Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fox C-6 Has a New Website But It Has The Same Old Problems! Who Reviews Our Website?

One of the recent news items posted on the Fox C-6 School District website was that the district has a NEW Website. Fox recently moved it's website from Edline to SharpSchool. Hopefully SharpSchool works much better than Edline and our district learns how to use it.

In reviewing the new website, it appears that some of the same old problems that we had on the old site have cropped up again. There are now a lot of typographical errors as well because of copy and paste with HTML. It appears as if no one is checking their work. I pointed out issues about our district website in the past to our school board and administrators and I received quite a bit of backlash from our Superintendent for doing so. She told me that many of my concerns were "False and Inaccurate" and that "no one else has complained". Rather than attacking me for pointing out issues, she should have just made the corrections. Perhaps she thinks that Fox doesn't have to check their work because Fox is a "School of Excellence". I just know that by speaking up, you will be a target of attack by our Superintendent.

I asked our school board in the past to review our district's website and it's very obvious that they didn't. It's obvious that our administrators and staff didn't review our district website either. Perhaps they did but were afraid to say anything to Superintendent Critchlow because they didn't want the backlash that she usually dishes out! The errors and mistakes on the website ultimately reflect on her and our school board for not doing their job. She's certainly not earning the $250,000 that our school board is so generously paying her with our taxpayer dollars. For that kind of money, I would expect her to know the law, our board policies as well know that our school district only covers 74 square miles and not the 104 square miles that's listed on the district website. She mentioned this incorrect fact in her February 10, 2011 Superintendent message titled "Snow Days" when she told the community that "The school district covers nearly 100 square miles.". It's funny at first. But, when you think about how much we pay her, she should know how big our school district is. I told Dan Baker at the April 2011 board meeting about Dianne's "Snow Days" message being incorrect and asked him to pass it on. But, it never got corrected. Fox has less than half the square mileage of the Rockwood school district. Maybe after she reads this article she'll correct the information on the district website and educate herself a little more.

So, who's responsibility is it to review and maintain our district website?

I was confronted by Superintendent Dianne Critchlow after I spoke at the August 2011 school board meeting when I asked the school board to publish the school board meeting packets and financial data on the district website like they do in other districts such as Wentzville. Superintendent Critchlow made it a point to tell me that Fox didn't have a full time person to maintain the district website like they did at Wentzville. She told me that she called Wentzville and found out that they had 2 full time people to maintain their website. To make it sound as if she really cared about the kids in our district, she told me that the district chooses to put its money into the classroom rather than paying someone to maintain our website.

If she wants to make the community feel as if she really cares, she should ask the school board to reduce her salary to a more appropriate amount and hire two full time people to maintain the district website like they have at Wentzville. Putting $100,000 of her salary back into the classroom would go a long way towards showing the community that she cares about the kids and the community. Actions speak much louder than words!

Can Our Superintendent Ever Tell the Truth?
I found out after receiving school board meeting packets from the district via a Missouri Sunshine Law request that Superintendent Critchlow's statement about not having a full time person to maintain the district website was false. The district has had a full time web designer for more than 7 years. Telling me that the district didn't have a person to maintain the website was just her way of creating an excuse to not publish the district data for the community. I don't think she wants everyone to know what's going on behind the scenes in our school district. If she can keep the financial data and other information from the public, people aren't going to question about why things are being done as they are.

After years of being told lie after lie, it's starting to catch up with her and others in our district. The truth is finally being uncovered and she's probably "thoroughly enraged" about it. I guess that's why one of her biggest fans, Carol Kessler, attacks me and others in the Arnold-Imperial Leader and The Rock newspapers. Ms. Kessler said she was "thoroughly enraged reading manipulated selective 'facts'". Perhaps Ms. Kessler should read more to learn about the many facts that aren't manipulated but are thoroughly documented on this website. I'll just consider Ms. Kessler's comments to be bullying and retaliation by the school district since she is an employee of the district. That's just how our superintendent does things. Everyone who works for the district knows how she works.

When you get a chance, ask Superintendent Critchlow about the investigations being conducted by the federal agencies and why the United States Department of Justice is now looking into things. Recently, the USDA asked the Department of Justice for assistance after MO DESE and Fox refused to comply with the USDA's August 2011 Final Agency Decision which found both MO DESE and Fox C-6 non-compliant with Section 504, ADA and the ADAAA. A recent email from Kris Morrow an attorney at MO DESE documents the fact that MO DESE doesn't believe that the USDA has jurisdiction. Thanks to Kris Morrow for documenting this in writing for the Department of Justice. It will be interesting to see how this turns out for our district and MO DESE and all of those involved in trying to get around the law. Perhaps our school board members should have read up on the law a few years ago when I tried to educate them rather than relying on our Superintendent for information. The truth can only be hidden for so long before it becomes public. If you ever have any issues with our district, make sure you document everything. It comes in handy when it's your word against their word. It's even more helpful to have when the Department of Justice begins asking for evidence. There's a reason why our Superintendent doesn't want to record our school board meetings or allow other meetings to be recorded.

So, back to the school district's NEW website, here was what the district posted on the new website on June 25, 2013 the day of the last school board meeting:

Welcome to Our New Website!  
Posted on 6/25/2013
Things are looking different on the district and school web site for the Fox C-6 School District!  We are proud to announce our partnership with a new web hosting company named SharpSchool.  As the new school year unfolds, we will be rolling out some exciting new tools for our staff, parents and the community to forge even stronger bonds of communication and interaction.
As we make the transition, please be patient if you encounter broken links or missing content.  We have been working hard with Sharp School to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.  It is our hope that this web site will be simple to navigate and use while being filled with content that is both timely and informative.

I have asked our school board members in the past to look at the district website because there have been several problems such as missing files, 3 year old school bus schedules that were wrong, incorrect information, typographical errors and image files that should have been resampled to a smaller size before being published on the website. When I mentioned some of the issues at school board meetings during public comments, I was told that the files were there even though they weren't. I was told that no one else had "complained" about the problem but they would look into it. Some of the problems I mentioned were corrected but not until I emailed the board again which was followed up by a snarky email response from our superintendent.

If our superintendent doesn't care to receive constructive criticism, then she should look for another job. I'm sure that our community can find a superintendent that will be much more affordable and care more about the community, kids and employees in our school district. I wonder how many superintendents in other school districts threaten citizens with Cease and Desist letters for providing factual information to the public. Perhaps she will post Cease and Desist letters on the new website hoping to forge stronger bonds of communication with the community. It's just not what I would expect from a "National District of Character".

It's time for our school board and our community to start looking for a new school superintendent who can be trusted to tell the truth and handle themselves in a professional manner.