Montgomery Co. Paper Improves Its Powell Scandals Coverage After Some Major Criticism

The little newspaper in Montgomery County, the Mt. Sterling Advocate tried its hardest to accurately cover the latest in the Joshua Powell-Montgomery County Schools scandal but fell short yet again on the misinformation front.

But it is improving!

We can’t link to anything or push traffic to the paper, as we do with nearly all other outlets, because they’re living in the dark ages.

So let’s dig in…

Leadership of Montgomery County Schools questioned at board meeting

Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Josh Powell was under verbal attack throughout much of Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.

One member of the public who signed up to speak, Bobby Stinnett, called for the school board to make a change in leadership or face the consequences at election time.

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Stinnett said it’s time the school district had some stability when it comes to the employment of teachers, administrators and coaches.

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Stinnett also questioned why administrators receive pay raises when the food service program is struggling with students who can’t pay.

He noted that Powell’s salary had increased by $48,836, according to the Kentucky Dept. of Education website, since he has been on board.

Meanwhile, Stinnett said, teachers go without what they need in the classroom.

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As for test scores, which have seen improvement during Powell’s tenure, Stinnett said they should not be the only way in which leadership is judged.

And that’s where the paper fails. You already know, because we’ve published story after story, that those test scores didn’t actually improve. The Kentucky Department of Education admitted that the way scores are calculated changed, creating a false sense of improvement where there was none.

Note: KUDOS (!!!) to the paper for saying “website” instead of “Web site” — that’s a serious thing. We’re proud of the paper.

Back to the story:

Another Powell critic, Bruce Walters, questioned why the board had given Powell authorization to go after opponents using social media to make their points.

Walters claimed to have a computer disc with text messages that prove that some school employees had been using social media sites to slander him.

“It’s a scare tactic—him being a bully,” Walters said.”

Diane Davis, a retired educator who spent part of her tenure in Montgomery County, questioned why the superintendent and board members would visit such “trashy sites.”

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Davis also addressed the issue of board members visiting classrooms.

Davis said the board has been wrongly informed that it is illegal to do so. She said she had spoken with Wayne Young, an attorney with the Kentucky Association of School Board Members, who told her there is nothing illegal about it.

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Powell and board members didn’t address the speakers.

Between 50 and 60 people attended the meeting.

The heat is on.

So on, in fact, that the paper decided to publish another letter to the editor:

Fire Josh Powell—Part II

Does it matter to you out of all the well qualified candidates Powell hires his wife for the position that pays over $90,000 a year?

Does it matter to you he threw his own wife under the bus when she got an EPO against him and then embarrassed her by her making a public statement that she forgot to take her medicine?

Does it matter to you if she has to take medicine to help her think correctly she is given a job that requires making decisions concerning our children?

Does it matter to you every week or two a story is written about Powell in a negative light in the local paper or Lexington news channel?

Does it matter to you good teachers, principals, coaches have lost their jobs?

Does it matter to you teachers, principals, coaches live every day in fear of losing their job?

Does it matter to you nobody is looking our way for employment in a great town and community?

Does it matter to you we are the laughing stock of the entire state?

If it matters to you like it does me, please write to the local paper, please show up at board meetings. Let’s show the school board they work for us, not Powell, and fire this failure of a superintendent.

Chris Williams

Scandals and shenanigans aside, it’s a great thing to see the paper improve its coverage. Because the citizens of Montgomery County need to be able to depend upon it to hold people in power accountable.