Montgomery Co. School Board Meetings Are Crazy

Just a week ago the Montgomery County Board of Education held its regular meeting and it was, as you can imagine, a you-know-what show. There’s no other way to describe it. At least not a positive way to describe it.

What better way to experience the meeting than with video?

First up is Bruce Walters:

Board Chair Kenney Gulley reminded speakers to address the board and not Joshua Powell in the beginning. Why? Powell has complained that his civil rights are being violated when members of the public address him during meetings. Despite being a public figure appointed to a government job by a body of elected officials.

As you’ve just learned, the board doesn’t really keep tabs on what Powell does or when he takes time off. Powell says he doesn’t have to obtain board approval to do anything, the board says he does and it’s all puppies and rainbows.

Powell receiving free child care while many school employees do not has become a hot issue in the community. Particularly in light of Powell and Gulley fighting to stop an expansion of the free school lunch program.

The board chair, along with Powell, played coy and lied to the public about being notified of the pending EPSB investigation. We all know they’re lying because the EPSB have said (in writing) that Powell’s been charged.

Just a taste:



Next up is Jennifer Golden:

Last month Golden requested Joshua Powell provide evidence of what he’s done to improve test scores but he hasn’t ponied up. Meanwhile, test scores are falling.

Golden spent quite a bit of time discussing fear and retaliation, wasted money, Powell’s free babysitting program and such. All the things you’re used to hearing about Powell by now.

The kicker was her telling the board chair that his remarks were rude, ignorant and disrespectful while demanding an apology.

After Golden, some older guy gave a report about how terrible Powell has been for Montgomery County. We’re not featuring him because he went on for nearly eight minutes and you’ve heard it all before. In fact, you’ve read it all before in legal proceedings, government charging documents and open records request after open records request.

For the first time in a while, two teachers — both close friends of Powell, both receiving compensation for participating in his programs, one of them getting paid to transport Chinese teachers to and from work — showed up to sing his praises. (Spoiler alert: their colleagues tell us they were coerced.)

First is Lindsay Tufano:

Now we finally have proof, on video, that Powell’s MSU class was for people singing his praises. And we finally get to hear about who he brought in to address his class — all the administrators from the district who have been involved in scandal and investigation after scandal and investigation.

Second came Sammi Hatfield:

Hatfield started off complaining about the thousands of “FIRE JOSH POWELL” signs spread throughout Montgomery County before moving on to the fun stuff.

She angrily, as you saw, complained about Page One’s investigative coverage, referring to it as “smut” — but not before claiming she’s never read any of our coverage. Apparently, EPSB charging documents, lawsuits providing evidence, Office of Civil Rights investigations, OEA investigations, State Auditor of Public Accounts investigations and even police reports are all smut unworthy of examination when it comes to our public school systems.

Hatfield admits, though she probably shouldn’t have, that she was one of the people who selected Powell to be hired in the district. Maybe not the greatest of ideas.

She claimed classrooms only have 20-22 students in them but most teachers we speak with tell us they typically have 35+ students in every class. Some teachers (a minority of them) tell us they have as many as 40— like in one French class.

She’s right that the spotlight needs to be removed from Powell, his administration and the board of education. But it won’t be until that mess is cleaned up.

Hatfield also self-righteously brought up religion — despite the separation of church and state — in a bizarre attempt to question the religion and faith of Powell’s critics. As if those who aren’t of the Christian religion aren’t worthy?

But what really beats everything: Hatfield has been actively campaigning against candidates for school board if they oppose Powell. She’s not only worked in support of candidates who wish to retain Powell as superintendent but she’s sent emails and Facebook messages to the campaigns of candidates she believes oppose him. Also probably not a good idea, since school employees aren’t permitted to campaign for or against candidates for school board.

We’d like to thank Hatfield for the free publicity.

Bonus: Guess which one of those women is being compensated for transporting the Chinese teachers to and from school.

Still wondering why Montgomery County can’t have nice things?

Watch the videos.

And wait til you see footage of Powell complaining about civil rights violations at board meetings. It’s unreal.