Tempers flaring in community

Angry comments on “District and McKinstry sue each other” in yesterday’s Mt. Express, express discontent over spending of funds and possible lack of oversight by BCSD Administrators and Trustees. Through the comment forum, citizens are making plans to meet, organize and take action. 

BlaineParents.org originally formed to disseminate information about the 2011-2012 Investigations Math conundrum. In the opinion of many, the purchasing and implementation of these teaching materials was money poorly spent and a new program wretchedly implemented.

With the dual lawsuits recently filed, again there are community concerns regarding BCSD spending of taxpayer funds and oversight of work contracted. The generic name of BlaineParents.org was chosen to be able to follow many School District issues of interest to parents and community members. Developments on the lawsuits and community reaction will be followed here.

In a Mt. Express opinion piece, also printed yesterday, the Mt. Express took BCSD administrators to task for rude, belligerent behavior. Kudos to the Mt. Express for publicly uncovering unprofessional behavior which has been privately known about for years.

How closely connected are unwise spending of money and belligerent behavior, which is possibly seeking to circumvent the law? Belligerent behavior is certainly unprofessional; does it also violate the Code of Ethics for Idaho Professional Educators?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Tempers flaring in community

  1. Holmes Lundt

    As both a parent and taxpayer, and one that dutifully attended the Strategy Sessions for the District back in 2007, it’s troubling to see District Administration now bogged down in lawsuits over projects which were only of tangential value to the main mission of the school– that mission being to provide the best education possible for our entire population of learners.

    Those of us who have seen the compilation of the “parental input” provided back in those 2007 strategy sessions are crestfallen to see this week’s dispute erupt over $27 million of “green projects”; the tabulation of community concerns from 2007 made clear that, by a factor of EIGHT-to-ONE, our Valley was worried about “academic rigor and curriculum advancement” over anything related to “green building initiatives”. Yet, BCSD administration raced (and I use the word “raced” quite intentionally, since one of the key assertions in the court filings is that the District chose to bypass key steps to the point that the contract work wasn’t even completed to govern these projects, even as people and equipment were on site doing the work.) to force through a levy, borrow against future tax revenues of that levy, and release contracts (and, I use the word contracts somewhat liberally, since according to court documents one of the few things the BCSD and McKinstry agree upon is that they actually never completed all the contract exhibits they should have to properly define-control-and-disburse the millions of dollars involved.) as fast as they possibly could. Now McKinstry says they’ve completed over $25M of work and the Parties can’t even agree as to whether they had a contract?

    Meanwhile, we have substantial populations of learners in our schools who are under-served, our SAT scores substantially lag the best schools in the state and our Board and Administration are likely to be distracted for years to come in depositions, legal briefs and court appearances? Mr. Guthrie and Dr. Barber… please explain this to the Community.

    For anyone who is interested in the whole story- the court documents were obtained last week and we’ll post them online for the community shortly.

  2. Holmes Lundt

    Links to the legal complaints between BCSD and McKinstry:

    The Suit Against McKinstry

    The Suit Against BCSD

    The “Contract” that the parties are in disagreement over

    The remaining signature pages and exhibits

    In reviewing all these, I am unable to locate anything that’s specific to particular project phases’ (ie Community Campus, Carey Schools, etc) work definitions, schedules, construction specifications, etc, other than generic references to the various work sites.
    Presumably that detailed information would have been carried in the Exhibits and supplemental contracts that were allegedly never completed.
    It appears that the ESPCA was a generic agreement completed at the start of the programs in March 2010. The court documents don’t include any later agreements covering specifics of all the various projects conducted across all the sites. Do such documents exist?

    Anyway, these are what were filed with the court this week. Please take a look and make your own judgments.

  3. Concerned Parent

    The tragedy is that, given our level of funding, this district could have been “world class.” However, with folks like Mr. Guthrie (who has known all of this and more–and still renewed Dr. Barber’s and Mr. Chatterton’s contracts), Dr. Barber and Mr. Chatterton in charge, that is not possible. It should be obvious to everyone that this district cannot move forward until these men resign.

    • Holmes Lundt

      It does pose some interesting questions about oversight, especially as the court documents make clear that the dispute about McKinstry payments and oversight of the levy funds had been brewing since October 2011. Mr. Guthrie is quoted directly here in the MtExpress piece as to all the rigor that had gone into the superintendent’s contract renewal process.

      http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005140907

      Apparently, the “extensive annual evaluation” didn’t include consideration of a brewing $7 million dispute over disbursement of taxpayer levies, when the District hadn’t even completed the basic contract work to secure the projects. “Extensive annual evaluation” indeed.

      Dear Mr. Guthrie: Any qualified financial professional would consider $7 million to be “material” to the financial health of any organization of this size, much less one entrusted with public tax revenues.

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