MoCo Paper's Coverage Bad For Joshua Powell

The Mt. Sterling Advocate ran a story this week about Kelly Wallace filing suit against superintendent Joshua Powell and the Montgomery County Board of Education.

In other words, they saw our story, saved the PDF (we track that sort of thing) and wrote a story about it. Then they went to pick up a copy of the suit from the clerk a couple days later to make it seem as if it wasn’t this website that gave them the information they needed to run a story.

Some excerpts:

Complaint filed against Powell, school board

By Jamie Vinson
Advocate managing editor

A former Montgomery County Schools employee has filed a complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court against Superintendent Joshua Powell and the Montgomery County Board of Education.

-SNIP-

“Powell discussed a Title IX discrimination complaint that had been filed in 2013 with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education against the school district and his dislike of Kelly’s husband,” the complaint reads.

Wallace’s complaint alleges Powell stated he believed she and her husband were involved with the Title IX complaint, that he disliked her husband and wanted to “get rid of her.”

-SNIP-

The OEA and KDE both said their offices have no comment on the matter. The EPSB said it cannot comment on the issue.

They basically ran excerpts from the lawsuit with not much else.

But about KDE not commenting. The fun part? Terry Holliday summoned Joshua Powell to his office for an urgent meeting last Friday to discuss this suit and the charging document from the EPSB.

The paper ran a response from Joshua Powell (without giving Wallace’s attorney a sufficient amount of time to respond, of course):

POWELL RESPONDS

Superintendent Josh Powell issued a statement to the Advocate Tuesday regarding the complaint.

“It is my belief that the complaint is defamatory and places the district and me in false light. The allegations are sensationalized and are not consistent with the actual events that occurred. The district and I will be filing a response denying Kelly Wallace’s allegations,” he said.

“Ms. Wallace was only employed under a one-year limited contract with the district for the 2013-14 school year. Ms. Wallace’s contract was not renewed for the 2014-15 school year because MCHS was overstaffed with four physical education teachers and Wallace was the only one of the four PE teachers that did not have tenure. The MCHS SBDM council decided, by majority vote, to eliminate a PE position to correct the overstaffing, and also decided to eliminate a foreign language position and a technology teacher. Subsequently, the board approved the SBDM request, as submitted,” Powell added.

Powell’s statement adds, “The fact that Wallace’s non-renewal letter, along with the letters to the technology and foreign language teachers, were issued on May 2, 2014, before the board’s approval, is simple: the letters were issued to all three employees as soon as the council made its staffing determination as a courtesy to Wallace and the other two employees, to give them more time to look for other employment.”

Unfortunately for Powell, he’s got a slew of people who back Wallace up. Nearly everyone in the meeting with him and some people who have filed suits of their own and secured settlements.

Defamatory? Facts are facts.

And Powell can’t speak for the board on whether or not it will pursue a defense against Wallace. Only the board can do that.

You can expect this to get juicier and juicier as time goes on.

P.S. We hear Powell is claiming that he hadn’t been served by the sheriff with the lawsuit prior to us running a story about it. But we hear from sources in the sheriff’s office that Sheriff Shortridge (father of the state trooper involved in the iPad scandal) gave Powell a heads-up that it was coming. It doesn’t help matters that there’s an established history of Shortridge not serving Powell with papers. Remember the EPO nightmare? Funny how that works.