Kentucky Department Of Education Confirms Testing Violations In Montgomery County Schools

A month ago the Kentucky Department of Education notified Donald Pace, Acting Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, that an investigation uncovered testing violations involving special education students. According to sources within KDE and the district, the investigation centered on Phil Rison and another Joshua Powell confidant, Brandy Holley.

The letter from Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday reveals that those two individuals — along with two additional Powell pals: Alison Hubbard and Sara Beth Mayes — were responsible for what amounts to shortchanging the kids.

Here’s that letter:


Text for your convenience:

April 10, 2015

Mr. Donald Pace, Acting Superintendent
Montgomery County Schools
640 Woodford Drive
Mt Sterling, KY 40353

RE: Mount Sterling Elementary School Testing Allegation, Case #2014-180

Dear Acting Superintendent Pace:

This letter is to inform you of my decision regarding a testing allegation filed with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The allegation described an incident in which two (2) 3rd grade special needs student did not have access to all of the accommodations documented in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) during the administration of Reading Parts A and B of the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessment. The information pulled from Infinite Campus (IC) and used to create an accommodations list for testing was incorrect.

After reviewing the information submitted to me, I concur with the recommendation of the Testing Board of Review that a testing violation did occur. 703 KAR 5:080, Administration Code for Kentucky’s Educational Assessment Program, states on Page 9: “The principal, BAC and anyone assisting with test administration to students in special populations shall ensure that any accommodations provided shall be consistent with the student’s evaluation data, IEP, 504, or PSP Plan and the routine delivery of instructional services.” In addition, since the evidence presented does not suggest the two (2) 3rd grade students gained a testing advantage as a result of the incident, scores will not be lowered.

Furthermore, I recommend that the principal, BAC and anyone assisting with tests for students with special needs should ensure the accommodations lists are up-to-date and accurate prior to administering any state-required assessment and the accommodations have been used consistently through the school year.

On behalf of the KDE, I express my appreciation for the professional and cooperative manner in which central office and school staff responded during the investigation of this allegation and for your prompt and thorough attention to this matter. Should you have questions related to this investigation, please feel free to contact Patsy Kenner, Testing Allegations Coordinator, at 502-564-4474 ext. 4809.


Terry Holliday, Ph.D.


Cc: Sara Beth Mayes, Building Assessment Coordinator
Brandy Holley, Principal
Alison Hubbard, District Assessment Coordinator
Phil Rison, Assistant Superintendent

Mayes, Holley, Hubbard and Rison have not responded to requests for comment.

This letter merely adds fuel to the speculation fire regarding testing fraud in the district.