Monday, July 21, 2014

Joplin R-8 Board needs to remove C. J. Huff now

The voices of caution have been heard ever since we learned that the Missouri state auditor's office was coming to the Joplin R-8 School District.

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.)


Anonymous said...

How does a community convince a school board to get rid of a superintendent? Is there anything we can actually do besides wait for them to act?

Anonymous said...

A censure or no confidence motion against Huff would be better than nothing. Since the BOE rubber stamps everything Huff force-feeds them, it is unlikely they would be bold enough to do either of those. IMO, the longer the BOE goes along with him the more complicit they become.

Now that Joplin taxpayers are awake and watching, we aren't going to stand in line to drink the C.J. Huff Kool-Aid anymore. Maybe the School Board should get out of line too.

Anonymous said...

Where is Debbie Fort? Where is Jim Kimbrough? Where are the candidates that you and the teachers wanted to put on the board to "straighten things out"? So far since the election all the votes have been 7-0 and no calls from them to make any changes.

Anonymous said...

All opinions aside, the facts will speak for themselves. The truth should "set him free," so to speak. Change will only happen when people who are not afraid to speak up for what is right and true choose to say something. Why should the school board members do anything if the taxpayers do not demand it? We are handing our most precious possessions over to an administration who does not really do things in their best interest and to men and women who are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation from their employer. These teachers spend more time with our children in 9 months than we do as parents. I, for one, want me children to learn and know that it is ok to speak up when they see injustice being done! It is time that the citizens of Joplin come together and demand exactly what our kids deserve. And why should we do that? As Dr. Huff says, "for our kids!"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:04am 7/29/14 - Your information is incorrect. Debbie Fort cast a dissenting vote on the crazy funding plan. Not trying to start an argument, just letting you know she tried. :)

Anonymous said...

Where is Batman when you need him? Someone needs to run this Joker and his entourage out of town! Mission Accomplished? I guess so if that mission was to destroy our schools and the city of Joplin and make us all look like fools to those who came to our aid!