Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wow! Dan Baker Chosen as Seckman Elementary Principal Over 58 Other Applicants

I do believe that Fox made some good decisions in the hiring of the new Fox Senor High School Principal, our new assistant superintendent in charge of Human Resources as well as Fox's new Food Nutrition Director.

However, it's quite obvious that Dr. Wipke, Fox's BOE and the selection committees never read the May 2009 Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) that Dan Baker signed on May 1, 2009.

Dan Baker was Fox's Section 504 Coordinator when he agreed to make corrections to bring Fox into compliance with federal law. It's now been nearly 6 years since Dan Baker signed the Resolution Agreement and it's still open.

It also appears that Dr. Wipke, Fox's BOE and the selection committee never read the USDA OCR's August 2011 Final Agency Decision that found Fox C-6 Non-Compliant with Section 504 and the ADA AA. That agreement told the district to immediately reinstate a Section 504 that was removed in September 2008. It took until August 2014 and the removal of Dan Baker as the Section 504 coordinator before the district complied with that decision.

Did Fox's board of education not take the district's Non-Compliance issues into consideration when the they voted 6-0 to hire Dan Baker as the next principal of Seckman Elementary School?

As Dan Baker and Dianne Brown-Critchlow told me many times at board meetings, they kept the BOE informed about what was going on with the Resolution Agreement, the District Wide Compliance Review and the USDA's Final Agency Decision. However, the district never publicly acknowledged the problems. David Palmer is the only person that is still serving on the board when the Resolution Agreement and District Wide Compliance Review was initiated and he is running for school board again.

Did David Palmer ever ask why the district still hasn't complied with the May 2009 Resolution Agreement?

David Palmer's wife Gee Palmer also played a huge part in the Non-Compliance issues as the Director of Nursing. She participated in 504 Team meetings and was deposed during the Due Process Hearing.

Dianne Brown-Critchlow and Dan Baker have made comments about the Resolution Agreement and the District Wide Compliance Review during Public Sessions at board meetings but I don't believe any of their comments were documented in board meeting minutes. This all occurred before the district began audio recording school board meetings. Luckily, I've been recording meetings ever since I began attending them.

It would certainly be interesting to see if any of the other 58 applicants denied Section 504 protections to students for 6 years like Dan Baker did while he was the Section 504 Coordinator for the district.

It's interesting to note that after Dan Baker was removed as the district's Section 504 Coordinator in June 2014, students that had been previously denied Section 504 plans under his watch are now being found eligible for Section 504 and are being provided 504 plans in the district.

That fact alone should certainly be cause concern for the Fox C-6 community when being told that Dan Baker was the best candidate for the job.

Yes, Dan Bakers home was linked to derogatory comments that were posted online. But Dan has never admitted to actually making any comments online. However, he did apologize that his home was linked to those comments.

Fox's CFO John Brazeal told me that he asked Dan Baker directly if he had posted comments online and he said that Dan Baker did not answer.

So if Dr. Wipke did not read the USDA OCR's August 2011 Final Agency Decision that found Fox Non-Compliant with federal law, it would appear that he didn't have all of the facts that he should have taken into consideration when he made his decision to recommend Dan Baker to the Fox C-6 Board of Education as the best candidate for the job.

Reading the article in this week's Arnold-Imperial Leader about the hiring of Dan Baker and Todd Scott demonstrates that the "rigorous process" wasn't rigorous enough in it's screening of candidates.

Was Todd Scott still the assistant superintendent of Human Resources while he was going through the "rigorous process" when he applied for the principal position at Seckman Senior High School?

Fox C-6 board member Dan Kroupa told the Arnold-Imperial Leader that Todd Scott was selected after a "thorough and unbiased screening process." You can take that comment for what it's worth!

Acting superintendent Tim Crutchley, incoming superintendent Dr. Jim Wipke and the Fox C-6 Board of Education must be hoping that the community won't be able to see through all of the "smoke and mirrors" that they are feeding the public in the media.

Perhaps they're hoping that the community will eventually forget about all of the wrong doings and that everyone will just give up on trying to making changes in our district so they can get back to doing what they've been doing for years.

Should Fox's BOE publicly acknowledge the May 2009 Resolution Agreement with ED OCR that Mr. Baker agreed to uphold. It's very entertaining to read the years of "monitoring letters" that were sent to the district informing them that they still hadn't complied with the Resolution Agreement. ED OCR just kept giving the district new deadlines to meet which they never did.

How many years does it take a school district to comply with federal law?

Should the district publicly acknowledge the District Wide Compliance Review investigation that was initiated by ED OCR in March 2010 that is still an open investigation?

Since Dan Baker was responsible for all of the OCR Non-Compliance issues along with Dianne Brown-Critchlow that are still hanging over the district after more than 5 years, one would think that Fox's Board of Education would have taken that into consideration before they voted 6-0 to hire Dan Baker as Seckman Elementary School principal.

Did Dan Baker not know or understand Section 504 law when he was the district's Section 504 coordinator from 2008 to 2014?

Is that why the district spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees between 2008 and 2014?

Did Fox's Board of Education ever review any of the invoices for legal services between 2008 and 2014 while Dan Baker was the district's Section 504 Coordinator to see why the district was spending so much money in legal fees?

It's certainly hard to believe that the other 58 candidates that applied for the principal position at Seckman Elementary School were given a fair chance considering who was on the screening committees and final interviews. It was stated that the Seckman Elementary School teachers heavily influenced the decision to hire Dan Baker as the new principal at Seckman Elementary. Are the teachers responsible for hiring their own boss?

You can read Tim Crutchley's response as to who participated in the hiring process in my previous article:

Is moving an educator who denied services and protection to students for 6 years what's really best for our students and parents at Seckman Elementary School?

Read the Arnold-Imperial Leader article to learn more about what some of our school board members had to say about the recent hiring of Dan Baker and Todd Scott by using the link below.