On Fleeing Montgomery County Scandal

In May, Anna Powell, the illegally-hired wife of fired Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell, applied for a job as a school psychologist with Broward County Schools in Florida. Which is fine by all accounts — people in Montgomery County ought to stop trying to prevent her from getting a job, as she does have children to feed.

But her job application, available via open records law, is a treasure trove of information about the Powell inner circle. The application also drowns out her husband’s claim in challenging his termination: intimating that his family wished to remain in Montgomery County. And it maybe gets a little loose with reality when it comes to her role at Montgomery County Schools, highlighting a major area of concern for the current board of education.

Let’s dig right in.

The very beginning:


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Her stated reason for leaving Montgomery County Schools: relocating to Florida. Despite her having known for nearly two weeks at the time that she’d lost her job. In fact, her contract wasn’t renewed because, as the superintendent told her, her leadership was ineffective. That’s on top of being illegally hired and continuing to illegally hold a position for nearly two years after being advised by the State Auditor of Public Accounts that the arrangement was improper.

Take a look at her responsibilities:

Major responsibilities include: School Psychologist, Director of Special Education, and Preschool Coordinator.

Which isn’t based in reality. Her job description didn’t include serving as a school psychologist.

Her listed accomplishments:

Accomplishments: Increased exceptional children budget by 1.4 million and increased child count by changing policies/procedures to meet current federal/state guidelines.

You catch that? She revealed on a government form that she was responsible for increasing the amount of money the district gets for special education kids by $1.4 million. She says she did it by increasing the number of children in the program.

Alarm bells going off yet?

Because we’ve told you for quite some time that special education is a problem.

The Kentucky Department of Education, via Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday, has uncovered special education testing scandals.

Holliday also had something to say about special education when he confirmed Joshua Powell’s termination:

There has been unusual growth in some specific areas, compared to the state averages at the elementary and middle school levels. The percentage of students with disabilities in Montgomery County, compared to the total population of students in Montgomery County, has been increasing disproportionately compared to the region of the state. Additional consideration of the methods, systems, processes, instructional practices, and interventions in place in Montgomery County may be beneficial to explaining these high levels of performance as well as the increased number of students identified with learning disabilities.

And now Anna Powell is essentially confirming everything.

An examination of references listed on the application is eye-opening, to say the least:


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Phil Rison, Catherine Bailey and Lisa Stone. Her husband’s inner circle. Three people involved deeply in the shenanigans in Montgomery County.

Remember them? Quick reference:

Catherine Bailey

Lisa Stone

Small sample of stories involving Phil Rison

  • The EPSB Also Charged Rison – Not Just Powell [August 27, 2014]
  • Montgomery’s Lawyer Mess Probably Isn’t Over [September 5, 2014]
  • Montgomery Co. Schools In Another $ Nightmare [September 9, 2014]
  • Montgomery Co. Title IX Scandal Worsens Again [September 16, 2014]
  • Powell’s Unbelievable Unapproved Construction Project For His Illegally-Hired Wife — In Pictures [September 22, 2014]
  • Powell’s Personal Attorney Repping His Big Circle [December 4, 2014]
  • Montgomery County Schools Corruption Uncovered: A Multi-Part Look At Collusion, Spin And Coordinated Attacks On Investigators [December 15, 2014]
  • iPad Whistleblower Files Suit Against Powell & Co [January 15, 2015]
  • Police Report Seems To Prove Retaliation Scheme [January 26, 2015]
  • A Deeper Look At Whistleblower Retaliation [January 26, 2015]
  • The Termination Of Powell Begins Now [April 9, 2015]
  • Powell Has Little Legal Standing [April 14, 2015]
  • Phil Rison’s Involvement In Illegal Hiring Got Him Into Trouble With The EPSB, Admits Evidence Could Prove Such [April 15, 2015]
  • Investigation Uncovers Massive Spending Scandal In Montgomery Co Schools Involving Phil Rison, Others [May 11, 2015]
  • Secret Audio Affirms Whistleblower Retaliation Claims In Montgomery Co [May 15, 2015]
  • Kentucky Department Of Education Confirms Testing Violations In Montgomery County Schools [May 18, 2015]
  • Montgomery County Funds STILL Unreported In Title IX Documentation [June 1, 2015]
  • Eyebrow-Raising MoCo Title IX Data [June 2, 2015]
  • Rison Leaves Montgomery Co Schools [June 9, 2015]
  • Records Don’t Support Montgomery County Schools’ Title IX Booster Spending For Facilities Claims [June 15, 2015]

Yep. Those are her three professional references. Lisa Stone and Catherine Bailey testified in support of Joshua Powell at the Education Professional Standards Board hearing regarding Anna Powell’s illegal hiring. You already know everything Phil Rison’s done (iPad, illegal hiring, bid-rigging, construction scandals, testing scandals, et al…).

Finally, the Broward County application shines a bit of light on the Powells’ desire to leave Montgomery County. It all started in March, when Anna digitally signed documents in the Florida system:


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Ignore the part where she swore everything submitted was true in all respects (it wasn’t). The signature date: March 2, 2015. Meaning she and her family were trying to get out of dodge despite screaming from the mountaintop (in court records, letters, emails, local newspaper) about their dedication to Montgomery County.

Her application went further:


CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Detail:

Finally, I am passionate about moving to and working in Broward County. Over the past several year, my family and I have traveled to Florida and have a feeling of homesickness every time we leave.

And:

Please do not be hesitant about the fact that I live in Kentucky if a position was available for this school year. I have created a plan in case a trip to meet with anyone would be necessary.

Kinda shoots her husband in the foot. Particularly if he attempts to claim during hearings, depositions or in court filings that he intended to stick around.

Also makes it difficult for Anna to fight her own job loss.

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

Instant Racing Case Just Got More Fun

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate heard arguments Wednesday in an instant-racing lawsuit on a motion by the Family Foundation to have an in-court demonstration of the electronic games based on past horse races. [H-L]

U.S. employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, a seven-year low. The numbers reflect a job market moving close to full health and raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as September. [HuffPo]

The special rounds of golf were arranged by the tournament host, the billionaire coal operator and Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice, who has been a huge contributor to Beshear’s political causes. But Beshear’s golf excursion — not publicized by the Governor’s Office — comes as Justice remains under watch of the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources as part of an agreed order reached last August for Justice to resolve a record number of strip-mine reclamation violations. [C-J/AKN]

A federal court said in a Monday order that the National Security Agency can resume the bulk collection of American’s phone records for roughly five months as the program is phased out. [The Hill]

Calling Jack Conway a coward seems like a bit of a stretch. A man afraid to answer questions about his brother’s sheningans and how he was involved? Check. Someone who panders to coal publicly while singing a different tune privately? Absolutely. Someone who stands against homophobia while Bevin pushes anti-gay hatred? Of course. But coward? Uh, not based in reality. [WHAS11]

The White House lifted a 40-year-old ban on taking photos during public tours of the executive mansion on Wednesday, delighting tourists who immediately began posting pictures on social media. [Reuters]

The first phase of Louisville’s minimum wage increase went into effect Wednesday. [WFPL]

Now that Chris Christie is officially running for president, his record as governor of New Jersey will be getting a lot more scrutiny. As we reported with The Washington Post in April, there’s plenty to look at. [ProPublica]

The acting director of the General Assembly’s staffing and management arm won’t seek the permanent job. [Ronnie Ellis]

The good news for most Americans is that incomes have finally started to grow again. But the bad news is that the richest of the rich are still making off with far more gains, according to the latest data analysis by economist Emmanuel Saez. [ThinkProgress]

Senator Mitch McConnell is standing by his call to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol Rotunda. [WDRB]

The United States and Brazil unveil ambitious energy goals in a sign of growing co-operation after a spying scandal damaged ties two years ago. [BBC]

Kentucky State University has hired former Fayette County Public Schools official Vincent Mattox as the new assistant to the president for academic and school district outreach. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose bid for the Democratic nomination for president has drawn the largest crowds on the campaign trail, is raking in major money as well. [HuffPo]

Oh, NOW The EEC Wants To Talk?

The fun thing today: Kim Davis, backward ass Rowan County Clerk, was just sued by the ACLU on behalf of four couples she turned away. [Deep Eastern Kentucky Thoughts]

Kentucky leads the nation in participation in federally funded local food projects, with 1,659 projects including high tunnels that extend the growing season, microloans for smaller farmers, and direct funding for food hubs, farmers’ markets and other local food enterprises. [H-L]

A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession. [HuffPo]

Shortly after he was born, tremors wracked Leopoldo Bautista’s tiny body as he suffered through the pain of drug withdrawal — pain his mother understands. Samantha Adams is being treated with methadone for heroin addiction and passed the methadone into Leopoldo’s system. Sitting vigil with him at Norton Hospital, she teared up about watching the 10-day-old she loves “going through what I’d been through.” [C-J/AKN]

You won’t believe this horrible Fox story about the homeless. Or maybe you will. [MMFA]

When the board of regents hired Michael Benson as Eastern Kentucky University president in August 2013, it announced him as EKU’s “next great visionary leader.” [Richmond Register]

The stupid is thick. GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee predicted that Christians will push back against gay marriage in a similar way to Dr. Martin Luther King’s fight against racial discrimination. [The Hill]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court’s 2013 audit found a weakness about the public bidding process for its home incarceration program. [Ashland Independent]

U.S. private employers hired the most workers in six months in June and factory activity accelerated, providing fresh evidence the economy was gathering solid momentum after contracting at the start of the year. [Reuters]

Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale has been appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to serve on the newly reconstituted Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, it was announced in a press release. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Power plants will continue to able to emit unlimited mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants thanks to the Supreme Court, which on Monday invalidated the first-ever U.S. regulations to limit toxic heavy metal pollution from coal and oil-fired plants. [ThinkProgress]

The Daniel Boone National Forest welcomes Jonathan Kazmierski as the new district ranger for the Cumberland Ranger District in Morehead. [The Morehead News]

In a desperate bid to save one of the world’s most endangered animals, conservationists are taking the controversial step of defacing the last survivors. [BBC]

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Wednesday that it will meet with the FBI to determine whether a longtime coal mine inspector, Kelly Shortridge, falsified his reports beyond his work on mines that were owned by former state Rep. W. Keith Hall. Spoiler alert: cabinet folks were aware of everything before it came up at trial. They’re only talking because of public embarrassment at this point. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton has a bit of a problem on her hands. When it comes to filling a venue, Sen. Bernie Sanders is not exactly 2016’s underdog. [HuffPo]

Data Forensics Investigation In 3, 2…

The equipment Joshua Powell finally returned to Montgomery County Schools after defying a judge’s order?

Sources within the district tell us Powell returned his iPad completely scrubbed of data.

Board members tell us they’re obtaining the services of data retrieval specialists — the kind of people who rescue data after your laptop’s been dropped into the ocean or lost in an explosion — to get a look at what’s been hidden.

What will they discover? A review of documents that have been on the device? Web browsing history? Emails believed to have been deleted? Guess you’ll find out soon enough.

Get the popcorn…

Poor, Persecuted Rowan County Clerk

With his campaign deep in debt, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin is trying to make new friends among Kentucky’s well-heeled donor class. At a private reception in Lexington Monday night, Bevin joined Republican presidential candidate and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel and some of the state’s top political donors at an event organized by Lexington power couple Kelly Knight and Joe Craft. [H-L]

If you want to silence a black person’s pain, ask for forgiveness. We’re accustomed to our screams being hushed in the wake of tragedy. We’re accustomed to our grief being shoved aside in the rush to find mercy for those who have trespassed against us. [HuffPo]

Some media outlets are feigning surprise that superintendents can be suspended or fired. Almost as if it’s never happened, never resulted in revamping an entire school district, never led to the resignation of a commissioner of education. [C-J/AKN]

A fight over raising taxes has bloomed as the chief obstacle to passing a desperately needed multi-year transportation bill by the end of next month, raising the specter of a possible shutdown of highway programs. [The Hill]

After a series of judicial setbacks, Kentucky’s coal, utility and — for the most part — political interests won a significant environmental battle in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. National Security Agency wiretapped the communications of two successive French finance ministers and collected information on French export contracts, trade and budget talks. [Reuters]

About 50 protestors bucked against the decision by the Rowan County clerk to not issue marriage licenses to neither same-sex nor opposite-sex couples during a demonstration on Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Justice Alito defends a lethal injection expert who did his research on drugs.com. The expert ended up prompting a back-and-forth between Supreme Court justices, who narrowly upheld use of a lethal injection drug. [Propublica]

Brian Meadows and Eddie Spears have had a very long engagement. Saturday they became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Hart County. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber. [WaPo]

A steady stream of rainbow flags, signs supporting marriage equality and horn honks filled the Rowan County Courthouse lawn today. [The Morehead News]

The stupid is thick. A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives is pushing for new ways to combat California’s epic drought. But it’s doing so based on the premise that environmental policy — not climate change — is making the drought so bad in the state. [ThinkProgress]

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles “Doc” Hardin is seeking reconsideration of a decision that would force him out of office. [H-L]

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Wednesday announced a massive fundraising haul in the quarter that ended on June 30, further cementing her status as the clear front-runner in the 2016 race. [HuffPo]

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire…?

Thought it’d be a good idea to share a comment left on a story about Adam Edelen’s review of Fairview Independent Schools:

“Eyes rolling back in your head?

Meanwhile, in Montgomery County…”

Yeah, as a matter of fact they are. The similarities to Montgomery County are shocking, aren’t they?

Phil Rison submits $342,000 in “booster spending” for ONE YEAR on NONEXISTENT FACILITIES that the board knew nothing about. And the documentation shows that there hadn’t been any booster spending on facilities for the three previous years. The documentation also proves that boosters did NOT raise anywhere NEAR $342,000. The documentation acquired by Page One proves that report to be FRAUDULENT…….

Where is Edelen?!

Proof of Conspiracy To Commit Fraud is the term EDELEN’S OWN PEOPLE used to describe text messages between Kristi Carter, daycare director, and Mary Smith, her secretary. This is in itself something that could be prosecuted. ACCORDING TO EDELEN’S OWN PEOPLE. Not to mention an independent school auditor and CPA who was shown the messages. Those messages were the sort of things that would seem to make a state auditor really dig in, being as it was they were directly handed to them. But, nope.

Edelen turned a blind eye, made excuses, whatever. This is the tip of the iceberg. On a positive note, he did nail Powell for hiring his wife. Now he should go after the Powell’s for the illegally paid salary.

Yes, it’s more than enough to make one’s eyes roll back in their head. Practically with an audible “snap”.

Some of the stories referenced in that comment:

  • Edelen Ignoring Messes In Montgomery Co., Too? [October 23, 2013]
  • More Montgomery County Teasers For Edelen [October 25, 2013]
  • Auditor: Joshua Powell Illegally Hired His Wife [December 17, 2013]
  • Investigation Uncovers Massive Spending Scandal In Montgomery Co Schools Involving Phil Rison, Others [May 11, 2015]
  • Montgomery County Funds STILL Unreported In Title IX Documentation [June 1, 2015]
  • Eyebrow-Raising MoCo Title IX Data [June 2, 2015]
  • Records Don’t Support Montgomery County Schools’ Title IX Booster Spending For Facilities Claims [June 15, 2015]
  • On Bookkeeping & Secrecy In MoCo [June 30, 2015]

Nothing to see here, move along, attack the messenger, scream defamation, act as if there’s no reason for concern…

Pay Attention To What’s Happened In MI

Emmanuel “Manny” Caulk, described by Fayette County Public Schools officials as “a transformational educational leader with a calling to advance equity for all children,” was named the district’s next superintendent Saturday. [H-L]

Federal and state investigators are looking into a fire that destroyed a predominantly black church in South Carolina. Recent fires have already caused damage to predominantly black churches in Charlotte, North Carolina and Macon, Georgia. In those instances, investigators say the fires were deliberately set. [HuffPo]

Conway worked in the governor’s office for six years, ran for Congress from Louisville and is in his eighth year as attorney general, so it’s hard to believe that he didn’t know how African Americans felt about the Jeff Davis statue. If he didn’t, he gets demerits for failing to pay attention. [C-J/AKN]

Last summer, facing a spike in the number of Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty at the southern U.S. border, the Obama administration sped up deportation proceedings of asylum-seeking mothers and children and increased family detention capacity at the four main detention centers located in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Mexico. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky Homeplace Director Mace Baker announced earlier this month the addition of a new office, staffed with a full-time community health worker (CHW), to serve Perry County. Carole Frazier, a CHW from Hazard, Ky., will accept clients Monday through Friday at the new location in room 478 at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health on Morton Blvd. [Hazard Herald]

Scientists finally have a complete picture of what one of nature’s most bizarre animals looked like. [BBC]

Unsolved murder cases are just as frustrating for investigators as they are for family members and the public, Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said Tuesday. [Richmond Register]

Americans born between 1982 and 2000, known as millennials, now comprise one quarter of the country’s population. At 83.1 million, millennials outnumber the 75.4 million baby boomers. [NPR]

Members of the Harlan County Board of Education will spend part of their summer examining the school district’s jobs and related salaries. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Something is rotten in the state of Michigan. [Bill Moyers]

Two national issues resonated loudly in Kentucky last week: the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on subsidies for health insurance on the federal health exchange and calls to re-examine symbols of the Confederate South displayed on public property. [Ashland Independent]

Police have opened an investigation into the killing of an unarmed black man by law enforcement officers outside Baltimore, authorities said on Saturday, two months after the city was rocked by protests over the death of another African-American who was taken into custody. [Reuters]

Fayette County will remain in its current 17-county federal workforce development area that controls millions of federal workforce training dollars. [H-L]

Now, from impoverished reservations in the West, to Congress and the White House in the East, there is a growing bipartisan movement to document and address the lack of resources and opportunities in Native communities. [HuffPo]