Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lee's Summit Soccer Coach Charged With Producing Child Porn - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

Lee's Summit Soccer Coach Charged With Producing Child Porn - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

Lee's Summit Soccer Coach Charged With Producing Child Porn

Lee's Summit Soccer Coach Charged With Producing Child Porn
April 23, 2013

Joel D. White

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Lee’s Summit, Mo., youth soccer coach was charged in federal court today with producing child pornography by secretly videotaping members of his soccer team.

Joel D. White, 40, of Lee’s Summit, was charged with producing child pornography in a criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. White, who coaches a girls under-12 soccer team and a girls under-15 soccer team through a local soccer association, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, law enforcement officers in Commerce City, Colo., discovered videos of nude minors on White’s camera. White was at a soccer stadium in Colorado last month for a World Cup qualifying game when the cameras were seized by law enforcement officers as part of a criminal investigation.

Several videos allegedly depict White positioning a video camera in a bedroom of his residence in such a way that the camera is hidden. Shortly after White leaves the room, the affidavit says, the videos depict several minors, approximately 11 or 12 years old, entering the room and changing their clothes. Minors are fully nude in the videos and do not appear to know they are being videotaped.

White allegedly told police that he videotaped nude minors 10 to 15 times without their consent from May to October 2012. According to the affidavit, at least four child victims have been identified so far in the investigation.

Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore. It was investigated by the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Police Department and the Commerce City, Colo., Police Department.



City of Lee’s Summit Now Faces Crime-Fraud Hearing - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

City of Lee’s Summit Now Faces Crime-Fraud Hearing - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

City of Lee’s Summit Now Faces Crime-Fraud Hearing

City of Lee’s Summit Now Faces Crime-Fraud Hearing
Federal Judge’s Order is No April Fools Joke
Lee’s Summit Now Faces Crime-Fraud Hearing

By Debbie Van Pelt

Late Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey handed down an order in the Ted White, Jr. case. Although the order was entered on April 1, Laughrey’s mandate is no April Fool’s joke. Laughrey says she intends to conduct an in camera crime-fraud hearing to determine whether the City of Lee’s Summit committed fraud in August, 2006 when it entered into an Indemnification Agreement with White, only to later say that honoring the signed agreement would violate city ordinances. An “in camera” hearing is one held in private to protect one party’s privacy until a determination is made that the information and testimony should be shared with the other party.

In 2005, Ted White, Jr., a former Lee’s Summit businessman, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Lee’s Summit, former Lee’s Summit detective Richard McKinley, former Lee’s Summit Police Chief Kenneth Conlee, and Tina (White) McKinley, Ted’s former wife.  The defendants in the 2005 lawsuit were accused of being part of and/or allowing a cover-up in 1998 when White was accused of molesting his adopted step-daughter, thereby preventing him from having a fair trial.  Richard McKinley allegedly began an affair with Ted’s wife, Tina, during his investigation of the molestation charges against White. Testimony indicates McKinley had possession of and then mishandled some evidence in the case. Court records show that Chief Conlee knew about the affair, but took no action to stop it and that he failed to remove McKinley from the case. White was initially convicted and spent nearly six years in prison before being exonerated in 2005. He filed the lawsuit a few months later.

The 2006 Indemnification Agreement released the city and the police chief as defendants in White’s lawsuit, in exchange for the city’s commitment to pay Richard McKinley’s judgment, should he lose. McKinley lost the initial trial and has lost every possible appeal since that time – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the Indemnification Agreement, the City of Lee’s Summit and MARCIT, the city’s former liability insurer, are responsible for paying White $14 million in compensatory damages, plus interest, court costs and attorney fees. Interest charges, mounting at approximately $6,000 every week the judgment goes unpaid, plus attorneys’ fees have brought the amount now owed White to nearly $17 million.  But, on July 6, 2010, the date the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied McKinley’s appeal and affirmed the multi-million-dollar award, Mayor Randy Rhoads issued a public statement saying that despite signing the agreement, “paying any damages in this case would be a violation of city ordinances.” Rhoads was a council member, but not mayor, at the time the agreement was signed. 

In a hearing before Judge Laughrey on March 8, White’s attorneys argued that the city committed fraud if it agreed to indemnify McKinley, knowing an ordinance would later prevent the city from paying as agreed. However, in depositions, city officials have refused to answer questions about the agreement and the ordinance, citing attorney-client privilege. Meeting minutes from the August 4, 2006 closed session in which the agreement was discussed indicate the ordinance was reviewed at that time as well. David Baker, an outside attorney for the city, presented White’s Indemnification Agreement to (then) Mayor Karen Messerli and the full council. According to the minutes, Baker informed the council that he had seen no evidence that McKinley had exceeded or abused his authority, failed to act within written city policy or violated anyone’s rights. Baker was given permission to proceed with the agreement. Joe Rebein, from Shook, Hardy and Bacon, LLP is now representing the city.

At the March 8 hearing, Judge Laughrey grew frustrated with Rebein’s reluctance to answer her questions. She gave both sides five days to file briefs regarding legal authority and how a crime-fraud hearing would progress.  In the April 1 order, she stated that the plaintiff’s (White’s) brief provided a factual basis to support a “belief by a reasonable person that in camera review” may reveal evidence “that the crime-fraud exception applies.” The crime-fraud exception states that the attorney-client privilege ceases to exist when a lawyer enables or aids someone to commit or plan a crime or fraud. 

The parties have ten days to submit proposed procedures for conducting the upcoming crime-fraud hearing. In the meantime, White’s motion to bring the city and Conlee back into the lawsuit as defendants has been continued, “pending a ruling on White’s forthcoming garnishment action”.  White was excited about the April 1 order, saying, “It looks like a can of worms is getting ready to be opened.”

City officials present during the August 4, 2006 closed session meeting when the Indemnification Agreement was signed were:
Mayor Karen Messerli, Kathy Hofmann, Ed Cockrell, James Freeman, James Hallam, Nick Swearngin, Randy Rhoads, Joseph Spallo, Ron Williams.
The Indemnification Agreement was signed on behalf of the city by (then) City Administrator Steve Lewis and (then) Chief of Police  Kenneth Conlee later that month. Robert Handley was the city's attorney.
On July 6, 2010, when Mayor Rhoads released the public statement saying that "paying any damages in this case would be a violation of city ordinances", Karen Messerli, James Freeman, Nick Swearngin and Ron Williams were no longer in office.  Brian Whitley, Allan Gray II, Bob Johnson and Dave Mosby had joined Kathy Hofmann, Ed Cockrell, James Hallam and Joseph Spallo on the Council.  

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Big brother is watching | Letters to the Editor | Lee's Summit Journal

Big brother is watching | Letters to the Editor | Lee's Summit Journal

Dear Editor,
Every automobile trip you make in Lee’s Summit is now monitored by automatic police high-speed license plate readers and saved in a database in undisclosed location somewhere outside of Washington, DC. The police record where you bank, where you go to church, where you shop, where you buy your beer, who your friends are, if you visit any gun shops, if you stay at local motels, if your friends are at the same motel as you, what restaurants you visit, and when and where you visit a hospital or medical clinic.
You may think “I am not doing anything wrong. I am glad the police are protecting me.” That’s what Lee’s Summit resident Ted White thought. A corrupt Lee’s Summit Police Officer, Richard McKinley, conspired with Ted White’s wife, Tina, to send Ted White to a brutal prison for over six years so he could marry Tina and share in Ted White’s assets. Ted White is finally out of prison, thanks to the Midwestern Innocent Project (MIP) and hard work by University of Missouri–Kansas City Law School Dean Ellen Suni, board member of MIP.
The outrageous conduct of the Lee’s Summit Police Department and the former Lee’s Summit Mayor cost the Lee’s Summit taxpayers over $15 million in punitive damages for compensation to Ted White. Corrupt Police Officer Richard McKinley continued to wear a Lee’s Summit Police Department badge and gun for over two years after McKinley’s misconduct was exposed.
The current city council members all voted for the automatic police high-speed license plate readers and data retention program. Do you support the license plate readers? You think you are not doing anything wrong? You think the Lee’s Summit police are protecting you with the license plate readers? Think again. Ask Ted White.
Bob Gough

Ted White: Lee's Summit has Broken Their Promise

Ted White: Lee's Summit has Broken Their Promise

KANSAS CITY, MO - Ted White says that he has a simple message for officials in Lee's Summit: It's time to make things right.

White, who served over five years in prison after he was falsely accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter, is returning to Lee's Summit from his new home in Utah to address the city council as his fight to get the $16 million in damages awarded to him by a federal jury gets under way.

"My family paid for four trials," said White, who has since remarried and has a new child as he rebuilds his life in Utah. White says that over the past 12 years he has lost his family, his business and his parents went bankrupt because of the false child molestation charges.

White was eventually freed after a jury heard evidence that his ex-wife, Tina, was having an affair with the Lee's Summit Police detective investigating his case and had conspired to withhold evidence that would have cleared him.

"It could happen to any citizens of Lee's Summit, and it comes down to what's right and what's wrong," said White.

A federal court made a final ruling against the detective two weeks ago, upholding the $16 million dollar civil verdict in White's favor. The city of lee's Summit signed an agreement prior to the civil trial would pay damages if its detective lost the lawsuit. But now the Lee's Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads says that a city ordinance that reads if a city employee violates someone's rights the city isn't responsible means that it would be against the law for the city to pay White.

Rhoads says even though the city signed the agreement with White, "it was not known then that the jury would issue a verdict two years later that the defendants violated Mr. White's constitutional rights."

"There's a promise to pay and they have broken that promise," said White.

Lee' Summit officials would not talk to FOX 4 about the White case on Wednesday. White says that the judgment is building interest at the rate of almost $900 a day, and says that he will take the city back to court if he has to, but that he hopes that the city will do the right thing.

Ted White's supporters plan to hold a rally on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in front of City Hall prior to the City Council meeting. There is also a petition circulating in support of White.

"Nobody wins in this situation, but if they force me to fight the people who get hurt are the taxpayers because I have to fight," said White. "I've been put in that position to defend my rights for 12 years."

Calls increase for termination of Missouri education commissioner - KansasCity.com

Calls increase for termination of Missouri education commissioner - KansasCity.com

Why aren't any Republicans calling for this?

The legislators asking for Nicastro’s firing or resignation:
Rep. Genise Montecillo, Democrat; Sen. Paul LeVota, Democrat; Rep. Bonnaye Mims, Democrat; Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Democrat; Rep. Judy Morgan, Democrat, ; Rep. John Mayfield, Democrat; Rep. Ira Anders, Democrat; Rep. Joe Runions, Democrat

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's not any store, it's THE Store | The Fast Pitch | The Pitch

It's not any store, it's THE Store | The Fast Pitch | The Pitch

I was driving on Raytown Road the other day when I saw the sign for The Store, the "Old Fashion Meat Market" at 6624 Raytown Road. The list of daily specials included frog legs and Delmonico steaks. The building couldn't have been more nondescript -- it looked like a small-town convenience store -- but I felt some strange compulsion to go in.
I'm glad I did, because I stumbled on one of the great treasures of Kansas City's East side: a little supermarket, as neat as a pin, with the most amazing butcher section. The refrigerated cases were filled with glorious cuts of beef that were distinctly less expensive than in Midtown. The cases were stocked with some oddities, too, including oversized mushroom caps filled with cream cheese, jalapeno queso and grated cheddar (four for $3.89) for baking off in the oven. The Store's butchers also make fresh ham salad -- it's delicious! -- almost every day.
For shoppers used to only wheeling their carts through giant stores like Hy-Vee and Price Chopper, The Store may seem too quaint for words. But it does stock one of the biggest selections of barbecue sauces, marinades and rubs in town. I bought a jar of Blues Hog Barbecue Sauce from Perry, Missouri, and discovered that it's fabulous with brisket, meatloaf and... stuffed mushroom caps!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lee’s Summit police seek help in identifying theft suspect | fox4kc.com

Lee’s Summit police seek help in identifying theft suspect | fox4kc.com

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – The Lee’s Summit Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a series of thefts in and around the metropolitan area.
The suspect, described as a white male believed to be in his late 40’s, has struck several local stores where he takes the donation containers that are designated for the Children’s Miracle Network.  All surveillance footage of the suspect shows him wearing an Olathe East Hawks hooded sweatshirt.
The suspect has struck locations in Excelsior Springs, Mo., Leavenworth, Kan., and Lee’s Summit, Mo.The suspect’s vehicle was described as a four door, dark colored Saturn with no license plates.
Police are asking anyone with information on the man’s identity to call the LSPD TIPS Hotline at 816-969-1752.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Concerns Regarding School Assessments for Educational Autism

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: The Concerns Regarding School Assessments for Educational Autism

This is happening a lot in Lee's Summit.  At one point it was happening 50% of the time.  When I last checked there were 250 students in the district with a medical diagnosis of autism and only 98 had an educational diagnosis.

From the Article The Concerns Regarding School Assessments for Educational Autism

Please read the rest.  Here is a portion that I find significant.

I recently assessed a teenager and diagnosed him with Asperger’s Syndrome. Within the past year two psychologists for different purposes (hospital and disability determination) also diagnosed him with Asperger’s Syndrome. Yet the school believed that he did not fit the criteria for educational autism based on their assessment. He was failing every subject and having behavioral and social difficulties. No other explanation was given for the problems in school and he was denied special services. Due to a predictable problem he was suspended from school and is now, ironically, receiving services. We are not sure what will happen when he returns to school.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Missouri School District Faces Second Federal Lawsuit in Two Years - Yahoo News

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Missouri School District Faces Second Federal Lawsuit in Two Years - Yahoo News

I know of many children lives that have been destroyed by the Lee's Summit School District.  When will our administrators and legislators do what is right. 

The Republic School District in southwest Missouri is facing its second lawsuit in federal court in four years over a special education student. The Springfield News-Leader reports the Hansen family won a case against the school district after four years of litigation stating their son needed individualized attention since the fifth grade.
The federal lawsuit litigated in June 2009 that he had conduct and personality disorders that required the school district to adapt to his needs for an education. Eventually, he got four hours of individualized tutoring which helped improve his grades.
Since the lawsuit was settled in 2010, the family moved away. It was also reported the family had more than $27,000 in legal costs paid by the district. Republic itself spent over $60,000 in legal fees.
Another lawsuit was brought against the school district in federal court alleging another pupil's rights were violated. A girl and her family are suing Republic Schools over multiple rape allegations by a boy on middle school grounds. Plaintiffs say they have DNA evidence and juvenile court records to back up their claims. Republic schools have denied the accusations. The current litigation received national media attention from the likes of CBS News .
That makes two lawsuits in federal court in a two-year period for Republic Schools regarding special needs children. Even though the recent lawsuit is just beginning, there clearly is something wrong in the once proud school system. Added to these lawsuits was a controversy over the past year regarding the banning of two books from the high school's library. That issue also received national attention.
The $87,000 in legal fees could easily pay for two or three teachers to help kids learn. It could also go towards improved curricula or funding for special education programs. Instead, it went to fees to clean up a mess that administrators and leaders in the Republic School District created themselves. The next school board election in Republic will be very interesting to watch.
What's even worse is that both students' lives were changed forever. No one should have to endure the humiliation of these kids who were just trying to be normal kids. This is America where no one should be treated as a second-class citizen. How we treat the future of this country today will largely effect how the next generation of leaders will work with citizens to better their communities.
For some children who attended schools in Republic, their lives 10 years from now will be irrevocably altered by men and women who were trained to protect them. Instead, they were ignored.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

School superintendents offer solution to student-transfer woes - KansasCity.com

School superintendents offer solution to student-transfer woes - KansasCity.com

I think that Lee's Summit is afraid that their numbers will go down if they accept these students.  Lee's Summit is already failing minority and economically disadvantaged students.  It only makes sense that accepting these students would lower their numbers.

Bullying Is Now What Happens Whenever Teachers Can’t Keep Control Of Their Classrooms « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law Schools, Law Suits, Judges and Courts + Career Resources

Bullying Is Now What Happens Whenever Teachers Can’t Keep Control Of Their Classrooms « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law Schools, Law Suits, Judges and Courts + Career Resources

The Eighth Circuit recently backed a Missouri High School in a bullying case against students. Lee’s Summit North High School suspended two boys who created a website to “discuss, satirize, and vent” about their classmates. Apparently the website made sexist and racist comments about some of the other students.
Ooohh. I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out that schoolboys make sexist and racist comments about their classmates.
The boys had filed for a preliminary injunction that would stay their 180-day suspension, which was granted by a lower court. But the Eighth Circuit denied the injunction on the grounds that the boys’ website was unlikely to be viewed as protected speech. That’s because their speech caused a “substantial disruption” to the educational environment at the school.
What was the nature of the disruption? Apparently two teachers described the day that the website went viral within the school as the “most disruptive day they had experienced in their careers.”
So, for those playing along at home, your right to protected speech ends approximately at the point that public school teachers can’t establish classroom order over a cacophony of “OMG, did U C this” texts, or something….
The students, Sean and Steve Wilson, put together a website, “NorthPress,” which made fun of classmates. This site was initially shown only to friends, but at some point it went “viral” within the school. According to the Eighth Circuit’s opinion, that’s where the disruptions began:
Conversely, the School District’s witnesses testified the public discovery of NorthPress caused substantial disruption on December 16, 2011. The School District’s computer records from December 16 show numerous Lee’s Summit North computers were used to access or to attempt to access NorthPress. Lee’s Summit North teachers testified they experienced difficulty managing their classes because students were distracted and in some cases upset by NorthPress; at least two teachers described December 16 as one of the most or the most disrupted day of their teaching careers. Lee’s Summit North administrators testified that local media arrived on campus and that parents contacted the school with concerns about safety, bullying, and discrimination, both on December 16 and for some time afterwards. Additionally, Lee’s Summit North administrators expressed concern that the Wilsons’ early return to Lee’s Summit North would cause further disruption and might endanger the Wilsons.
It sounds like it was amateur hour up at Lee’s Summit North. Oh, the horror of students logging into websites instead of paying attention in class. And did you notice the line at the end, that the administrators were afraid for the safety of the Wilson brothers? If the school can’t guarantee the safety of its students, that’s a problem with the school, not a reason to suspend students.
Writing over at FindLaw, Robyn Hagan Cain analogizes the Wilsons’ behavior like this:
This sounds like the day Regina George plastered copies of the Burn Book around the school in Mean Girls. Except the Wilson twins had a website instead of a scrapbook. And their site included racist and sexist content. Otherwise, exactly the same.
Except they didn’t plaster the scrapbook around school, they put it on a website and the teachers couldn’t stop students from checking it out online during school.
The Eighth Circuit analyzed this case under Tinker v. Des Moines, the landmark case that found speech could be curtailed if it interfered with school discipline. In Tinker, students wore armbands to school in protest of the Vietnam War.
Here, the students put up offensive content on a website and students accessed it while at school. It seems to me that the court is punishing the Wilson brothers because the teachers couldn’t keep their students off of the internet during the school day.
So, heap scorn on the Wilsons if you want to, but if I had a kid at Lee’s Summit North, I’d be far more worried about the fact that teachers can’t maintain control of their classrooms than I would be that there were a couple of racist or sexist boys at school. There are a lot of websites you wouldn’t want high schoolers looking at during school, but I’d be worried that the administration was evidently overwhelmed by a stupid one started by two kids. I’ll say it again, one of the arguments offered in favor of suspending the boys was that the school administrators couldn’t vouch for their safety while at school.
But this is what happens when you try to stop bullying by punishing children instead of expecting adults to be accountable. ‘Wah wah wahhhhh, “it was the most disruptive day of my career.” What a pathetic job by the adults in the room. The Wilson brothers might be little punks, but little punks shouldn’t be able to take down your whole school with one freaking website.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LS Police Investigating Robbery at Home Depot Store - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

LS Police Investigating Robbery at Home Depot Store - Lee's Summit Tribune - Lee's Summit News

LS Police Investigating Robbery at Home Depot Store

September 20, 2013

By Sgt. Chris Depue

On Thursday, 9/19/2013 at approximately 1:15 p.m. officers were called to the Home Depot store located in the 600 block of SE Oldham Parkway on a reported robbery. The initial investigation revealed that a suspect had entered the store via the garden center entrance.  

When the suspect approached the cashier he attempted to pay for a small item. When the clerk counted back the change, the suspect stated that he had paid with a larger denomination and demanded more change. 

The suspect became more agitated and eventually demanded all of the money in the clerk’s drawer. The clerk complied with the demand and the suspect fled from the store to a waiting vehicle. A weapon was never displayed during the robbery and there were no injuries reported.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall with a slender build and balding.  The suspect was wearing a dark t-shirt with white lettering and khaki shorts. The suspect vehicle is described as a dark colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jeff Grisamore Not: New Day, Same Flip Flopping

Jeff Grisamore Not: New Day, Same Flip Flopping

If you follow my blog you won't be surprised to learn that Grisamore has once again flipped flopped.  He said that he might vote against the veto override to protect Missouri's most vulnerable citizens.  He was absent on the day that they voted on the original bill.  He voted in favor of the veto override.

It brings back memories of him voting present on an important bill for abused women.  He also emailed legislators and said that he would resign if his bill didn't pass.  He didn't resign.  Do we see a pattern here.

Grisamore Leaning Against Override | Missouri ScoutMissouri Scout

Grisamore Leaning Against Override | Missouri ScoutMissouri Scout

Read the whole article.  You will see how he flip flops and how he uses those with disabilities to further his own career.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

School performance reviews mislead : Stltoday

School performance reviews mislead : Stltoday

The annual review of school district performance by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education claims to show how well each school district in the state performs. It doesn’t. All it really shows is the relative wealth of the population in each school district.
Compare the performance scores with rates of participation in the federal school lunch program. The correlation between poverty and low performance scores is striking. I made such a comparison for 52 local education agencies in metropolitan St. Louis that operate high schools. I excluded education agencies that did not offer high school from the comparison, because the challenges of high school and elementary school are so very different as to make any comparison between the two meaningless. I used participation in the free and reduced price lunch program as the measure of poverty, even though it does not register differences in the intensity of poverty, for example, or distinguish between someone new to the program and someone who has always lived in poverty. The degree to which different levels of participation in the subsidized lunch program tracked accreditation levels, however, was stunning.
DESE ranks districts into four levels of accreditation.
In only four of the 20 districts whose scores would earn them the “accredited with distinction” label were more than one-third of the students eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and none of those enrolled more than 3,000 students.
In none of the 27 districts that would earn accreditation without distinction were fewer than one-third of the students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (and in only two were fewer than 40 percent of the students eligible for subsidized lunches). In only one of those 27 districts were more than 60 percent of the students eligible for the federal lunch program, and that district had the lowest performance score of the group.
In the three districts that would fall into the “provisionally accredited” category, 62 percent, 72 percent, and 90 percent of students participated in the subsidized lunch program.
In all four of the districts that would be unaccredited (five if one includes the Construction Career Center), the proportion of students eligible for subsidized lunches exceeds 85 percent.
One reason that DESE’s performance review tells us more about family wealth than school performance is that it measures things on which families have great influence. Fully one-half of the possible 140 points on the accreditation scale are based on student scores on tests purchased from textbook publishers. Another 20 points are based on the results for students taking college entrance exams. The other 50 points are based on graduation rates (30 points), attendance (10 points), and the proportion of graduates placed in college or a job within six months (10 points).
The problem with the tests is that they measure so much more than just academic achievement. They measure a complex combination of traits, which includes achievement, but also includes culture and motivation. DESE and test publishers ignore that complexity by assuming a sameness to families and people that doesn’t exist.
One culture? Not quite. A question that assumes familiarity with golf, for example, introduces a cultural bias against students who grow up in families and neighborhoods unfamiliar with the game.
Everyone is equally motivated? Not so. Psychologists have found that some individuals are internally motivated to always try to do their best on tests, even it they can’t perceive of any benefit from doing so, but others aren’t. It is possible that in life children from more privileged backgrounds more often learn that effort brings rewards, and children from disadvantaged circumstances more often learn that it doesn’t.
Recent research also shows that poverty affects one’s performance on tests. When people living in poverty are most secure, they perform as well on cognitive tests as people who are well-to-do. But, when they are most financially stressed, they perform worse on the same tests.
In science, one has to isolate a variable to measure its response. Missouri’s achievement tests, in failing to isolate academic achievement from cultural influences, motivation, and poverty, fail to really tell us anything about academic achievement or school performance.
Peter Downs is a former member of the St. Louis city school board and author of “Schoolhouse Shams: Myths and Misinformation in School Reform,” from Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best places to live 2008 - Top 100 City details: Lee's Summit, MO - from MONEY Magazine

Best places to live 2008 - Top 100 City details: Lee's Summit, MO - from MONEY Magazine

This Kansas City suburb recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation of its downtown, where residents can enjoy summer festivals every weekend, in addition to other events.
Surrounded by three large lakes, Lees Summit is also a big area for health care, with one of the nations largest retirement communities, John Knox Village.
The city is well known for its award-winning schools (number 7 in the country on our list).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Standing By And Watching Bullying

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Standing By And Watching Bullying

How many of you have seen the psa with the boy on the bus or the girl in hall being bullied?  The ad is to help children understand how to not be a bystander.  It is a wonderful concept.

What are we teaching these same children when teachers, administrators, bus drivers, aides, etc. or the bullies?  How are they going to address that?

It happens every day.  Thousands of children are bullied by the adults that we entrust our children to.  We are powerless to protect them because of the cover-ups, the lying, the retaliation, and the total failure of the system from the district level all of the way to Washington DC.

When are we going to demand that our legislators, administrators, teachers, and public officials do their job and protect the most innocent of our society?  I'm ready to demand it now.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: We Have A Problem! Fox's Superintendent Was The 4th Highest Paid in the State for 2012-2013!

Fox C-6 Watchdogs: We Have A Problem! Fox's Superintendent Was The 4th Highest Paid in the State for 2012-2013!

We Have A Problem! Fox's Superintendent Was The 4th Highest Paid in the State for 2012-2013!

Recently the St. Louis Post Dispatch removed links to their Missouri Educator's Salary database searches from their website. I was curious to know how Fox's Superintendent Dianne Critchlow's salary compared to other school superintendents in the state of Missouri. So, I made a Missouri Sunshine Law Request to MO DESE and within a couple of days, MO DESE emailed me a copy of all Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent salaries for the state of Missouri from 1990 to present in an Excel spreadsheet format at no cost. I wanted to do some data mining to see the trends in superintendent salary over the years as superintendent salaries seem to be climbing out of control.

After a quick sort of the data, it showed that
Fox C-6 Superintendent Dianne Critchlow
was the 4th Highest Paid Superintendent
in the state of Missouri for 2012-2013!

Our school board is doing a great disservice to our community! We have a serious problem if our school board believes that Superintendent Dianne Critchlow is worthy of a salary that places her #4 in the state. Note that this ranking was for the 2012-2103 school year. We still don't know what her salary is going to be for the 2013-2014 school year. Based upon last year's salary schedule and what she was eventually paid for the year, she may have a salary at or above $260,000 for the 2013-2014 school year. That doesn't include benefits. The taxpayer is also paying an additional 14.5% ($35,789) on top of her salary into the Missouri School Retirement System as well.

Our community needs to wake up and start calling and emailing your school board members to let them know that this is unacceptable! Fox is not making the grade compared to Lindbergh, Rockwood or Parkway academically.

If you were to compare the percentage of students taking the ACT as a comparison ratio to calculate her salary, then Dianne Critchlow's salary should be reduced by 40%. Fox has the lowest percentage of students taking the ACT on the chart below.

Missouri's Top Ten Superintendent Salaries for 2012-2013

District Name
Salary Amount2012
% Tested
Composite Score
Total Expenditures
Lee's Summit R-VII$258,66017,55877.423.1$250,528,227
Kirkwood R-VIII$257,2205,13276.923.9104,967,480
Kansas City 33$250,00015,33697.216.4$225,824,117
Fox C-6$246,82411,61456.022.3$135,958,353
Rockwood R-VI$234,60022,26895.923.7$271,432,719
Special School District$233,7004,211n/an/a$374,210,620
Lindbergh Schools$233,6985,83084.523.0$81,605,925
North Kansas City$233,32218,67465.221.1$275,109,441
Parkway C-2$227,00017,35396.123.3$315,911,726
St. Louis City$224,00422,51669.916.5$452,146,762

What is Wrong With This Picture?

United States Vice President  -  $230,700
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon  -  $133,820 

The Missouri Education Watchdog website has an article from July 2013 titled, "You Might Need A New Superintendent If...". I think this article is very appropriate.

How did our school board members justify
our Superintendent's salary?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Do High Pensions for Superintendents Encourage Status Quo? - District Dossier - Education Week

Do High Pensions for Superintendents Encourage Status Quo? - District Dossier - Education Week

In St. Louis, more than 10 percent of operating costs go to pensions. Chicago's school district leaders cited high teachers' pension costs as one of the reasons behind their most recent round of teacher layoffs. And, of course, public-sector pensions are one of the major factors in Detroit's historic bankruptcy.
Most of the conversation about doomed pension plans in the education world has focused on teachers' pensions. But what about superintendents and administrators? Education Nextrecently published an article examining how school and district administrators' pensions play into this picture—and why those leaders have very little personal incentive to reform the pension system.
Superintendents and principals are generally enrolled in the same pension programs as teachers, Education Next reports, but, since they're receiving higher pay at the end of their careers, they draw significantly more in pension than the average teacher. "Promoted individuals, who have large late-career salary increases, benefit disproportionately from a formula that determines the value of the annuity based on the highest few years of earnings," write Cory Koedel, Shawn Ni, and Michael Podgursky, all in the economics department at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in an analysis of data from Missouri educators' pension system.
In Missouri, superintendents' expected benefits are 89 percent higher than teachers', and their average contribution is just 53 percent higher. The authors suggest that a system that prioritizes early-career take-home pay instead of pensions might attract more talent to the profession.
Whether or not you agree with the authors' conclusion that administrators are "on the same side of the table" as labor in terms of reconsidering pension programs, it's interesting to see this particular facet of the pension issue in the spotlight. Pension programs in other states may look different than in Missouri, and in charter schools, most teachers and administrators don't have traditional pension programs at all.
Another point from the piece: Pensions systems are designed to reward those who stick around, but to eventually encourage them to retire. Superintendents and principals, like teachers, are likely to retire around 55 or 56, the article reports.
One question this raised in this reporter's mind: Could this incentive to retire at a (relatively) early age be related to why there's so much churn at the top of districts? Are superintendents simply encouraged by their retirement plans to retire once they've hit a certain point in their careers?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Superintendent's Blog: Sustaining governor's veto of House Bill 253 is best choice for Missouri

Superintendent's Blog: Sustaining governor's veto of House Bill 253 is best choice for Missouri

If you have turned on the TV lately, it's likely you've seen the 'Grow Missouri' advertising funded largely by Missouri billionaire Rex Sinquefield, who has reportedly donated close to $2.5 million through various political organizations in an effort to influence Missouri lawmakers. The commercials present state legislation known as House Bill 253 as a positive for Missouri that will grow jobs and help business. Unfortunately, this well-financed advertising campaign is not sharing the enormously negative impact of this legislation or the truth about this anticipated job growth.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed this bill during June. Since then, special-interest groups have worked to influence our state senators and representatives, urging them to override the governor's veto. To counter this campaign, the governor is hosting regional meetings across the state, including one in our school district on Tuesday, Aug. 6, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 NE Tudor Road

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Information That The President Might Like To Know

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Information That The President Might Like To Know

The Lee's Summit School District has been investigated by the OCR for civil rights violations.  They were forced to enter into a resolution agreement.  Not too many of their residents are aware of the issues that this district is really facing.  Stay tuned for more.

Friday, June 28, 2013

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, the head of the University City School Board denies that the literature takes sides on Proposition U. He insists it’s just informational. He says the spending is not a violation of the statute.
But he couldn’t provide “You Paid For It” any example in the literature where arguments of those against Prop U are presented.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Case.Net Case Event Information

Case.Net Case Event Information

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013
 Judge/CommissionerTime Day Setting Event 
 JAMES FRANCIS KANATZAR  2:30 PM  1 OF 1   Hearing 
Event Text:  Location: DIVISION 5 Jackson - Independence
Address: 308 W Kansas   INDEPENDENCE MO
 Judge/CommissionerTime Day Setting Event 
 JAMES FRANCIS KANATZAR  9:00 AM  1 OF 1   Jury Trial 
Event Text: 4 Days Location: DIVISION 5 Jackson - Independence
Address: 308 W Kansas   INDEPENDENCE MO

Case.net: Party Details

Case.net: Party Details

SWEE , JODEY , Next Friend    represented by    BAYLARD , DANIEL J , Attorney for Plaintiff

USA SWIMMING INC , Defendant    represented by    MCCAUSLAND , MICHAEL EUGENE , Attorney for Defendant
9233 WARD PKWY STE 270
Business: (816) 523-3000

BLUE SPRINGS SWIM PARENTS CLUB , Defendant    represented by    MCCAUSLAND , MICHAEL EUGENE , Attorney for Defendant
9233 WARD PKWY STE 270
Business: (816) 523-3000

KANSAS CITY BLAZERS , Doing Business As    represented by    MCCAUSLAND , MICHAEL EUGENE , Attorney for Defendant
9233 WARD PKWY STE 270
Business: (816) 523-3000

MISSOURI VALLEY SWIMMING INC , Defendant    represented by    MCCAUSLAND , MICHAEL EUGENE , Attorney for Defendant
9233 WARD PKWY STE 270
Business: (816) 523-3000

MICHEL "MIKE" LEWELLYN , Defendant    represented by    LUDER , ROBERT J. , Attorney for Defendant

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: A Race To Remember

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: A Race To Remember

LS Tribune Saturday, April 12, 2008
A Race to Remember
Matt Bird-Meyer
Tribune Editor

Voters had an option Tuesday of four board candidates for three seats. Maybe the outcome was indicative of lazy voting habits, where the candidates at the top of the ballot get the most votes. Check, check, check and move on. But maybe the outcome was indicative of growing displeasure with the entrenched members of the board.  Whatever happened, newcomer Sherri Tucker came close. She was just 2 percent shy of overcoming incumbent Jon Plaas, who won 5,065 to 4,679.

Plaas had a slim 386-vote separation from Tucker. However the top vote getter, Jeff Tindle, had 2,246 more votes than Tucker, and Jack Wiley had 1,878 more votes than the newcomer. Tindle was listed first on the ballot, followed by Wiley, Plaas and then Tucker. The top two candidates were so far ahead of the bottom two that it appears voters were gravitating toward Tucker. I like to think the people who make time to visit the polls are going in there knowing how they will vote, or at least with some knowledge of the candidates. Personally, I would never vote for someone I know nothing about. Sherri Tucker never hid the fact that her only platform was special education. She is the mother of a special-needs son and is part of a group of 40 people who feel the R-7 district is not providing adequate services for their special-needs children.

Tucker didn't go about this alone. Members of the Lee's Summit Autism Support Group picked Tucker to run against the three incumbents.  This was her first time running for office, and she's pledged it's not her last. Plaas and the others circled the wagons during the campaign, supporting one another and alienating Tucker as a single-issue candidate. Plaas said single-issue candidates belong on the other side of the podium from school board members.

And to an extent, he's right, Candidates should be savvy enough to know that and campaign accordingly. That doesn't mean the candidate should never hold a single issue close to their heart. To me, that's how the system works. If you think government isn't working, then run for office or at least get involved. And when voters respond like they did here, we should all take them seriously. I can't say whether there's a problem with special education services in the R-7 district, but there's a growing movement of families out there who are saying that. "I don't feel like we lost," Tucker told me during a telephone interview. "We got our message out there and to me that's a win."

I agree, and to run up right against sitting school board members in Lee's Summit is admirable. The incumbents here are typically strong candidates with almost instant support from community leaders. The topic of special education is an emotional and complex one. These students have different needs and different individualized education programs. Some students have to find some services outside of the district and some are able to stay in regular classrooms. The bottom line is they are students, and they deserve as much attention as anyone else.