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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dr. Rock's non-responsive response to my email to Dr Rock after 9/12/11 board meeting

According to Dr Rock on his last "Words from the Sup't" article in the Clarkston News on 9/21/11, http://www.clarkstonnews.com/Articles-i-2011-09-21-243563.113121-sub14473.113121-Words-from-the-Supt.html  he said:

"If there's ever any way that I can be of direct service to you, please contact me at rdrock@clarkston.k12.mi.us "
Given that, you would have expected that I would have received a slightly different response to the email I sent to Dr. Rock on 9/17/11 after the 9/12/11 school board meeting.  You can see that original email here from my blog.

Here was the response I received from Dr. Rock on 9/17/11:
 "Mrs. Schaller.
 Thanks for your note.
 
 Dr. Rock"
On 9/19/11 I responded back,

Dr. Rock,
 
I consider your response, "Thanks for your note.", to be an acceptable acknowledgment to the receipt of my email, but not a "response". Are you refusing to answer my questions/requests?
 
Thanks.
  
Dawn Schaller"
Dr. Rock responded back on 9/19/11,
"Mrs. Schaller:

When you e-mail me, I will acknowledge my receipt of your e-mail. Generally speaking, I will not notify you of my subsequent actions or offer extended responses.
 
Thank you,
Dr. Rock"

On 9/19/11 I responded back:
Dr. Rock,

 I did not ask for an "extended response".
I take your response to mean that you are not intending to be responsive to me/the public. That is not collaboration and is not a positive thing, especially for someone who claims to be "collaborative".
The antonym of "collaborative" is "uncooperative". Acting in a "my way or the highway" or "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" manner is not collaboration no matter if you try to twist $30 words around it - it is being uncooperative. 
To a reasonable person, one would assume that a non-response from you assumes you have something to hide or you just don't care what the public thinks. If you are going to take credit for everything good that happens in the district, you must also take the fall for everything bad that happens in the district. 
I would prefer you actually act in a collaborative manner and respond to the public. I know I am not the only parent you have ignored that has come to you with concerns.
I still believe that you have an obligation to:  
1. follow school district policy, as they are the rules for operation of the district (you may change Administrative Guidelines as long as they are not contradictory to policy),
2. post the entire board packet on the website if you are not emailing the board packets to members of the public who have requested them,
3. address the football player ineligibility issue to the public,
4. post the entire 9/12/11 board meeting on the district website (since you know it was cut off),

 If you don't feel you have an obligation to do those things, then I feel there is a problem.  
Thanks.
 
 Dawn Schaller"
On 9/19/11, Dr. Rock responded back to me with these words of wisdom:
"Mrs. Schaller:
Thanks again for your comments. I will take action where needed. I will not offer an extended response to you.
Dr. Rock"
Dr. Rock's follow on action/response to all of this, was that he:
  • did not post the full video of the 9/12/11 board meeting on the district website,
* The missing portion of the meeting included a discussion regarding an attempt at a power grab for Dr. Rock to basically give him a dictatorship over the school district in section 7 - to give Dr. Rock the authority to determine policy - to request, write, and provide his take on policies for his four rubber stamp members (majority) of the board to approve, although policies are the responsibility of the board and the superintendent has responsibility to administer the policies, not to set them (that is board responsibility),
* my comments at the end of the meeting in section 8,
* Dr. Rock's Superintendent's Update in section 10.
  • did not update the 9/12/11 board packet with all of the missing documentation,
  • did not address that his secretary emailed me 45 minutes before the 9/12/11 meeting that the only changes to the board packet was a financial document that was added when, in fact, there were many additions to the board packet,
  • still claims that the board approved his "pilot technology initiatives" that he already implemented, although they did not, 
  • and never addressed the varsity football player ineligibility issue.  
Dr. Rock has NOT been responsive to me, has not been responsive to others, and I believe he is not being responsive to this community or looking out for our kids' or the school system's best interest!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My 9/12/11 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of CCS


Freedom of Information Act Request by Dawn Schaller
sent via email to CCS 9/12/11
This is my newest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  A good portion of what I am asking for was documentation that the district failed to supply to me (although requested) from previous FOIA requests, but some is new and being requested based on recent school issues or questions opened up based on what I was supplied from previous FOIA requests.  Please provide what I am requesting below that is in red, bolded and underlined:
1)      Complete documentation (any and all backup documents and all documents signed) for any decisions made or documents signed by the President of the CCS School Board that was not voted on in a public session by the School Board since 05/01/09.
2)      Consolidated board feedback on the Berkley Operating Procedures that Mrs. Lieblang provided to Steve Hyer.
3)      From the “Total salary and a description and cost of each and every fringe benefit in the compensation package” for the superintendent and each employee of the district whose “Medicare Wages” exceeds $100 K from the district “Transparency Reporting” on the district website–
a)      Need the actual “Medicare Wages” for the people on the report as the State of Michigan instructions for Transparency reporting found here mandate: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Budget_Transparency_Reporting_327912_7.pdf   The Michigan Transparency reporting instructions mandate: 
(1)   g) “Employee Compensation Information” Provide a report of the total salary and a description and cost of each and every fringe benefit included in the compensation package for the superintendent of the district or intermediate district and for each employee of the district or intermediate district whose salary exceeds $100,000 (e.g. a pdf file). For purposes of this reporting, salary will be defined similar to that reported as Medicare wages on the employee’s prior year W2. This data must be all inclusive and should be data from the most recently completed year for which they are available (NOTE: the total compensation package must be fully disclosed).”
4)      Please provide a report showing the “Medicare Wages” for all CCS employees for the most recent year (either 2010/2011 fiscal school year or 2010 calendar year, however the data is kept).  This should be a simple report pulled off the computer.
5)      Please provide a report showing the base salaries and/or hourly salaries for all district employees for the 2011/2012 fiscal year as I received last year.   This should be a simple report pulled off the computer.
6)       “Current Complete District Organization Chart”.  I still have not received a complete Current District Organization Chart as mandated in Policy 1230.01, titled, Development of Administrative Guidelines" that I requested on two previous FOIA requests (the first one being requested 3/17/10).  Policy 1230.01 states, "The Board of Education delegates to the Superintendent the function of designing and implementing the guidelines, required actions, and detailed arrangements under which the District will operate. These administrative guidelines shall not be inconsistent with the policies adopted by the Board. The Superintendent shall maintain a current organizational chart to which immediate reference can be made by the Board or any employee of the Board”.  It would be a violation of policy for the document not to be completed.
7)      A copy of all documentation, including, but not limited to, all POs, PO alterations, account codes charged, quotes, bids, invoices, comparison bids, all PO backup documentation, all information on the bid process (advertisement, bids received, and bid comparison), and Board BAR where the contract was discussed and approved.  If no bid, not put out to bid, and/or no Board BAR, an explanation for why these purchasing policies were not followed for the following  :
a)      Check 84432, 10/9/08, Arizona Saddlery of Clarkston, $140.00
b)       “POH Medical Center”.  In a previous FOIA request, I requested “all bids, approvals, etc. for the "athletic trainer services" under POH Medical Center”.  I did not receive any information on the bidding, nor approval processes for this contract, nor a copy of the contract.  The amount of the annual contract was $40,625.00, which is well over the “$20 thousand something” that is the current trigger point for going to bid, and having to be approved by the Board of Education. 
8)      "Lighting Upgrades Project".  In a previous FOIA request, I asked for the complete bid package, but did not receive the “detailed scope of work” from the original bid (although I did receive it from the change order).
a)      I still need the original contract signed by the winning bidder, Midwest Illumination.
b)     I still need the “detailed scope of work” from the original bid.  I already have everything else I had requested from the original bid.
c)      I still need the explanation for the multiple versions of the bid sheets.  There were five different companies that bid the job and there was one bid sheet for four of the companies and multiple bid sheets with different amounts for the winning bidder, “Midwest Illumination”.
9)      "Pro-Tech Lighting". “New web server", delivery, and set up at CHS, paid on two checks, check 85250 on 11/6/08 for $18,792.00 and balance paid on check 85817 on 12/03/08 for $2,088.00 (total of $20,880.00).  In a previous FOIA request, I asked for competing bids and evidence that it went out to bid or was approved by the board, but I received nothing in regard to that request. 
a)      Please prove that this did go out to bid and was approved by the board by supplying bid notice, received bids, and board meeting BAR.
b)     If not put out to bid and not approved by the board, please explain the justification for not doing so (against purchasing policy that mandates both requirements).
10)  "Elementary School Irrigation Systems" from 2006.  In a previous FOIA request I requested a great deal of information from the district on this contract and received very little information back. 
a)      I still need the “detailed scope of work” in the original bid package that I was not given previously,
b)     I still need the complete bids from all of the bidders (I only received the bid comparison sheet),
c)      I still need all of the purchase orders and payments against both the original contract as well as for any and all change orders paid to the contractor,
d)     I still need business justification for making the change order that was given to Progressive Irrigation a change order instead of putting the business out to bid as a separate contract.  The base contract was called, “Elementary School Irrigation Systems” and was for irrigation system jobs at six of the elementary schools, but the “change order” was to install irrigation systems for nine sports fields at the middle school and the junior high. 
11)  “February 2010 National School Boards Association (NSBA) FRN Conference”.  The district sent three board members to the 2010 FRN Conference - Steve Hyer, Cheryl McGinnis and Barry Bomier.  Yet I found: 
a)      There was no flight expense charged against the district purchasing card, nor an expense reimbursement request for the trip submitted by Barry Bomier, nor Steve Hyer.  I understand that Mr. Bomier works in the Washington DC area frequently, so he may have been in DC on business and did not incur flight expenses.  
(1)   Did the district pay for Barry’s flight to Washington DC?  If so, please supply a copy of the expense and show where it was paid.
(2)   Did Mr. Hyer attend the conference and if so, did he submit expenses to be reimbursed for the February 2010 FRN conference?  If so, please supply a copy of the complete expense claim with receipts.   
b)      I found that the district paid for the flight expenses of $209.20 each against the January 2010 purchasing card for Steve Hyer, Cheryl McGinnis, and also Kyle Hughes.  All three of the flight expenses were charged against the Board of Education’s “conference/registration” account.
(1)   Please supply the business justification for sending Kyle Hughes, who is a high school teacher in the district and not a Board of Education member, to Washington DC at that time.
(2)   Please supply the business justification for charging the flight expense for Kyle Hughes to Washington DC to the Board of Education’s “conference / registration” account.
(3)   Please supply the invoice/documentation for the $911.44 bill for Hilton Hotels in Washington DC charged against Heidi McClain’s purchasing card on 2/5/10 that is on the March 2010 JP Morgan Chase purchasing card bill showing it is for the hotel charges for the FRN conference.  If that documentation includes a room for Kyle Hughes, please provide the business justification for charging the Board of Education’s “conference/registration” account for that portion of the bill.
12)  Regarding “Steve Hyer’s expense report for the 2009 FRN conference trip”, please provide a business justification for the district to pay for the expense charged for a cab ride to the “Chinese Consulate”.
13)  On # 7 of my one of my previous FOIA requests, I asked for all expense information related to any individual Board of Education member”, whether the expense was related to Board business or any other capacity related to the district including clubs/activities, including all individual statements, expense reports, quotes, conference documents, and detailed receipts for the period June 2008 to May 2010 including:
a)      All purchasing card charges incurred on the board member’s behalf,
b)     All reimbursed expenses,
c)      All expenses paid out of district purchase orders on the Board member’s behalf, and
d)     Any other payments made to, or on behalf of all Board members.
e)      What I actually received was just reimbursed expenses claimed on expense account sheets for board attendance reimbursements and a few travel expenses…   I know that all of the board members attended conferences, but I did not receive conference expense documentation for all of the board members.  I also know that many conference expenses were incurred utilizing the district purchasing card for most (if not all) of the board members under Heidi McClain’s district purchasing card, but this information was not supplied to me.  Therefore, I am asking for:
(1)   For fiscal years 2008/09, 2009/10, and 2010/11, copies of all backup documentation for all charges against Board account codes:
(a)   110.1231.3220.098.0000.0000.0000 (“conference registration”
(b)   and 110.1231.3200.098.0000.0000.0000 (“pur serv-travel & expense”
(2)   the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for the Board’s account codes for fiscal years 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011.
(3)   the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for the Board’s account codes for fiscal years 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011.
(4)   I still want the balance of the information that was not provided to me earlier if not supplied in the other documentation I have asked for here.
14)  As a result of a previous FOIA request, I received the explanation of Doug Slater’s theater ticket purchase” from the January 2010 purchasing card being charged against the “114” account code for “supplies/materials” when he was on a DECA Club trip to New York City as “this is account used for item purchases when not a registration, due, or fee”.  I would like:
a)      a copy of all receipts and transaction documentation,
b)     information on for whom the two tickets were purchased and who used the theatre tickets,
c)      and a business justification for purchasing and charging the district for two Broadway theater tickets while on a DECA trip.
15)  “Two purchases from Net Tech Corporation” ($32,965.00 and $36,345.00 paid in 2009 and 2010) for 24x7x4 hour maintenance service contract on IBM servers and Cisco routers.  From a previous FOIA request, I had asked for a “copy of all documentation, including, but not limited to, all POs, PO alterations, account codes charged, quotes, bids, invoices, comparison bids, and all PO backup documentation” related to those purchases, but I did not receive any information on the bidding process and approval for this contract, nor a copy of the contract.  Therefore, I still need:
a)      All information on the bid process (advertisement, bids received, and bid comparison).  If not put out to bid, an explanation for why it was not done.
b)      Board BAR where the contract was discussed and approved.  If not brought to the Board for approval, an explanation for why it was not done.
16)  All documentation regarding the “creation and maintenance of the CCS district website” including bids, board approvals (if any), POs, PO backup documentation, copies of checks, invoices, and any other financial documentation regarding the school district’s website.
17)  From the “CHS “Parking” 610 account”, from the current or previous financial system I need:
a)      the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
b)     the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
c)      the name of the person responsible for the account for both years, where monies are supposed top be applied, and the stated purpose of the account.
18)  From the “CHS “Jungle Run” 610 account”, from the current or previous financial system I need:
a)      the cumulative summary revenue and cumulative summary expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
b)     the cumulative detailed revenue and cumulative detailed expense reports for fiscal years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
c)      the name of the person responsible for the account for both years, where monies are supposed to be applied, and the stated purpose of the account.
19)  “Explanation for the splitting of the $262.40 Air Trans flight expense charged by Scott Banks” on 9/18/09 that is on the October 2009 JP Morgan Chase district purchasing card into $165.00 against the “610” high school “parking” account fund and $97.40 against the “610” “video production” account fund.  Please also provide a business reason for the trip.
20)  Detailed check registers from the following months:
a)      December 2010
b)     January 2011
c)      June 2011
d)     July 2011
e)      August 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

2011 Clarkston Football team forfeits their first two games of the season due to an academically ineligible player

The 2011 Clarkston Football team forfeited their first two games of the season due to an academically ineligible player that played in the first two games.

Here are articles about the story:  

Oakland Press:  http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/09/14/sports/local/doc4e6f68893ee7e581101733.txt?viewmode=default:

Detroit News:  http://detnews.com/article/20110913/SPORTS05/109130406/Clarkston-forfeits-two-games-for-using-ineligible-player

Clarkston News:  http://www.clarkstonnews.com/Articles-i-2011-09-14-243420.113121-sub14473.113121-Gone-with-the-wins.html 

MLIVE:  http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/article/7681182243666254539/no-3-clarkston-forfeits-first-two-football-games-for-playing-an-ineligible-player/ 

My comments to the CCS board 9/12/11


The Board packets on the district website

I appreciate that the district is putting the board packets on the district website now.  That is a plus in transparency, but I would appreciate it if the entire board packet would be posted on the website.  I sent an email to Heidi late this afternoon asking if the board packet was complete and she advised that there were only a few extra financial documents that were not included, when in fact there were several documents that were missing. 

I would hope in the future that the district post the entire actual board packet and also post it on the Fridays before the Monday meetings instead of waiting until Monday to post the information on the website.

Board policy
I just wanted to advise the board that according to the board Functions, under bylaws and policies, “The Board of Education shall adopt bylaws and policies for the organization and operation of this Board and the District.”  The Administrative Guidelines are the responsibility of the superintendent to carry out the policies set by the board.  
Removal of school board meetings from Comcast
I am disappointed in the Clarkston School District's decision to remove the school board meetings from channel 22 on Comcast cable.  It is now only on the district’s website. 

Unfortunately, when the Clarkston News contacted Dr. Rock to see what was happening when the board meetings were stopped on Comcast, the Clarkston News printed on 8/17/11 that Dr. Rock said,
"The meetings are and will continue to be broadcasted on cable," said Dr. Rock, superintendent. "We are also planning to stream them on our website. We plan to have this as a secondary method for all to view the meetings."

He explained only Independence Township residents have the option to watch it on Comcast cable right now. Expanding it to the internet allows more interested community members to watch.

Rock also said they plan to add finance committee meetings, as well."
Since then, none of the board meetings have been broadcasted on Comcast's channel 22.  On top of that, I have heard from multiple people who were not only unable to download the board meetings on their computers because the broadcast uses so much memory on their computers, but the attempt to view the board meetings also locked up their computers.

I believe that if the district is serious about being "transparent" and allowing more residents to view the meetings, then they need to go back to broadcasting the board meetings on Comcast AND on the district website because not everyone has access to the internet or Comcast cable. 

Dr. Rock’s unapproved technology plans

On Dr. Rock’s “September Column” of his “Superintendent Columns” on the district website, he said,

“Several of our schools will pilot technology initiatives this year, including iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, and wireless environments.  Throughout the year, you can expect to hear about a possible technology bond that would enhance instructional technology across the district.” 

That sounds great, but if the district has overcrowded classrooms, fewer aides, and cuts in classroom aides in lower elementary grades, is this how Dr. Rock thinks it’s the most prudent way to spend the limited school funds? 

Also, as of the date Dr. Rock posted that “September Column”, he had not come forward to the board to get approval for the appropriations for “iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, or wireless environments” although he has stated that the schools “will pilot technology initiatives” and although any expenses over 20 thousand something dollars must be approved by the board (from “ Purchasing Policy 6320A”, it saysBudgeted items that cost less than $18,915 (2005-06) may be purchased without approval of the Board”).

Do policies not apply to Dr. Rock?

Board, please take your place as the board and control your employee and don’t let him control you!

Thank you.

Email to Dr Rock after 9/12/11 board meeting

Dr. Rock,

First, I want to commend you for putting the board meetings back on Comcast's channel 22 after a one month hiatus.  On Thursday evening I saw the complete meeting on Comcast's channel 22.  However,
I also checked it out on the district website...  The website version is incomplete.  It is three hours, one minute, and 40 seconds long, but the real meeting was much longer than that.  The website version ends with the meeting still in full swing with Matt McCarty still talking during Section 6 of the meeting.  Please ensure the whole meeting's video is posted to the district website. 

I have some concerns over a few other things also.

The board packet for the 9/12/11 board meeting that was loaded to the district website on the morning of 9/12/11 on the district website was incomplete.  It was at: http://www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/education/page/download.php?fileinfo=U2VwdGVtYmVyXzEyXzIwMTFfQm9hcmRfUGFja2V0LnBkZjo6Oi93d3cvc2Nob29scy9zYy9yZW1vdGUvaW1hZ2VzL2RvY21nci9BTExmaWxlNDY4NTgucGRm
 
I emailed Heidi at 4:20 PM on Monday, less than two hours before the meeting, to ask her if the board packet was complete, or if there were any additions or changes.  Heidi emailed me back at 5:14 PM and said, "There were some budget documents added late this morning, under item 1.4".  However, I discovered during the meeting that the following was missing from the board packet:
  • Backup documentation for Section 4 "Presentation Items", 4.1 "District Highlights for Energy Star Awards and Food Services Updates"
  • BAR for all of the "Reports" under section 6:
    • 6.1 "Division and Superintendent Goals"
    • 6.2 "Student Information System"
    • 6.3 "Sinking Fund and Bond - Identified Needs"
  • Backup documentation for Section 6, "Reports", 6.3 "Sinking Fund and Bond - Identified Needs" - There was backup from Matt McCarty's part of the presentation, but none from Anita Banach, Gary Kaul, or Todd Bidlack.
  • BAR for Section 7 "Discussion Items", 7.1 "Board Goals"
  • BAR and backup documentation for Section 9 "Information Items", 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3
  • BAR and backup documentation for Section 10 "Superintendent Update"
At the end of the 9/12/11 board meeting, during the "citizen comments" section of the meeting, I commented on several things, one of which was that there were missing documents from the board packet.  Anita Banach had said during her bond presentation as she was passing out her documentation to board members that the additions would be updated to the board packet on the district website.
 
Well... I went onto the district website Thursday and Friday and not only was the board packet not updated, but the original version was not even there..Here is the web address that the district web page directed me to for the 9/12/11 board packet on Thursday and Friday, 9/15 and 9/16: "http://www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/education/components/docmgr/download.php?sectiondetailid=7312&fileitem=46858&catfilter=ALL".  This is the web page result when I clicked on that link: "404 File Not Found".  Before sending this email, I was able to verify that the original link and the original board packet are back on the district website (but no updates to them).
 
I find it disingenuous of the district that the board packet was incomplete and the web version of the board meeting was truncated.  It appears to be more of the same as I have seen in the past - hiding of controversial board business that the district doesn't want the public to see.

In my comments to the board, I had also said:

"On Dr. Rock’s “September Column” of his “Superintendent Columns” on the district website, he said,

“Several of our schools will pilot technology initiatives this year, including iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, and wireless environments.  Throughout the year, you can expect to hear about a possible technology bond that would enhance instructional technology across the district.” 

That sounds great, but if the district has overcrowded classrooms, fewer aides, and cuts in classroom aides in lower elementary grades, is this how Dr. Rock thinks it's the most prudent way to spend the limited school funds? 

Also, as of the date Dr. Rock posted that “September Column”, he had not come forward to the board to get approval for the appropriations for “iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, or wireless environments” although he has stated that the schools “will pilot technology initiatives” and although any expenses over 20 thousand something dollars must be approved by the board (from “ Purchasing Policy 6320A”, it saysBudgeted items that cost less than $18,915 (2005-06) may be purchased without approval of the Board”).

Do policies not apply to Dr. Rock?"
 
In Section 10 "Superintendent's Update" of the 9/12/11 board meeting, you had several retorts to my comments to the board.  In regard to my comments on your "September Column" (above), you said
that the board had already approved the pilot initiatives, but I have been to all of the meetings that might have addressed that subject and I don't recall that being approved by the board...  I would appreciate it if you could advise at what meeting the board supposedly approved the project and the finances for that.  Mrs. Lieblang didn't seem to know anything about these pilots being approved either as she said she did not recall that being approved and asked you for more information on it during your "Superintendent Goals Report" in the same board meeting.   

On another subject, will there be an official response from the district on the ineligible football player fiasco from the Clarkston High School boys varsity football team?  For as much as you have written about everything else since you have been at CCS, the silence is deafening in regard to the lack of response to this event.  I would think that an official response from the superintendent would be in order. 

From where did the information about the student's ineligibility to play football bubble up?  Was it reported to the district by the ineligible student himself, another football player, or another student or parent perhaps?  Was it actually discovered by the coaches or a CCS employee as reported in the press?  Or was it discovered by a challenge from outside of CCS such as another school, team, coach, or the press? 

Thank you.

Dawn Schaller