The last couple of months have been a very busy time and I found it much quicker to provide information to the community using Twitter: (https://www.twitter.com/FoxC6Watchdogs).
So, if you haven't been following my Twitter posts, you've been missing out on a lot of information. PLEASE NOTE: You don't have to have a Twitter account in order to read what gets posted on the Fox C-6 Watchdog's twitter page. All you need to do is click on the link above to go to the Fox C-6 Watchdog's Twitter web page to read the posts.
The monitoring letters to the district that are posted on the Twitter feed are a very interesting read. The letters to the district document how after 3 1/2 years our district was still being asked by ED OCR to update their school board policies and regulations as well as student handbooks to comply with Federal Law. Three and a half years seems like an awfully long time to update some documentation. But, then again, it's been nearly 2 years since Superintendent Critchlow informed the public at the March 2012 school board meeting that the district published the "draft" of the updated board policies and regulations for review. Those documents have yet to be approved and adopted by our school board.
There are also links to letters from the USDA to the district informing them in August 2011 that Fox C-6 and Missouri DESE were found non-compliant with Federal law and USDA Guidelines and Regulations. At the time, Superintendent Critchlow forwarded the letter to the board. She informed them that the district attorney found some mistakes in the USDA's Final Agency Decision. The district's attorney filed an appeal letter with the USDA but their appeal was denied. That's why they call it a Final Agency Decision. But, it did give the district another year long delay in having to respond to the USDA.
It took more than 2 years for the district to finally comply with the USDA Final Agency Decision. Surprisingly though, after the USDA accepted the district's documentation in September 2013 and closed the complaint, the district changed the documentation. When the National Director of the USDA's Office for Civil Rights (USDA OCR) found out about the change, he contacted and questioned the district about that change. Assistant Superintendent Dan Baker informed the USDA OCR National Director and the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) via email that the updated documentation was sent out by mistake by the district. Mr. Baker told them that the district had "two different working documents" and that "with all the communication that was going on between the different parties, the incorrect version was mistakenly sent". Really? Sounds believable doesn't it?
Apparently, the USDA OCR National Director took Mr. Baker's explanation for changing the documentation after the fact as a way of trying to "subvert" the complaint process. Does changing documentation after the fact, make you question the ethics of our school district leadership? How much effort and risk are they willing to take to get around the law?
Mr. Baker originally offered to answer questions regarding the changes to the documentation. However, after being contacted by USDA OCR, Mr. Baker responded to USDA OCR, the USDOJ and the school board stating that, "upon the advice of legal counsel the District will no longer respond in writing to your inquiries. If you would like to discuss these matters, please contact me at 636.296.8000 to schedule an appointment so that the appropriate people can be made available to answer your questions. Thank you. " It's certainly an interesting response given the fact that the district has been doing everything "above board" for years.
As taxpayers, it's good to know that our district is being advised by district attorneys paid by taxpayer dollars on these matters. The district attorney and Mr. Baker have both spoken with the USDA OCR National Director on this matter. It's interesting to note that the National Director of the USDA OCR is an attorney as well. Interesting, isn't it?
2014 Fox C-6 School Board ElectionSchool board elections are just around the corner and candidate names were released yesterday by the school district.
Dave Palmer's wife Gee Palmer was promoted to the District Head Nurse position in 2006 and was given a 75% pay increase for an extra 3 months of work per year on her contract. The hiring of board president's family members were smart moves by Superintendent Critchlow. There's a good chance that Critchlow got some "brownie points" for those decisions. I'm certain Superintendent Critchlow recommended those hires because she was doing "What's best for the kids!".
2014 Is An Important School Board ElectionThe 2014 school board election will be a very important election for our community. The next Fox C-6 School Board will be responsible for finding and choosing our next Superintendent. Our community, parents, teachers and school staff certainly deserve much better than what it has endured for the last 9 years. It's the community's responsibility to make sure that your school board listens to you. Currently the school board has been told to pretty much keep quite. They don't respond to letters, emails or Public Comments. When a Superintendent instructs school board members not to speak to individuals in the community and sends out Cease and Desist Letters, you know there is a problem. It's easy to understand why she doesn't want the board to get the full picture of what's been going on behind the scenes in our district. The behind the scenes don't look as incredible as she portrays them to be. So, keeping the information from the school board and the public is important for her reputation. So, if you don't want more of the same, contact your school board.
It's all about public perception!
If Superintendent Critchlow says things are great, they must be! Right?
The same problem applies to leaving letters and emails addressed to the Fox C-6 School Board out of board meeting packets that ask questions of the board and provide documentation to the board on issues that should be looked into by the board. For some reason those documents don't get included in the board packets even after writing and asking the board secretary to include them. However, letters of praise for Superintendent Critchlow can be found in the school board packets. The letters of praise seem to have a common theme among them. They sound as if they were written by a superintendent. Certainly it's just a coincidence!
The January 2014 school board packet included one such letter to Superintendent Critchlow. The author of the letter stated that 99.9% of the citizens in our district "are very pleased with everything".
You can read the letter to Superintendent Critchlow dated December 16, 2013 here: