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Showing posts from June, 2013

Why special needs families stay in fight mode. | Support for Special Needs

Why special needs families stay in fight mode. | Support for Special Needs

In a recent story, a private club with a swimming pool will not allow a child with autism to use a floatation vest causing, obviously, the family not to join the club. Officials at the club say they don’t allow anyone to use floatation devices of any kind, and “if an exception was made for one, an exception would have to be made for all, and that was not possible.” Why is it hard for the pool board to say yes to this family and no to others who many complain?
Every. Single. Day. There is a reminder of how families with a child (or more) with differences has to fight and sometimes for the simplest of things, like the right to attend events and the right to live in the community and productive.
During the time that my kids were at their local public school they were really sick. My son was on hemodialysis (at the hospital three days a week) and they both had kidney transplants at age eight. They were out for reco…

Nepotism on Fox schoolboard - Topix

Nepotism on Fox schoolboard - Topix

Basically I agree with you, but BOE meetings are so tightly scripted it hardly matters. When was the last time something happened at a school board meeting that you couldn't have predicted weeks or months in advance? Concerned citizens talk for 3 minutes while the Board ignores them like the ugly girl at a cool kids' party. When time is up Dianne blasts them but refuses to allow a rebuttal. If the citizen has the temerity to talk back to her Barney Fife starts wandering over. Then some plant in the audience (and I mean that in every sense of the word) stands up on cue and says "I love you Board! Keep it up!" What exactly they're supposed to keep up is left a mystery but nonetheless the BOE graciously thanks them. Then they all look over at Dianne like a dog expecting a treat for doing a simple trick particularly well.

After the self-adulation part of the meeting is over the Board unanimously approves whatever it is t…

Fox C-6 and Board treat teachers like crap! - Topix

Fox C-6 and Board treat teachers like crap! - Topix

Even a board member's daughter-in-law who has only a high school degree can earn almost $70,000 a year in her first year. Oh she doesn't get summers off but the district can hire two new underlings to help he do her job and get supervisor's pay.

I am supposed to be grateful? I am supposed to be grateful that the administration negotiated and agreed to a pay scale and then reneged unilaterally? Without going back to the bargaining table? Also the BOE and administration says their reserves are getting low and thus had to change the salary scale. Does almost 20% in reserves seem low when the state only requires 3%. These are DESE numbers.

Does it seems low that Fox is increasing salaries by $1.17 million next year? That seems like a lot but I have 2 questions. First, do the teachers deserve less than the $3 million spent on 2 football fields? Second, how much of that $1.17 million is on administration raises?

And…

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: Stark Similarities Between Fox C-6 and Lee's Summit R-7 School Districts!

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: Stark Similarities Between Fox C-6 and Lee's Summit R-7 School Districts!

Stark Similarities Between Fox C-6 and Lee's Summit R-7 School Districts!
I received an email today from a parent in Lee's Summit, Missouri. They found my blog and wanted to discuss with me the similarities between their school district and Fox C-6. Their email said that they already sent information from my blog to the Assistant Attorney General to provide comparison information.


Here is the list of similarities sent to me by a parent in the Lee's Summit R-7 school district.
Similarities Between Fox C-6 and Lee's Summit R-7: OCR Resolution Agreement for Not Following Civil Rights LawsCease and Desist Orders Against People Who Question District ActionsBoard Meetings Not Videotaped and Available For BroadcastViolations of Board Policies, Federal, State and Local LawsQuestionable Use of Taxpayers' FundsEducator Certification IssuesFailure By Board To Respond To Patrons' …

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting Public Comment and Superintendents Reaction

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting Public Comment and Superintendents Reaction

At least they were allowed to make public comments.  In the past Lee's Summit residents have been denied the ability to do that.

June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting Public Comment and Superintendents Reaction
I spoke at the June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board meeting last night during Public Comments regarding the new anti-nepotism policy and the grandfather clause. I also pointed out to our school board the fact that it has now been more than 4 years now since the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) asked our school district to update its board policies to meet Federal law and they still have not complied. I also pointed out the fact that our school district still hasn't complied with an August 2011 USDA Final Agency Decision as well that also caused MO DESE to be non-compliant as well.

Our superintendent Dianne Critchlow reacted swif…

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: Super Dave BlogTalk Radio Show - His Thoughts on the Recent Fox C-6 School Board Meeting

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: Super Dave BlogTalk Radio Show - His Thoughts on the Recent Fox C-6 School Board Meeting

Super Dave BlogTalk Radio Show - His Thoughts on the Recent Fox C-6 School Board Meeting
David Day also known as "Super Dave" on BlogTalk Radio talked about the June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board meeting on his morning show on Wednesday June 26. Super Dave says he is good friends with Fox C-6 Board President Dan Smith. Dave was pretty upset about several things that happened at the board meeting and said he's going to forward his thoughts onto his friend board president Dan Smith.
Dave discussed my efforts to make public comments at the board meeting starting at 25:45 into his radio show. You can download his radio show from the web as an MP3 file. Below is the link to his Wednesday June 26, 2013 Radio Show. I also recommend listening to his show from Tuesday June 25, 2013 when he discussed the article in the Post Dispatch about the new anti-nepotism school board po…

Kan. Gov. to sign anti-bullying bill named for KC student | fox4kc.com

Kan. Gov. to sign anti-bullying bill named for KC student | fox4kc.com

If only we could find legislators in Missouri that would be willing to take this stand. Bullying by school district personnel is far more damaging than bullying by peers.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback will sign an anti-bull...ying bill into law Friday morning. The bill, named for Shawnee student Loren Wendelburg, strengthens the anti-bullying statue by protecting students from being bullied by school personnel.

Wendelburg’s parents said five years ago when their son, who is autistic, was a 5th grader at Rising Star Elementary School, he was verbally and physically abused by a teacher.

Wendelburg testified before the house education committee in February, saying, “I had nightmares because I worried about going back to school and the teacher harming me.” He also said he was afraid to say anything because he thought it was so unbelievable for a teacher to treat a student so poorly.

Wendelburg’s parents…

Kansas family seeks law against teachers who bully kids | Local News - KMBC Home

Kansas family seeks law against teachers who bully kids | Local News - KMBC Home

SHAWNEE, Kan. —A Johnson County family is pushing for a new Kansas law that would make it illegal for a teacher to bully a student. Related Man hit by minivan in OlathePuppy rescued from impounded car...KCPD: Missing 86-year-old found in...Butler National considering layoffs to...Fire destroys 2 barns near Spring Hill Loren Wendelburg, 14, said that when he was 10 years old and a fifth-grade student at Rising Star Elementary School, he had a teacher who would single him out in the cruelest way. "She grabbed me by the wrist, took me in the hall and yelled and screamed that I would never amount to anything," he said. He said he remembered other incidents at the school that year. His mother, Lisa Wendelburg, said she found out about the problem that had been going on for months from another parent. "We knew something was wrong because he complained about not wanting to go to school,&q…

School custodian spurs redesign of autism classroom in Lambertville | NJ.com#/0#/0#/0

School custodian spurs redesign of autism classroom in Lambertville | NJ.com#/0#/0#/0

Lambertville Public School’s autism students return for the summer session next week to find new lighting, the walls painted dark blue and other changes in their classroom.
Change is typically difficult for children on the autism spectrum, but these are designed to lessen distractions and boost learning.
The impetus for the changes came from custodian Jeff Munsey after he saw how upset one autistic girl became last December when a light in the classroom had gone out.
Munsey resolved to make the classroom a better learning space for the children. He set about learning all he could about autistic children, what makes them tick and what sends them off kilter. Then he began finding businesses and individuals to donate materials, time and money to get the work done.
On June 17, the school board gave Munsey permission to paint the room, replace fluorescent fixtures with LED lights, install a window air con…

Palo Alto Online - Town Square Topic

Palo Alto Online - Town Square Topic


Posted by Edmund Burke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm
“Not Curious” posts "Oh and there also happens to be NO section of the Brown Act numbered "54956.9(b)(3)(B)."
The section of the Brown Act cited by Curious was amended by AB1344 effective 2012. As to the section in question, only the numbering was changed. The text is the same. So while “Not Curious” is correct that the numbering of Curious reflects the old numbering, you are quite exercised about a distinction without a difference. One thing beginning lawyers need to learn is when to press a point and when not to. When you press a point that is tangential or unimportant like paragraph numbering you lose credibility.
Substantively, both before and after the renumbering, this section provides exactly what Curious says. An agency can meet in closed session to receive advice of counsel on “anticipated litigation” when in the opinion of the board…

You Paid For It – Former School Superintendent’s Sweet Deal | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It – Former School Superintendent’s Sweet Deal | FOX2now.com

LADUE, MO (KTVI)  – Several months ago former Ladue Superintendent Marsha Chappelow decided to leave the district in the first year of her three year contract.   She made her leave of absence effective December 1st. But, the Board of Education agreed to pay her through the end of the school year which is June 30th. So she gets her $190,000 salary even though she doesn’t have to come to work. An Assistant Superintendent is taking her place while the School Board searches for a replacement. You Paid For It Investigator Elliott Davis questioned the head of the Board Jayne Langsam who said the School Board did “What was in the best interest of the District”

You Paid For It – Rockwood School’s Expensive Contract Extension | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It – Rockwood School’s Expensive Contract Extension | FOX2now.com

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -  Why did the Rockwood School Board extend Superintendent Bruce Borchers contract when they knew a scathing State Audit was about to the released?  We caught up with School Board Vice President Matt Doell to ask him about it.  He says their contract with Borchers calls for them to vote on an extension in February of each year. He did admit that the Board could have changed the policy to allow it more time to consider the contract extension.
The vote on extending the agreement with Borchers was 4-3. Borchers gets $256,000 that includes his $234,000 salary plus benefits.
There’s an election in April that could change the make-up of the board.  If there’s a change in majority then they’ll have to deal with that.
Matt Doell admitts board members knew what was contained in the audit before voting for the contract extension but did it anyway.

You Paid For It – U. City School District’s Political Newsletter | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It – U. City School District’s Political Newsletter | FOX2now.com

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI) – The University City School District is being criticized for spending school funds on material to promote Proposition U. It is a bond issue they’re trying to get voters to approve on the Tuesday Ballot. Missouri state statutes prevent school districts from spending tax dollars to promote bond issues and or tax increases.
U-City spent $1,000 sending out a special election newsletter, and another $1,000 on a glossy postcard sent to homes telling residents to look at the conditions of the schools before casting their vote. The money from the bond issue is to help repair schools along with providing funds for other items.
Taxpayer watchdog Tom Sullivan calls the spending a violation of the State Statute and may file a complaint with the State’s Ethics Commission against the District. Sullivan says the Newsletter and other materials are clearly slanted in favor of Prop U.
Stacy Clay, …

You Paid For It: First Graders View Pornography In Ritenour iPod | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It: First Graders View Pornography In Ritenour iPod | FOX2now.com

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. (KTVI) – A shocking case at the Ritenour School District in Mid-County.
Two first grade girls were able to view pornography in the classroom on the iPod handed out by the teacher during class.
The two 6 year old girls were suspended, but the parents called me to look into this deal.
They say it’s the School Districts fault for not having an effective filtering system to keep kids, especially first graders from even being able to access pornography on school equipment. They say if the School is going to give out the devices, safeguards should be in place.
I talked to Ritenour’s Superintendent who says they’re taking steps to try to keep this from happening in the future. He admits the filters were ineffective.
I called some other school Districts.
One I called, the Francis Howell School District blocks all the access to sites like YouTube. They even block Facebook.
I talked to the Super…

You Paid For It: Should High School Grads Get 2 Diplomas? | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It: Should High School Grads Get 2 Diplomas? | FOX2now.com

WENTZVILLE, MO. (KTVI) – State Representative Bryan Spencer from Wentzville says high schoolers should get two diplomas to graduate from high school instead of one. One diploma would be sort of a certificate saying the child attended high school. The second “academic” diploma would signify that the child actually learned something.
The academic diploma would be based entirely on the student passing four tests:  Math, Science, English, and Social Science. Failing the tests would mean the student wouldn’t qualify for an academic diploma.
St. Charles School Superintendent Jeff Marion is one of those with doubts about this.  He says it throws out all that a student accomplished over four years.  Then pins the student’s future on passing four tests.  This is something he believes would cause extreme anxiety on stressed students.
Representative Spencer insists it would just get kids ready for the real world. He insists …

You Paid For It: Normandy School District’s San Diego Trips | FOX2now.com

You Paid For It: Normandy School District’s San Diego Trips | FOX2now.com

NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. (KTVI) – You Paid For It investigating a costly deal in the troubled Normandy School District where district officials spend more than $700,000 to get tips from San Diego State University to turn around the Normandy School District.
The district has been contracting with San Diego State since 2009 and has renewed the contract each year for Leadership Training.
They sent senior administrators and principals to the California college.
Taxpayers spent a total of $735,500 since 2009.  During the time it was getting the California tips the Normandy School District lost accreditation
Officials were scrambling when Investigator Elliott Davis showed up to question the School Board about this deal.

Kansas 'Innovative Districts' Law Faces Questions

Kansas 'Innovative Districts' Law Faces Questions

Kansas 'Innovative Districts' Law Faces Questions By Sean Cavanagh on June 17, 2013 11:44 AM|No comments
Kansas lawmakers approved a measure this year to support what seems like an unobjectionable goal: producing innovation in schools.
But is that measure legal?
Officials at the Kansas state department of education have doubts, which they've spelled out in a letter to state Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
A number of states have taken steps to grant districts freedom from various education rules and regulations, with the idea of improving student performance or producing other results, such as driving down costs. Department officials in Kansas argue that the House Bill 2319, which cleared the legislature and was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, earlier this year, goes too far and violates the state's constit…

Duncan to Allow Waiver States Flexibility in Teacher Evaluation

Duncan to Allow Waiver States Flexibility in Teacher Evaluation

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will call today for a new process allowing states that have gotten waivers from parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act some flexibility in using student achievement to evaluate teachers, sources say.
Teacher evaluation based in part on student outcomes (i.e. test scores) has been the most difficult piece of the waiver framework. And it's become even more complicated as states begin to embrace the Common Core State Standards, which mean new, higher expectations for students.
The tests that are being developed by two state consortia to go along with those standards won't be ready until the 2014-15 school year. In the meantime, many states are using their own common-core-aligned tests.
Specifically, Duncan is planning to allow waiver states to make the case that they need an additional year to factor student achievement into personnel decisions. That will give st…
Lawsuit against swimming establishmentBy Chris Sikich, The Indianapolis Star Updated 11/11/2011 3:59 PM

Former swimming coach Christopher Wheat was sentenced a year ago after admitting to sexual activity with a 14-year-old member of his Lawrence youth swim team. Now, the girl's lawyer has filed a lawsuit alleging the culture around youth swimming allows pedophile coaches to prey on the kids entrusted to their care. Lawyer Jonathan Little filed the lawsuit on behalf of the girl against United States Swimming and Indiana Swimming, the national organization that governs competitive swimming and its affiliate. The lawsuit also names Lawrence Township Schools, Wheat, former Lawrence coach John Diercks and McCutcheon High School swim coach Amanda Juntenen Cox. Generally, the lawsuit alleges that people in positions of authority were made aware of allegations against Wheat but never went to law enforcement as required by law. USA Swimming spokesman Mike Whewell said the organization d…