Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Winners and losers in the Joplin R-8 Board election

The voters sent a message loud and clear Tuesday- the days of "might-as-well" spending in the Joplin R-8 School District are over.

Not only were Jeff Koch and Jennifer Martucci, both pledging to get spending under control, elected, but Lane Roberts, who had made it clear that with his new position as head of the Department of Public Safety that he would not be able to serve if elected, was elected anyway. That was a clear signal that voters wanted nothing more to do with Anne Sharp.

A few winners and losers from the election:


The voters- It is so much more rewarding for it to be the people of this school district who have made the moves, both last year with the removal of Jeff Flowers and this year with the repudiation of Anne Sharp, to regain control of their district. No more waiting for an outside agent, whether it be the state auditor or some state or federal investigation, to come in and do the job. The system works.

Jeff Koch-  Not only did Jeff Koch receive more votes than any other board candidate, but he did it on a barebones budget, spending slightly more than $1,000 and with a campaign that stressed putting the emphasis back on academics and reining in spending. An entire candidacy based on issues and ideas. It was also a campaign based on core values, integrity, and hard work. Those things still matter.

Jennifer Martucci- It was clear from the candidate forum at Missouri Southern State University, that Martucci was the only one of the three candidates for the one-year term who had a grasp of what was going on in our schools.While I have no doubt that Melinda Campbell and Nancy Good sincerely wanted to do what is best for the children of this school district, neither one appeared to have done any homework before putting their names up for consideration.As with Koch, Martucci's campaign was centered on issues, with academics and fiscal responsibility at the forefront.

Joplin R-8 Employees- There has been no change in administration; there are no guarantees that there will be any, but a clear message was sent Tuesday that the culture of fear and intimidation that has been allowed to take hold of R-8 over the past seven years is going to end.

Students- It looks like the emphasis may turn from public relations to academics.

KZRG- The Zimmer station offered more coverage of the election and the issues than any other traditional media source, including interviews with each of the candidates, coverage of the controversial Anne Sharp campaign video and last weekend's C. J. Huff's Facebook posts. The Morning News Watch team also was the only traditional media source that picked up on the effort to elect Lane Roberts to keep Anne Sharp off the board. It appears that their always excellent severe weather coverage is not the only area in which KZRG excels.


Mike Landis- No examination of what happened Tuesday would be complete without recalling the role that Landis, who will soon become the longest-serving member of the R-8 Board, played. After Dawn Sticklen resigned last summer, the board asked for applications to serve until April. Four were received- Koch and Shawn McGrew, who had been unsuccessful candidates in April, Martucci and Roberts. Why they bothered to take applications is a mystery. Roberts and Martucci were told "no thanks," the replacement was going to be someone who had run in April. That would have seemed to have been a sign that the choice should have been Koch since he finished fourth and not McGrew, who came in sixth. Koch never had a chance. The fix was in and when it was noted to him that Koch had received more votes in the election, Landis sneered, "Elections don't matter." Yes, Mikey, they do.

C. J. Huff- Forget about Debbie Fort and Jennifer Martucci; C. J. Huff can find his greatest enemy by looking in the mirror.

Joplin Globe- Where do I start?  The Globe never wrote a word about Anne Sharp's campaign video in which taxpayers-financed facilities and the teachers of the school district were used to promote the interests of a board member. The Globe was late to the C. J. Huff/Jennifer Martucci Facebook issue and seemed to go out of its way to let everyone know that Huff had done nothing illegal by jumping into the election fray (Whatever happened to people being held to the standard that they should do what is right instead of what they can get away with under the law?) The Globe offered only sparing coverage of the election. In Sunday's edition, the newspaper told readers that Jeff Koch and Anne Sharp were virtually guaranteed election since Lane Roberts could not serve. Not one word was mentioned about one of the major movements in this campaign- the push to elect Roberts so that Sharp could be removed from the board. If people relied on the Joplin Globe for their news of the school board election, they had no idea what was going on. And that doesn't even include the Globe's heavy-handed editing of Ryan Jackson's letter to the editor, weakening it with the addition of two "I believes" and not allowing him to say that test scores had gone down year after year since C. J. Huff arrived or that the district used to be accredited with distinction before Huff arrived but no longer is. Jackson was told he would have to provide evidence that those things were true. The evidence, in fact, had been in the pages of the Joplin Globe. But who would expect an editor of the Joplin Globe to know that?

Joplin Progress Committee- We are not interested in who Joplin's elite want us to vote for, thank you, we can make our own decisions.

Anne Sharp- To put it simply, she was defeated soundly by a candidate that voters knew was not going to be able to serve. Her campaign was also marred with unethical behavior, including the staged campaign video mentioned above, the idea of asking for teachers' addresses, and sending birthday cards to staff with campaign literature included.


Anonymous said...

It's time for Anne Sharp to do the right thing. If the Board plans to try and appoint Anne to the 1 year term, it will be a disgrace. The voters made their voices loud and clear when they chose to elect Roberts, knowing he wouldn't serve, over Sharp. I am sure everyone could see a plan put in place where the board members decide to elect Sharp to the 1 year seat. I would imagine Koch, Martucci, and Fort would be against it, but the other 3 might favor it and I am sure CJ would favor it. I am not sure how all that works out, but I could see this happening. What needs to happen, is Anne Sharp needs to do the right thing and decline to serve. It can be a humbling experience when voters make their voices heard and your name isn't the one they are shouting, but she needs to recognize those voices and bow out respectfully. She is a good person who has served for many years. There is no doubt she cares about the students of Joplin Schools, but the voters made it clear that they want more than that. It's time for her to accept that.

Anonymous said...

The Turner Report was probably the most important factor in this campaign. Long before anyone announced their candidacy, you provided documented facts to enlighten us to what CJ and most of the rubber-stamp BoE would have preferred to keep in the dark.

By providing a forum for our voices to be heard, even if we had to do so anonymously for fear of retaliation, the grass roots campaign to stop CJ and his puppets from driving this school district further into the ground was born.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I"am sure you good here a pin drop at the bunker today GREAT JOB JOPLIN)

Anonymous said...

I'm happy that change has come to the Joplin BoE, I'm just sad it's after my spouse was bullied out of a job by Huff and company. I hope no other family has to endure what we did.
Thank you Joplin for setting things right!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the BOE will use the argument presented after the last election (the person who came in 4th should get the empty seat) to appoint Annie Sharp to Lane Robert's slot. One of the local stations last night announced her as the winner, skipping over Robert's name when reading results. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @7:48 AM: Unfortunately for "the BOE", that would be the 3 pro-Huff incumbents making such an argument, assuming they want to take a hit to their reputation for "ignoring the will of the people" when someone who didn't campaign and won't serve beat Sharp, and then predictably failing when Fort, Koch and Martucci say "try again".

And as I mentioned in the previous posting on the election, that assumes none of those 3 incumbents can tell which way the wind is now blowing, and are willing to harm their reputations supporting a superintendent who's ugly and pathetic character is now very public, and who's on his way out.

I think it is pretty clear Huff's days are numbered, for at worst for us, a 3-3 board deadlock means it will no longer rubber stamp his excesses, and will question him closely. If it goes this way, nothing good will come from that for Huff, resulting in a recalcitrant Michael "Elections don't matter" Landis finding out they very much count when his current term ends in a year.

Anonymous said...

Where it will go from here!!!

Joplin School Policy
Descriptor Code: BBE-1

Select Language​▼
Print Policy

Except as provided by the Missouri Constitution and state statutes, and subject to the right of resignation, all members of the Board shall hold office for the term thereof, and until their successors are duly elected or appointed and qualified.

If a vacancy occurs on the Board of Education, the remaining members shall appoint a person to serve until the next school board election, when a director shall be elected for the unexpired term. If there are more than two (2) vacancies at any one time, the county commission, upon receiving written notice of the vacancies from the Board secretary, shall fill the vacancies by appointment. The person(s) appointed shall hold office until the next school board election, when a director(s) shall be elected for the unexpired term(s).

When it becomes necessary for the Board of Education to appoint one (1) or more members to the Board of Education, the following procedures will be used:

► Notification Process -- The fact that a vacancy exists or will exist will be announced at the next Board meeting. Local newspapers will also be notified. In a case of resignation, a vacancy shall be declared to exist when the Board of Education votes to accept a member's letter of resignation. In a case of removal from office, a vacancy shall be declared to exist when the secretary of the Board certifies to the Board that a vacancy exists. Residents wishing to be appointed to the vacancy shall make their desire known by sending a letter to the secretary of the Board stating their qualifications and their reason for wishing to be on the Board. A period of two weeks from the date of the announcement will be allowed for receipt of these letters.

► Review/Interview Process -- The letters received will be reviewed by the Board of Education at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, or at a special meeting called for that purpose. The Board may select final candidates from the applicants, and these individuals will be interviewed in open session at a regular or special meeting of the Board.

► Selection Process -- The appointment(s) will be made in open session at the next Board meeting held subsequent to the interview process. Appointments shall be made through a formal motion and seconded, and an affirmative vote by a majority of the Board. This vote must be held in open session.

► Exclusion of Resigning Board Member -- An individual who is resigning from the Board shall not participate in choosing his/her successor.

* * * * * * *

Note: The reader is encouraged to check the index located at the beginning of this section for other pertinent policies and to review administrative procedures and/or forms for related information.

Unknown said...

I would say that if Mike Landis wants to be re-elected he needs to change his ways and fast. It may be too late. I would never vote for him again.

Anonymous said...

They are going to appoint Jarred Hogan.

Anonymous said...

i would hope that if the board votes to put Sharp in Roberts place that the people would demand a recall of those who vote for her knowing the VOTERS DON'T WANT HER!

Anonymous said...

I second that Alana!

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be for board members to ask Jim Kimbrough to serve the one year term.

Anonymous said...

I think Kimbrough should come back as the vacant seat for a year!

Anonymous said...

The last board election, Huff congratulated the winners, why hasnt he this time?

Anonymous said...

Because he made a complete ass out of himself last weekend and lost face. The voters spoke loud and clear, now he doesn't know what to do. He was so confident he would turn people against Martucci he forgot how much they detest him.

Anonymous said...

Oh where oh where has our CJ Huff gone...

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if the BOE will be able to come up with a new plan of action and "redirect" CJ to follow this new plan.

Some of the items on the new plan:
- remove items from the consent agenda and vote on these items individually
- restructure and realign school administration to provide needed resources to teachers
- form a committee made up of principles, teachers, administrators, school board member to communicate to each other how the "new plan" is being implemented and prepare reports for the BOE to review.

I am just passing along a few thoughts - just to show how difficult it will be to fix things.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joplin R8 School Board,

Please listen to our voices. I’m sure that you began your service on the board, you did it with the best of intentions to help kids and/or teachers. Somewhere along the way, you lost that. Somewhere along the way, you “took a trip to the plaza.”

Anne Sharp: I know you wanted good things for kids when you started. You were even accused of being too involved as a board member. You tried to learn everything you could, you talked with and listened to teachers and volunteered with kids. Somewhere, you lost all that and were sucked into this power trip that is being led by Huff. You have gone along with everything that he has said without listening to the people who truly needed you.

Michael Landis: You also began all this with the desire to do good things for kids. Mostly yours, but still good things for kids. You jumped on that power trip way before others did. I voted for you more than once. Right now, I’m pretty sure your time is almost up.

Mr. Kimbrough: I wish you hadn’t been so trapped or beaten for so long. I’m glad that you are finally able to say and do things that you want and that should be done. That empty one year seat could be a chance for you to get to do good things for just a bit longer.

Mr. Steele: You are one I find extremely disappointing. My opinion of you has continued to drop through the years. You slowly let go of your responsibility and bought into the lies from Huff and friends. You turned your back on the people who voted for you and for the people you were supposed to help—the students and the teachers. I hope you are ashamed of yourself.

Shawn McGrew: You were never elected. We don’t trust you. Show some integrity and do things the right way then go away.

Lynda Banwart: Are you really even there? Please don’t run for reelection. You are another board member we can’t trust.

Dr. Fort: Please don’t fall into the power trip trap. We know you can and have. Be careful and truly serve the people who voted for you and the students and teachers who need you.

Mrs. Martucci and Mr. Koch: Thank you for taking this risk and being willing to get things headed in the right direction. Please remember why you were elected. Please help bring back integrity and real reasons to be proud of Joplin R8.

Now everyone needs to buckle up. This will take LOTS of hard work and it isn’t going to be pretty. The damage is deep and will take a VERY long time to even begin to set things right.
Examine all those positions at the top. They were supposed to save money by being directors and not assistant superintendents. That isn’t working.

Examine all of the policies that have been changed or put into effect since Tina Myers has been hired.

Become more transparent in what is happening. Go back to publishing resignations and retirements. Then the bullying and secretly getting rid of people can’t happen again. Maybe work sessions shouldn’t be as long and detailed. The work needs to be in the open, even if it’s ugly.

Do not spend any more money on sports and those kinds of facilities. Keep the teams and things we have and maybe divide the money up a little more equally.

The TLC bunch has not been anything but brown-nosing, ladder climbing spies for admin. They have not been a PD support for anyone. Something that could have been good has been used to get rid of direct support for students and created an even deeper environment of distrust.

Examine the instructional pieces in place and quit bringing in new things.

Stop paying crazy amounts of money to consultants and then not using the information that we paid for or doing just the parts of it that an admin likes so it’s done “the Joplin way” or to save money.

Please remember why you are there. Thank you for serving our community.

Anonymous said...

8:19 - thank you for your thoughts and information for the BOE to consider. Very informative and well written.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:19pm WOW, That is such a great post. I could not agree more.

Anonymous said...

Mission Accomplished