The hunt for a new superintendent for the Neosho R-5 School District continues.
If you have ever wondered how a school district advertises for a superintendent, this is the ad district officials placed with the Missouri Teaching Jobs website:
"Neosho R-5 School District Board of Education is announcing the opening of Superintendent of Schools. The position begins July 1, 2005. Applications will be accepted until the closing date of December 17, 2004. The R-5 District enjoys a long heritage as an educational leader and is accredited by the State Department of Education and the High School is accredited by North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. With a current enrollment of 4,266, Neosho Schools is a progressive district with numerous achievements including MSIP waivers and Distinction of Performance Awards. Certificated staff totals 291 and non-certificated staff totals 241. The R-5 District covers 223 square miles with a budget of 25.5 million dollars. Applicants must possess a commitment to superior lev (that's where the sentence ends and I don't have any idea what a superior lev is. It must be one of those educational terms.)
"Candidates must submit a formal letter of application, current resume, updated credentials and a completed application. All correspondence should be directed to: Dr. Mark W. Mitchell, Superintendent of Schools, Neosho R-5 School District, 5 Neosho Blvd., Neosho, MO 64850 (417) 451-8600, Fax: (417) 451-8604 Email: email@example.com."
The La-Z-Boy company has been one of Neosho's leading employers for a long time, but the company's quarterly report issued earlier this week indicates troubled times are on the horizon.
The report says the company will continue its recent practice of outsourcing jobs to other countries. The outsourcing is part of a five-year plan, which was publicized nationally during a U. S. Senate race in Florida. One of La-Z-Boy's board of directors, Mel Martinez, former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Bush Administration, was elected despite his opponent's hammering on his part in the company's outsourcing plan.
The report filed this week with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission says, "In the first quarter of fiscal 2005, the decision was made to close three casegoods facilities, an upholstery plant and an upholstery warehouse. The casegoods facilities will be closed as a result of continued underutilization of our domestic casegoods facilities due to an increase in our importing of product from overseas."
The report continues, "During the first quarter of fiscal 2004, we announced the closing of three of our casegoods group manufacturing facilities. This action was the result of underutilization of certain manufacturing facilities as we transitioned to more foreign-sourced products in order to be competitive with imported furniture. The closure of these facilities resulted in the elimination of 480 jobs."
Getting rid of American jobs will help La-Z-Boy investors, company CEO Kurt L. Darrow said. "We are still transitioning from our recent restructuring so we do not expect to see any significant improvements in the Casegoods Group until the transition is complete. We remain optimistic that with our Casegoods Group shifting more domestic production to overseas manufacturers, we will begin to see positive signs from this group in the future."
If you listen to Diamond R-4 Superintendent Mark Mayo, Newton Learning, the summer-school arm of Edison Schools, sure seems to be an evil, predatory company that preys on schools and takes advantage of them.
The superintendent, who convinced the R-4 Board of Education to file a lawsuit against Edison, has claimed that other area schools have had serious problems with the company, but as far as I could tell, none of the schools he mentioned had ever contracted with Edison for summer school.
The area schools which have, including McDonald County, Sarcoxie, and East Newton, have made profits from their summer schools, received numerous educational supplies, and have been able to offer their teachers far more pay for teaching in summer school, since that price is absorbed by Edison.
It isn't just the schools in this southwest Missouri area that seem satisfied with Edison's performance. According to the Nov. 9 Columbia Missourian, the Columbia public schools have contracted with Newton Learning for a second year. The schools are contemplating some changes in curriculum and are concerned with the incentives Newton uses to encourage attendance, but overall were satisfied with the company's performance.
Cheryl Cozette, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction said, "We do know that all of our students who attended summer school made gains in reading."
That sure makes the Diamond lawsuit seem petty, doesn't it?
The area media has been full of stories in recent days about the situation with gay student Brad Mathewson and the Webb City R-7 School District. As usual, when it comes to civil liberties and personal freedoms, the American Civil Liberties Union has become involved.
I have no problem with the ACLU entering the situation. That's what the ACLU does.
I would have been surprised if the ACLU had not entered the Webb City situation. The best coverage of the ongoing battle was offered by Bob Foos, owner and editor of the Webb City Sentinel, which is not surprising since that newspaper has done an excellent job with educational issues over the year.
But back to the ACLU, as inflammatory as the Webb City situation is, I am far more concerned with another battle with which it became involved recently.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal this week, the ACLU successfully kept an immigrant in this country after he had a DWI conviction in connection with an incident in which two innocent people were injured.
The U. S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the U. S. cannot deport Josue Leocal, a 47-year-old Haitian immigrant. He has been living in the U. S. for more than 20 years. This was his first felony conviction, according to the ACLU website.
While I have sympathy for Leocal's wife and children, who are American citizens, I worry about the precedent this sets for people who come to this country, drink and drive and maybe injure or kill someone. Drunk driving is not one of the civil liberties and personal freedoms the ACLU should be worried about.
On a sad note, today would have been the 26th birthday of Rachel Ann Blaser of Lamar who died a few weeks ago. Miss Blaser, who spent her adult life (and much of her earlier life) working to help others, died from a brain aneurysm.
A wrongful death lawsuit against a Joplin doctor will be heard in Jasper County Circuit Court. The lawsuit against Blake A. Little, M.D. had initially been filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
According to court records, Little allegedly made a misdiagnosis that resulted in the death of Joseph Natalini, Pittsburg, Kan. The case was filed by Mr. Natalini's widow and their children. Natalini was first treated by Dr. Litle in 1995, according to court documents. On June 28, 1995, he was treated for shortness of breath. On March 4, 1996, Natalini underwent a CT scan which revealed two small, noncalcified nodules on his lungs.Natalini underwent a series of tests from that time through Feb. 17, 1997, the petition indicates. On that date, a chest x-ray was performed and the report was sent to Dr. Litle's office."(Litle) then failed follow up with Joseph Natalini's lung condition until July 1998," the petition says.In August 1998, Natalini was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on April 12, 2004.His family says Litle failed to correctly diagnose the cancer, didn't recognize the symptoms, failed to have the proper biopsies done and failed to follow up after his CT scans and x-rays. If he had, they say, Natalini's condition might have been curable.In the petition, the survivors say Litle indicated to them that Natalini's case "fell through the cracks."Family members are asking for "fair and reasonable" damages, attorney fees, and costs.
Attorneys for Little dispute the charges and say many of the items listed as fact by the plaintiffs are not true.