Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hodge PTO Hosts Fox C-6 Board of Education Candidate Meeting

The April 7, 2015 School Board Election is only one week away!

It's very important that you learn as much as you can about the candidates who are running for the Fox C-6 school board so you can make an informed decision.

This past year has definitely been a pivotal year for our school district. This past year will easily overshadow all of the previous problems that have occurred in the history of our district.

I don't remember any time in the history of the district where almost every single Central Office administrator left the district or was demoted/moved out of the Central Office.

The election of the next two school board members for the Fox C-6 School District is a very important decision and one that needs to be well researched. You need to talk to your neighbors and make sure that they get out and vote and are well informed.

It's important that we elect two new board members who will represent the taxpayers and not special interest groups or family members. We need school board members who are going to represent the community.

We need board members who are approachable and willing to listen to the concerns of parents and the community and stand up for those concerns.

There is only one long time incumbent left on the Fox's Board of Education. That is Mr. David. He is up for re-election. I certainly hope the community is educated enough by now to know that David Palmer sat silently for years and was willfully blind to the problems being brought to his attention. Enough said!

Meet the Candidates
Last night Hodge Elementary's PTO hosted a meeting with the Fox C-6 Board of Education candidates at 6:30PM at Hodge Elementary School. Hodge is located on off of Prairie Hollow Road.

There was a fairly light turnout of parents and concerned citizens. Less than 25 people in attended the meeting. I believe the meeting was only announced on Facebook and Twitter. I didn't know about the meeting until this past weekend.

It would have been much better if there had been a meet the candidates meeting at the Service Center or at Rickman Auditorium. When Rockwood went through their big scandal a couple of years ago, they hosted large meetings for their candidates to meet the public.

Four of the six Fox C-6 BOE Candidates attended

  • Dr. Robin Hanson
  • Christ Hastings
  • Mark Jones
  • Sherry "Chellew" Poppen

Drew Kriese could not attend the meeting because he was out of town. Mr. Kriese had a handout available for those who attended the meeting.

Fox C-6 Board of Education BOE incumbent David Palmer did not attend attend the event. No reason was given as to why he did not attend.

Each of the four school board candidates that attended gave a short introduction explaining why they were running for the board.

A Current and Former Board Member Attended
Fox C-6 board member Dan Kroupa attended most of the meeting. Mr. Kroupa left a little early so the focus of the discussion could get back to the candidates rather than answering questions from parents and patrons about the recent decisions that were made at the March 2015 BOE meeting and some of the other decisions over the past year. Early questions from some of the parents wanted to know how the candidates would have handled the recent decisions which led to discussion with Mr. Kroupa. I would say that there was some anger and frustration over some of the decisions made by the board over the past year.

I mostly sat and listened. I did provide some information as to administrator salary schedules from the past and the recent 1% raise given to the administrators.

I asked the board candidates if they would support hosting listening posts prior to board meetings where the community can speak openly with the school board rather than the limited 3 minutes for Public Comments.

The Rockwood School District hosts listening posts with their community. I brought this to the Fox C-6 school board in September or October 2013. I was told in an email from former superintendent Dianne Critchlow that the district was going to start hosting them at the November 2013 board meeting. However hosting open discussions with the school board was shot down at the November 5, 2013 school board workshop. You can read more about that by clicking on the link below when I wrote about it back in November 2013:

Former Fox C-6 school board member Linda Tramel also attended the meeting. Mrs. Tramel was asked to serve on the school board after board member Don Earl passed away. Mrs. Tramel was on the board after Bourisaw was fired by the district. This was also during the 2001/2002 audit of the school district by Claire McCaskill. My father also served on the school board during that time replacing Ron Clark.

Linda Tramel talked about the board training that all new board candidates have to attend by state law. She talked about how the board is responsible for hiring the superintendent and developing/approving school board policies.

Overall, there was some really good and healthy discussion that went on about some of the recent decisions with the board candidates. I don't have time to get into all of those points this morning but plan to write more and post an update to this article or write a more in depth article.

Several people thanked me for helping provide information to the community so they can be more informed. I also had a parent thank me for helping their child get a Section 504 plan which had been previously denied by the school district. I will continue to work on holding the district accountable and working towards getting them to do the right thing and follow board policies.

Here are a few of the items that were discussed:

  • Board member responsibilities and who they represent.
  • Transparency or lack thereof
  • The hiring of Dan Baker and Todd Scott as principals in the district.
  • Administrative Salaries and the 1% pay raise for the 2015-2016 school year
  • Teacher raises for the 2015-2016 school year which ranged from 2% for new teachers to a small amount for long term teachers as explained by Mr. Kroupa.
  • The Voluntary Incentive Separation Plan payouts which was responded to by Mr. Kroupa.
  • Board Members visiting schools and talking to parents and teachers so they are more in touch with what's going on in the school district.