Sunday, September 28, 2014

Check This Out! Recently Approved House Bill 1217 Impacts Missouri's Public Service Retirement System (PSRS)

The June 2014 Public Service Retirement System (PSRS) Benefit Check Newsletter had some interesting notes in it about Missouri House Bill 1217 that was approved by Governor Nixon on July 9, 2014.

House Bill 1217 impacts individuals who participate in the Missouri public employee retirement system. The bill affects both PSRS and PEERS participants.

HB1217 basically states that if anyone participating in the PSRS or PEERS retirement plans could forfeit their benefits if they are found guilty of certain felonies in connection with their employment.

HB1217 may be just what the doctor ordered. It may have a major impact for individuals in our school district depending on what's already been uncovered as well as what the State Auditors may uncover during their investigation.

Hopefully HB 1217 will encourage individuals to always do the right thing going forward knowing that they could lose their retirement benefits if found guilty of certain felonies.

After posting this article I was forwarded an article from July that discussed the law with respect to someone who embezzled more than $1M from Missouri State University over an 8 year period and is now serving 5 years in federal prison. However, HB 1217 did not apply to this person because he pleaded guilty before the law became effective.

The June 2014 newsletter that was sent out to individuals that participate in the Public Service Retirement System had the following paragraph on the cover of the newsletter:

The following bills were passed that impact PSRS/PEERS:

House Bill 1217
This bill specifies that participants in Missouri public employee retirement systems
who are found guilty of certain felonies in connection with their employment will
forfeit their retirement benefits for service on or after the effective date of this bill.
This bill also places into statute that public employee retirement benefits cannot
be transferred, assigned or be subject to a levy, attachment or garnishment except
as allowed by a specific plan’s rules. While PSRS/PEERS has a similar provision
already in our statutes, this bill puts additional safeguards in place to further
protect retirees from being taken advantage of with regard to their pension benefits.

Key Paragraph of House Bill 1217
Any participant of a plan who is found guilty of a felony offense listed in subsection 3 of this section, which is committed in direct connection with or directly related to the participant's duties as an employee on or after the effective date of this section, shall not be eligible to receive any retirement benefits from the respective plan based on service rendered on or after the effective date of this section, except a participant may still request from the respective retirement system a refund of the participant's plan contributions, including interest credited to the participant's account.

Felony Offenses Listed in Subsection 3
The finding of guilt for any of the following offenses or a substantially similar offense provided under federal law shall result in the ineligibility of retirement benefits as provided in subsection 1 of this section:
    1. The offense of felony stealing under section 570.030 when such offense involved money, property, or services valued at five thousand dollars or more as determined by the court;
    2. The offense of felony receiving stolen property under section 570.080 when such offense involved money, property, or services valued at five thousand dollars or more as determined by the court; 
    3. The offense of forgery under section 570.090;
    4. The offense of felony counterfeiting under section 570.103;
    5. The offense of bribery of a public servant under section 576.010; or
    6. The offense of acceding to corruption under section 576.020.

HB 1217 which became effective on 08/28/2014 may prove to be very interesting in the coming months.

Below you will find links to the HB1217 web page, the actual text of HB1217 and a link to the PSRS Benefit Check Newsletter.

HB 1217
Specifies certain unlawful transfers or assignments of pension benefits
Sponsor:Dugger, Tony (141)
Co-Sponsor:Crawford, Sandy (129) ... et al.
Effective Date:8/28/2014
LR Number:4869S.04T
Governor Action:07/09/2014 - Approved by Governor (G)
Last Action:07/09/2014 - Delivered to Secretary of State (G)


An Act

To amend chapters 105 and 434, RSMo, by adding thereto six new sections relating to public
employee retirement plan benefits.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

            Section A. Chapters 105 and 434, RSMo, are amended by adding thereto six new sections, to be known as sections 105.669, 434.300, 434.301, 434.302, 434.303, and 434.304 to read as follows:
            105.669. 1. Any participant of a plan who is found guilty of a felony offense listed in subsection 3 of this section, which is committed in direct connection with or directly related to the participant's duties as an employee on or after the effective date of this section, shall not be eligible to receive any retirement benefits from the respective plan based on service rendered on or after the effective date of this section, except a participant may still request from the respective retirement system a refund of the participant's plan contributions, including interest credited to the participant's account.
            2. Upon a finding of guilt, the court shall forward a notice of the court's finding to the appropriate retirement system in which the offender was a participant. The court shall also make a determination on the value of the money, property, or services involved in committing the offense. The plans shall take all actions necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
            3. The finding of guilt for any of the following offenses or a substantially similar offense provided under federal law shall result in the ineligibility of retirement benefits as provided in subsection 1 of this section:
            (1) The offense of felony stealing under section 570.030 when such offense involved money, property, or services valued at five thousand dollars or more as determined by the court;
            (2) The offense of felony receiving stolen property under section 570.080 when such offense involved money, property, or services valued at five thousand dollars or more as determined by the court;
            (3) The offense of forgery under section 570.090;
            (4) The offense of felony counterfeiting under section 570.103;
            (5) The offense of bribery of a public servant under section 576.010; or
            (6) The offense of acceding to corruption under section 576.020.
            434.300. For purposes of sections 434.300 to 434.303, the following terms shall mean:
             (1) "Benefit recipient", the person who is the plan participant or authorized beneficiary under the plan entitled to receive a plan benefit;
            (2) "Pension assignee", an individual or entity that has been assigned a plan benefit or portions of a plan benefit by the benefit recipient or that otherwise claims an interest in, or control over, a plan benefit or account to which a plan benefit has been deposited. The term "pension assignee" shall not include an individual who is a designated payee under a division of benefits order;
         (3) "Plan", any retirement system established by the state of Missouri, any political subdivision, or instrumentality of the state for the purpose of providing plan benefits for elected or appointed public officials or employees of the state of Missouri, any political subdivision, or instrumentality of the state;
           (4) "Plan benefit", the benefit amount payable from a plan, and includes any annuity, supplemental payment, or death benefit under the plan together with any supplemental payments from public funds to the benefit recipient.
            434.301. 1. The right of any person to a plan benefit shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the moneys paid or payable or rights existing under a plan shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process. This section shall not prohibit the division or assignability of a plan benefit that is expressly authorized by law that establishes the plan or that is specifically applicable to the plan, including division of benefits orders and any legal process in furtherance of the collection of either a judgment or administrative order for child support or spousal support.
            2. A pension assignee shall not use any device, scheme, transfer, or other artifice to evade the applicability and prohibition of this section, including the deposit of such plan benefits into a joint account with a pension assignee or the authorization to a pension assignee under a power of attorney or other instrument or document to access an account or otherwise obtain funds from an account to which plan benefits have been deposited.
            434.302. 1. Any contract or agreement made in violation of section 434.301 is void. All sums paid to or collected by a pension assignee in violation of section 434.301 shall be returned by the pension assignee to the benefit recipient or his or her heirs or beneficiaries as restitution.
            2. Any benefit recipient, his or her guardian or conservator, or heir or beneficiary may bring an action to enforce the restitution authorized under this section.
            3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any actions brought under this section must be commenced within five years after any individual or entity engages in any act or practice in violation of 434.301.
            434.303. 1. Whenever it appears that any individual or entity is engaged or is about to engage in any act or practice which is in violation of section 434.301, the attorney general may bring an action in the circuit court having venue to enjoin such act or practice, and upon a proper showing, a temporary restraining order or a preliminary or permanent injunction shall be granted without bond.
            2. The attorney general may seek the recovery authorized under section 434.302 on behalf of the benefit recipient or his or her heirs or beneficiaries and the state, and may exercise the investigative and enforcement powers authorized under chapter 407 to the attorney general and the attorney general may have such recovery of costs as authorized under chapter 407.
            434.304. Nothing in sections 434.301 to 434.303 shall prohibit any action permitted under chapter 409.

School Superintendent Salaries Are Getting Some Attention!

The Fox C-6 School District made front page news again today on the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Post Dispatch reporters Jessica Bock and Walker Moskop wrote an article concerning the extreme rise in public school district superintendent salaries in our state. Former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow's rise in salary is highlighted in the article.

It's good to see the rise in superintendent salaries getting some attention!

The article discusses how some school district's conduct performance evaluations for determining superintendent salaries. Fox C-6 computes superintendent and administrative salaries using a formula which is based on the highest amount on the teacher salary schedule along with factors for longevity and education.

The article points out some area superintendents that haven't seen raises in their salaries for several years. However, there may be other benefits that are "hidden" to offset not getting a salary increase.

One of the most important things to note is that retirement benefits are based on the average salary amount of an educator's 3 highest consecutive years of pay which includes medical benefits as well.

It's certainly been a real problem in our district for quite some time. Perhaps the formula for administrative salaries needs to be reviewed so salaries don't get so out of line with our district's demographics in the future.

I first wrote about superintendent salaries back in November 2010 after learning about how much former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Brown's salary had increased in just a few years after being hired to oversee our district. Since then I've covered this topic many times over the past several years as we watched her salary nearly double in the past 9 years. I've even asked questions at school board meetings regarding superintendent salaries.

Perhaps superintendent salaries may have been increasing thanks to the Missouri School Administrators Political Action Committee (PAC) that former superintendent Dianne Critchlow supported using her school district credit card. Fox Chief Financial Officer John Brazeal pointed out the fact that it's illegal to donate to a Political Action Committee using school district funds.

One of the issues that the Missouri School Administrators PAC that Dianne Critchlow donated to using her district credit card (taxpayer money) was, "Changing the perception of some legislators that school administration costs are too high and that school administrators are overpaid". The money that Dianne Critchlow donated to the PAC was recently returned to the district.

The Post Dispatch article above links to a searchable database of superintendent salaries in the area for the 2013-2014 school year compared to Inflation Adjusted values of superintendent salaries for the 2003-2004 school year.

Jim Chellew was superintendent of Fox C-6 during the 2003-2004 school year. He retired at the end of the 2004-2005 school year. Dianne Brown took over the reigns when Jim Chellew retired.

Jim Chellew's salary as reported by MO DESE for the 2003-2004 school year was $148,132 compared to his Inflation Adjusted salary amount of $186,519.28 that's found in the superintendent salary database from the Post Dispatch article. Salary amounts are submitted to MO DESE by each school district in their CORE data reports.

Below are some of my articles covering Dianne Brown-Critchlow's ever increasing salary in date order:

Transparency in Schools for
Superintendent Salaries

Fox C-6 Superintendent Salary

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fox C-6 School District - In The News! (Again)

The amended libel lawsuit was finally filed today on Friday November 14, 2014 and the Post Dispatch has already posted an article about the lawsuit!

The lawsuit names the following people: Dianne Critchlow, Jamie Critchlow, Dan Baker, Angie Baker and Bill Brengle. There were numerous comments posted on the website from computers traced back to Fox C-6 School District computers dating back to September 2010.

The Fox C-6 computers were connected to the internet through MORENET. There were also several posts linked to cell phones.

More than 100 posts that were made from the Critchlow's home.

The comments that were posted online and listed in the petition are pretty unbelievable considering where they came from.

Below is a link to the Post Dispatch article about the libel suit:

Fox C-6 is in the news again as of 11/10/2014 in the Post Dispatch.

Below is a consolidation of some of the recent news stories about Fox C-6 covering the some of the turmoil. It brings a whole new meaning to being a nationally recognized school district that former Superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow touted for years. As I started reading and viewing some of the stories I thought it would be nice to compile them into one easy to find location.

There's an article in STLTODAY.COM from March 2007 when nepotism issues were brought up in the district before.

Money demanded from former Fox superintendent - 11/18/2014

Fox C-6 board member resigns after daughter loses job - 9/24/2014

Fox School District audit announced - 8/14/2014

Fox C-6 board likely to approve state audit - 8/12/2014

Fox C-6 requesting audit for financial fraud allegations - 8/12/2014

Fox C-6 superintendent will retire - 7/15/2014

Superintendent under investigation, makes six figures - 6/30/2014

Fox C-6 superintendent retiring; husband fired - 6/12/2014

Fox C-6 looks for new leader - 6/11/2014

4 Fox C-6 employees on leave - 6/04/2014

Parents say administrators cyberbullied them - 5/29/2014

Schools increase security after shootings - 12/13/2013

Fox School District discusses safety plans - 1/31/2013

Fox C-6 spending and safety concerns at board meeting - 1/15/2013

Administrators in Fox School District forfeit their own pay raises for teachers - 4/12/2010

Second-year employee of Fox School District gets big payout upon retirement - 11/13/2014

Fox School District under investigation for misuse of taxpayer money - 9/12/2014

Why Fox School District scholarships are being scrutinized - 9/03/2014

Suspended Fox School District employees reach settlement agreement - 7/24/2014

Changes announced at Fox C-6 School District following investigation - 6/12/2014

Meeting Friday for parents in Fox C-6 school district after 4 officials put on leave - 6/06/2014

Names of school employees accused of disparaging parents online released - 6/06/2014

Local school district officials sued amid social media scandal - 6/05/2014

Jefferson Co. school district employees accused of defaming parents online - 6/04/2014

Fox names new superinendent, tightens anti-nepotism policy - 11/18/2014

Fox School District expected to choose Rockwood administrator as its new leader - 11/18/2014

Ex-head of Fox District named in libel suit - 11/14/2014

New Fox Superintendent to be named, but unfinished business remains - 11/10/2014

Spending on St. Louis area superintendents has risen 30 percent in 10 years - 9/28/2014

Restaurant spending, trip to Orlando part of probe into Fox spending - 9/24/2014

Fox School Board member quits in wake of daughter's firing - 9/22/2014

Return of trust sought as Fox district chooses new superintendent - 9/02/2014

Fox district issues survey to gauge what public wants in new superintendent - 8/27/2014

Fox district cuts down on use of credit cards - 8/20/2014

Fox School District to get state audit - 8/14/2014

Former Fox superintendent says she welcomes state audit
 - 8/14/2014

Fox School Board seeks state audit
 - 8/12/2014

Fox district still looking for $1.1 million in cuts
 - 8/4/2014

Attorney in libel suit filed by Fox critics wants more names
 - 7/31/2014

Two Fox administrators linked to nasty online comments keep their jobs
 - 7/21/2014

Critchlow to retire as superintendent of Fox district
 - 7/15/2014

Greed at work in pay for school administrators
 - 7/03/2014

Fox School Board approves preliminary budget
 - 6/30/2014

Why did Fox superintendent's salary nearly double?
 - 6/30/2014

Fox superintendent could retire; her husband is fired
 - 6/13/2014

Fox school board starting search for new superintendent
 - 6/10/2014

Another scandal hits Fox School District
 - 6/06/2014

Four Fox employees put on leave are same four linked to online comments
 - 6/05/2014

Interim superintendent named to lead Fox district
 - 6/05/2014

Fox school board calls meeting over nasty online comments linked to superintendent's house
 - 6/03/2014

Derisive website comments linked to home of Fox school chief
 - 5/31/2014

Fox school board to vote on new anti-nepotism rules
 - 6/25/2013

Letters sent to Fox dissidents highlight district school tensions
 - 5/23/2013

De Soto superintendent who got $208,000 settlement lands job with Fox district
 - 5/22/2013

Counts re-elected Arnold mayor; incumbents on Fox school board ousted
 - 4/03/2013

Hiring practices in Fox schools upset some residents, spark interest in union
 - 12/26/2012

Fox School District in solid fiscal shape - ??

FOX SCHOOLS: Nepotism complaints unfounded, district officials say - 3/13/2007

Former FOX C-6 superintendents spending called into question - 9/24/2014

State auditors looking into Fox C-6 credit card use - 9/16/2014

FOX C-6 district grants embattled superintendent early retirement - 7/15/2014

FOX C-6 school district faces $7M deficit - 6/30/2014

FOX C-6 turmoil could continue of Critchlow's contract - 6/15/2014


New details emerge about Fox C-6 administrator's $1,000 hotel room - 10/26/2014

Fox school board member ducks questions about district salaries - 7/09/2014

The best “You Paid for It” confrontations - 7/24/2013

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MarzanoGate Update in the Post Dispatch and More News Stories About Fox C-6!

Today's article in the Post Dispatch uncovers more of just how much the June 2013 Marzano Conference cost the Fox C-6 taxpayers that I previously wrote about. There was also a story posted Monday September 22, 2014 on STLTODAY.COM about Cheryl Hermann's resignation from the Fox C-6 School District after her daughter was unhired. KSDK also aired a story on Tuesday September 23, 2014 about Cheryl Hermann and her daughter Sophia who lost her job after the Fox C-6 school board voted to rescind their decision to hire Cheryl's daughter at a Special School Board Meeting on September 9, 2014.

3 Day Conference Hotel Bill for Orlando - $9,042
Leah Thorsen of the St. Louis Post Dispatch contacted the Fox C-6 District and obtained more information from Fox's new CFO John Brazeal. She obtained all of the hotel expenses at the Hard Rock Hotel from the June 2013 conference in Orlando. It turns out that Dianne's four-night hotel bill was $2,208. According to Mr. Brazeal, the five other rooms cost a total of $6,834.

Wow!! The total hotel cost for the 3 day conference in Orlando totaled $9,042 for 6 hotel rooms. I thought it was luxurious but didn't realize it was that luxurious when I wrote my first article. However, it's too bad that District policy only allows for $110 per night for hotel expenses to be reimbursed for conferences. So, some Fox educators have quite a bit to repay to the district / Fox C-6 taxpayers. According to the article some of them have already reimbursed the district.

Baker, Crutchley, Scott and Pelster Credit Card Spending
Not Mentioned in Article
Not all of the assistant superintendents were mentioned in the article regarding their credit card spending. Missing from the article is Dan Baker, Todd Scott, Tim Crutchley and Kristen Pelster who all used their credit cards extensively during the 2013-2014 school year. Dan Baker and Todd Scott made numerous purchases for meals on their credit cards for several years which I have written about in previous articles. Tim Crutchley didn't use his credit card near as much as Dan Baker and Todd Scott did in previous years but he used it quite often during the 2013-2014 school year. Mr. Crutchley's wife Kristen Pelster used her district VISA card in 2013-2014 quite often as well. None of that was mentioned in the today's article on STLTODAY.COM.

The PD article also failed to mention the rental car expenses that were charged to Dianne Critchlow and Tim Crutchley's credit cards during the Marzano Conference in Orlando. Rental car charges for the 3 day conference were $1,757.20. That's a lot of money for rental cars for a 3 day conference!!

Today's STLTODAY.COM article also mentioned the Limited Liability Company named CASH LANDING that Dianne and Jamie set up on April 22, 2014 which I wrote about the other day.

I'm still waiting on Discover card data which most likely had the credit card payments on them for the infamous Orlando trip that was covered by Leah Thorsen in her article today. I'm also waiting for quite a few other items from my Sunshine requests.

Leah Thorsen obtained the email exchanges between Dianne Critchlow and Tim Crutchley looking for the digital cameras that former superintendent Dianne Critchlow returned to the district. Leah also had a response from Chet Pleban who is representing Dianne Critchlow.

Critchlow and the Missing Digital Cameras
When I read Critchlow's comment regarding the digital cameras in today's article I laughed since I saw Dianne using a Nikon D5000 at last year's middle school intramural basketball game at Seckman High School. According to the PD article, district officials knew that cameras were missing. The article states that Tim Crutchley emailed Dianne Critchlow on September 4 about the camera that was purchased right before her daughter's wedding in December 2011. Dianne Critchlow responded via email and asked if anyone had looked in district cabinets but said she would look in her personal camcorder bag.

Critchlow's responses to the district regarding the cameras are quite humorous. She eventually emailed back to Tim Crutchley and said she found the cameras at her home. She said they were in a back hall closet and that she had no idea they were there since she hadn't used them.

I'll have to review my video and photos from district events to see if those cameras appear in any of my photos or video. I know I've seen the Nikon D5000. Perhaps other parents who took photos or video at last year's intramural basketball tournament has photos of Critchlow using one of Nikon camera. I'll post any photos or video frames I find.

Critchlow's responses never cease to amaze me. Credibility is something you earn over time and can be easily lost in an instant.

If you're a Fox C-6 taxpayer or parent in the Fox C-6 School District, you'll probably need to do some relaxation breathing while reading Leah Thorsen's article on STLTODAY.COM. You'll have to log in to read the article online. However, if you have the St. Louis Post Dispatch app on your smartphone or tablet, you can read today's story without having to register and login.

Below is a link to today's article about the latest from Fox C-6 on STLTODAY.COM:

Below is a link to my first article about the trip to Orlando Florida or the Marzano Conference that 12 people attended from the district and 3 of which were spouses that were not employed by the district:

If you have information that you think the state auditors need to look into please contact them and let them know. They are looking for input from the community and district employees to help guide their audit. We don't want to leave any stone unturned!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ah! The Arrogance of Wealth Gained From Taxpayer Dollars! Critchlow Saga Continues!

Another tidbit of information was posted on Topix this afternoon which led to another stone uncovered in what is turning out to be a huge pile of stones to overturn. It's just another amazing discovery about what's been going on behind closed doors in the Fox C-6 School District. Those who have been posting on Topix since 2010 have known for a long time what's been going on inside our school district but were too afraid to speak for fear of retaliation. I'm sure that's what's led to the recent Whistleblower Policy.

Since everyone was afraid to speak up about what they saw happening in the district, things were allowed to get out of control and continue to spin out of control for years and years.

Without some sort of employee protection, no one in the district was going to speak up!

If it weren't for Topix, most people wouldn't have known what was going on inside the district. Of course, there were a few people posting on Topix who were denying that any of those things were actually happening and it's probably not too difficult to guess who may have been making those posts after all that's been uncovered.

It was December 2010 when I first learned about Mr. Critchlow and started looking into his credentials because of several posts on Topix. I took my questions about his credentials and his salary to the December 2010 Fox C-6 school board meeting. Of course I didn't get any answers just a comment from Cheryl Hermann telling me that I could call the district the next day to find someone who could answer my question. My question was directed at the board because they were the ones who approved his hire. Of course I didn't mention names, but they all knew who I was talking about.

Somehow though someone posted on Topix right after that night's board meeting about me speaking at the board meeting. What's so strange about that is the fact that there were only 7 people in attendance at the board meeting that night outside of the administrators and school board members. So whoever conveyed that information to whoever posted on Topix that night was pretty limited. Those 7 people were 2 students who spoke at the meeting, 2 parents, Kim Robertson from The Leader, a representative from Dan Jones and Associates and myself.

Since board meeting minutes weren't posted for over a month back then, it really narrows down who could have known that I spoke at the meeting that night. Who do you think would have told someone to post on Topix that night? The libelous posts really began to take off after that meeting that were directed towards me. Just a week later is when someone stepped over the line with their posts on Topix. Hopefully we'll soon learn who where that post came from.

For those afraid to speak about what they know, Topix is still a good way to get the information to the outside for others to investigate.

Board Kept in the Dark?
The public hasn't known much of what's been going on because Dianne Brown-Critchlow has done a great job of keeping information out of the board meeting minutes and by telling everyone that now is a good time to leave the board meeting right before the start of Public Comments.

Dianne Brown-Critchlow was also telling the board not to speak with people on issues. She emailed the school board in 2012 informing them not to speak to me due to pending litigation even though there was no pending litigation. Her email was written proof that she was telling the board not to speak to me. So speaking to the board was like speaking to a brick wall.

I was told prior to Dianne's email verifying what she was telling the board that the board members were told that the attorneys were taking care of things. So, no one on the board for years would respond to my concerns. They would just thank me for my information.

Dianne Brown-Critchlow used the same language during board meetings to keep from answering my questions at public meetings by stating that she couldn't talk about things because of "pending litigation". That's just another way that the public and the board was kept in the dark for so long.

New Limited Liability Company Formed By Critchlows
Well it turns out that the Critchlows formed a new Limited Liability Company on April 22, 2014 named CASH LANDING.

CASH LANDING was formed for the following purposes:

Land and Timber Improvement/Sales
Educational Consultation Services
Invention Development/Sales

CASH LANDING is quite an unusual name for an LLC that's going to be doing Land and Timber Improvement/Sales and at the same time doing Educational Consultation Services. The arrogance from the Critchlows never ceases to amaze me. Many of the slanderous posts on Topix conveyed a similar arrogance factor. Hmmm!

I'm certain that the community will be very happy to know what their tax dollars were being spent on when the Critchlow's purchased those logging tongs using a school district credit card. Now we have to go and look to see if a district credit card was used to pay for the fees to register the LLC.

The finds are so amazing that no one could even dream this stuff up.

As usual, the documentation behind this latest find can be found on the Missouri Secretary of State's website. 

Below is a link to the Missouri Secretary of State search page for the Critchlow's latest adventure:

Below is link to the Articles of Organization for the Critchlow's Limited Liability Company filing which was dated April 22, 2014. This public document has the Critchlow's address listed as their company's registered agent. It also has their address listed as the organizers of the company.

What I find really funny (but common in district documents) is the fact that their street address is misspelled next to Dianne Critchlow's name. I just had to laugh when I saw it. It reminded me of the mailer sent out about the 2012 Bond Issue by Friends of Fox!

JCPenknife did an excellent job as usual of writing about today's find for those of us who have been investigating the misdeeds of those in charge of our taxpayer dollars.

Here is a link to JCPenknife's thoughts on today's find:

I'm sure we'll be uncovering a lot more unbelievable finds in the continuous discovery of facts being revealed in the nearly decade long rule of Dianne Brown-Critchlow of the Fox C-6 School District.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Audio of September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 Board of Education Meeting

Here is the agenda for the September 16, 2014 Board of Education Meeting with the audio by Agenda Item. Click on the links to the right of the agenda items to listen to the audio from those sections. Some agenda item items have been broken down into their individual sections.

All of the audio is posted with the exception of items 3.4 and 3.5. My audio recorder (phone) rebooted during the meeting and stopped recording at the end of section 3.3. There were 3 minutes of audio lost as the phone rebooted. I plan to post the audio for as much of that section soon.

1.0 PRELIMINARY - (Audio File - Listen 1:35)
      1.1 Call To Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Roll Call
      1.2 Consent Grouping Preliminary
            A. Adoption Of Agenda For Regular Meeting and Closed Session.
            B. Approval Of Minutes Of the previous Meeting of August 19, 2014, Workshop of
                 September 2, 2014 and Special Meeting of September 9, 2014.

2.0 COMMUNICATIONS - (Audio File - Listen - 5:07)
      2.1 Welcome and Introductions
      2.2 Visitor Recognition – Missouri State Auditor - (Audio File - Listen - 4:02)
      2.3 Staff Recognition
      2.4 Letters
      2.5 Public Comments - (Audio File - Listen - 15:06)

3.0 BUSINESS ITEMS -INFORMATION - (Audio File - Listen 14:21 - through 3.3)
      3.1 Dropout Rate Update
      3.2 Financial Report - (Audio File - Listen - 3:22)
      3.3 Accelify Direct Billing Software Contract for Medicaid - (Audio File - Listen 10:34)
      3.4 District Achievement Data
      3.5 Professional Learning Plan 2014-2015 / Professional Learning Evaluation

      4.1 Approve Tax Rate 2014 - (Audio File - Listen - 6:34)
      4.2 Local Assessment Plan - (Audio File - Listen - 0:54)
      4.3 Trips - (Audio File - Listen - 0:49)
              SMS – Concert Choir, Varsity Band, & Jazz Gold, Trip – Kansas City, MO
              REACH – Kansas City
      4.4 Sherwood – National School of Character - (Audio File - Listen - 8:11)
      4.5 Gifts to the District - (Audio File - Listen - 0:45)

5.0 CONSENT GROUPING FOR ACTION - BUSINESS (Audio File - Listen - 1:33)
      5.1 Consent Grouping for Action – Business
          A. Payment of Bills

      6.1 Staff Separations.
      6.2 Employment & Contract Revisions
            A. Employment of Classified Staff
            B. Employment of Substitute Staff
            C. Employment of Coaching/Extra-Curricular Staff
            D. Extended Contracted Days
            E. Voluntary Leave Program

7.0 SUPERINTENDENTS’ AND BOARD REPORTS (Audio File - Listen - 4:14 to Close)
      7.1 Superintendents’ Reports
      7.2 Board Reports

      610.021.1 Litigation
      610.021.3 Personnel
      610.021.13 Personnel Records


Saturday, September 20, 2014

WOW!! NO MORE FEES at Fox C-6!

For the parents in the Fox C-6 School District this will be one of those articles you're going to appreciate for a very long time!

What's With All the Fees?
It's about those fees that the Fox C-6 School District has been collecting for years for everything under the sun where you felt like you were being nickel and dime'd to death at the beginning of each and every school year.

You know the fees ($6 for a locker, $7 for art, $10 for a lab, $60 for shop class) just to name a few!

Real quick, before writing this article, I wanted to verify what the fee was for a planner at Fox that I know I had paid for before. I remembered being charged for a planner and a locker at Ridgewood last year for my child. So, I did a quick search on Google to see if I could find out what the fee was and the results from my search were both pretty funny and pretty cool.

When I did a Google search for "Fox C-6 Planner cost", Google returned the following results:
About 81,400,000 results (0.48 seconds)

What's so funny about that?

It's the fact that the FoxC6Watchdogs blog was listed as #8 out of the roughly 81,400,000 results!

And, I found what I was looking for. I had written about this issue in August 2013 in the following article:

In my August 2013 article above I wrote the following:
"This year Ridgewood Middle School is requesting a $6 fee for a locker combination and a school planner. I thought the lockers were already in the building."
This year the charge for a locker combination at Ridgewood cost $8.

You're probably now thinking that by charging all of those extra fees that perhaps former Fox C-6 school superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow was able to help funnel more of our taxpayer dollars towards paying for her outrageous salary and you may be correct. There had to be some way to "balance" the budget and afford to write your own ticket to wealth and prosperity on the backs of a demographic that in no way supported the amount of salary that she was receiving for all those years.

I'm sure that former superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow probably didn't worry too much about having to pay $6 here or $10 there for all of the fees while she was "earning" more than $260,000 a year in salary.

Also, it probably didn't dent Dianne Critchlow's budget too much since to of her sons were employed by the Fox School District as "student workers" during the 2013-2014 school year to "shred paper". Her sons were paid an hourly wage of $15.00 and $12.50 per hour according to information CFO John Brazeal supplied to JCPenknife who forwarded it to me. One of her sons was paid $25,800.00 and the other was paid $11,412.50 during the 2013-2014 school year.

Her sons are not currently employed by the district. We'll have to discuss the issue of her sons being employed by the district as "student workers" without a contact in a future article. I don't want anyone's blood pressure to rise too high while reading this!

Of course, Dianne Critchlow also had a bit of help in paying for her son's college tuition thanks to the several Fox C-6 Scholarships that they were awarded by her. But I digress!

So on top of having to pay fees each year for miscellaneous things at the start of the school year, students and parents have been asked for years to do fund raisers for our schools so our schools could afford to pay for all of the things they needed for their daily operation.

Missouri Constitution Article IX says that we are to maintain free public schools so every child receives a FREE Education.

However, that really wasn't happening at Fox C-6 for quite some time. You knew you were having to pay quite a few fees at the start of school every year. Even this year, you can see some of the fees that were asked for at the top of this article. There were fees for art supplies, shop supplies, lab supplies and locker combinations just like in years past.

Guess what? All of these types of fees were put to an end at the September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting! There was some discussion about it at the August 19, 2014 board meeting that I missed but found out from others that did attend. Fox's new CFO John Brazeal did some research and found out the following that he presented during his Financial Report at the September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting:
 "We've also confronted an issue with regard to fees. As you know the Missouri Constitution requires that we provide a FREE education. But for many years we've been assessing fees for certain courses like lab fees, shop fees, art fees, etc.. We solicited a legal opinion on that practice and we've been advised that those fees are not allowable. So we've directed the buildings to stop collecting those fees. 
At first glance, those discontinued fees appear to replace a greater burden on the budget. However, generally those supplies were being purchased from budget accounts that were tax supported. While the fees were being posted to revolving accounts. There was a disconnect there. 
Going forward we should be able to sustain the necessary expenses in the budget. And, uh, the revolving accounts may have less discretionary funds in them."
You may have to read through Mr. Brazeal's remarks a few times to catch the fact that the supplies were being purchased from budgeted accounts that were tax supported while the fees were being posted to revolving accounts. The main point being that Missouri Constitution Article IX states that public schools must be free and the district cannot collect fees for supplies that are required for a course.

Click on the following link to listen hear John Brazeal's comments at the September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting during his Financial Report. The good news was that Governor Nixon released money last week to Public Education. Mr. Brazeal also discussed some of the policies and procedures that the district has been working on to improve internal controls. Those controls cover petty cash, credit cards, gift cards, scholarships and more.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Some Highlights from the September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 BOE Meeting

There hasn't been much time to review all of the audio from the the September 16, 2014 Fox C-6 Board of Education meeting yet to write an in depth review. The district posted Highlights of the September BOE Meeting district's website. But, the district recap doesn't have a lot of the details. Hopefully, I can get a more in depth review posted over the weekend.

There were several notable items during the board meeting that I wanted to get posted for the community and staff at Fox C-6.

One of those items was that acting superintendent Tim Crutchley handed out a draft copy of an updated Nepotism Policy and draft copy of a Whistleblower Policy to the board members during the Superintendent's Report at the end of the meeting. I've made a Sunshine Request for those documents and will post them for the community to review when they're available.

Employee Protection/Whistleblower Policy
The Whistleblower policy is meant to protect district employees from retaliation or intimidation if they speak up or ask questions about any wrong doing they see happening in the district. Fox's school board policies have statements regarding this already when reporting concerns to their supervisor or the superintendent that they would not be retaliated against. However, everyone working for the district knows that district policy wasn't followed. That's why very few people if anyone for that matter would ever speak up about what was happening in the district. I have heard numerous stories about what happened if you did. Many are still afraid to speak up even now. That's most likely why a Whistleblower Policy is being put in place.

A Whistleblower policy should have been in place years ago. Perhaps the district wouldn't be in the situation it's in right now had there been one in place and followed. Many of the sample policies provided to the board allow you to contact a school board member as well as well as a supervisor or higher level administrator.

However, I can tell you from experience that contacting previous board members including Cheryl Hermann and Dave Palmer resulted in Willful Blindness. It's just how it's been during former superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow's tenure.

Parents who spoke up about issues in the district were met with harsh remarks during school board meetings and in online forums. Some were even sent Cease and Desist letters!

Sherwood National School of Character Award
Trip to Washington, D.C.
In the September 16 board meeting packet there was a request for a trip to Washington D.C. for the committee that wrote the application for the National School of CharacterAward at Sherwood Elementary. The page in the board packet states that "We have put a stop to out of state travel..." My guess is that out of state travel was curtailed due to the reckless credit card spending by some of the district's central office administrators and the current financial situation of the district.

The trip request was discussed during the board meeting. The trip will be paid with Professional Development funds since the committee will be presenting at the National Conference as well as learning from other school districts. After a few minutes of discussion the school board voted to approve the trip.

Click on the link below to view the request for the trip from the board packet:

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