Saturday, May 30, 2015

Debbie Fort: Joplin Progress Committee has declared open season on our schools

(This message to the community was posted this afternoon on Joplin R-8 Board of Education member Debbie Fort's candidate Facebook page.)

The following are my thoughts on last night's board meeting:

In the spirit of compromise and moving the Joplin School District forward, I made the decision to vote to appoint Dr. Marsi Archer to the vacant seat on the Board. I did so to help resolve conflict, reach across the aisle, and to keep the control of our Board in the hands of its elected members.

However, The Joplin Progress Committee PAC has seemed to declare open season on our schools. In my years as an educator I have never seen the business community spend thousands of dollars and support candidates that will strictly follow the best interests of the business community over learning. I have always fought for local control of our schools. I believe those who are trained in the field of education know what is best for our students, not unelected PAC members, who hide behind "progress".

The Board of Education has tried multiple times to fill the vacancies but has been shot down and stalled. After tonight the Board that you elected will NOT have a choice in who will serve the remainder of the three vacant terms.

In my campaign I promised you that I would restore academic excellence to our schools, improve staff morale, and bring transparency to the Board. I have also strived to bring candidates who mirror the values that you elected me to represent. I am proud to represent YOU, OUR students, and the generous patrons of the Joplin School District.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deb knows the concerted attacks will follow from the vocal mnority. We hope and pray that she stay the course and know that parents, patrons, educators, and students whole heartedly support her.

Anonymous said...

The idoicracy that has ruled this region for far too long is exhibiting the ferocity of any wild beast in its death throws.

The battle has been joined.

Anonymous said...

I know many that will not support her. I can speak to her underhanded, condescending approach that she took as a principal. She isn't who she projects her to be. I want Huff gone as much as anyone else but it completely disheartening to see people sell out to putting her on the board. Let me say this alao, this ENTIRE boars is to blame for this mess. The big three of martucci. Fort and Koch could have also compromised the first time and cast their vote for another candidate but DIDN'T. Each side has been too stubborn to compromise to this point so I and many others hold them ALL for the current mess we are in. Its only going to get worse.

Anonymous said...

For those who wish to let their conscience be their guide, these are the listed members of the Joplin Progress Committee:

Clifford E. Wert
Jane Cage
Paula Baker
Veri Properties LLC
Brad Beecher
Sharon Cornell Beshore
Dr. Lance G. Beshore
Michael D. Wiggins
Sara V. Newman
Karen S. Plott
Jerrod Hogan
Bennie Crossland
Fred Osborn
Nancy Good
Joplin Building Material Co
Randy A. Moore
J. Hipple Investments LLC
Troy Hill
Henry W. Robertson, Jr
Dr. Joseph Newman
Carpe Diem Investments LLC
Kraft Insurance Agency
James Hicklin
Ivan Crossland Jr.
Credit Cars of Joplin L.L.C.
Committee to Elect Ron Richard
R. Willcoxon MD
Harry M. Cornell Jr
Home Builders Association of SW Missouri
Keller Williams of SW Missouri Disaster Relief Fund
Vintage Stock
Gary Pulsipher
TJ Franz & Associates
Steve Koelkebeck
Cynthia Schwab
Commerce Bancshares, Inc. PAC
Kenneth Caviness
Nancy Morton
Infinity Publishing Group LLC
Rodney Spriggs
Audie Dennis
Charles F. Kuehn III
Pamela K. Kuehn
Robert Morton
Gary and Teresa Brown

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that sounds about right. The "big three" have had WAY too much time to clean up this mess....and have failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

@12:34

They've had enough time? Good grief. It's been a month. How shortsighted of you. With Huff's faction blocking every chance of making progress? You must be one of them, or none too bright.

Anonymous said...

@12:40

12:34 was being facetious.

Lighten up, snowflake.

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm sorry...I just took for granted that everyone here was fluent in sarcasm. My mistake.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Fort is correct. This committee, and its sister committee, CART, are trying to monopolize all aspects of Joplin. They don't want to lose control of anything, especially the superintendent position. They cannot allow the public to see what they've been doing. They are so desperate that their last remaining representative on the Board, Lynda Banwart, voted against her own Board candidate last night in order to keep Jim Kimbrough from being seated. She would give it to her friend and business associate, Darrieus Adams, to do to ensure that things continue to be covered up.

It is a sad mess, and it will change if the citizens of Joplin continue to push for people with integrity at every level of government. Don't give up! Support those who are trying. And pray. A lot.

Anonymous said...

12:24, don't forget the JPC Supporters:
Ron Gatz
Scott Brothers
Stephen Barnett
Logan Stanley
Trojan Properties, LLC
Mike Pence
John Hale
Joplin Professional Pharmacy, Inc.
Gwen S. Delano

Anonymous said...

Do the concerned district patrons/voters in both Newton and Jasper have any legal recourse? I would almost welcome a Federal investigation at this point.

This story needs to go viral on the internet!

Anonymous said...

"I believe those who are trained in the field of education know what is best for our students"


Go back and look at who was on the board during the years the school district was accredited with distinction and Dr. Simpson was Superintendent. Not too many of them were "trained in the field of education".




Anonymous said...

Dr. Simpson was an amazing superintendent. He, strategically, placed specific leaders in administration positions & in professional training positions. In-house training & growth were happening within the R8 family. The minute Dr Besendorfer & Dr Huff took over the helm, all of Dr. Simpson's team were forced out. Which is proof that our next superintendent is CRUCIAL & VITAL!!

Anonymous said...

I heard through a reliable person that Huff is in the beginning phases of an investigation.

Sally said...

The problem with education today is education. Not very many people "trained in the field of education" can teach. The "field of education" is why the administration building is over-bloated with curriculum directors and the like.

Anonymous said...

Nice try. Include the entire quote. "I believe those who are trained in the field of education know what is best for our students, not unelected PAC members, who.hide behind 'progress'."

Anonymous said...

Ok it is time to boycot or distroy if possible the people's business's of the progress comment.

Crush them like a snake.

Show-Me Skeptic said...

There are two things that never belong in schools: churches and businesses, and for the same reasons. Both groups only want to indoctrinate young, impressionable minds into beliefs that benefit that group's self-interest.

Anonymous said...

2:26--
I couldn't agree more. This whole mess is looking very orchestrated. We learn that Huff "retired" on Tuesday, working out a retirement package that is a nice way of saying "severance package." So he sticks the district for more money. As soon as that is done, Steele concocts a story about being "threatened" but provides the public with no evidence whatsoever. Then on Thursday, Mikey resigns, with the intent of tripping the commissioner's rule, thanks to their cohort, Banwart. So, they secure the head of the snake a great retirement at the age of 45, leave the messes that are coming the way of the district to others to figure out, and have no regard whatsoever for the students, staff, and patrons they profess to care so much about.

Those three should be shunned wherever they are, along with Huff. This wasn't an accident. They already knew it. That's how Rouse knew right off the bat that he wasn't the only one in the room with a conflict of interest with the commissioner. No attempt was made by the old board to avoid this calamity. The opposite is true. Even with their now defunct candidate voted in, with Banwart's vote only, they were not happy. They were still at risk of Kimbrough getting on, and they cannot afford that. They must have a solid bloc of four votes, and they couldn't be sure, despite Nancy Good's courting of Archer at lunch, that she would vote their way. Not sure this is true? Look at the film footage of the audience. There were people there who had no interest in the schools or meetings before, being led by the ever idiotic Burlingame in extremely unprofessional and disruptive outbursts. Look closely and you can identify the CART and JPC Pac members. They were there to protect their own interests, not the interests of the patrons and students.

What to do about the mess now that Lady Banwart has made it is the next question. She has shown her whole hand of cards, and there is no backing out of the situation now with platitudes about being a people person or a negotiator, or having "new ideas" when all she wants to do is protect the status quo. So there you go, folks. Cj gets a retirement package that allows him to sit and do nothing but stir up trouble, you the taxpayers paid for it (it will make those seats seem like nothing), the old Board orchestrated this mess with his help, along with his friends at CART, JPC, BF, and BF USA, just to name a few. What are you prepared to do about it? Fort, Martucci, and Koch need one more person who cares more about children than self, and who can solve problems and make tough decisions.

I'm supporting the new three all that I can, even if it's just with prayers for them and conversations with them. I do not want to see Huff regain control through a CART-oriented bloc of four. Ideas for settling this issue? We need them.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that the 3 who want Kimbrough placed on the board in an effort for that bunch to control the board and its not okay for Banwart to want the same thing for her side. So who has the best interest of the district??? Who the heck knows at this point. I do know that one of the new board members completely rejected the new redistricting a few years ago even though a mixture of residents and administrators
came up with the plan. She came up with her own "fair" redistricting plan that put her kids at South middle school because going to North would drop their property values, etc..... When she didn't get her way she took her child out of Cecil Floyd. That is her fair and transparent way of leading. Huff needed to go, and as messed the board is at this point, I am all for the Jasper County Commissioners picking the other three.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Archer woman?

Anonymous said...

Actually...this game of chess is extremely intriguing. Just when one 'side' declares 'check', and you think it is but one move away from 'checkmate', then the other 'side' comes up with a great maneuver, declaring 'check'. I respect Dr. Fort, but her statement of "in the name of moving forward I decided to vote for Marci Archer" insults the intelligence of many. This was a move to quickly gain four members on the board to avoid allowing the county commissioners to appoint members. Once Ms. Archer were on the board, this would mean one 'side' still held more votes and would easily vote in their preferred board members, giving this 'side' the power. Hey, again, not a bad attempt, but please call it like it is. You have to give credit to the other 'side' for doing its legwork and realizing if enough resigned, then the board members would be appointed by the county commission, which would likely mean that their 'side' would hold majority power. It is all very fascinating. And before more cry out "but it's the kids who lose out in all of this mess!"....don't be overly dramatic. The kids will be fine, this process will play out and the games will be over. Anxious to see who gets to declare 'checkmate' and claim victory, if only for a year.

Anonymous said...

You can say what you want about Debbie Fort, but I know Jim Kimbrough to be a man of character and thoughtfulness. People will complain that he was part of the rubber stamp board, but look at it this way: he tried and tried to give Huff the benefit of the doubt until he couldn't any longer. He was reluctant to change his mind.

Compare that against the childlike theatrics and superficiality of Huff and team. "If we can't get our way, we're taking our ball and going home." People say: "You don't know what it's like to run a school the size of Joplin", "You don't know the pressures", "If you knew everything...." We see the problems, we hear the complaints from our friends and family who work or study in these schools, and we actually do have things to compare that against - the way it is in other school districts, or the way it was before Huff.

We see a man called Huff who even in his resignation cannot offer the slightest indicator of self-examination, the humility that would make him seem all-too human and capable of learning or compromise with people who are not swayed by his personality alone. The people who feel communion with Huff are typically of his ilk or less given to reason and more easily swayed by appeals to emotion. To be sure, Huff is not completely devious in these actions; he believes his own lies. His actions, as with some of his confidantes, are born of ignorance.

Think: When people were disagreeing with him and it looked as though the school board and Huff might have some opposition in the elections, he didn't reach out to try and work with people and improve the areas being criticized, rather he appealed to friends for money to control the message and sway the election. They stayed inside their bubble rather than consider that there might be room for improvement, and so we the people said goodbye to Flowers, goodbye to Sharp. Huff's motto: "Love me or leave me alone."

Anonymous said...

3:42,

You make your assumption based on Archer voting with the three new members. Considering her nomination by the Old Board members, and the support from their friends yesterday, I think that assumption is not warranted. For you to assume the kids will be fine is another false assumption. The kids have been losing ground in Joplin for years, since Huff's arrival, actually, and the three new Board members were elected to reverse that slide. Huff's side is there for anything but academic progress. This isn't a game, and to reduce it to that trivializes the risk in which the district is now placed.

Anonymous said...

3:33

Give it up, already. The redistricting is done. Cravens did that. We all know the story. Which side is more concerned for the students? Obviously not the group that was already there, since they sat on their butts and allowed the district to slip into ruins over the last seven years. Those who are trying to make changes and restore stability, if Huff's faction would get out of the way, are doing what the public voted them in to do.

Anonymous said...

No 3:33, you hit the nail on the head. Martucci has shown what she really is. Huff NEVER should have published her old email. It was unprofessional at best .....BUT that is who Martucci really is, not what she is trying to project now. She only backpedaled and tried to take everything in the letter back after it became public and she started to receive backlash. Absolute phony with her main concern being what affects her, not all students. Not to be trusted. I agree, get them all out, have the state appoint a temporary boars and start over with all new members in April!

Anonymous said...

The progress pac wants to turn the schools performing arts center into a public performing arts center with a bar.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't it "fair" for Banwart to want the same thing? BECAUSE WE'VE SEEN WHAT HER SIDE IS DOING TO OUR COMMUNITY! And if you can't see the mess that they've made, well, you really haven't been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

3:33 there is more to that situation than what you are saying. It was her children and their education she was concerned about and I give martucci credit for not giving into Huff's attack. I don't think i could of held back but she stayed professional and it changed my vote.
As far as picking...3 have been approved by the board before this all started and should be the 3 appointed. If the application process is opened by the county commission my vote will be against them. Say they pick Nancy Good who was soundly defeated or Huff if he applies, the backlash to their business and future in politics is certain. Surely they can count the votes that elected Koch & Martucci?

Anonymous said...

It sounds iike the patrons of R8 will only be happy with saints for Board members. Martucci erred. She has owned that. I'm sure Fort made decisions as an administrator that she would do differently. I don't know Koch, but I'm sure he has too. That does not make them unfit to be Board members now. But, when I compare those errors to those things done to this district deliberately and without the slightest regret by the old Board and CJ Huff, their errors are trivial.

If it takes the state to fix it, so be it. But it seems like maybe Joplin could fix this yet. I hope they do. State takeovers are messy and complicated, and the districts in their care do not exactly immediately reverse themselves. We can guess all we want about what will happen, but in the meantime CJ Huff is sitting at home with his drink, watching his children getting their private swimming lessons in the backyard pool, while Mrs. Huff is driving her latest new automobile around to work with her private trainer, or shop, or get her hair and nails done--anything but work for a living. I can't wait until I retire and get my retirement bonus from R8! What a precedence they have set for us. Screw everything up for seven years, waste millions and millions of dollars, give yourself a huge raise every year, and retire in style at 45. R8 will become a very popular district if that's what employees can look forward to.

Anonymous said...

The Connect 2 Culture committee is the one wanting to add on to the high school performing art center for their own cultural events. With a bar. Oh wait. You are correct, 4:21, it is the same people as the JPC. And CART. And Bright Futures/Bright Futures USA. Just say no, Joplin.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Well articulated and incisive.

Anonymous said...

The next move in this complicated trek through the forest of mirrors will be for a taxpayer of Newton County with a child in the Joplin School District to challenge the authority of the Jasper County Commission to appoint members to the Joplin School Board. In the meantime, I double dog guarantee you that the Feds are seriously looking at the paper trails of the Federal Money given to this District.

Anita said...

I have only recently started reading this blog (like, this week) and I am curious as to why almost every comment is anonymous. Can someone explain it?

Anonymous said...

Ok everyone, 4:11 pm is a Progress Committee person invading the people's news source. You know nothing about Martucci, 4:11. The redistricting issue is so 2012. Martucci's only "mistake" with that was standing up for what she thought was right. When it did not go her way, she let it go, just like you should. But Huff does not like strong women who question him, so he brought it up in childish fashion 2 years later, just like you are now. Martucci has proven she will stand up and fight. She stood up to Huff ( and won) and she is standing up to your Progress Commitee now. She is doing exactly what we voted her onto the board to do. So is Koch and Fort. They are dedicated and are in this for the long haul to do what is best for the patents, teachers and kids. They will not cut and run when things don't go their way, like Landis and Steele. Carry on the fight Jennifer. The people support you!

Anonymous said...

Yes!

Anonymous said...

No support at all for Martucci or Fort!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anita......I know the answer, but choose not to reveal it until you pay your club dues.

Anonymous said...

No taxation without representation!

Anonymous said...

At approximately 1,400 employees, R8 is the largest employer in Joplin. Therefore ,employees, their familes, and friends have experienced retaliation when known to be dissenting. It is still not safe for most to reveal their names. Crazy but true.

Anonymous said...

Hell ya!

Anonymous said...

Many on this blog work for the district, have a family member who works for the district, or have a student in the district. The anonymity protects those of us who may be targeted due to our opinions. It is mostly a good thing but also has the unfortunate side effect of allowing gratuitous mud slinging and occasional outlandish accusations.

Anonymous said...

Anita,
Many people don't post their names for fear of retribution. Huff and his folks like to destroy lives.

Anonymous said...

6:18, go hang with Steele and Landis. A tornado didn't destroy us and some petty sycophants aren't going to either! The JPC and CART are elitist and we can't let them have control of our schools. A bar in the JHS Auditorium building? I don't think so; our kids have classes in that building. Who would be applying for the liquor license?

Anonymous said...

4:36
Her children and their education was just fine at Cecil Floyd. She didn't get her way with the redistricting and got mad and took her child out of Cecil Floyd. Those are facts. She doesn't sound like a person who is willing to compromise when she doesn't get her way! What exactly was wrong with her childrens' education at Cecil Floyd other than she didn't want them to go to North which by the way has better test scores than South. And I know several of the people on the redistricting committee and it wasn't Cravens doing all of the deciding. I personally think if Huff hadn't been such and idiot publishing her letter, she would have never been elected in the first place. With all of the nonsense going on with all of the board members it will be interesting who the 4 will be elected next spring including her position.

Anonymous said...

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer ...

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure Martucci has a bigger house than either Huff or Banwart, bigger private pool and a Mercedes in the garage that neither Huff or Banwart have....
Who again is the elitist????

Lets not make this about class warfare, how about making some simple constructive points you would like to see addressed at the next school board meeting, not wild conspiracy theory, fiction novel crap.

Anonymous said...

Your point is? Why is this now being deflected and is about personal wealth? Martucci didn't create this mess - CJ Huff and his minions did - she ran for school board, not president of the united states - this situation is not about her, it's about how a group of people have used funds from a disaster and most likely lined their own pockets...quit deflecting what this is really about

Anonymous said...

The CART and JPC should just go ahead and send invitations to the Attorney General, Missouri Board of Education, and the FBI to come in and investigate this group of crooks.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the mess in Joplin had any bearing in the suicide of the State Auditor and his Assistant. Nothing about that being due to political name calling makes any sense at all.

Anonymous said...

@10:14 The difference is Martucci does not get paid with taxpayer money.

The redistricting was over and done with two years ago... for all the good it did - South is still the most crowded, the schools are no more "economically diverse" (administration's reason for redistricting) than they were, and Huff will find out personally how home values were affected when he tries to sell his house.

Anonymous said...

The teachers voted in favor of collective bargaining, voters defeated the Joplin Progress PAC slate, and the NEA was invited to be the sole representative of faculty all within a matter of a few weeks. These are the things that make the Establishment's head spin. All of there recent work was premeditated. Martucci, Koch, and Fort frighten them THAT much. As well they should.

Anonymous said...

To the person that posted about Banwart leaving the decision to her "friend" Commissioner Adams you obviously don't really know the people you are writing about. If you think that these commissioners will do anything but what they feel is the best thing for the school board and the children of Joplin you are greatly mistaken!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks it is ok for the Jasper County Commission to appoint members of the Joplin School Board needs to examine the following facts:

- The Joplin R-8 School District is contained within two counties Jasper and Newton. To allow the Jasper County Commission to appoint School Board members disenfranchises all Newton County Voters.
- City and County Elections have very different voter turn out. This means that those that vote strictly in city elections because of extreme care or concern for their local School District or City Government would also be disenfranchised if a County Commission is to appoint School Board members.
- City Elections are non partisan while county elections are indeed very partisan.

My last point is just something that anyone who does not have knowledge of JPC should investigate. The Joplin Progress Committee is a huge misnomer. They are not interested in progress for Joplin at all, they are interested in lining their pockets. One of they ways the hope to continue to do this is to keep there chosen members on the Joplin School Board and Joplin City Council!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should let the County commissioners know we want Jim Kimbrough! Email, letters, and phone calls to voice the voters choice.

Anonymous said...

JIM KIMBROUGH SHOULD BE BACK ON THE SCHOOL BOARD,WE NEED TO SEND EMAILS TO OUR BOARD MEMBERS,
AND LOCAL AND STATE LEADERS,
YOUR SCHOOLS,ITS YOUR VOICE

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear,..sarcasm right?