Accountability, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity

The Board’s Role in Oversight of External Organizations

Dear JCPS,

I understand JCPS legal counsel has issued a “hands off” directive regarding oversight of external organizations.

And hand’s off is fine as long as principals and administrators are told the same thing. 

But they’re not, and that’s problematic.

I understand that we are under intense scrutiny from the state. Criticism from the audit revealed that our board may have been overstepping in this regard. And we have an upcoming audit and we don’t want anything that could lead to additional state criticism that could potentially lead to state takeover.

I get that.

However, couldn’t excessive Redbook violations, election tampering, Inappropriate use/handling of funds, etc. also leave us vulnerable?

We’ve heard reports from some members who have been called “uncooperative” or “ineffective” when they refuse to do the administration’s bidding

We’ve heard reports of Nepotism, squatting in positions for decades, election tampering, cycling thru positions from school to district to state and back, sometimes in schools where they don’t have children, again, when there are authentic parents wanting to serve.

These organizations could be changing bylaws to allow them to extend term limits, hold clandestine elections and limit who can vote, while changing rules in order to shut out voices of authentic parents and volunteers.

These external organizations have access to our students and their families. They have access to district resources dedicated to them in terms of staff, office space, materials and production.  are assured representatives can serve on committees, and are named in documents that govern the oversight of elections that can impact school policy and hiring.

They are not subject to open records. They could be holding vendor fairs in your schools, charging fees to the vendors and not delivering what is promised. Some could be manipulating external organizations to achieve financial means that are disallowed by school and district activity funds.

And they are holding inaccessible elections that are not democratic. For example, one organization’s state convention is this weekend, if you want to vote for officers, you have to pay a $55 registration fee, take time off work, drive to Lexington, pay another $129 in hotel fees, etc.

Who, I ask, is voting for these officers that are supposed to be representing all of us? Do they represent all of us? Or only some? What about our most vulnerable?

Some of these organizations are not racially reflective of district makeup, some of these organizations are pro charter, or at least not anti privatization.

We would to naive to not consider possibility infiltrators. We are allowing these organizations to use our kids to make money and push an anti public school agenda. These organizations should be focused on kids learning.
How do we gauge their effectiveness?

Not every organization is bad. Not every volunteer is an infiltrator. Not every administrator is corrupt. In fact, 99% of them are good. But we’d be naive not to realize that some of them have found ways to exploit the system to their own advantage. To take advantage our our children, especially our most vulnerable populations. 

And our board has been elected to represent us, and therefore protect us and our children.

And you have a handout from Redbook that says:

The school or district, with approval of the local board of education, may establish additional guidelines/requirements for the external support/booster organization.

Thank you.

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