Monday, July 21, 2014
Joplin R-8 Board needs to remove C. J. Huff now
We have to wait and see what, if anything, the auditors uncover and then we will know where to go from there.
The audit is an absolute necessity as those of you who have been reading this blog or have just been watching how our schools have been operating the past few years know.
We have been told the audit will take at least six months and perhaps last more than a year.
The Joplin R-8 Board of Education cannot wait that long to remove C. J. Huff and put the district back on a path to normalcy.
C. J. Huff needs to be given the option to resign or be fired. And it needs to happen now.
Over the past few months, the members of the Board of Education have discovered one thing after another that C. J. Huff has kept from them- whether it be deals with Western Governors University, a tech employee with pornographic photos of 10 high school girls on his laptop, or eight million dollars of "might-as-well" spending, something which probably only one current member of the board knew was happening.
Board members have found out about lawsuits against the district by reading them in the Turner Report and worse ,much worse, board members have finally realized that C. J. Huff has given them a questionable version of the truth on a regular basis. Of course, that is putting it charitably.
To put it a bit more bluntly, he has lied to the board.
He tells them he did not apply for the job as Springfield superintendent when people from Springfield called Joplin residents to find out about him because they were considering him for the job.
The whole media circus surrounding the Western Governors University deal was orchestrated by his former assistant superintendent, he says. Yet he stood right there with her and spoke about how wonderful it was to have such a deal in place, even though Missouri Southern State University offers graduate level and online courses. He was caught on it, he dodged. Of course, that is putting it charitably.
To put it a little more bluntly, he lied to the board.
The worst thing about which he has offered an unrealistic version of the truth, to put it charitably, has been the district's financial situation. Tuesday night, the board will vote on two resolutions, which supposedly are to help the district cover $8 million in "might-as-well" spending and $5.4 million in costs that occurred because of mining activity that took place on the JHS construction site.
What I am being told, by unimpeachable sources, is that the financial mess is far greater than $13.4 million and there is no way that FEMA and SEMA are going to ride to our rescue.
It is only a matter of time before it is proven that much of the ballyhooed soaring graduation rate has been accomplished by questionable means and it is already becoming more and more obvious that C. J. Huff has been running his own personal publicity machine and building his Bright Futures USA brand at the expenses of the teachers who work in this school district and the kids that he uses as a closing to each of his messages.
To allow C. J. Huff to be superintendent when his temple of overspending and bad taste, the new Joplin High School/Franklin Technical Center opens, supposedly on August 25, would be another slap in the face for a hard-working faculty that has already seen more than 300 leave in the past three years. It would also be a slap in the face for the taxpayers.
Even worse it will be a slap in the face to those who suffered grief and loss in the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado and have had to watch for the past three years as C. J. Huff has built his brand name and burnished his reputation as a "hero" by continuing to milk the vision of poor children who have never been able to recover from that event.
It has been that vision, that repeated message to anyone willing to make a contribution that has helped change Joplin's image from a strong city that fought to rebuild and gained the praise of a nation to a city of victims, a label that is reinforced every time C. J. Huff steps behind another podium, clicks his power point and stops to brush a tear from his reddened, sagging cheeks, always at the same time and always at the same place in his presentation.
It is time for the Joplin R-8 Board of Education to stand up for the people of this school district. We need the state audit to tell us what has been done and give us an idea about what must be done to put this school district back on its feet.
C. J. Huff cannot be a part of that process.
It is time for this nightmare to end.
((Information about the pornographic photos of Joplin High School students mentioned above can be found at this link.)