article that was published yesterday as well regarding the vote on the anti-nepotism policy. He did a great job of discussing the issues at Fox. He pointed out that he didn't agree with his friend Dan Smith as to why he voted for Linda Nash's daughter in law for the Food Nutrition Director position. Dan Smith told Dave that he voted for her in order to show a unified board. You can find his comments starting around 14 minutes into his show. Here is a link to his radio show discussing the nepotism issue:

Super Dave BlogTalk Radio Show on Fox C-6 Nepotism (14:00)

Super Dave BlogTalk Radio Show Discussing Board Meeting

My Public Comments at the June 25, 2013 Board Meeting
Below is what I read at the June 25, 2013 school board meeting. I ran out of time (3 minutes) and was unable to read the last paragraph asking or the board packets to be updated with the Administrator's Salary Schedule and the 2013-2014 Budget. It's too bad that our school board limits Public Comments to 3 minutes despite the fact that the district reserves 30 minutes at each meeting for Public Comments and there is usually only myself or a couple of other people that speak at the board meetings.
"Thank you for allowing me to address my concerns and those of our community. 
I believe that the new nepotism policy drafted by our administration is a step in the right direction. However,  it still has some major flaws. There are individuals working for the district in Director or Supervisor positions who are related to school board members and administrators who would not have been allowed to be hired under the proposed changes to the district's nepotism policy.  For the best interest of our community, I recommend and ask that the individuals who are currently working for the district in those positions step down from their Director or Supervisory positions.  This would allow for more qualified individuals to be hired and that that are not related to board members or administrators. This would go a long way towards rebuilding the trust of the community. Grandfathering them in to their current positions is wrong. I speak for many people in our community who cannot speak for fear of retaliation from our district. 
I am also recommending that the related board members should resign from their positions on the board as well. You have violated the trust of the community. You will never regain the trust of the community now that the public is aware of what has been going on in our school district. Your resignations would allow for the school district start moving forward. 
Our district has been working on updating its board policies and regulations for more than a year now. In March of 2012, it was stated that the updated Policies and Regulations would be available on the district website until June 2012. The Policies and Regulations are still on the website and have not been reviewed and adopted. 
What is even more concerning is the fact that our school district has failed to comply with the Resolution Agreement that our district entered into with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) in May of 2009. It has now been more than 4 years since Fox agreed to update its board policies to comply with federal law as outlined in that Agreement. Why has the district been unable to make these changes? 
Is our school board even aware that our district has still not fully complied with this Agreement? 
ED OCR has issued at least 4 monitoring letters to the District since December of 2009 informing the district that it still has NOT met the requirements of the Agreement. As school board members you took an oath to ensure that our school district follows the law and policies of our district. 
When will you as school board members ensure that our district is following the law?
Along the same lines, there was an August 2011 Final Agency Decision issued by the USDA OCR Office (USDA OCR) that found Fox non-compliant with Federal Laws and USDA Regulations and Guidelines. The USDA Final Agency Decision also found the Missouri DESE non-compliant due to the fact that DESE signs the assurance agreement with the USDA. 
Does the school board plan to wait until the U.S. Department of Justice is called in to enforce these compliance issues? 
I also have concerns with the fact that our board president and other school board members delete emails sent to them prior to even reading them.  I have not received responses from my emails. 
How can you as a school board represent the public if you do not read your emails and reply to them? 
You were elected to serve the entire community. Not just those that you wish to serve. 
I would also ask that the administration salary schedules be added to the June 25, 2013 board meeting packet along with the 2013-2014 school year budget that was listed as being added in your late packets and republished on the district website."

Thank you!
It will be interesting to see how our superintendent documents my Public Comments in the board meeting minutes. Since the district doesn't audio record the meetings, the public doesn't get to hear what's said at the meetings like they do in other school districts. I've made numerous requests to our school board to record school board meetings but no one has responded to my requests. Imagine that!! It's pretty obvious that the district doesn't want the public to know what's said at our board meetings.

I also want to mention that Fox C-6 school board member John Laughlin approached me after the meeting and told me that he wasn't happy with what Dianne Critchlow did during the meeting. I appreciated his feedback. John is a former neighbor of mine. I was glad to see him get on the school board. He asked some very good questions during the meeting about the budget. He has a business background so he is alert to those items.

If the school board secretary can copy the board meeting minutes and board packets to the website each month, there's no reason that the district's budget can't be posted as well.