Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Federal Programs Overview Tonight at Fox C-6 School Board Meeting

There is a Fox C-6 school board meeting tonight.

Closed Session: 5:30PM
Public Session: 7:00PM

There is time allotted for Public Comments at tonight's meeting.

You can review the agenda and associated documents on BoardDocs:

Dr. Wipke was released by Rockwood School District a month early so his first day at Fox C-6 was moved to Monday June 1, 2015.

Fox posted Dr. Wipke's one month contract on BoardDocs for the public to review prior to tonight's school board meeting. You can review his contract using the link below from BoardDocs:

Angela Burns Baker who is in charge of Fox's Federal Programs will be making a presentation at tonight's board meeting about Title I, II and III. Her presentation documents the amount of federal money Fox C-6 is receiving for Title I, II and III schools in our district and compares their progress to the state average. Her report highlights the schools that are Title I in the district.

No where in Angie Burns Baker's report does she mention the fact that Federal Law prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR). Her husband,  Dan Baker used to be Fox's Section 504 Coordinator for the district and handled ED OCR complaints for the district. 

Dan Baker has since been moved/hired as the Seckman Elementary School principal in the district after it was discovered that derogatory online posts directed at parents were traced back to his and Angie Burns Baker's home. 

I wrote the article above on retaliation only a couple of months after online attacks were made against me after I spoke at a school board meeting. In 2013, I had no idea that some of those posts would be linked to Dan and Angela Baker's home. At that time I figured that most of them were being made by the Critchlows. I didn't have proof in 2013. It took until April-May 2014 before I learned that the Baker's home was linked to posts as well.
It's also very surprising that the Bakers got to keep their jobs knowing what everyone knows now.

It is quite possible that in today's world with "Smart Homes", the posts that were linked to the Baker's home could have been made by their thermostat or their refrigerator and not by anyone living in the house. Just a thought! You never know.

I get asked quite often about what's going on with our lawsuit. Well, when the Critchlows requested to have the lawsuit moved to federal court, it added 18 months to the process due to docketing of federal lawsuits. So, the court date for the lawsuit is currently set for April 2016.

District Wide Compliance Review by ED OCR
Things don't happen very fast when dealing with federal agencies such as ED OCR and USDA OCR. Fox C-6 has been undergoing an District Wide Compliance Review with the U. S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) after more than 5 years. ED OCR is supposed to enforce civil rights law such as Section 504 law. USDA OCR is supposed to to the same. However, it doesn't mean that these agencies actually do their job. Education law attorneys know this. That's how school districts can go for years without have to comply with the law. That's why the legal bills that I did obtain from Fox have year after year of Dan Baker and the former law firm responding to ED OCR and USDA OCR regarding the Resolution Agreement and the USDA's Final Agency Decision that found the district Non-Compliant with Section 504 law.

I find it funny how ED OCR touted Fox's 2010 District Wide Compliance Review as one of the Compliance Reviews in their 2009-2012 Report to the President and Secretary of Education given the fact that the Compliance Review is still an open investigation.

ED used to call this an Annual Report. However, there were several years as you can see that the report was not made on an annual basis.

You can find Fox's Compliance Review on page 5 (14 pages into the report). It is linked to the state of Missouri on the map of the United States. It is listed as FAPE 2010 which was performed by the Kansas City ED OCR office.

The latest FOIA request to ED OCR has Fox's District March 2010 District Wide Compliance Review listed as an open investigation. Therefore there is nothing to report to the public at this time. It certainly seems odd that it would take more than 5 years to investigate the school district as to whether or not our district complied with federal law.

On a side note, last month, the Wentzville School District changed law firms just like Fox C-6 did last year.

Fox's Legal Bills
Some may wonder why it took 7 months for our district to fulfill my Sunshine Request for Fox's legal bills from 2007-2014 from Fox's former law firm.

It took filing a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General's Office in order to obtain the legal bills. That was after making several inquiries over a 6 month period trying to obtain them by emailing the district. Fox's CFO failed to see the public's interest in those dated invoices. 

I also had to make a few calls to the AG's office in order to prod the district into releasing the information. I was not charged for the legal bills. Mr. Brazeal reported to me that the district waived the fees of more than $800 in research time and copying the documents. Thank you Mr. Brazeal for not charging me for the information. 

Fox's legal bills from our former law firm are quite interesting. Many email responses from the district to my questions via email or at board meetings went through the district's legal counsel. 

I also found it interesting that Dan Baker's "press release" / interview was reviewed by legal counsel for the August 2010 Post Dispatch article regarding our issues with the district and their handling of Section 504.

I was very disappointed in the fact that Fox's CFO, Mr. Brazeal told me in his email response that when sending me some of the legal bills when he said,
"After an exhaustive search, it has been determined that all paid invoices from the 2007-2008 school year (including invoices from Mickes Goldman O'Toole) have been previously destroyed."
Mr. Brazeal repeated the same statement for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.

Not having those legal bills certainly makes it difficult for the public to know how their tax dollars were spent with the district's former law firm during a time of turmoil and legal wrangling over Section 504 law and their responses to ED OCR and USDA OCR.

The missing years of legal bills covered the majority of the time when Fox's Dan Baker and former superintendent Dianne Critchlow were dealing with ED OCR and USDA OCR regarding Section 504 issues.

It was May 2009 when Dan Baker signed a Resolution Agreement with ED OCR to comply with Section 504 law.

It was March 2010 when ED OCR informed the district that the District would be undergoing a District Wide Compliance Review.

Still Not Compliant after 6 Years?
When I checked earlier this year, Fox still hadn't complied with the May 2009 Resolution Agreement that Dan Baker signed and agreed to. This is probably now due to the fact that Fox hasn't updated their Policies and Regulations since they were told to do so by ED OCR in May 2009. It will now be another 12 to 18 months before the district's Policies and Regulations get updated and released.

I certainly hope that a lot of this information becomes public when the audit is released. A state audit is supposed to review federal compliance as well and it seems that Fox has had problems in this area for years.

You may also want to check out Jefferson County Penknife's recent article about Jamie Critchow's Driver's License Status. Jamie Critchlow is the husband of former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Brown Critchlow. He was also the former Director of Fox's Bridges program who had 2 DWI arrests in the past year. One was in Iron County and the other in the city of Arnold. Apparently, Jamie Critchlow drove himself to the Arnold courts without having a valid driver's license according to Department of Review records when he had to appear before the court for his Arnold drunk diving arrest.