It’s my birthday, and the last thing I really want to be doing today is pouring any negative energy into the universe, but alas, sometimes righteous work requires it. The good news is, truth only *feels* negative until you take a closer look at it. Truth stands on its own. Some of you have been witnesses. I AM A WITNESS! And as such, I have an obligation and responsibility to SPEAK MY TRUTH because it plays an important part of the whole.
Below is an email I sent to the board tonight:
In the following WDRB article from 2018, (https://www.wdrb.com/news/jcps-quietly-paying-pricey-bullying-settlements-with-taxpayer-money/article_780d0995-3eb0-5be8-acf3-32a7ac44903a.html), it states,
“JCPS officials denied or delayed repeated requests from WDRB to provide settlement documentation. WDRB had attorneys review the district’s responses. They said JCPS’ actions contradict Kentucky’s Open Records Act. Pollio said the district does not lack transparency.
“I don’t think we’re withholding it from the public,” he said. “I think there’s a great deal of privacy in this.”
He said, at times, it’s the victims themselves who want confidentiality and seemed open to striking a balance between that confidentiality and the public’s right to know.
“It’s a valid question I will definitely explore,” he said. “I can’t say the specifics on what can and can’t be released … at least discussing the amount of the settlement, I don’t disagree with you. I will have to look in legally and see what we can do on that.””
Plaintiffs/victims I speak to regularly say they are not the ones who want confidentiality. They want change, but instead, we seem to keep paying out settlements for the same types of violations over and over. Not just bullying, but discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers, and more.
Not only that, here’s a story I wrote over a year ago, warning of similar patterns and practices:
What are the types of cases and what changes are being made to prevent them from recurring?
How much are these recurring settlements costing taxpayers?
Please consider adding legislation that would provide more transparency into lawsuits and settlements so that taxpayers have visibility into the problems our tax dollars are paying to make “go away.” Otherwise, what’s to stop JCPS top brass from using our tax dollars as their own personal legal slush fund? I’d argue they already have been, which is why I am also suggesting an audit of internal investigations and settlements.
Are you aware that a Black, female educator is currently challenging her settlement in court? She has a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 AM. Below is a recap of her most recent motion. This has been dragging on since 2018, with one injustice after another, including retaliation, harassment, discrimination, and fraud, after she blew the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse at her mostly Black elementary school where she was a counselor. I encourage you to get to know her story.
You can watch tomorrow’s hearing in person or on zoom here:
CIRCUIT COURT – DIVISION SIX
700 W. Jefferson St., Room 801, Louisville, KY 40202
Zoom Video Conference
Please consider adding to your legislative agenda, legislation that would provide more transparency into lawsuits and settlements so that taxpayers have visibility into the problems our tax dollars are paying to make “go away.” Otherwise, what’s to stop JCPS top brass from using our tax dollars as their own personal legal slush fund? I’d argue they already have been, which is why I am also suggesting an audit of internal investigations and settlements.
An open records request I made in January of 2022 came back saying,
Do you know if there is another method or report that we could request in order to find out the information?
If it’s paid by insurance, who is the insurer and how much do taxpayers pay in premiums each year?
Also, when will the tax increase dashboard that was promised in 2020 be made available to the public?
Also, as I spoke to you about at a previous board meeting, we need an independent, outside, third-party, authentic investigation of the internal investigation process. Some of the questions the public deserves to have answered include:
What kind of reporting exists for the complaints that are submitted via the intake form on the jcps website?
What types of incidents are reported, how are they resolved, what systemic changes are made to prevent them from happening again or leading to lawsuits?
And lastly, I must say this. Continuing to create an imbalance between the C-Suite executives and those literally working themselves into sickness and death to keep this ship afloat, is exactly the opposite of what taxpayers want. Those same individuals, now, also have to be your buffer between lost, misused and abused students, angry parents and ignorant community members, as they get bombarded by the bell schedule changes, student assignment changes and everything else all at once.
How do you think it makes them feel to see while they’re doing all of your dirty work and only getting scraps, their kings are feasting? “Tone deaf,” would be an understatement. Not to mention, you gave fodder to the hypocritical GOP, some of whom are the same members who continue to skate by with a nod of endorsement and financial support from the most powerful union in the state. Find your backbones, please. Stand up to the powerful elites who continue to exploit our public school system for their own personal and/or political benefit.
I would like to invite and encourage voters to ask the district to provide a list of eligible internal candidates for Superintendent, past and present, and start screening who we want to lead our district going forward. Let’s see if we can’t find someone who already knows our district’s strengths and weaknesses, who can help us break the chains of the current, toxic, whitewashed leadership and share our ideas, suggestions and wishes with our board, and ask them to start the interview process. Contrary to popular opinion, they work for us, and Dr. Pollio works for them. Not the other way around.
Please include this email in the official minutes of the next meeting and ask the Board to look into this and provide the public with a status report from Dr. Pollio’s previous promises.
Thank you for listening,
Dear JCPS, Co-founder & President (2015 – Present)
Save Our Schools KY, Co-founder & President (2016 – Present)
Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Board Member (2020-Present)
Justice for the People PAC, Sponsor (2022-Present)
Coalition for the People’s Agenda – Education Committee, Chair (2020-Present)
Network for Public Education, Charter Member, (2016 – Present)
Candidate for JCPS School Board, District 3 (2022)
Candidate for KY Senate, District 36 (2018)
Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parental Leadership (GCIPL) Fellow (2017)
15th District PTA Vice President (2014-2017)
Shawnee PTSA President (2013-2015)
#FullyFundED #StopChartersInKY #AllEyesOnKentucky
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