Montgomery Co. Board Kept In The Dark

Wondering why things are still screwed up with the Montgomery County Board of Education?

We filed an open records request with the board and… wait for it… the board’s attorney allowed ELPO’s Mike Owsley to redact invoices in a scenario where the board was the client.

Feast your eyes.

The request we filed:

  • All invoices or billing statements from company Sensei from January 1, 2014 to current
  • All invoices or billing statements from ELPO regarding company Sensei OR iPad/device data recovery from January 1, 2014 to current

Note the language we used.

Emails to/from board attorney and Mike Owsley of ELPO:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Sensei absolutely did conduct data recovery.

Sensei invoices:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Letter from ELPO to Powell and the board:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

And the mountain of redactions:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Yep, that’s what the board sees. All those redacted pages containing nothing. And yes, we’re aware that they didn’t fulfill our request. She only got Sensei invoices from ELPO and not everything we requested regarding iPad/data recovery.

Mind-boggling.

Since the district has a history of illegal redactions, we requested a review by the board attorney and expect that she’ll take a deeper look, as she has been great about doing in the past.

If anyone should be redacting open records requests, it should be the board’s attorney. Not Mike Owsley, who is in no way the district’s open records officer. Note: the board’s attorney has been serving in that capacity for the board, basically acting as an intermediary to review requests in light of Jacqui Johnston’s illegal redactions and allegiance to Joshua Powell.

Board members frequently tell us that they have been unable to review invoices from ELPO. The board is being kept in the dark. Which means taxpayers, parents, students, teachers, everyone is being kept in the dark about how your money is being spent.

Also included in the documents above: revelation that the Topix mess wasn’t pursued because they realized, as we told you at the time, it was nigh impossible.

Evidence, from the board’s attorneys and Powell’s personal confidants, that they did not have information identifying Topix posters, despite claims made during board meetings.

Sure, we told you it was all nonsense in both July and August.

All while former board chair Kenney Gulley claimed during a July board meeting that the “objective has been met”. Here’s footage of that:



And in July, this is what the local newspaper in Montgomery County published:

Powell issued a statement to the Advocate this week saying that expenditure of the money was not necessary.

“The statement made at the July 17th board meeting advised that the money was authorized to investigate and address the harassment/cyber bullying of school employees through social media,” the statement says. “The public was advised that the objective was met at no cost.

“The investigation involved a personnel matter of the harassment of one school employee by another school employee via social media,” the statement adds. “Information was subsequently revealed that identified both parties.”

-SNIP-

Gulley told the Advocate that the board was informed that the $5,000 would not be needed “as the investigation has been productive in resolving the problem.”

Statements from Powell and Gulley did not address where the $5,000 might be spent instead.

But now you can see for yourself that identifying information was not obtained because the matter was not pursued. It wasn’t “productive” and no objective was met. They just dropped it entirely.