Accountability, Mayes, Pattern or Practice

Welcome Back! No, Really!?

How did everyone’s second first day of school go? Be sure to complete our survey 2.0 so we can compare notes with what district leaders are telling everyone. Some of the results we complied from survey 1.0 can be found here. Those who provide their email address will receive a summary once it’s complete.

What’s really going on behind this latest catastrophe, and will we ever find out? What if it was sabotaged intentionally? Board Member Shull has called for an outside audit. We deserve one that we can trust and if there’s one thing we know in Louisville, Kentucky is that internal investigations cannot be trusted. At the end of the day, our children need to be kept safe and need to receive a quality education. What will it take for us to get to a place where anything else is an exception and not the rule? Normalize that.

Well, I promised you some stunning revelations, so here’s the first one. A recent spate of events involving reports of sexual abuse in our schools made me do some deeper digging into human trafficking. After all, Louisville, KY is a hub and Jefferson County Public Schools has access to nearly 100,000 innocent children as prey. It would be a dereliction of duty as guardians of the children in our community to dismiss this notion out of hand. We have to ask hard questions, and some of the questions asked by our members include:

What if there’s something sinister happening in Jefferson County Public Schools?

Is the Problem Limited to Manual? No.

Is it High School Sports? Coaches?

Or Is It Something Worse? Like Human Trafficking?

What are JCPS Leaders Hiding?

Who can forget the 2017 incident with principal Jerry Mayes and his racist beratement of two students who tried to have a conversation with him about students who wanted to “take a knee” during the Manual/Male football game. Here are some of the testimonies of those who came forward during the investigation.

Speaking Out About Jerry Mayes, Manual Principal

But very few may have heard about the mom/teacher/mandatory reporter who reached out to Principal Farmer in May of 2019 about concerns students were involved in sex and drug trafficking on school property. Heck, even Dr. Pollio managed to avoid seeing her URGENT email concerning FELONIES involving STUDENTS on CAMPUS in his inbox for nearly six months.

A meeting in December of 2019 finally put a stop to that plausibly deniable excuse (more links to come). Most of these allegations have been deemed unsubstantiated, but given what we know from our own research, JCPS internal investigations often involve bias, retaliation and tampering with evidence when whistleblowers have come forward. Not to mention, there was a former Manual journalism professor who was found guilty of charges he possessed child pornography. But the most recent news involves not one, but two, brothers who are coaches at Manual High School, who are currently under investigation for sexual assault of students that appear to go back a decade. Given all of this, can we really trust the internal investigation’s findings?

FBI STING!???

And what about other coaches after a former JCPS coach, teacher was federally charged with seeking sex from minor after FBI sting earlier this year.

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2023/02/24/former-jcps-coach-teacher-federally-charged-fbi-enticement-minor/69939668007/

Or what about this former JCPS employee, coach indicted for multiple sex abuse charges involving teens?

https://www.wave3.com/2022/08/31/former-jcps-employee-coach-indicted-multiple-sex-abuse-charges-involving-teens/

What if there’s something much more sinister happening in Jefferson County Public Schools?

Isn’t it time the public gets serious about demanding an outside audit of internal investigations and secret settlements of the largest public schools system and one of the largest taxpayer funded employers in the state?

A JCPS Employee Was Accused of Having Sex With Students

Once you’re caught up on some of the past history of events at Manual, don’t miss the latest on the Stoner Twins including an EXCLUSIVELY OBTAINED police report showing the daughter of one of the twin brothers tried to file a report with LMPD, alleging three years of sexual abuse, when she was 17. We’ve also updated our Timeline of Events, and centralized the Investigation Reports into both brothers at the end of the article.

Dear JCPS strives to serve as an ally to those who want people to know the truth, but justifiably fear repercussions for doing so. More dots will continue to be connected throughout the weekend. Share your thoughts, experiences, clarifications or corrections at moderator@dearjcps.com.

Accountability, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity

None of This Is New, Unexpected or Unavoidable

COMPLETE DEAR JCPS’s “FIRST DAY BACK ON THE BUS” SURVEY HERE

Below is an email that was sent to the board by a JCPS employee back in March, 2023. We originally posted it last month.

To members of the Board, or whomever else it may concern,

What are your thoughts about the proposal?

First, since I was only allowed to select one role in the previous question, I do want to point out that I am also a School Staff member as well. I have been a teacher in JCPS for 14+ years. I am also a father of 2 JCPS students, a 7 year old and 5 year old. And I live in Louisville, and I am a Community Member. So I’m not sure why we had to choose just one that we most identify with, because my reaction to the proposal isn’t just through one lens, but through many. I chose to identify more as a parent/family member because in the end, personally, I believe this proposal will affect my family more than it will affect me as a teacher in my specific situation. But I think it will affect the community as a whole more than anything. I think all 3 of those roles need to be considered when taking into account my response.

On to the proposal…I have A LOT of thoughts, and could very easily turn this into an emotional venting session. However, I will attempt to keep my thoughts organized and respectful in the hopes that this is not just for optics, and will not fall on deaf ears, but will actually be taken into account before this proposal is considered, voted on, and implemented.

If I had to summarize my thoughts, again, without getting too emotional, and trying my best not to just sound like I am venting, I truly think this proposal is a joke. I can’t think of a better, more professional word, so unfortunately that is what I am sticking with. I think this could be a disaster for the entire community and city of Louisville, let alone JCPS. I think there were so many factors that were not considered when making this proposal, which I will detail in the questions below. I think the district set out to solve one very specific (and admittedly one very important) problem. They believe they have found the solution to this problem, but are so narrow minded in their solution, they do not see how negatively this will affect so many people, both immediately and well into the future. In the end, this looks more like an ill-advised attempt to just cover up a major underlying problem instead of actually solving the problem as a whole.

What do you see as benefits of the proposal?

The only benefit I see to this proposal is that it is bringing to light a very real, very unfortunate, and very important problem that absolutely needs to be solved. The issue of students getting to school late, or being stuck at school late, is truly unacceptable, and needs to be addressed swiftly and decisively. Any student, parent, and family member, along with the bus drivers, who are all having to deal with this on a daily basis, deserve to have this issue brought to light, and solved in a realistic and effective manner. That cannot be denied.

What do you see as challenges that need to be considered?

I am going to attempt to organize this into subheadings, to make sure it is easy to follow and I don’t miss anything. I don’t necessarily think there is one issue more important than the other, so I will just try to organize this in a logical way. Every item touched on below I believe has equal importance and needs to be considered.

  1. Lack of an interdisciplinary committee of stakeholders: The lack of an interdisciplinary committee in the formation of this plan is very disturbing. This survey is asking Community Members, District Staff, School Staff, Parents, Family Members, and Students for feedback, all of whom are important stakeholders in what is being proposed. However, if I’m understanding correctly, there was little to no stakeholder involvement in the formation of this plan. Instead, it was outsourced to “MIT coders,” who used an algorithm, apparently, too advanced and complex for us to understand, to solve our problem. After seeing the presentation made to JCPS staff, and then watching Dr. Pollio’s press conference, what became very evident to me is that these coders were paid, probably a good deal of money, to solve what ends up being a complex math problem. What can we do, using math, to solve the “transportation crisis?” It looks like they took into account bus routes, bus employees, the physical layout of the city, locations of the schools, and start times. With all due respect to the incredibly smart people who solved this problem, the district could have paid mathematicians, scientists, and engineers here to solve this problem, and they could have come up with a similar solution. However, no evidence has been presented to us whatsoever to show that they took any other information into account, or how this plan could have a cascading negative effect on the entire city of Louisville, its economy and its community, as I will detail below.
  2. Teacher Transfers: As a teacher, selfishly, the one thing that stood out to me, and all of my peers, was the point made in the presentation to us and in Dr. Pollio’s press conference about Teacher Transfers. If the new start times don’t work for you, then you can put in to transfer to another school for next school year. I am one that is not easily offended, but to me, that is incredibly insensitive to those of us who have stuck around through the mass exodus of JCPS teachers (and bus drivers) over the past few years. Many of us have worked very hard to have the opportunity to work where we are now. We have built relationships with our peers, our administrators, and most importantly our students. It doesn’t seem like this was considered in the proposal. 
  3. JCPS Employee Morale: The previous two points logically lead into this. In my almost 15 years working for JCPS, I would say that employee morale is at an all-time low. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, my responses in the Comprehensive School Survey have gotten more and more negative as the years have gone on. And it doesn’t seem like that matters to anyone, because teachers and staff members continually get dumped on. Optically, how does it look that we weren’t included in this proposal? Optically, how does it look that we are being told if the proposal doesn’t work for us, then we can move. Has anyone actually analyzed WHY we have a transportation and why there has been a mass exodus of teachers out of JCPS (more on this later)? In what other profession are employees consistently treated the way we are treated, without addressing why there is so much discontent? 
  4. Staffing Shortage (Teachers and Bus Drivers): While it is obvious that this proposal does not at all address the reason behind the staffing shortage, it is possible that it could make it even worse. Were bus drivers consulted about this proposal? Does this help the hours that they are expected to work, or the overall distances that they are expected to drive? That was not very clearly addressed in the press conference. Don’t we have a transportation crisis because of our bus driver shortage? Is the district not concerned with the REASON behind the staffing shortage across the district (again, more on this later).
  5. Student Transfers Logistics: Similar to the proposal’s plan for teachers to have to transfer if the new times don’t work for them, the proposal and press conference also made it clear that students can apply to transfer as well, and the district will work with every single family to make it work. Were the logistics of this considered by the MIT coders? I’m not going to speculate on how many students will actually need to transfer, but let’s assume that there are some. Does the algorithm take into account how those kids will get to school? How those bus routes will work? On the district side, do we realistically think we have the capacity and manpower to solve these problems, on the fly, just over the summer? And if a parent can’t justify or make it work that their student can get to a new school, is the district ok with parents pulling their students out of JCPS to attend Catholic or Private schools, or even worse, forcing families to have to consider moving to other counties or states? I know this seems a little extreme, but I can promise you it will be a reality for some families.
  6. Adolescent Sleep Schedule and Chronic Absenteeism:  When this topic first came up, it was to use the research on the adolescent sleep schedule to help solve the problem of chronic absenteeism. While these buzzwords and phrases were still used in the proposal and press conference, the reality is that this proposal is not really solving that problem. It is only concerned with making the bus routes more efficient. If this truly was about older students getting more sleep, which in turn would guarantee that they get to school more often, wouldn’t the most logical solution be to just swap the high school and elementary start times?  This plan only changes some high schools, and makes some elementary schools later than they already are. It is very inconsistent, the message that is being sent. In regard to chronic absenteeism, as a teacher and parent, I would very much like to see the research that was done specifically in our city of Louisville showing the main causes of chronic absenteeism. Is it truly sleep related? Is it transportation related? Is it safety related? Is it demographic related? Is it related to a student’s home life? All questions don’t seem like they were considered, or at least answered by the proposal.
  7. Working Parents: Dr. Pollio mentioned in his press conference that families are going to have to figure out how to make this work. Well let’s think about that logistically for a minute. If you have one parent who works and early job, or works the night shift and is sleeping, or is a teacher at a different school, and then you have another parent who works a traditional 9-5+, how exactly are they supposed to make this work? Previously, and elementary school student could be dropped off at 8:45 AM, letting the other parent get to their 9:00 AM job. Now, let’s assume that their employer is not ok with them getting to work 30-45 minutes later, every day. Parents are now going to be strong armed into paying for CEP. What if the CEP site is not close to where the family lives, and causes even more of a morning inconvenience? What if a family hasn’t budgeted for this and can’t afford it, but they also don’t qualify for government aid for the CEP program? I also don’t see how using CEP as a solution solves the problem of kids being at school for too long. If a parent has to drop their kid off at CEP early, then have to pick them up, possibly later than before at a CEP site, which will now be affected by a newer rush hour traffic pattern, kids can still be at school many more hours than they should be.
  8. After School Activities – JCPS Related: I heard a few times during the press conference about it only ever being an hour different than it was before, or the latest it will be is 4:20 PM. However, was it really taken into account how much of an impact that hour, or the 4:20 PM end time would affect students and staff alike? And I’m not just talking about the problem about high school sports starting later, and at different times, and how that could be perceived as unfair for the athletes with different practice times, game schedules, travel times for away games, etc. What about the JCPS employees who coach, or lead clubs, at different schools or even different districts? What if they do that, not just because they are passionate about it, but because they also need the additional income? What about the JCPS employees who have a second job immediately after work to support their families? What about the high school students who have jobs immediately after school, whether it is just something they do to prepare for the real world, or because they also have to support themselves and their families? This cuts into work hours, which in turn cuts into income, which may be the difference between being able to pay rent and afford food or not. Does the proposal take into account all of these employers probably not being ok with this new schedule (more on community impact later)? Do we really think these students will be able to retain their after-school jobs with the time changes? WHERE IS THE EQUITY IN THIS?
  9. After School Activities (Non-JCPS related) and Community Impact: First, I want to acknowledge that I am in a very fortunate situation, that my wife and I worked hard for, to be able to afford our kids the privilege and ability to participate in non-JCPS after-school activities. I want to give an example of our situation, and how that will not only affect our kids’s ability to participate in these activities, but how it also will impact local businesses and the community. Our kids have played soccer at Mockingbird Valley Sports Club. It is the after-school choice that we made, because it is relatively close to our home, with a schedule that worked for us. We would pick our kids up from school, and get them to their lesson at 4:00 PM. With this proposal, that will no longer be an option for us. So let’s extrapolate this situation to other families who are also in similar situations at Mockingbird. If they, Mockingbird, are unable to adjust their hours to accommodate these changes, then they will be losing a lot of business due to something completely out of their control. Then we, as the parents and families, have to look into other options for our kids. An example of another option for our age group would be Javanon Football Club, which is a rival of Mockingbird, that has a similarly aged lesson available at 6:00 PM. So this could work for our families. But Javanon is about 15-20 minutes away, so then you have to take into account the small influx in traffic this will cause, during rush hour. Again, this is a very small, very specific example of a very small demographic of JCPS students and families. But now, extrapolate all that data to every single activity that many JCPS students participate in, all of the changes that will have to be made due to this proposal, and how that affects the community and local businesses at large, both economically and logistically. 
  10. Traffic/Rush Hour: I have now mentioned a few examples for a potential increase in traffic closer to rush hour. Did the MIT coders take that into account when coming up with this solution? Was it considered what life is like in larger cities with worse rush hour traffic than what we have now? How that impacts other professionals leaving their jobs, less time spent with family due to getting home later, how the increase in later after-school activities would all be impacted? Not only that, but more new high school drivers and more staff members would be leaving schools and after school events and activities later in the day. Is it safe for these new drivers to be on the road in heavier traffic conditions?
  11. Budget and Government Money: I will admit that I am not as well versed or researched in this area, but from my understanding, JCPS receives a pretty sizable amount of money from the government every year, and that has not decreased in recent years, even with the mass exodus of teachers, bus drivers, and students in some cases. If this proposal goes through, and causes even more of an exodus of teachers, bus drivers, and students, how will that affect the budget going forward? Also, is it fair for me to ask, if JCPS is still receiving the same amount of money each year, where is all the extra money going that used to be paid to the teachers and bus drivers that have left these past couple of years? There is another topic I would like to discuss in regards to money, and its allocation. I’m sure this issue has been beaten to death, but hear me out.
  12. Busing: Again, I am admittedly not the most well versed or researched in the history and reasoning for busing in Louisville. What I do know is that it has been going on in this city for a very long time, and was originally initiated in an attempt to desegregate our schools due to geographic location, provide equal opportunity and equity to all students of all races and demographics, and to help close the achievement gap. In my opinion, that was truly a valiant attempt at solving a very serious problem in our city at the time. But can we objectively analyze the climate of our city and schools today and say that it has worked? In reality, busing is a large part of the reason why we have a transportation crisis in the first place. Now let’s look at our schools, and what busing has caused. Is the achievement gap really being closed, or is everyone just normalizing to the median, rather than everyone being raised to the higher outliers? Does busing kids all over the city truly promote equity and provide equal opportunities to all students? Or is it causing more resentment in our community? What does this outdated busing plan imply about the schools they are busing away from? Are we more concerned with getting the underprivileged kids to the “better schools” than we are about lifting up all of our programs and schools to an equally high level?I think these are important questions that need to be discussed and answered.
  13. The Real Problem: I have been beating around the bush for some time now, so let’s talk about what the real problem is in our district. What is it that has caused our staffing shortage of teachers and bus drivers, which has led us to have overpopulated classrooms, and a “transportation crisis” due to too few bus drivers? Student behavior and lack of discipline leading to a general overall feeling of JCPS schools and buses no longer being safe for all students and staff members. I can attest to this as a tenured JCPS teacher, a parent, and a community member. JCPS has allowed itself to become a victim of modern, “woke” society, and its employees and students are the ones paying the price. Fifteen years ago when I first joined JCPS, administrators ran the schools, took care of their employees, and demanded respect from the students.They received support from the district. Students were disciplined in a variety of ways, which to today’s modern “woke” society might seem archaic, but the results were clear. The students respected the staff members, their elders, and if they didn’t, they learned to. This lead to a healthy and positive work environment, where, for the most part, students and staff members felt safe and cared for. It also prepared students for the real world of college and careers where they couldn’t just do or say whatever they wanted with no repercussions. Over the past 15 years, as society changed, JCPS began to slowly start enabling problem students (AND problem parents) until we got to where we are today. Enabled students led to more enabled students. Now, students think they are invincible, that there are no repercussions for their actions, because there truly are not. Not any more. I have seen, personally, violent acts between students, violent acts directed towards staff members, gang violence in many schools, extreme destruction of school property, excessive bullying, complete disrespect and insubordination from students in the classroom, that is literally being live streamed to Facebook or YouTube. How are these kids disciplined? They aren’t. They don’t even get a “slap on the wrist” any more and sent back to class. They get spoken to kindly and with empathy and are sent back to class. No lessons are learned, and our problem continues to snowball. I know some will argue that there are other reasons why there is a staffing shortage, including COVID. I don’t want to generalize and say that is not the issue, because for some it definitely is. But a large reason why students are choosing to attend Pathfinder School of Innovation virtually, or are leaving the district all together, is because they feel unsafe in their “home” schools due to violence, bullying, and lack of discipline. A large reason why teachers and the poor bus drivers are leaving in droves, is because of the extreme behavior exhibited by our students that is met with silence, indifference, or even worse, the blame is turned back on us. We don’t believe we feel heard or supported by our administrators and district, and in turn, JCPS has become a toxic work environment for many staff members. I have spoken to friends who work at other schools around the district, schools that at one time felt safe, and where the adults in the building felt like they were in control. What they say now is that the students run the building, and they are just there to collect their pay check and get to retirement. How sad is that? That teachers who once held a high passion for teaching now feel like they are just trying to survive. Over the past 15 years, I have witnessed the shift in JCPS from the adults being in charge and running things, to some problem students beginning to hold certain schools hostage, to our modern problem of an entire generation of enabled, undisciplined students and parents holding an entire school district, city, and society hostage. Seriously, what is it going to take for not only our district, but society as a whole to recognize how bad things have gotten in public education? Students are already killing other students. And I’m not talking about mass shootings, I’m talking about gang violence or neighborhood violence that has now been allowed to leak into many schools where it never was before, where problems are exacerbated and perpetuated without swift and decisive intervention from school and district officials. What happens when a student eventually kills a teacher? There already has been a recent report in this country of an ELEMENTARY school child bringing a gun to school and shooting a teacher through the hand. What is it going to take?
  14. Possible Solutions: As I think I have made abundantly clear, I don’t think this time change proposal is going to solve the real underlying problems. Sure, it may solve the problem of decreasing the number of bus routes so that our students can possibly get to school or leave school on time, regardless of our massively understaffed bus drivers. But as I’ve mentioned, this will create a slew of new problems that will affect many people in the entire city, and will not solve the real problem. So what can we really do to exact real and lasting change? First, consider stopping busing, and go back to at least a hybrid of the neighborhood school model. And if the district doesn’t trust its own stakeholders to help put together a proposal, ask the MIT coders how this would affect bus routes, start times, and attendance. Secondly, discipline kids, both in school and out. Make alternative schools matter again. Every child has a right to free public education. That is irrefutable. But every child does not have the right to a free public education at the “better school” all the way across the city, where they are causing so many problems that they are negatively impacting the safety and learning of others in the building. The same goes for the buses. Dr. Pollio even alluded to this in his press conference. Free transportation to school can go away. And in my minimal research, I found that State and federal laws don’t require schools to provide transportation, except for students with disabilities. So if that is the case, and a student is misbehaving on the bus, they are no longer allowed to ride the bus. If the district feels obligated to provide them with another option, if they are old enough, give them TARC tickets. If they are not old enough, it should be the responsibility of their parents or guardians to get them to school. That is what is being asked of us with this new bus proposal anyway. It is up to the family to figure out how this is going to work. If misbehaving students were kicked off the bus, maybe bus monitors and bus drivers wouldn’t leave JCPS. Now, we can use, what I understand to be, a significant amount of money saved on busing to fill other buckets. Pay JCPS bus drivers and teachers more in general. Offer monetary incentives to bus drivers and teachers willing to work in these more difficult areas at the more difficult schools. But I also don’t believe we should offer more money to work in those schools and let that be the end of it. I know the district has identified difficult schools and areas, so let’s be a little more proactive in the recruitment, application, and interview processes in choosing the right candidates to work in those schools. Make the monetary incentive to work in these schools enough to attract a large number of applicants, but be deliberate in who is selected. Who will be good in these schools long term? There would probably still be enough money leftover to upgrade and update these schools, and make them more attractive, modern, and progressive for students and staff alike. Have MIT do the math and come up with an algorithm of that. How much money could be saved, where it could be allocated, and how that will positively affect buildings, students, and staff in our district. I think this next point is very important; instead of constantly playing catch up and trying to match what other “large districts” are doing around the country, we could lead the way in educational reform. Does it really matter if we are one of the only large districts in the country not doing staggered start times? No, it doesn’t. But instead of solving our own, not very unique problem, we are just playing catch up to what other districts are already doing. What if instead we addressed the real problem, discipline in and out of schools, and how that has affected school and bus staff numbers? Then other districts around the country could model their reform after us. Because let’s be honest, we’re not the only district with a discipline problem. It’s a nationwide, societal problem. In the end, no one asked me for my opinion. No one asked any of us who still work for JCPS, who stuck around despite everything continually going against us. No one asked us as parents of JCPS students, who are constantly impacted by these decisions made for us. No one asked us as active, invested members of the Louisville community. But the reality is that there is a lot more that needs to be addressed here than just solving the bus route transportation crisis. I know I speak for many JCPS employees, parents, guardians, and community members in saying that I hope the issues and possible solutions I have brought up do not fall on deaf ears. That at least we can be active participants in a conversation before this proposal is voted on and mandated. Thank you.

Pattern or Practice, Racial Equity

Coach Donnie Stoner Was Arraigned Yesterday!

Please help spread the word so this message gets seen by more folks while it’s still current. Thanks!

We’ve been tracking the Stoner twins’ cases and we were virtually present for Donnie’s arraignment yesterday.
 
Coach Donnie was temporarily removed from his position as head coach at JCPS’s flagship high school, duPont Manual, following allegations that he committed 20 counts of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse against a minor student in his school’s care, both on campus and at his home, between 5/30/23 and 7/11/23.
 
Here’s a 3-minute video I put together featuring the arraignment, along with a link to the latest details and timelines of both Stoner’s cases. This story will be updated.

Watch the video below and then click the link to read the full story. Enjoy!

<<Latest story here.>>

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

Email to Board: WARNING, Perfect Storm Coming

Below is an email I sent to the JCPS Board of Education to be included with the official minutes from last night’s Board meeting. It asks a series of questions about internal investigations and secret settlements, but it also addresses the superintendent’s raise and the untold headaches and disasters employees and students are about to face due to a perfect storm of so many changes happening at once. 

Here are some excerpts:

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.

These are the questions I asked:

  • 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?
  • [After an open records request was unsuccessful.] 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?
  • 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?

Read the entire thing here:

2023-07-25 | Email to JCPS BOE to Include with Minutes – Dear JCPS

Also during last night’s meeting, the board refused to protect trans students from oppressive and discriminatory legislation passed by vengeful and ignorant Kentucky lawmakers, at least for now. They tabled the vote until up to August 15. At least they passed a resolution giving lip service to them, which is more than they were willing to do for Black students.

Pattern or Practice, Racial Equity, Teachable Moment

Going Thru The Motions

Join us on Wednesday, July 26 at 10:15 am as we show up IN PERSON and ON ZOOM to support Dr. Kimberly Mucker-Johnson during her hearing in Civil Court Division 6 to overturn a settlement agreement she made with JCPS in 2022. Sign up to receive our emails using the form below and we will email you a link with a reminder and updates. Watch the video to learn more.

Do you have something you’d like to blow the whistle on but don’t know where else to turn? Send an email to moderator@dearjcps.com with a link to your testimonials, evidence or anything else you’d like the public to know that qualifies for whistleblower protection, such as exposing waste, fraud and abuse.

By using this service, you agree to hold Dear JCPS, its entities or assigns, harmless for any consequences that may come out as a result of this information being made public. You also testify that you’ve followed all applicable laws and that you’ve consulted legal counsel if these records are sensitive or private in nature, as we are unable to provide anything of the sort.

We just want people who do bad things using taxpayer dollars or public trust to first be stopped and then held accountable, to have corrections made to the system and repairs made to those who were harmed. The only way we can ever hope to do that is to make sure the public knows what really happened and how our tax dollars are spent.

If you know of any significant examples of waste, fraud and abuse in JCPS, please report it publicly, to proper authorities, and the media. If you feel you have exhausted all of these avenues, but you have reason or evidence to prove the story has been covered up, people have been retaliated against, denied employment or promotion or otherwise discriminated against or harassed, we would like to hear from you. If you have been silenced due to a settlement with JCPS, we also want to hear from you. If you are an attorney interested in providing counsel in this area, please reach out. We would like to make some introductions.

This site is run by a volunteer. There is much more evidence and stories waiting to be told, including yours! I could use some help in order to speed things up, so if you’re technically inclined or have good social skills and want to put them to good use, please contact me at moderator@dearjcps.com. Donations also gratefully accepted at our PAC, Justice for the People. Please help us rid Kentucky of Daniel Cameron and get Mitch McConnell’s knee off our necks. Thank you for your understanding, patience and support.

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Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

STILL No Appetite for Tax Increase on Ballot

UPDATE: The Board voted 6-1 on a second motion that capped the increase at the allowable 4%, which means there will be no petition and no measure on the 2023 ballot. We won … for now.

Below is the email I sent to the board prior to Tuesday night’s meeting.

Dear JCPS Board Members, Superintendent Pollio and Members of the Media:

I hope this message finds you well and in time for consideration before tonight’s vote.

I am not sure why there seems to have been so much secrecy behind tonight’s rushed public forum and vote on Dr. Pollio’s proposed tax rate increase over the allowable 4%. From where I sit, it doesn’t bode well for transparency and good stewardship of tax dollars.

I wish I had more time to gather my thoughts and double-check my facts, but alas, the meeting starts in less than half an hour, so I must hit send soon if I hope to have any opportunity to prevent our district from making what I foresee to be a grave mistake. Hopefully you are already as concerned about this stealth-like move as I am, but just in case you’re not, I write to ask you to please vote NO on any tax increase over 4% for fiscal period 2023-2024 and provide you with some rationale in the hopes it will change your mind.

In my work as a community leader and organizer with several grassroots organizations in Jefferson County and across Kentucky, you may recall I reached out to warn you that there was no appetite for a tax increase in 2020. The email, dated Sept. 1, 2020, read, in part:

“For nearly six months, Coalition leaders have been trying to warn JCPS decision-makers of the increasing number of grassroots organizations that feel Louisville’s Black and West End voters have zero appetite for a tax increase at this time. We fear district efforts to further advance this agenda without demonstrating a good-faith effort to earn the vote of Black voters and their allies, is likely to backfire, resulting in a failure of this ballot measure.”

Read more ==>>

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

The Media Seems To Have Missed This …

The JCPS Board of Education, today, announced a “Tax Rate Hearing” for this coming Tuesday at 5:30 PM “for the purpose of hearing public comments regarding a proposed 2023-24 General Fund tax levy of at most 80.0 cents on real property and at most 80.0 cents on personal property.”

At a “Special Meeting” scheduled at 6:00 PM, Superintendent Marty Pollio will recommend the Board of Education approve the proposed tax rate, opening the door for another heated and controversial debate prior to the November election.

Read more here ===>>>

Behavior/Discipline, Pattern or Practice, Racial Equity

Dear JCPS: “We are putting you on notice.”

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Dear JCPS co-founder, Gay Adelmann, addressed the JCPS Board of Education, citing the potential for lawsuits with regards to the new student discipline law, the district’s documented failures to educate students in the juvenile justice system, and the willful incompetence when keeping track of these students, which appears to remain in existence today. We made demands for accountability and put them on notice. “There will be lawsuits.” Watch the video, which has been augmented with audio that was silenced when the mic was cut at the 3-minute mark, to hear the rest of what the board heard that night.  

Read the entire transcript here.

Pattern or Practice

DOJ, Please Look at JCPS Next

With the announcement from the DOJ about LMPD, I’d like to bring a few other items to the public’s attention by highlighting several examples of abuse of power, lies, fraud, cover-ups that we are aware of, not just in LMPD but also in JCPS. The “patterns and practices” cross over to other departments and other agencies. They investigate themselves and find no wrongdoing. The local agencies who are supposed to oversee them appear to be in on it. All of our cries for justice get swept under the rug. The media buys whatever they sell them and everyone moves on. We must get national attention and more scrutiny from those who don’t have a legacy of power to protect.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about Brian Thurman’s Story. A white West Louisville resident who was murdered by LMPD officer Harry Seders. Honestly, I think it was an accident by a nervous cop who panicked, but the elaborate schemes that followed in order to downplay, cover up and mislead the public turned this unfortunate incident into a crime. From the subsequent murder of protestor and activist Travis Nagdy that same night, to keep crowds of protestors from descending on the scene, to the lie they told to the media, to the ongoing denial and terrorizing of our community, the series of events have yet to be acknowledged, much less corrected. How can we trust our police to protect us when they can’t even acknowledge the harm they cause?

There’s also the story of Omari Cryer who was smoked out of a friend’s house, chased like a dog and shot in the back. The Kentucky State Police was brought in to “investigate” but it appears that all they did was help doctor the video that was finally released much later. Eye-witnesses reported three shots were fired, but the audio does not seem to match what the video shows, which is three bullet wounds, including one in the back. 

Justice for Omari Cryer

And most recently, the two (three) teen boys who were shot by LMPD for being somewhere they probably shouldn’t have been. Why did it take two weeks to release the video? At least this time, they’re calling it “unintentional” but the cop himself said, “I just want to get them” and “I got one.” Sounds intentional to me. If they didn’t do anything wrong, why aren’t they being fully transparent?

We don’t want LMPD (or any police) in our schools, because they cause harm and then lie about it! They have bias and repeatedly don’t treat our black children the same way they would treat white children. They do not know how to recognize trauma, disability, even impacts of poverty and lack of access to quality education, so their first instinct often is to treat them as criminals, not students who need to be diagnosed, deescalated and redirected. The pattern continues and the stories that make the news are after repeated injustices.

They’re not the only ones who cause harm and lie. Here’s an example of current school board members trying to “explain away” why one of them was so hot to redistrict school board boundaries. Having caught my own school board member in the act of several hard to explain scenarios, I documented this one so others can hopefully start to see what I have been sounding the alarm about and help me get to the truth. Regardless of the reasons why they did it, they certainly knew there was more to the story and went to great lengths to cover it up. See for yourself here.

And there are dozens (if not hundreds (thousands?)) of stories of misconduct, harassment, fraud, cover-ups, racism and retaliation against JCPS employees, students and parents. Remember the part during the press conference where US Attorney General Merrick Garland mentioned LMPD calling Black people monkeys? Well, that happened in JCPS, too. A Black JCPS counselor at a mostly Black elementary school who reported it and other abuses by a racist White kindergarten teacher where she worked, got demoted, attacked, labeled, and abused, mentally and emotionally, and more, for simply doing her job. And, despite having been strong-armed into settling her case with the district, the denial and abuse they inflict CONTINUES to this day — and other state and local agencies are also implicated! Here’s a link to the latest development in her story.

Black Female JCPS Educator Files Motion to Protect Her Rights

 

This post will be updated.

Accountability, Pattern or Practice, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity

Make Parents a (Legislative) Priority

Dear JCPS,
 
I first started speaking at board meetings in 2013. We have always tried to be an ally to this board. We worked to support your efforts to remove an ineffective leader. We organized to replace a board member who gave her cover.

(Watch the 3 minute speech here.)

Throughout the years we showed you, Dr Pollio, how parents of color and their accomplices are pushed out of PTA for bringing forward their concerns about discrimination in their schools. Instead of being asked how we can improve, they are treated like the problem

We showed you how educators and staff are lied on, pushed out, blacklisted for reporting abuses of children, especially black children, even though they are Mandatory reporters. We Brought you evidence of how the grievance process has been manipulated against black employees and how internal investigations process can be fraudulent, self-serving with no accountability or recourse.

Administrators and principals have been allowed to hijack PTA for their own purposes. Rigging sbdm elections to put “yes people” in them.

Meanwhile their PACs rig internal elections and accept dark money contributions and are able to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into candidates who repeatedly vote against public education with zero consequences.

Administrators bully us but not them. And you pretend you don’t notice.

In 2019, I sat here and encouraged you to add parents to the legislative agenda. Another time, I asked you to reign in outside organizations.

Again last year I reiterated it.

In between, there was a pandemic. The requests of parents, teachers and organizers who work with our district’s most impacted community members every day were delayed, denied, disrespected. By you (Marty). By you (Chris). By you (James).

We told you how powerful white-led organizations were abusing their power to continually drown grassroots voices out. We elevated concerns of shut-out teachers, staff, students and parents only to be labeled “rogue groups” by these whyte leaders that have been holding their organizations hostage and out of reach of their members, for decades. You allowed it. Some of you even participated in it.

Why keep bringing solutions only to have them mocked, ridiculed or ignored? Or to risk personal attack or retaliation?

Teachers showed up in red by the thousands in 2018 and 2019 telling anyone who would listen what they need. Leaders of organizations attacked their own members instead of standing in solidarity with them.

And here we are. That anti-CRT moment has not passed.

Unchecked white supremacy has created a rise in white nationalism and fascism that is knocking at our door. We can’t ignore it. We have to name it, denounce it and smash it, before it is too late. Our district is the last stronghold that protects 170 other districts across the state. We can’t expect someone else to save us.

Our inequitable system allows special interests to infiltrate these outside groups, pour hundreds of thousands of dollars in to gaming the system, their PACs outspend us 100 to 1, leaving democracy out of reach for PTA moms like me.

Yet JCPS Lobbied to take power away from parents and teachers dismantling SBDM. The opposite of what stakeholders asked you to do.

Add a parent and student to SBDM.

Stop putting a paid employee in a gatekeeping role with outside organizations.

(mic is shut off)

Support another KERA. 

Justice for the People
Justice for Breonna

Thank you.