Saturday, February 28, 2015

Another Cash Give Away of Fox C-6 Taxpayer Dollars!

On Friday February 27, 2015, it was reported in the Post Dispatch that the Fox C-6 school board voted 6-0 at this week's board meeting to approve the termination agreement with former Fox C-6 School Food Nutrition Director Kelly Nash.

Kelly Nash was the daughter in law of former long time Fox C-6 school board member Linda Nash. Linda Nash was the board president when her daughter in law Kelly Nash was hired as the Food Nutrition Director.

According to the Post Dispatch article, Kelly Nash is leaving with a settlement that will pay her more than $20,000 after being employed by the district for just over two years. According to the article Kelly Nash's employment was "terminated" on January 31, 2015. She was placed on paid administrative leave on December 31, 2014. Kelly Nash's salary was $63,621.

Kelly Nash should not have been given any settlement money. However, since Kelly Nash's employment contract did not contain any language specifying that she had to obtain her certification within 2 years, the district and Fox C-6 taxpayers were on the hook. The public was told in December 2012 that she would have to obtain her certification with 2 years as Fox's Food Nutrition Director. Not stipulating that in her contract was a mistake that should not have happened.

I wrote about this problem in December 2014 in the following article:

It's very apparent that Kelly Nash did not obtain her certification as required even though Tim Crutchley says he can't comment on whether or not she obtained her certification due to "privacy rules". This has been another costly lesson for Fox C-6 taxpayers due to a lack of board oversight. It's just another example of how easy it has been to cover things up for years and keep handing out cash for those types of mistakes. Just think about how many books could have been purchased over the past year for all that money that's been handed out.

Transparency is key to rebuilding the trust of the community. This fiasco was a big step backwards in rebuilding trust in the community. The board needs to ensure that job candidates for administrator and director positions are listed in board meeting minutes in order to remove the secrecy of what goes in Closed Session.

Terms of Kelly Nash's Settlement Agreement
  • Kelly Nash will be paid a $20,000 settlement.
  • Kelly Nash will be paid $105 for two unused sick days.
  • Kelly Nash will be paid $1,967 for eight vacation days.
  • Kelly Nash will be paid $403 per month until her contract expiration date of June 30, 2015.
  • Kelly Nash agrees not to sue the school district.
  • Settlement prohibits school board members and acting superintendent Tim Crutchley and CFO John Brazeal from making derogatory comments about Kelly Nash.
  • Kelly Nash is prohibited from making derogatory comments about the district.
  • Agreement states that Kelly Nash was not terminated for misconduct allowing her to obtain unemployment benefits.
  • Kelly Nash agrees to never apply for another job in the district.

FNS Non-Compliance with Section 504 and ADA AA
In August 2011, Fox C-6 was found non-complaint with Section 504 law and the ADA AA by the USDA Food Nutrition Services division. The district was told to immediately reinstate a Section 504 plan that had been removed in September 2008. The district with the help of the district's former law firm fought the August 2011 ruling for nearly 3 years.

After the December 2011 Fox C-6 school board meeting, former 504 Coordinator Dan Baker told me that the district had filed an appeal with the USDA to the August 2011 ruling. The district had discussions with the USDA regarding the ruling in July through September 2012. In August 2013, the district was informed that their appeal was denied.

It wasn't until after the internet scandal broke and Dan Baker was removed from his position as the Section 504 Coordinator and the district hired a new law firm that the district reinstated the Section 504 plan that was removed in September 2008.

Food Nutrition Directors and Section 504 Coordinators agree every year to follow the USDA's Guidelines and Regulations in exchange for receiving federal funding for the National School Lunch Program. One of those guidelines is the USDA's Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs - A Guide for Food Service Directors document.

It was the job of Fox's former Food Nutrition Directors Candy Sengheiser-Gruenewald and Kelly Nash as well as Fox's former Section 504 Coordinator Dan Baker to comply with Section 504 law and the ADA and ADA AA.

It took the district 3 years after being found non-compliant with federal law to issue Section 504 plans for students with special dietary needs. It took 6 years of effort to have the district reissue the Section 504 Plan that was originally taken away in September 2008.

It was September 2008 when I informed the USDA's Office for Civil Rights Regional Director about a video presentation and power point slides that I had found using Google on a Missouri law firm's website that appeared to be providing incorrect information about Section 504 law. The video was recorded at the 2005 Annual School Law Seminar. It was titled "Controlling the Explosion in Section 504 Lawsuits: Allergic Reaction to Peanut Product Suits". The presentation stated that school districts should not provide Section 504 plans to students with food allergies even if they qualified because,"It may lead to a slippery slope making it more difficult to deny protection to others". The reason listed in their presentation didn't seem like a very good reason for not writing a Section 504 plan. The Regional Director informed me that the statements in the presentation did not follow Section 504 law and she wanted to forward the presentation to the national office so they could deal with it on a national level.

A link to the video presentation and power point slides was forwarded to the regional director of the USDA's Office for Civil Rights who forwarded it to the Washington D.C. office in 2008. The video presentation and slides were the subject of a presentation by the regional director in Colorado in 2008. It also led to state wide training in 2009 for the state of Missouri's school nutrition directors in Jefferson City. No one from Fox attended that training according to the regional director.

It's difficult to imagine the amount of legal fees spent by the Fox C-6 school district between 2008 and 2014 in order to keep from writing Section 504 plans for students with special dietary needs.

In August 2013, the National Director of the USDA's Office for Civil Rights in Washington D.C. told me that it was unlikely that the law firm would change its stance on Section 504 and accommodating children with special dietary needs after billing the district for years defending their position. It wasn't until after Fox C-6 changed law firms in 2014 that Section 504 plans were written for children with special dietary needs.

Trying to get the district to do the right thing led to the uncovering of many more issues going on in our school district that would have never come to light if there hadn't been so much push back and retaliation by former superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow and assistant superintendent Dan Baker.