Friday, February 13, 2015

Fox C-6 Legal Fees Dating Back to 2004 Provided by District

It's been several weeks since I've been able to find enough free time to finish an article. It takes hours to write and edit an article. I haven't been home long enough or had other higher priority activities keeping me from get any articles completed. I've been bouncing between several different subjects that need to be addressed in separate articles and hope to get them published in the next week or two.

Between helping my wife run kids to or from practices to preparing for the annual pinewood derby race as well as running the pinewood derby race with the help of other parents and scouts, to helping scouts along with others help build an all natural material klondike sled over several weekends (losing several small trees on my hillside as wood was obtained for the sled and will most likely be noticeable in the next Google Earth imagery) and attending klondike; attending STEM committee meetings, leader training and other meetings and trying to run more miles in preparation for the annual marathon and spending hours on the phone with Sprint's customer service trying to get my bill corrected after attempting to switch to Sprint from AT&T and returning the phones due to many problems with Sprint's service (that story needs to be shared with everyone), there just wasn't enough time to complete an article.

I've been asked or had comments from many people over the last couple of weeks as to why I hadn't written any articles and that's my "excuse". I appreciate those that were concerned. Not being home for more than a few minutes almost every evening other than to pick up kids or items needed for a meeting and head off to a meeting or activity really cut into my research and reporting time.

There's been quite a bit going on over the last month and since the last board meeting. Everyone should know by now that the next Fox C-6 board meeting was moved from February 17th to February 24th. You should always check the board meeting schedule on the district website at:

Fox C-6 Legal Bills
I've been trying to get an article out about the legal bills dating back to the 2004-2005 school year that I received from Fox's CFO John Brazeal on February 3, 2015 but haven't had time to finish researching why the name of the law firm listed on the bills from 2004-2008 didn't reflect the name of the law firm as documented by articles in the St. Louis Business Journal. Plus, I wanted to provide the amounts that were paid to date to them as well.

Researching that information led me to finding another blogger in the Camdenton school district that's run into similar issues with their school district which reminded me that I had found his blog before. Apparently, Camdenton has had similar issues with the same law firm that Fox C-6 used until last June when they were replaced.

I recommend reading some of the articles from the Camdenton blogger and how their community had similar issues communicating with their school board.

I received a report of the legal bill amounts and payments from Mr. Brazeal. However, I didn't copies of the actual invoices. I was provided a list of all of the invoices paid to the primary law firm for the district along with the amount that was waived for providing me that information. Mr. Brazeal reported that the total time listed for researching and providing me the documents was approximately 6 hours of staff time, which calculates to approximately $114 of fee waived by the district. Thank you for waiving the fee.

I've listed the totals below by school year from the report. I'll post the more recent years when I get them accurately totaled and broken out from the board packets for the law firm listed in the report.
I was charged for some of the board packets in the past. I refused to pay for the board packets prior to April 2010 because the district was asking for an amount I was unwilling and unable to afford.

Fox C-6 Legal Bills 2004-2013
2004-2005 -   $21,906.50
2005-2006 -   $39,218.86
2006-2007 -   $45,929.39
2007-2008 -   $74,560.41
2008-2009 - $109,116.49
2009-2010 -   $71,083.37
2010-2011 - $100,342.74
2011-2012 -   $81,029.43
2012-2013 - $148,903.30

What I found unusual was that the legal bills provided to me had the law firm name listed as Doster Guinn James Ullom rather than Doster Mickes James Ullom as reported in the St. Louis Business Journal articles below. The firm changed names in 2008 when Mickes split from Doster Mickes James Ullom and joined up with Goldman and O'Toole to become Mickes Goldman O'Toole.

I've been requesting for years the legal fees paid by the district dating back to 2008. I asked for copies of the invoices from the law firm back in 2009 which was responded to with a letter informing me that the district didn't get detailed billing and that the district would have to charge me a fee in order to obtain copies of those invoices because they would have to be redacted before I could have them. It seems that getting copies of actual invoices with the amounts broken out for services for legal fees is difficult to obtain.

Parents Club Meets with Board Candidates
The subject of being able to communicate with our school board and get feedback from the board was brought up by other parents the other night at the Lone Dell Parent's Club meeting when school board candidates Mark Jones and Sherry "Chellew" Poppen came and met with the parent's club. There were quite a few interesting comments made at the meeting. One of them brought up by another parent was that she had heard that 240 teachers had applied for the Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan. She said that she had been given that number by another teacher. When someone asked the Lone Dell assistant principal how many had applied from Lone Dell, she responded by saying that 4 or 5 had applied. The high number of applications for teachers leaving alarmed many of the parents.

I'll cover more of what was discussed with the candidates in a future article. There was quite a bit discussed and quite a few concerns from the parents. There's still a large amount of distrust in the community. It's going to take time and good decisions to rebuild the trust with the community that has been shattered by former and current administrators as well as our school board.