Monday, April 28, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: The Turner Report: Joplin School Board race opens with scandal, slumber party

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: The Turner Report: Joplin School Board race opens with scandal, slumber party

Lee's Summit something similar, but they don't spend the night.  They all sit in one car.  I guess Joplin wins because at least their candidates are actually in line when the doors open. 

Details are not clear about exactly who attended this slumber party, which was held at the Administration Building at 32nd and Duquesne, only that select people were invited. Filing for the Joplin R-8 Board of Education officially began at 8 a.m. this morning when the doors were unlocked. For the first time, some board candidates were allowed to circumvent the rules.

Board President Jeff Flowers indicated that he arrived at 8 p.m. the previous night, using his own key to enter the building..

According to her Facebook page, by the time former Irving Elementary Principal Debbie Fort showed up at the building at 3:30 a.m. to wait in line, she received an unexpected greeting.

I arrived at the Board of Education at 3:30 am to file my candidacy. Imagine my surprise to discover one or more of the current board members waiting inside the warm building. I don't know if it's legal but for me it certainly seems unethical. They offered to let me wait inside but I declined. Seems like the playing field should be the same for everyone.

Reportedly, it was Jeff Flowers who greeted her.

The idea behind arriving early is the tried-and-true premise that those who are not certain about who they are going to vote for have a tendency to cast their ballots for the first names listed.

Those names, in addition to Flowers, include his fellow board member and former board president Randy Steele, Shawn McGrew, who has played a prominent role in BrightFutures the past couple of years, and Linda Banwart, one of the people who was in charge of the successful campaign for the $62 million bond issue, the largest in Joplin R-8 history. All four reportedly were part of the slumber party designed to make sure their names were listed first. (Note: The names will be listed in this order- Steele, McGrew, Flowers, Banwart.)

What they talked about during the long hours is unclear. Perhaps they ordered pizza and whiled away the time discussing whether Becky really kissed Johnny or if Cindy had a crush on Freddie.

Maybe time was spent on a rollicking game of Truth and Dare, ending with a dare for everyone to ask for plush jobs with Western Governors University.

Or perhaps they waited in stony silence, waiting for someone to have an original thought.

After Debbie Fort turned down Flowers' generous offer to come in out of the cold and join the slumber party, the next candidates to arrive, also left off the invitation list, were Jeff Koch and David Guilford.

Their names will be a bit further down the list.

This time, despite the statistics, I have a feeling most people are going to review the full list of candidates. Despite the Joplin media's lack of interest in the scandals surrounding C. J. Huff, Angie Besendorfer, and the Joplin R-8 School District, word has been spreading quickly.

Angie Besendorfer is already on her way out, the first to desert the proverbial sinking ship. While state and federal investigators have been focusing in on the problems emanating from 32nd and Duquesne, C. J; Huff has been scrambling to hold his crumbling empire together.

During the past couple of months, Huff has discouraged some people who wanted to run for board of education and, on at least one occasion, dropped a hint to a prospective board candidate's employer that running for the position could cause problems in the workplace.

And Huff has every reason to be worried- if his favored candidates do not win, the days of "joined at the hip' will be a distant, unpleasant memory. All that will be needed at that point, is one more vote to bring an end to the disaster that has been C. J. Huff's administration.

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: The Turner Report: Links you should look at before voting for Joplin R-8 Board of Education

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: The Turner Report: Links you should look at before voting for Joplin R-8 Board of Education

This reminds me of the things that they do in Lee's Summit when you are running for school board.  I guess that this is the norm in Missouri.  This is just part of the post.  Please read it all.

For those who are interested in more informationbefore casting their ballots for Joplin R-8 Board ofEducation this week, here are some Turner Report links that provide more information and a brief description of each link.

The photo shows how the ballot will appear. As I have noted numerous times over the past several weeks, the reason the top four names are listed as they are is because of the infamous "slumber party" the evening before the first filing date.

Joplin School Board Race Opens with Scandal, Slumber Party

Candidate forums are not always worth the time they take to watch. The R-8 Candidate Forum, held Monday, March 24, in the Corley Auditorium at Missouri Southern State Universitywas a different matter. Though the Joplin Globe barred the public from attending, the video was shown live, has been shown again a few times on KGCS and is available on You Tube and at the following link:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Local School Boards Should be Abolished | Missouri Education Watchdog

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Local School Boards Should be Abolished | Missouri Education Watchdog

I’m all for local educational control.  Authentic local control.  We do not have authentic school board control in Missouri and I wager than many school districts in other states don’t have local control either.  School districts must adhere to federal and state mandates and autonomy is eradicated and discouraged for local school boards.  An entity to watch and research in Missouri and your state is your state school board association, a private association which uses tax dollars for its existence.  You might find (as we are discovering in Missouri) that these associations do not protect taxpayers, but rather, they assume control that is not granted to them but is wielded over school board members.
Missouri school board members must undergo training to understand what their duties are and most boards look to the Missouri State Board Association (MSBA) for this information.  Increasingly it seems as if MSBA is writing policy for school boards instead of being an advisory organization.  Research your state school board association and determine its function for your school districts.  It has become more of a regulatory association instead of training school board members to be effective voices for the citizenry which elected them.  Tax dollars are spent for this training with this private organization.  From a previous post:
You can see how much your district pays to belong to MSBA here.  The amount is based on the budget of your school district.  My district (Kirkwood) pays approximately $10,000 for MSBA’s direction and policy decisions.  Why do we need a school board anymore?  Maybe the education reformers are right.  Just turn it over to private organizations directing how tax money is to be used.  School board members increasingly are figureheads for private organizations funded by local taxpayers who think they are actually voting for members who set/direct policy for their districts.

The education reformers are increasingly calling for the demise of the local school boards.  Local school boards don’t really do much other than hire/fire teachers and maintain physical property.  If school board policy is being written by MSBA and the board members are following along adopting all the policies MSBA writes, then why do school boards exist?
The following article from American Spring shows the power MSBA has over school board candidates and school board policy in Camdenton, MO.  From Camdenton, Missouri School Board Elections About Local Control:
Recently, the Lake Sun asked candidates for Camdenton school board their qualifications and asked a couple of questions. The responses to the first of those questions are noteworthy, as it deals with a fundamental change to the way the public is ‘allowed’ to interact with board members.
From the Lake Sun:
Do you think the current school board policy regarding public participation allows for sufficient opportunity for the public’s voice to be heard? Do you support the current policy or if elected would you seek to make changes to the policy?
This policy represents a fundamental shift of the tax paying public’s ‘role’ in school affairs. It plainly seeks to use a questionable interpretation of law to stifle public input to the board, requiring an approval process that filters communications meant for the board through both school administration and school attorneys. This, to many parents, represents another step in a silent coup, preformed under the assumption of authority neither the administration, nor the school attorneys, have. A concerted effort has been made to reinforce the false logic that our representatives should somehow be ‘protected’ from hearing from the public and parents they serve.
Part of the new public comment policy, as recommended during an August visit from an MSBA lawyer, appears below. Camdenton adopted a policy that restricts the public from having open discussions with the board about their concerns, if those requests aren’t ‘approved’ by administration and attorneys.
7. Only items from the posted agenda may be discussed. If an individual seeks to address an issue that is scheduled to be discussed by the Board in closed session, the Board may require the person to hold his or her comments until closed session.
8. The Board may vote to suspend or amend these rules in extraordinary circumstances. The Board may impose additional rules as it deems necessary and reserves the right to alter the above rules depending on the circumstances. The Board reserves the right to cancel, reschedule or delay the public comment period at any time or delay comment on a particular topic. The Board may refuse to hear comments on a particular topic if advised to do so by legal counsel.
Paul Ellison writes how four of the five candidates support the MSBA’s policies of shutting down dialogue from the community:
On January 14, 2014, in an article in the Lake Sun announcing the email policy, Assistant Superintendent Roma France announced the implementation of Camdenton’s email accounts for board members.
France made the following statement:
“Protocol would be for the Board president and/or superintendent to respond to the patron on behalf of the district.” She went on to say, “If several questions come in on the same topic, then the item may be placed on the next board agenda.”
The Lake Sun described the email procedures, as laid out for them by France:
” Then, she told the board that emails would go to a mail distribution group,, which would be sent to each board member along with the superintendent or a designee. “
And that: ” In most cases, the superintendent or administration will be the one to respond. “
The guidelines adopted for the district’s email policy contain restrictions that mirror, in practical application, those inserted into the inappropriately named ‘public comment policy’. The guidelines offered the Lake Sun by Camdenton’s administration, read as follows:
1. If you are providing Board members an e-mail address, all Board members by policy must sign the Authorized User Permit that staff and students must sign and Board member must agree to the same terms as staff and students.
This first policy restriction would allow, presumably, for the unfettered monitoring of emails between themselves and their constituents. It creates an environment worthy of the NSA in the Camdenton school district. It would allow complete access to all board member’s accounts, without cause, without warrant. Camdenton’s version of Big Brother, it can reasonably be assumed, is manned by school administration and the districts lawyers, the firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole.
Also from the Camdenton administration’s ‘guidelines’:
4. When information is sent via the generic, the protocol is for the superintendent or Board president to respond on behalf of the district and to cc the Board the response so that the Board knows the patron has been corresponded with and what was said. If a Board member disagrees with the response or has questions, he or she is encouraged to immediately notify the superintendent and the Board president of that fact.
The last sentence in this ‘guideline’ is one that gives us pause, particularly when we consider the access and latitude granted the administration and its lawyers in regard to the distribution of emails in the first place. This assumption of authority, of determining which emails reach the board, is reemphasized throughout these ‘rules’ created by administration and their attorneys.
Number five of these ‘guidelines’ ensures that, even a board member can be denied the ability to add a topic or concern to the agenda.

5. Any Board member may ask that a subject is added to the Board’s agenda at the next meeting for discussion. The Board as a whole will ultimately vote when approving the agenda to determine if the issue will be discussed.
The last sentence of ‘rule’ #5 is particularly offending:
However, Board members are free to direct questions or concerns to the superintendent or Board president.
Number six in the list of guidelines:
6. A Board member who is not the Board president may correspond individually with a patron, but is required to indicate that the opinions expressed are his or her own and not the Board’s. A Board member is prohibited from using a district-provided e-mail address contrary to district policy or law or to violate district policy or law.
The key words and phrases in ‘rule’ number six are distressing. “Board member”, “prohibited”, “contrary to district policy” and “violate district policy”. These are words that place control of our school, not in the hands of our elected representatives, but into those of administration and attorneys. Many of these policies were crafted, approved and suggested by the attorneys for our school district and district administration. They are not rules of law, nor are should they be.
Rules nine and ten completes the usurping of power from the citizens in the Camdenton school district. They clearly illustrate the ongoing efforts to eliminate ‘local control’ over our school districts.
9. The superintendent or Board president in their discretion may not respond to messages from the same sender that are repetitive, or messages that are threatening or that use profane language.
10. The superintendent or Board president will not directly respond to messages involving litigation, potential or pending litigation, or a situation on appeal pursuant to district policies or the law.
In addition, the superintendent or Board president may not respond to messages if advised by the district’s attorney not to do so. However, the superintendent or Board president will acknowledge receipt of the message and notify the sender of the rules.
These policies, designed to remove, control and suffocate the input of parents and tax payers, are the opposite of Barbour’s claims.
“Yes, I believe the recently-updated school board policy facilitates engaged communications with our students, parents and patrons. We truly want to hear from our public. It’s their school. We recently enhanced this school board policy with an email address so our patrons can access all board members at exactly the same time from our school district’s web site.
Yes, I support this policy. We will be monitoring its progress. We also will continue to be cognizant of new technology as it emerges to communicate with the public exemplifying transparency and participation.”
She also invited the public to “peruse” the school web site. Perhaps Ms. Barbour should have perused a dictionary for both the correct definition of transparency. To her credit however, Ms. Barbour didn’t dive under her desk like partner-in-crime, Jackie Schulte. Ms. Schulte used the question regarding the public comment policy shift to beat the drums of fear mongering. This fear mongering is based on the flawed legal interpretation that, somehow, the school board could be held liable for what a citizen says to them. This laughable notion is parroted by Schulte.
“Board members are responsible for protecting our staff and students; allowing anyone to speak on impulse could open the district to possible legal repercussions.”
Read about how the Board members are apparently working for the superintendent, not the other way around.  The Board is supposed to represent the taxpayers who voted them in, not acquiesce to the superintendent….who the Board hires!  Since when does a board take orders from an employee of the District?
Read about conflict of interests between board members and companies performing services for the district.  Read about the law firm that represents and advises Camdenton School Board and decide if you think board policies are supporting the taxpayers or special interests.  Read how this board is adopting policy written by the law firm that may very well be illegal.  Read more here.
Call your school district and find out which law firm is representing your district.  Determine if your board policies are copyrighted and directed by MSBA.  If most of your policies have been written by MSBA and suggested by your legal representative to be adopted, ask your board members if they are aware of the implications of denying citizens freedom of speech.
Policies written by private organizations supported from tax dollars are developing/directing educational policy for local school boards.  Sounds like the NGA/CCSSO writing Common Core standards, doesn’t it?  We might as well abolish our school boards and state educational agencies and just shovel the taxpayer dollars to private organizations and forget this charade of local control because it doesn’t exist.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: CAC and What It Doesn't Do

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: CAC and What It Doesn't Do

CAC Mission Statement

The CAC mission is
to facilitate communication, advise and partner with the R-7 Board of
Education, Superintendent and community to ensure a successful and innovative
school system that maximizes each student’s potential.
Taxpayer/Stakeholders are given no way
to contact CAC members, other than Janice Phelan, Director of Communications for
the District, which defeats the whole purpose of it being a Citizens' Advisory
Committee because of her affiliation as an employee of the District. The
District uses this group to say they meet CSIP Governance Goals but they will
not provide patrons with a way to call or email these CAC Members.  The
CAC participates in consensus voting on financial matters and part of their
charge is to communicate District initiatives to the patrons.  Please open
the Charter link and read Outcomes carefully.  

If you attend a CAC meeting, you are
considered a visitor/guest and you will not be allowed to speak or ask
questions during the meeting.

Check out the Norms section on
Confidentiality.  The CAC members discuss some agenda items that they vote
are to be confidential and are not to be shared with the community.
Interesting, does this group have a right to go into Closed Meeting type mode?
 Many concerns about this situation.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

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 Laws
  • Cease and Desist Orders Against People Who Question District Actions
  • Board Meetings Not Videotaped and Available For Broadcast
  • Violations of Board Policies, Federal, State and Local Laws
  • Questionable Use of Taxpayers' Funds
  • Educator Certification Issues
  • Failure By Board To Respond To Patrons' Concerns
  • Retaliation Against Anyone Who Questions The Board and Their Actions
  • Superintendent Does Not Want Community To Know About Resolution Agreement With OCR.
  • Taxpayer Dollars Used To Pay Attorneys to Fight Against Lawsuits When If They Followed The Laws, The Money Could Be Spent On The Education Of District Students
  • DESE Passes The Buck Back To Parents To Complain To Board and Nothing Gets Corrected On Behalf of Students
  • Community Only Reads All Of The District Generated Positive Public Relations Articles
  • District Boasts of Awards They Have Received (Questionable Data To Back Up These Awards.  Would An Award Even Be Justified If The Recipient Stated Up Front That They Are Being Monitored By the Department  of Education Office For Civil Rights For Non-Compliance Of Civil Rights Laws?)

After I read their list of similarities, I had to laugh because of how similar the problems are in Lee's Summit R-7 compared to Fox C-6. You can see that there are quite a few.
They stated in their email that there are many more.

First, you have to understand that many of the school districts in our state are represented by only a few law firms. Many of the attorneys in these firms have worked with or for the same firms before splitting or starting their own firms. Therefore, the same strategies and tactics are employed by nearly all of the districts in the state on legal issues. Plus, there are quite a few books out there as well on dealing with the media as a school district superintendent with useful tips on what and what not to do. It's all about controlling the image and perception of your school district. It's the superintendent's job to make their district look good.

For several years now I have known about issues in other school districts in our state as I researched the issues going on in the Fox district. But, seeing a list from another parent on the other side of the state proves that we have some serious problems with MO DESE and with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (ED OCR) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

U.S. Department of Justice Gets Involved
In speaking recently with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), I learned that the DOJ now has the ability to initiate their own independent investigations when ED OCR refuses to do so. Of course it helped that the USDA OCR Office asked the DOJ for assistance in getting Fox C-6 to comply with the USDA's August 2011 Final Agency Decision. The August 2011 USDA Final Agency Decision found both the Fox C-6 School District and MO DESE non-compliant with Section 504 and the ADA. So, in their efforts to bring the district into compliance if MO DESE doesn't do their job, the DOJ has been asking for documentation for their their case against the school district. We are quite happy to supply them with the information we have. I also asked the DOJ about handling retaliation since that is directly written into the laws and they do cover that as well.

For example, there has been a lot of online libelous and defamatory attacks made against citizens who voice their concerns about our school district in online forums. And, what I find interesting about some of the comments made by these anonymous posters is that they seem to have access to information that only our top administrators would know about like when cease and desist letters were sent out and how someone made a reference about something happening before they were even sent. Could it be a coincidence that these "anonymous" people have access to this information or are they just school supporters guessing? But it's quite obvious that a few people in our school district don't like some of the questions posed at school board meetings by a few citizens in our community.

It's kind of humorous that the Character Education Trait of the month for June at Fox is Perseverance. That's the word that will hopefully be remembered by our school administrators and school board members as to how change is invoked in our community. I have been thanked by many teachers and staff for my efforts on calling out our school district's administration and school board. There are a few others in our community that are not afraid to speak out. They should be thanked as well. Hopefully in the end all of this effort will bring about a positive change within our school district.
It appears that Lee's Summit R-7 has a Resolution Agreement with ED OCR similar to Fox. However, Fox is also still undergoing a District Wide Compliance Review that Lee's Summit has not had yet. Fox's District Wide Compliance Review was initiated in March 2010 by ED OCR and it is still open as well according to a recent Freedom of Information Act request stating that ED OCR couldn't provide any information because the investigation was still ongoing.

I am hoping that providing this information and more to the U.S Department of Justice regarding problems with school districts in our state will lead to changes at MO DESE and ED OCR. ED OCR has allowed Fox C-6 to get by with doing practically nothing towards fulfilling the Resolution Agreement signed by the district in May 2009. You must be wondering why our school board hasn't done something to make sure Fox complies with Federal laws.

USDA Works Towards Enforcement
USDA OCR has been aware of problems in our state since 2008. In fact, in 2008 the USDA specifically came to Missouri to retrain districts after the USDA watched a video presented by attorneys at their annual school law seminar. Fox C-6 did not attend the training. The training was presented to the Food Nutrition Directors in our state. Maybe that's why our former Food Nutrition Director retired. Our district has a new Food Nutrition Services Director who is the daughter in law of one of our school board members. Our new Food Nutrition Director has been given two years to get her degree and certification to do her job since she only had a high school diploma when she was hired into the position with a salary of $65,000. I'm still wondering why Fox refused to meet with the USDA in March 2013 when the USDA came to do a Compliance Review of our district. But, then that was after the August 2012 meetings with the USDA when the district refused to comply with the USDA's Final Agency Decision.

Why would the USDA be more intent on compliance enforcement than ED OCR? I believe it could have something to do with the fact that the USDA's Regional Office is located in Colorado. In contrast, ED OCR's Regional Office is located in Kansas City, Missouri. The Director of the Kansas City ED OCR Office is Angela Bennet. Mrs. Bennet was an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Missouri. William (Bill) Dittmeier is the Chief Attorney for the KC ED OCR Office. Mr. Dittmeier was an attorney that represented the Kansas City School District for years before working at the Kansas City ED OCR Office.

Failings of the Kansas City ED OCR Office
Our experience with the Kansas City ED OCR Office has been quite similar to many others in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The KC ED OCR office has many investigations that have been open since 2009. Making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the KC ED OCR Office are supposed to be handled within 20 days. Some requests have required multiple requests and have taken more than 6 months to get a response from this office. A quick search for Bill Dittmeier and Angela Bennet returned a link to the following document from the KC ED OCR office sent to a parent in Oklahoma. It's just another example of what has been happening in this ED OCR Office.

We contacted and voiced our concerns with Randolph Wills the U.S. Department of Education Enforcement Director regarding the Kansas City ED OCR Office a couple of years ago. Mr. Wills is the regional Director that oversees the Kansas City ED OCR Office. Mr. Wills responded a couple of years ago when I first contacted him. He informed me that he would look into our concerns and get back with us. Mr. Wills never got back with me and has not returned phone calls or emails left or sent to him since then. Not responding to concerns seems to be the same tactic taken by many school districts in our state take as well. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt's office even attempted to contact the Kansas City ED OCR Office and experienced similar problems. So this is not an isolated incident.

Since the USDA OCR office is not located in Missouri, there seems to be more enforcement efforts as opposed to ED OCR. ED OCR has allowed cases to remain open for years. Once they have a case go into monitoring ED OCR occasionally sends out monitoring letters to let the district know they still have or haven't complied with their Resolution Agreement. Sometimes it may be more than a year between monitoring letter updates.

The question we have sent KC ED OCR several times is, how many years does ED OCR allow a district to fail in fulfilling a Resolution Agreement before they move to enforcement or opening an investigation?

KC ED OCR responds with a standard letter stating that they will let you know when they plan to send out their next monitoring letter. For example, ED OCR informed us last year that they would be sending out a monitoring letter to Fox C-6 in August 2012. When that letter wasn't sent, they informed us it would be sent in November 2012. Then we were informed it would be sent in January 2013. Then we were told it would be March or April of 2013. ED OCR finally sent the monitoring letter on April 25, 2013. This was after the original April date that we were given. Do you see a pattern or problem here with this office?

Not Just A Statewide Problem
It's very disappointing to know that there are other school districts in our state that are doing the same thing as Fox C-6. It is also very disappointing to know that there are problems in other states that are covered by the Kansas City ED OCR Office as well. When asking ED OCR several times to engage the U.S. Department of Justice since it is documented in their Case Processing Manual that they will do so when a school district does not comply, ED OCR informed us that they weren't going to do so. ED OCR said the district had not indicated that they weren't going to comply. One would think that after 4 years of not complying with the Resolution Agreement and being given numerous updated deadlines, that ED OCR would recognize the fact that the Fox C-6 has no intentions of complying.

Now that the DOJ has informed us that regulations have been updated to allow them to initiate their own investigation independent of ED OCR, perhaps we will see improvements in our state and in the Kansas City ED OCR Office.

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: We Don't Need Our School District Lobbying. We Need Them To Teach

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: We Don't Need Our School District Lobbying. We Need Them To Teach

The Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City (CSDGKC Inc.) operates as a Missouri Educational Service Agency (ESA).  A CSDGKC sister  organization, the CSDGKC Foundation holds 501(c)(3) status.  In order to provide consistency and continuity, the board of directors for the CSDGKC Foundation is the same as the CSDGKC board.

Adrian R-III School
Archie R-V School District
Belton School District #124
Blue Springs School District
Center School District 
Excelsior Springs School District 

Fort Osage R-1 School District

Grain Valley School District
Grandview C-4 Schools
Harrisonville Schools
Hickman Mills C-1 School District 
Hogan Preparatory Academy 

Independence School District
Kansas City Public Schools
Kearney R-1 School District 

Lathrop R-II Schools
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District 
Liberty Public Schools

Lone Jack C6 Public Schools
North Kansas City Schools
Oak Grove R-VI School District
Park Hill School District
Platte County School District
Pleasant Hill R-III School District
Raymore-Peculiar School District 
Raytown School District 

Richmond R-XVI School District

St. Joseph School District 
Smithville R-II School District 

West Platte School District



2014 Legislative Platform

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s tradition of excellence is the result of a collaborative effort among its supportive stakeholders.  A persistent focus on meeting the needs of each student will result in a legacy unparalleled by our peers in public education.  This legacy of excellence cannot be left to chance and requires ongoing advocacy on behalf of the approximately 17,600 students served by the R-7 School District.  It is our responsibility.  Thus, we wholeheartedly join the 30 school districts, representing more than 175,000 Missouri school children, of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City in support of the following 2014 Legislative Platform. Printable version

8. Support a change in the Missouri Human Rights Act that would re-align the Missouri Act with federal standards.
I oppose the use of my tax dollars to promote a non-education legislative platform item that I feel is inappropriately added to any school's legislative platform.
Controversial legislation proposing changes to the Missouri Human Rights Act earned a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon during last year’s legislative session — and the fight is on this year with the introduction of a similar bill.
Last year’s Senate Bill 188 and this year’s legislation, SB 592, have few differences, said Rich Germinder, chief of staff for Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, who proposed both bills.
“The same components are still there,” Germinder said. “The primary component being the changing of the causation standard from a contributing factor to a motivating factor standard.”
The MHRA states that a fired individual can file a lawsuit against the employer because he or she thinks any one part of the decision related to the firing involved rights protected by MHRA, such as race, age or gender, Germinder said. Shifting to a motivating factor, which is what the federal standards use, would mean the human rights violation would have to be the main reason, he said.
Supporters of the bill, which was approved Jan. 12 by the Senate Committee on Commerce, said it will bring Missouri’s law in line with federal human rights legislation. Those opposing the changes said it will weaken the rights of individuals in discrimination claims. SB 592 is expected to be among the first debated in the 2012 session.
Nixon has a policy of not commenting on proposed legislation because it changes during the process, spokesman Scott Holste said.
But it seems unlikely his opinions have shifted much since last year’s veto.
In a news release after the veto last year, Nixon said SB 188 would undermine the MHRA and make it harder to prove discrimination.
Public School Liable for Sex Harassment of Student by Another Student. 
Doe ex rel. Subia v. Kansas City, Missouri Sch. Dist., (WD73800, 4/17/2012) 

o Doe alleged that he was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by another student on multiple occasions during school hours on school grounds. Doe asserted the District's acts and omissions violated the MHRA because the sexual harassment and sexual assaults occurred on the basis of his gender and constituted sex discrimination. He claimed that the school is a public place of accommodation, and that he was deprived of the full, free, and equal use and enjoyment of the school and its services by way of the District's actions and inactions. 

o The public school district's liability for student-on-student sexual harassment under the MHRA is the same as that for an employer's liability for co-worker sexual harassment under the MHRA. The school district is liable if it knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt and effective remedial action. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Gold Star and Blue Ribbon Schools

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: Gold Star and Blue Ribbon Schools

These state and national programs recognize high-achieving and improving schools. At the state level, the Gold Star Schools Program is the recognition program administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The rigorous criteria of the Gold Star Schools program is aligned with the national Blue Ribbon Schools program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Please play close attention to how many of our schools are on this list.  Also, look at the dates. Blue Springs had several elementary schools on this list.  We had none.  This list goes back to 1992.  Can we continue to say that we are the best?

Missouri’s Gold Star Schools program was established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 1991 and is designed to identify schools that are performing at a high level academically or making exceptional progress.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program and the Missouri Gold Star Schools program utilize the same criteria for nomination. In order to recommend a school to the Commissioner of Education as a Missouri Gold Star School, the school must meet the nomination criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Education for the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, complete the National Blue Ribbon Schools application and the U.S. Department of Education must accept the schools National Blue Ribbon Schools application.
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools whose students achieve at very high levels or schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement. 

Missouri may nominate up to eight (8) schools for the national Blue Ribbon Award. One-third of the schools (3) must be identified as disadvantaged schools. To be nominated, schools must have at least 100 students enrolled. In addition, nominated schools must have assessment data for at least 10 students in each tested grade for both English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.

Gold Star Schools 

1992 - 2013

Lee's Summit North High School    Lee's Summit R-VII        2002 

Lee's Summit Sr. High School        Lee's Summit R-VII        2008, 93 

Lee's Summit West High School    Lee's Summit R-VII        2013

Blue Springs High School                Blue Springs R-IV          2008 

Brittany Hill Middle School               Blue Springs R-IV          2004, 00

Chapel Lakes Elementary School   Blue Springs R-IV         1999 

Georgeff-Baker Middle School        Blue Springs R-IV         1998

Hall-McCarter Middle School          Blue Springs R-IV          1997 

Lucy Franklin Elementary School    Blue Springs R-IV         1996

Moreland Ridge Middle School      Blue Springs R-IV          2002 


Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities. Since the program's founding, the U. S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on more than 7,000 of America's schools.

National Blue Ribbon Award Winners 

Chapel Lakes Elementary School      Lee’s Summit        98-99 
Lee's Summit West High School        Lee's Summit        2013 
Blue Springs High School                  Blue Springs          82-83 
Blue Springs Junior High School        Blue Springs          86-87
Brittany Hill Middle School               Blue Springs          2004
Lucy Franklin Elementary School      Blue Springs          96-97
Moreland Ridge Middle School         Blue Springs         01-02

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: He Just Keeps Going

Lee's Summit R-7 School District: He Just Keeps Going

Isn't he supposed to be objective?  He has already tweeted that one candidate was willing to lie to get what he wants.  We all know that it was not the candidate that was lying.  And now he tweets this.  Is Lee's Summit that blind that they can't see what is going on?  The same people are on every committee in this town.  Do you really think that your voices are ever heard?  Do you wish to continue to be used and abused while you blindly stand by?  I am not willing to give up my right to freedom of speech or my duty to stand up for those that can not.  I hope at some point the rest of the citizens of this city will join me.

David McGehee
R 7 School Board Election today. Don't forget to VOTE! Board-Supt relationship a research-proven key to successful school districts.