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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Best 2012 Clarkston Community School Board Candidates!

Here is the website for the best candidates for the Clarkston (Michigan) Community School Board.  

Please vote to re-elect Susan Boatman and Joan Patterson, and elect Betty Reilly to the Clarkston School Board November 6, 2012!

Susan Boatman and Joan Patterson (along with Rosalie Lieblang - still on the board and not up currently up for re-election) have been the voices of reason on the school board.  They ask questions and request additional information that has not been supplied by administration in order to make more informed decisions for the school district and the public. 

Betty Reilly was involved in the parent led C.R.I.S.I.S group that got the word out on the district planned stealth $20 million iPad bond proposal that was rejected two to one by the voting public in May 2012.  Betty receives the school board meeting board packets to identify what business is being addressed at each of the board meetings and has regularly attended board meetings for the last two years.  Betty has spoken at many meetings trying to get the school district to be more open and transparent.

To see biographies for Boatman, Patterson, and Reilly, visit www.electbpr.com


ELECT: BOATMAN, PATTERSON, and REILLY to Clarkston School Board

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vote for Boatman, Patterson, and Reilly for Clarkston School Board

Clarkston Community School Board Candidates

Vote for the three School Board candidates who LISTEN, QUESTION, and CARE!
 Here is the website for the best candidates for the Clarkston (Michigan) Community School Board.  
Please vote to re-elect Susan Boatman and Joan Patterson, and elect Betty Reilly to the Clarkston School Board November 6, 2012!

Susan Boatman    Joan Patterson    Betty Reilly

       3 Candidates Stand Out
  • For an effective Clarkston School Board
  • For lowering class sizes
  • For improved student achievement
  • For better oversight of our school tax $
They will do the proper research, and planning, and provide oversight and checks and balances on important decisions in order to ensure positive long-term effects for our students, our schools, our community and our property values.  (Ex. To prevent an issue as happened with the failed bond proposal that cost Clarkston Schools over $35,000!).
                   Ensure your voice is heard in determining the direction of Clarkston Schools!
                    Together, they CAN make a difference!

Pro Kids - Pro Education - Pro Taxpayer - Anti-Rubber Stamp

I personally know Sue Boatman, Joan Patterson, and Betty Reilly.  I know they are the people NEEDED for the Clarkston School Board. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raises planned for top CCS administrators and directors?


If you were an employee of the Clarkston Community School District and had your pay frozen OR had massive pay cuts and then had your pay frozen for several years, would you have a problem if administration was looking to increase the top administrator's pay and keeping the news hush-hush?  I would...

The district (read Dr. Rod Rock and Mrs. Cheryl McGinnis) decided to use a "round table" communication vehicle to communicate a few subjects to the school board during the 9/10/12 CCS board meeting.  It was recorded for Comcast channel 22 and the district's USTREAM account available here (click on the 9/10/12 board meeting video).  However, you won't hear any of that round table discussion on the recordings because although the district recorded that part of the meeting, there were no microphones being used and the material presented was not part of the board packet for the meeting (from 2 hours, 7 minutes to the end of the recording at 3 hours - the remainder of the meeting was not recorded due to the three hour maximum recording time and the recording not being restarted at three hours.  How convenient that there were no microphones...

During the round table discussions they discussed the status of:
  1. "Non-affiliated"/non-union employee contracts (presented by Anita Banach, the CCS Human Resources Director),
  2. IT in the district (presented by Matt McCarty,  CCS IT Director),
  3. and the "focus school" designations for Andersonville Elementary and Pine Knob Elementary (presented by principals, Jodi Yeloushan and  Bruce Martin), what the "focus school" designation means, what is being done to get off the list, and Title I status and it's impact on the schools. 
I was concerned about the fact that although Anita Banach advised that there was a "give to get" provision in each of the non-union employee contracts (leaving them all net zero or actually better for the district), there was an exception - the top administrators/directors (including Anita Banach), who would actually be receiving increases.

Did I hear that correctly?  If so, have the other employee groups (including the union groups) been made aware that the district is proposing increasing pay for top administrators, while holding all of the rest of the employee groups to the cuts they already had or a "give to get" net zero change, or is that the reason for not posting the board packets to the district website?

I am very disappointed in the district's attempts to not be transparent about what they are doing with increasing pay for top administrators (principals) and directors.

Maybe Dr. Rock, Mrs. McGinnis, and Anita Banach would like to say about the employees, "let them eat cake".

Unbelievable.

Please feel free to comment anonymously.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Transparency? We don't need no stinking transparency!"

The title is a nod to "Blazing Saddles"...

Clarkston Community School District (CCS) has gone back to being "opaque".  Apparently, Dr. Rod Rock no longer believes that transparency for the public is important.

The board packets for the CCS school board meetings used to be loaded to the district's website each week and the past ones were available also.  Click on the district's home page here and then click on the "Board of Education" link towards the top of the page.  You can then see the board meeting dates and no links to the the board packets. 

The district used to post the board packets to the website on the Friday afternoons before the Monday meetings and they would be posted under the date of the meeting.  The district is no longer (since July 2012) posting the board packets.  The only way to get the board packets is to email the superintendent's secretary, Heidi McClain, and to request the board packet.  It will be emailed to you a few hours before the meeting, preventing you from being able to study the document in any real way prior to the meeting.  I believe that Heidi will also make a hard copy of it and have it available at the meeting if you do not have email, but it is no longer available to the general public to view on the district website three days before the meeting .  

I sent an email to Dr Rod Rock (superintendent), Mrs. Cheryl McGinnis (current school board president and running for re-election in November), and Mrs. Heidi McClain (Dr. Rock's secretary) on the evening of Friday, September 7, 2012, asking why the board packet was not loaded to the district website for the 9/10/12 board meeting.

Cheryl McGinnis advised me Sunday night that she would have Heidi McClain send me the board packet via email and she would check into why the board packets were no longer on the district website.  I did receive Monday's board packets a few hours before the meeting on Monday (with some detail missing that was sent to me after the meeting), but no one from the district has responded to me about the missing board packets from the district website (August and September meetings) and they have not been loaded.

However, someone else asked the same question of Dr. Rock on Monday, and he advised: 
 "We will send them out to the public on Monday's. Since we've had possible security breeches with our website, we won't post them but will instead send them via PDFs to those who request them."   
A security breach (not "breech",  as Dr. Rock stated) sounds serious, but I have not seen:
    • any removals or changes to any other documents or links on any of the district websites if the district was concerned about a security breach,
    • an announcement from Clarkstoncalendar.org about a district security breach,
    • or a news report on the security breach.    
I was concerned about the district's IT security breach.  During a break in the 9/10/12 CCS board meeting, I stopped to ask the CCS IT director, Matt McCarty, about the security breach.  He looked surprised to hear me ask about a security breach and he said that there had not been a security breach.  I advised him that Dr. Rock said that he was not posting the board packets on the district website due to a "security breech".  He then said that one employee had lent his/her password to a fellow employee for that employee to have access to work on a project, but that it WAS NOT a security breach.

I then sent another email and asked Dr. Rock and Cheryl McGinnis what the "real" reason was that they were not posting the board packets to the district website.  I have not yet (as of 9/17/12) received a response from the district.

I asked, "The school board members receive their board packets several days before the meeting.  What possible valid reason would the district have for delaying the emailing of the board packets to those members of the public who have requested them until just a few hours before the board meeting?  Is it because the district wants to prevent the public or employees from having an opportunity to study the material in the board packets before the meetings?  That is exactly what it looks like...  So much for "transparency".

The district owes us more than this, but as long as people don't demand transparency, we will not receive transparency.  

Please demand that Dr. Rock stop covering up what is going on in the district.