Thursday, December 11, 2014

Many Notable Items! Fox C-6's December 16, 2014 Board Packet Review

Fox posted the December 16, 2014 board meeting agenda and board packet on the district website on Wednesday December 10, 2014. The agenda may state that it was posted on December 9, 2014. But I looked for it on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and it wasn't there. Plus, the PDF document wasn't created until Wednesday December 10, 2014 at 4:05pm despite the fact that the agenda states that it was posted on Tuesday December 9, 2010. Don't always trust the documentation. Read but verify!

It took several years of asking and prodding the Fox C-6 school board to get the board packets published on our district website. It then took quite a while to get them published on the district website ahead of school board meetings as they should be. That's how the public stays informed of what's going on in their school district. That allows taxpayers to find out what's going on ahead of time so they can ask their 7 board members questions before they make decisions for the taxpayers without public input or concerns.

Currently, the Fox C-6 school board only has 6 members after the resignation of former long time board member Cheryl Hermann due to a spat with the unhiring of her daughter by the board.

Daniel Jones and Associates Annual Audit Report
The December board meeting typically has quite a few important items on the agenda. For one, Daniel Jones and Associates usually presents their annual audit of the Fox C-6 school district for the preceding school year. They will be presenting again at the December 2014 board meeting. However, this is the first time that they are presenting their report after the infamous uncovering of the huge credit card debacle and extravagant vacations professional development trips that some of our top district administrators attended throughout the year.

The board packet notice for the annual audit report has some CYA language from Daniel Jones & Associates documenting some of the things that went on in the district that's finally been uncovered and brought to the public's attention. 

Make sure you read this page of the board packet!

It's certainly worth reading considering the fact that they never noticed any of the credit card issues or professional development meal purchases in their previous audits of our school district for years.

Cheryl Hermann stated at a board meeting that she couldn't understand how these things could have been going on while she was still on the school board since the district was audited every year. That's because the annual audit is MUCH different than the State Audit that's currently being conducted by the Missouri State Auditor's office.

Ignorance Is Bliss!
Not reviewing reports and asking for credit card statements can cause your school district and community a lot of embarrassment like what's occurred in our school district this year.

You can talk to your school board members until your blue in the face about issues during your 3 minutes each month and in numerous emails and letters sent to board members as well as lengthy phone conversations and face to face conversations for years and the board still did nothing. Perhaps they didn't want to hear it. Or, was it because they trusted those in charge and they believed what they were being told? 

Everyone now know what happens when your school board members don't want to hear or listen to what's truly going on and do something about it.

Missing Names on Annual Admin Contract Renewal Report
It's unusual to see a report with a list of administrator names of who's contract is getting renewed for next year in the Fox C-6 School District public board packet . In the past, I had to make a Sunshine Request to get that type of information.

Previous year's reports sent to me contained a listing of administrator names with XXXX's where their salary amounts would be listed rather than an actual salary amount. This year at least there's a report and rather than publishing XXXX's for salary amounts they just left that part off. At least we have a list of names without having to ask. 

So Who's Missing From the Report?
  • Assistant Superintendent Dan Baker
  • Assistant Superintendent Todd Scott
  • Assistant Superintendent Andy Arbeitman
Other notable people missing from the list are former Ridgewood Middle School principal Kristen Pelster and Seckman Elementary principal Christine Simokaitis.

Dan Baker and Todd Scott shouldn't have been listed on the annual contract renewal for obvious reasons. It will be interesting to learn why Kristen Pelster and Chris Simokaitis aren't on the list. Hopefully the community will learn why. But, with as much sweeping of things under the rug that's gone on for years, we may never learn the truth.

2014-2015 Budget Amendment
Take a look at the proposed budget amendment that is intended to more properly fund each school building in the district with Instructional Supplies and Textbooks as well as Copier Paper. 

Fox's former superintendent insisted many times over that our district had enough books for our students. But, everyone in the know and even parents and students knew that her statements weren't true! So, I'm definitely glad to see that our district's budget is being amended to help alleviate this problem.

Other Notable Items
One other notable item missing from this month's board packet was a letter that I sent to the Fox C-6 school board regarding the changes made to the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program that is now known as the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) that I specifically asked the board to include in this months packet so the community could read what I asked our school board members. My email to the board was sent as a letter to the board.

This isn't the first time that the district left out one of my letters from the board packet or meeting minutes. This has simply been their standard mode of operation for nearly a decade in keeping information and issues from the public. Of course, letters of praise typically made it in the board packet. But letters of concern just don't seem to make it to the public. This will need to change in order for the community to trust our district administrators and our school board.

I certainly hope that Mr. Arbeitman decides to VOLUNTARILY forego taking ANY Voluntary Separation Incentive Payout from the Fox C-6 taxpayers as he departs our school district. It certainly be the honorable thing to do considering that the changes made to the VSIP program were made to benefit those that didn't deserve the incentive. Plus, the $66,737.50 could be used toward purchasing much needed books for our students that the district hasn't had for years.


Looking Forward To New Leadership
I have very high hopes for Dr. Jim Wipke who was chosen as the next Fox C-6 School District Superintendent. I have had numerous emails, phone calls and conversations with people who have worked with him or have had children attend schools where he was principal. 

Our school district deserves to have a person with high integrity leading our district after enduring the last decade of deception and lack of transparency.

Download and Read the Board Packet
Since the community is able to download and read the Fox C-6 board packets ahead of the school board meetings now, I highly encourage everyone to go to the district website and download the board packet for the December 16, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting.

There's a link below that will get you to the folder that contains the file on the district website. Since board packets usually get updated each month which generates a new hyperlink, I am only providing you a link to the folder. You will need to click on the December 16, 2014 Board Meeting Packet link in order to download and review the board packet.