On Failing An Entire Community…

What the hell?

Just read these bits from the Mt. Sterling Advocate:


FROM THIS WEEK’S ADVOCATE

Big time impact as board of education abolishes positions

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Last week, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to abolish more than 20 positions.

Among those is Phil Rison’s position as director of student services/assistant superintendent.

Most board members are saying little. Two claim they simply followed the recommendations of Acting Superintendent Donald Pace.

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Whatever the case, there doesn’t seem to be a straight answer. While the board says many of the positions were unfilled, a number were filled.

And no board member, or Pace, for that matter, will directly answer why Rison’s position was eliminated.

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Now, the story is that Rison never actually had the role of superintendent, that he wasn’t even listed under that title on the district’s website. The Advocate, however, always referred to Rison in stories as “assistant superintendent,” and not once were we corrected.

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Regardless, Rison is a long-term educator. He’s dedicated his life and career to students and staff in our schools. He deserves better.

Or at least a real explanation, as does the rest of this community. This is not the first instance in which our board has made a bold move and then offers no or few comments about its decision. These elected officials should never in the practice of not directly answering/addressing the public — the very people who put them in their positions — when decisions such as this are made. We encourage the board to be more open in the future!

And:

Confusion reigns over Phil Rison’s position

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He was visibly shaken when the board announced its decision at the May 11 meeting. At the time, he said “the decision speaks for itself.” He has declined further comment.

In addition to his duties at Central Office, Rison has also served as athletics director for the school district and is currently slated to become a member of the Kentucky High School Athletics Association Board of Control. He frequently speaks on subjects related to school athletics at conferences across the U.S.

“Frustratingly bad,” is how one concerned teacher in Montgomery County introduced the latest nonsense to us. We couldn’t agree more.

This is yet another instance of that small town newspaper deliberately misleading its readership and providing a massive disservice to the community. It’s possibly the most dishonest move we’ve yet seen from the paper. From providing Joshua Powell a platform to spin and lie to ignoring major scandals and government records, it’s been bad in Montgomery County. But this is probably the worst.

Why it’s bad: anyone who has half paid attention to Montgomery County the past two years knows why Phil Rison’s position was abolished. So let’s highlight a few of those reasons:

  • Bid rigging
  • The iPad scandal
  • Title IX scandals (plural)
  • Misappropriation/use of funds without approval on multiple occasions
  • Special Education testing scandals
  • Anna Powell
  • Getting his entire family hired
  • EPSB investigations

To name a few. All backed up with government documentation, video, email, police reports, audio.

To suggest the man is a saint with the best interests of the school district at heart is not only disingenuous, it’s disgusting.

Rison’s job description was altered by Joshua Powell and Jacqui Johnston, approved by the previous school board. You’d think actual journalists could spend fifteen seconds searching the school district’s website to determine that.

Suggesting that no one from the district ever complained to the paper about the way it identified Phil Rison? Perhaps because the previous school board, run by Joshua Powell, Kenney Gulley and Kelly Murphy was a documented hot mess. Or perhaps because the paper ignored anyone but those three, including current board members. Maybe they could have filed an open records request every once in a while or reviewed a personnel file or two.

Shysters like these are the reason we provide mountains of documentation. So there’s no room to claim a lack of objectivity. Because Montgomery County deserves better than a handful of corrupt good old boys manipulating everything that goes on in local government and the school district.

And Rison becoming a member of the KHSAA Board after getting caught deliberately misleading and misreporting Title IX spending information to that very organization? After repeatedly getting caught spending thousands upon thousands of dollars without authorization or any sort of approval? Hahahaha.

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

It’s because of the good old boy network, which includes the Mt. Sterling Advocate.

P.S. Alice Anderson and the rest of that school board do need to get a grip and start putting that shitty paper in its place. In addition to being more transparent and less paranoid. They can start with ending their effort to have lawsuits filed by people like Michelle Henry dropped. Anderson, Smith-Breiner and Morgan are all on record supporting Henry, so they ought to back their hypocrisy up a taste.

P.P.S. Lindsay Rison Maples, Phil Rison’s daughter, is one of the people losing a job in the district. She currently serves under Anna Powell as an occupational therapist. Several teachers and an administrator have contacted us to say Lindsay’s been holding Admissions and Release Committee meetings with teachers, instructing them to contact the school board to press for bringing occupational therapy positions back. That should end really well for her. Since that’s not only unethical but potentially illegal.