Eyebrow-Raising MoCo Title IX Data

Let’s start with common sense: high school football and basketball are big deals in Kentucky. They’re probably the only sports, save a bit of baseball, anyone pays attention to. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that those two main sports have booster clubs/organizations raising $20,000+ per year in many school districts.

In light of various spending scandals that we’ve uncovered involving Montgomery County Schools — specifically Title IX investigations and discrimination lawsuits — we’ve kept an eye on the flow of cash in the school district.

On May 11, 2015 we uncovered a massive Title IX reporting/spending scandal involving Phil Rison and others within Montgomery County Schools. Rison and his then-boss, fired superintendent Joshua Powell, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an athletics facility without approval. They also deliberately withheld information from required Title IX reporting and also appear to have misled or intentionally lied to colleagues about spending reporting requirements.

Yesterday, on June 1, 2015, we revealed that Rison and the district still have not properly reported expenditures and activity on Title IX reports with the Kentucky High School Athletics Association.

But that’s not where the fun ends.

Here’s the latest data from the district:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Montgomery County’s most recent KHSAA/Title IX reporting for the 2014-2015 school year, documented in the PDF above, include a surprising development. In the previous years during Powell’s tenure, boosters in the county have reportedly never spent more than $1,950 on athletics facilities. During the 2014-2015 year, however, boosters have all the sudden raised and spent more than $300,000 on facilities. The increase is so drastic that both former and current coaches, school board members, teachers and students have expressed concern to us.

Let’s take a look at the numbers as reported:

BOOSTER SPENDING TOTALS BY YEAR

  • 2010-2011 — $49,255
  • 2011-2012 — $93,348
  • 2012-2013 — $103,270
  • 2013-2014 — $84,410
  • 2014-2015 — $342,757

BOOSTER SPENDING BY CATEGORY

EQUIPMENT

  • 2010-2011 — $46,755
  • 2011-2012 — $52,868
  • 2012-2013 — $50,097
  • 2013-2014 — $77,910
  • 2014-2015 — $29,107

TRAVEL

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $29,882
  • 2012-2013 — $37,281
  • 2013-2014 — $6,500
  • 2014-2015 — $1,600

AWARDS

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $9,672
  • 2012-2013 — $10,200
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $0

FACILITIES

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $1,950
  • 2012-2013 — $0
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $312,050

PUBLICITY

  • 2010-2011 — $2,500
  • 2011-2012 — $3,976
  • 2012-2013 — $5,692
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $0

Now let’s examine the latest booster spending on facilities:

2014-2015 FACILITIES — BOOSTER SPENDING BREAKDOWN

  • Archery — $9,036
  • Baseball — $23,841
  • Boys Basketball — $32,280
  • Girls Basketball — $28,540
  • Boys Bowling — $9,892
  • Girls Bowling — $9,892
  • Boys Cross Country —$9,094
  • Girls Cross Country — $9,094
  • Fast Pitch Softball — $24,668
  • Football — $32,706
  • Boys Golf — $9,398
  • Girls Golf — $8,498
  • Boys Soccer — $15,774
  • Girls Soccer — $16,874
  • Boys Swimming — $6,643
  • Girls Swimming — $6,643
  • Boys Tennis — $7,698
  • Girls Tennis — $7,698
  • Boys Track — $11,345
  • Girls Track — $11,345
  • Volleyball — $15,649
  • Wrestling — $14,536

Surprising amounts of cash in any circumstance.

Boosters dropping nearly $20,000 on bowling when students practice and play at the local bowling alley? What on earth?

We’ve attempted to get answers from district officials but everyone from Phil Rison to the high school principal have chosen to avoid providing comment or explanation. Not answering the most basic questions regarding spending raises red flags galore.

Dozens of open records requests have been filed and those are pending.

What’s going on here? Are Rison and the district inflating girls expenditures paid by boosters to make their per-student costs similar to boys? Are they covering up the baseball field renovation by spreading those costs around? Are they making these claims because booster spending is easier to hide and manipulate when only a couple people control all of the cash and all of the reporting?

To go from raising and spending $0 booster dollars on facilities the year prior to $312,050… well…

Something stinks. And that’s why we’re running this story prior to obtaining records. Because someone out there knows something and the usual suspects in Montgomery County are going out of their way to avoid any level of transparency.

If you know something, SPILL IT!

Contact Jake at this address:

We keep sources confidential.

Jack Conway’s Inaction On Full Display

Keith Hall is under indictment and could wind up in prison and Jack Conway thinks this UMG/Mountain Water mess is a-okay. He’s refused to investigate and has pocketed gobs of cash from that bunch. Fun note: Adam Edelen has referred probably more than 100 cases (that he’s keeping track of) that Conway has ignored. [John Cheves]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced on Saturday that he’s running for president in 2016. [HuffPo]

Kentucky has no procedure for tracking rape kits. There is no standardized policy for getting them from hospitals to law enforcement to the Kentucky State Police crime lab. No one knows how many are sitting untested at agencies across the state. Estimates range from 2,000 to 10,000. [C-J/AKN]

The newly legal hemp industry is entering its second growing season with some big questions for producers experimenting with marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin. The federal government has allowed limited imports of hemp seed — in Colorado’s case, this month — for research and development purposes. Companies trying to create a U.S. hemp industry are seeking investors not only for unproven products but for a plant that is still classified under the federal Controlled Substances Act with marijuana and thus cannot be patented. [ABC News/AP]

Saturday night’s statewide Republican dinner was supposed to be about unity, and it was, in more ways than one. But none of his former opponents showed up. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley strongly rejected Saturday the idea that another Bush or Clinton should ever enter the White House. [The Hill]

County residents whose lives have been affected by landfill odors met with The Independent last week and said they are calling on the Boyd County Fiscal Court to help find a solution to the problems. [Ashland Independent]

The Obama administration on Wednesday issued a new rule to protect streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, a step it said would help keep drinking water safe, but farmers and industry groups argued the regulation will be costly. [Reuters]

Two episodes for the upcoming season of the reality television series, “Fat Guys in the Woods,” was filmed in Kentucky; more specifically in the Red River Gorge and eastern Kentucky cave country areas. “Fat Guys in the Woods” airs on The Weather Channel and will begin its second season on June 7. [Glasgow Daily Times]

How Mike Bloomberg, red-state businesses, and a lot of Midwestern lawyers are changing American energy faster than you think. [Politico]

County Attorney Cecil Watkins filed suit against the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) Friday for architectural and engineering costs for the new Rowan County Detention Center. [The Morehead News]

Back in 2013, authorities in Frankfort, Kentucky, discovered that the Buffalo Trace Distillery was bleeding bottles of Pappy Van Winkle. More than 200 bottles of the super-small batch brown were missing, and it attracted international attention because Pappy Van Winkle (which bottles a mere seven to eight thousand cases of its ultra-premium bourbon, about one-thousandth of the output of Jim Beam) is the sort of thing that millionaires will fight each other for, because people who can buy anything go crazy when they can’t buy something. [Thrillist]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was not in the audience, but that didn’t stop his former rival and GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin from trying to put tensions between him and McConnell to bed. [H-L]

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Wingnut) was so incensed by Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Troll) comments on the Islamic State and Iraq that he issued a statement on official state letterhead calling the presidential candidate “unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.” [HuffPo]

Contract For New Montgomery County Superintendent Could Prevent Powell-Like Problems

Montgomery County Schools hired a new superintendent last week and Matthew Thompson has finally signed a contract.

Highlights:

  • A morality clause (!)
  • Base pay is $10,000 less than Powell initially received
  • No more “consulting” work during business hours
  • No more legal CYA with friendly attorneys
  • No more annual $5,000 annuities
  • No $650/month vehicle allowance
  • No $250/month technology allowance
  • $2,500 moving expenses instead of $10,000

The biggest part of Thompson’s contract — with our emphasis:

14. REMOVAL

Superintendent shall comply with Professional Code of Ethics and agree to comply with KRS 161.790, and so that the Contract shall remain in force during the Superintendent’s good behavior and efficient and competent service and Superintendent agrees that “just cause” shall include but not be limited to:

a. Insubordination, including but not limited to violation of the school laws of the state or administrative regulations adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education, the Education Professional Standards Board, or lawful rules and regulations established by the local board of education for the operation of schools, or refusal to recognize or obey the authority of the Kentucky Department of Education and the Board in the performance of his duties;

b. Immoral character or conduct unbecoming an educator;

c. Physical or mental disability; or

d. Inefficiency, incompetency, or neglect of duty.

Every single line of that was a slap in the face to Joshua Powell. Review Powell’s contract here and here.

Review Thompson’s contract below:

In PDF form:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

If you’re on mobile and can’t access PDFs, in JPG form:



CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Beginning of a new era for Montgomery County Schools?

Time will tell.

Montgomery Money Co Spending $$$

Just how expensive has Joshua Powell been for Montgomery County Schools?

Here’s a small taste:


SOME LEGAL FEES

That’s just the beginning. But it’s still probably less expensive than it would have been to allow him to ride out the contract. With all the lawsuits and shenanigans springing forth.

Ouch.

Those Chromebooks are already costing the district far more than it bargained:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

$749.94 for six damaged devices.

The district is still throwing thousands of dollars per year at the misleading local newspaper:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Which probably ought to stop, as it most certainly doesn’t serve the community. Heck, we’d give them the ad space for free and way more Montgomery Countians would see it than would in the paper. Free. For anything they want to advertise. We’ll create a special page.

Surely the district could meet legal requirements by placing ads in other publications in the region if necessary.

Be sure to check back shortly after 2:00 P.M. today for something you’re all waiting for. Longtime followers of the Montgomery County saga will especially appreciate it.

Some Friday MoCo Food For Thought

A couple fun bits from the Kentucky Revised Statutes:

KRS 156.138 — Duty of Attorney General

The Attorney General, upon the written recommendation of either the Governor, the Auditor of Public Accounts, the chief state school officer, or the Kentucky Board of Education, shall institute the necessary actions to recover school funds, from any source, which he believes have been erroneously or improperly allowed or paid to any person.

And:

KRS 156.142 — Jurisdiction

In all actions brought under the provisions of KRS 156.132 to 156.138, jurisdiction shall be vested in the Circuit Court of the county in which the school district is located.

Frankfort’s buzzing over Montgomery County.

Cough.

Jamie Comer Beats That Dead Horse

This was Jamie Comer’s laughable press release yesterday: Commissioner Comer is currently in Florida spending time with his family. He will issue a statement tomorrow afternoon about the next steps he will take in this race. [Press Release]

A statewide recanvass of vote totals in the Republican race for governor showed no substantial changes, Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes said Thursday afternoon. But Jamie Comer still might push for a recount. [H-L]

The U.S. Department of Education has formally cleared Navient Corp., the student loan giant formerly part of Sallie Mae, of wrongdoing after an investigation into whether the company cheated troops on their federal student loans. The findings contradict earlier conclusions reached by the Justice Department, which sued the company in May 2014 after determining that Navient systematically overcharged troops and denied them key rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Federal prosecutors said the company’s actions were “intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of servicemembers.” [HuffPo]

Citing serious and persistent problems with Kentucky’s food stamp program, federal authorities have warned state officials they must fix the problems quickly or risk losing federal funds the state uses to run the program that helps the poor buy food. [C-J/AKN]

Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the chances are “pretty slim” that Republicans will grow their majority in the U.S. Senate in 2016, saying his goal is to preserve the majority for what he hopes will be a Republican president. [AP]

Nope, the recanvass didn’t change anything. Check out the results in each county. [Click the Clicky]

The Justice Department will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court ruling that President Barack Obama’s move to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation should remain on hold, a spokesman said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Bullitt County magistrates have fired a controversial animal control officer and shelter director. [WDRB]

How federal dollars are financing the water crisis in the West. [ProPublica]

Hundreds of people in Eastern Kentucky in danger of losing their disability payments may soon be part of a lawsuit against the federal government. [WYMT]

The US state of Nebraska has abolished the death penalty after a veto-override was passed through its legislature. [BBC]

There is a man holding a knife to the throat of a woman. A person gets out of their car, has a hammer in their hand and advances, yelling. [The Morehead News]

Many of us have old prescription drugs sitting around in medicine cabinets — so what’s the best way to get rid of them? Some folks simply toss old pills in the garbage, or down the toilet. [NPR]

Jean-Marie is dumb enough to think no one will see right through her desire to open an Western Kentucky office. Using taxpayer dollars to eliminate a commute for her? Right, sure, let’s do that. Kentucky has unlimited funds. [H-L]

The House of Representatives will quickly get down to unfinished business once it returns from the holiday recess: defending trading partners that engage in slavery. [HuffPo]