But They Can't Afford Basic Science Equipment?

Really, Montgomery County?

You can spend a million plus on flimsy Chromebooks, new lounge refrigerators and monstrous pay raises for Powell’s inner circle (and illegally-hired wife) but can’t fund basic science equipment?


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What a disaster.

Bonus: We hear the high school has had a rented lift for six weeks (6!) to change light bulbs at the barn at a cost of roughly $1,000 per week. But it’s been sitting stationary since day one, no bulbs changed.

UPDATE: Some dumb Powell lackey attempted to load the site more than five hundred times (an attack on services) in under a minute but were too ignorant to hide their Time Warner IP address:

76.177.123.158

Thanks for trying to keep the truth from coming out.

If You Care About The Homeless In Ashland…

Jack Conway can use state employees on state time for his security at private or political events during his campaign for governor, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission ruled Monday. Shouldn’t he be using campaign cash or HIS OWN MONEY to pay for security at private campaign events? Jesus H, the grifting in this state. Not even Beshear is that greedy. We hear Greg Stumbo is having a good laugh over this one. [AP]

Cello, a female German Shepherd, is in a Louisville veterinary hospital, fighting to recover from a gunshot wound to her head and other serious injuries while authorities in Eastern Kentucky search for the person who attacked her. [H-L]

Sen. Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he and President Barack Obama are already discussing plans to cut corporate tax rates and pass free trade agreements, following the GOP’s major gains in Tuesday’s elections. [HuffPo]

With less than a week before Kentuckians can start signing up for Obamacare again, there’s little of the public hoopla that surrounded last year’s historic launch in a state widely seen as a national model for its smooth rollout. [C-J/AKN]

Federal investigators found rampant nepotism in recent years within the agency that oversees U.S. immigration courts, including three top officials who used their positions to help relatives land paid internships. [WaPo]

Berea College celebrated homecoming this past weekend, and among alumni honored was Berea resident Elizabeth Denny, 89. Although founded as the South’s first interracial institution in 1855, a Kentucky Law passed in 1904 banned white and black students from attending school together. [Richmond Register]

“Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists, and still has a reputation for being a charming people person,” Mr. Obama said. [NY Times]

Area residents can experience what it is like to be without a home if they choose to participate in an event meant to boost homelessness awareness and camp out in the cold on Nov. 21 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. [Ashland Independent]

On Thursday, a federal appeals court upheld bans on gay marriage in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan. In a 2-1 vote, the 6th Circuit reversed lower courts’ rulings which had found the bans unconstitutional and sets up a likely Supreme Court showdown. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey issued a scathing dissent. [Mother Jones]

Democrat Kim Davis defeated Republican John Cox on Tuesday to claim the office of Rowan County clerk as the successor to her mother, Jean Bailey, who has held the position for 37 years. Here’s hoping she doesn’t lead in her government job as she does in covering up her daughter’s theft of a dog. [The Morehead News]

The US economy added 214,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, official Labor Department figures show. [BBC]

Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson has only days before he steps down. The long-time Louisville mayor is taking a job in the White House. [WDRB]

The Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate will bring a tough new tone to the debate over Washington’s foreign policy, with lawmakers expected use their new clout and power over the budget to promote a more interventionist foreign policy. [Reuters]

The Lexington ethics commission will ask a Fayette District Court judge for clarification on whether recently re-elected Councilwoman Shevawn Akers’ criminal records can be used in an ethics case against her. [H-L]

President Barack Obama showed no signs of backing down from executive action on immigration reform on Wednesday, despite a Republican wave that ripped control of the U.S. Senate away from Democrats the night before. [HuffPo]

Corrupt Fayette Supe Gets Frankfort Promotion

Wondering why Kentucky can’t have nice things?

Here you go:

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton has resigned to accept a new position as Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.

The guy had Fayette County, what, $20 million in the hole? And he did a lot of Joshua Powell-esque crap?

AND HE’S GOING TO FRANKFORT!

To head the statewide group of superintendents. A group called K-ASS, no less.

Check out some of the job’s qualifications, according to the job posting (Warning: PDF Link) that was still available on the KASS website this morning:

7. Models the highest standards of performance and ethics in all personal and professional matters.

8. Must have the ability to effectively plan, organize, direct, control, and lead the overall operations of the association. Must be able to carry out vital administrative functions.

-SNIP-

10. Must be able to make sound management decisions, have the ability to delegate work to others, appraise and review work to ensure controls are functioning appropriately. Must be skilled in exercising leadership to a diverse group of employees, membership and general public.

-SNIP-

12. Must have a thorough knowledge of budgeting and forecasting techniques.

13. Must have the ability to investigate and analyze a variety of unusual conditions, problems and questions, exercising exceptional judgment in arriving at a decision, and is able to make tough decisions with effective rationale.

-SNIP-

16. Must be able to cultivate goodwill and gain and retain the respect of employees, clients and the general public; and able to reconcile divergent points of view.

Pendleton County Schools superintendent Anthony Strong, current president of KASS, was in charge of the application process and these people thought Shelton was the best man for the job.

Anyone who thinks this is a solid move for the Commonwealth is delusional. His certificates ought to be revoked.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Some New Montgomery County Schools Tidbits…

Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell was in a huff a few days ago, checking certifications left and right.

Turns out?

Some of his administrators didn’t/don’t have certificates. Imagine that.

On Monday, Powell sent out a massive email blast to all staff. Take a look:

One-to-one technology initiative
November 3, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Last Tuesday, our district had a board meeting and, among the several items discussed, the district considered whether or not to provide a one-to-one technology initiative. For the last two years, members of the technology department have researched this concept and steps have been taken to improve the infrastructure of each building. Furthermore and most importantly, the educators have both prepared themselves and their students for this next stage of instructional development by creating an educational environment conducive to this high-level initiative.

As the possibility of proceeding with this program approached, some of our educators were asked to research and present this initiative to the local board of education. Teacher-led meetings occurred at one board meeting and, again, at a session prior to another board meeting.

The approved proposal was as follows:


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Although nearly one-million dollars over three years may sound costly, understand that the district maintains a tax rate well below the state average, has a financial reserve of nearly 9 million dollars, and has funding specifically directed for technology. In fact, our district has had one of the largest financial reserves among public school districts in the Commonwealth of Kentucky during each of the last three years, despite spending an additional four million dollars per year in personnel and enduring financial cuts.

Not surprisingly, a lot of misinformation was spread throughout this process and it is difficult to accept such tactics, especially when they are detrimental to educators and students. Some rumors reported that the initiative would cost 3 million per year (see above). Others stated that those living in rural areas would not have access (contrary to the survey and the concept of using cellular methods), and that nearly one-third of the devices would be destroyed by students (the Sterling School has had a similar initiative for two years, without incident). Another rumor suggested that the devices would be out of date as soon as we purchased them (FYI—By that logic, the I-phone 6 is out of date but I am sure that people will use it for at least three years).

Criticism included the belief that teachers would refuse to use the Chromebooks and, also, money would have to be bonded by the district, leaving the district without bonding money for buildings — absolute farces, as well.

As outrageous as the aforementioned is, this type of strategy is often used in this district to produce chaos and confusion. And, more importantly, the rampant untruths are often used to seemingly represent the majority of educators of this district, which also causes disruption for Board members that have a strong desire to do what is right.

In this instance, the educators were able to address the above conspiracies so the Board could have a much more precise and accurate view of the task at hand. Along with this, Debbie Goldy was slated to present and recommend the initiative last Tuesday night. Ms. Goldy was nervous, especially due to the fact that she and her compatriots had performed a lot of passion-filled work. When she approached the podium, a large group of educators followed and remained standing behind her with some being very vocal throughout the lengthy discussion, until approval was finally granted. I strongly believe that many people, including some board members, administrators and other educators, and parents were grateful for the passion and dedication to students that the group demonstrated.

When I arrived in this district in 2011, I quickly realized that my job was to empower many of the exceptional educators. As easy as that may sound, it has been an arduous process. It is my belief that the majority of educators in this district are much too busy (doing the right things) to become involved in the all too often adult-driven and (sometimes) politically-infested activities of the school district. Instead, educators spend their time working with children, accomplishing feats that only others could dream of, such as leading a district from the bottom 24th percentile to the 91st percentile in only three years! At the end of their day they are spent, and assume that governance understands the needs of educators, and will likewise make appropriate decisions. Unfortunately, this can be a faulty assumption and, in the defense of local governance, the right educators have to show up and express themselves at critical junctures. Otherwise, the wrong people (disgruntled individuals, uninformed citizens, alleged experts, and that small percentage that disrupt progress for no apparent reason) can dictate the decisions and direction of the school district.

With this, I am pleased to report that some of our finest educators became immersed in the decision to provide Chromebooks to our students. They were very vocal and active with regard to gaining approval for the initiative and I can say, without hesitation, that the teachers were the sole reason that this initiative was unanimously approved. The outstanding educators were able to express and clarify instructional objectives far beyond what I, or any other administrator, could.

Frankly, the experience gave me cold chills and I took notice of the empowerment that occurred Tuesday night. I was greatly inspired and humbled by the actions of the educators. Moreover, I gained a strong sense of home for the future because—make no mistake about it—the educators drove the decision-making of the board, and I sincerely hope this practice continues in the future.

I hope that each of you are as excited as I am about this upcoming opportunity. I congratulate all those that helped our district achieve this accomplishment, especially those that worked diligently on this initiative. We are taking the next step in preparing our students for the 21st Century and there are no educators better equipped to do so more than those in Montgomery County.

Please give a nice pat on the back to those that represented you at the board meeting. I guarantee that you could not have been represented any better. I know that the Board members were greatly appreciative, as well, and when conversing with some, they reported that they were equally inspired by the activism. Please remember that a very small minority of individuals can do the majority of speaking for us all.

Sincerely,

Joshua E. Powell, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Montgomery County Public Schools

Here’s the deal:

You already know the teachers who showed up were coerced into appearing. We published the Powell emails about it.

You already know the costs of the Chromebooks, despite what he claims was rumor. He’s spending millions to rent computers. No one claimed the lease would cost $3 million per year, ever.

Fun thing: he’s using projection. Blaming everyone else for his own tactics and behavior.

Most important thing? He’s wrong about a minority of uninformed citizens. Because a majority of people voted on Tuesday to send him packing.

Finally, check out this front page bit:


THIS WEEK’S ADVCOATE

A reminder that MoCo will be getting a new superintendent soon enough.

Yep, KRS Is Still A Money-Burning Pit Of Awful

Republican challenger Ralph Alvarado turned the table Tuesday on state Sen. R.J. Palmer II in the rematch of their 2010 race, narrowly defeating the incumbent in a contentious and expensive campaign for the 28th District seat. [H-L]

Voters in several states on Tuesday dealt blows to the United States’ decades-long drug war, passing measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use, decriminalize possession of it and shorten the time nonviolent drug offenders spend behind bars. [HuffPo]

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell swept through Kentucky on his way to a sixth term Tuesday, making him the favorite to become the next majority leader. [C-J/AKN]

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky handily won his race — one of the toughest and most expensive fights — with 56 percent of the vote. During his victory speech, the next majority leader seemed to leave the door open to bipartisanship. [NPR]

Morehead State University announced Friday that State Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, has been hired as regional economic development director. He began the grant-funded position on Nov. 3 at a salary of $8,041 per month or an annual figure of $96,500. [The Morehead News]

The Republicans have won control of the Senate in the US mid-term elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. [BBC]

It wasn’t as close as everyone thought after all. Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell rolled to an easy and early victory over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. [Ronnie Ellis]

Republicans rode a wave of voter discontent to seize control of the U.S. Senate, dealing a punishing blow to President Barack Obama that will limit his legislative agenda and may force him to make a course correction for his last two years in office. [Reuters]

On Tuesday night, you could find Reagan Taylor at the Arlington Mule Barn celebrating. The Republican won election as Madison County Judge/Executive by the widest margin of any local race. He defeated 20-year incumbent Kent Clark by 3,289 votes. [Richmond Register]

Sen. Harry Reid congratulated Sen. Mitch McConnell shortly before midnight Tuesday on becoming the next majority leader of the Senate after Republicans clinched control with victories in Iowa and North Carolina. [The Hill]

If you missed all the fun concession and victory speeches on election night, go dig in right away. [Page One]

Buyout firms are pushing organizations like Kentucky Retirement Systems to keep their fees and performance records private. [WSJ]

A third high school student from Rowan County has discovered a star. [H-L]

Voters in four red states approved ballot initiatives to raise their state minimum wages on Tuesday, sending another message to Washington that Americans support a higher wage floor. [HuffPo]