Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Proposed deal with Bright Futures is a nightmare for Joplin R-8 taxpayers

A memorandum of understanding that would separate Bright Futures Joplin from the Joplin R-8 School District appears to be a nightmare in the making and one that poses no benefits to taxpayers.

The memorandum, which was posted on the district website today, would send all donations directly to Bright Futures Joplin, which would then bank them with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. While a good case can be made for that proposal, some of the other stipulations in the memorandum are clearly not in the interest of the taxpayers.

The district would continue to pay 60 percent of the salaries and benefits of Bright Futures Joplin's two full-time employees, Melissa Winston and Dale Peterson, who are listed respectively as director of community engagement and coordinator of community engagement. (Apparently when community engagement needs directing, Winston handles it and when it needs coordinating Peterson is in charge.)

The agreement would also require the school district to work with Bright Futures Joplin "creating a positive fundraising environment conducive to increasing levels of private support of the mission and priorities of BFJ activities," and would require the superintendent to "work in conjunction with the leadership of the BFJ Board and JS (Joplin Schools) staff to identify, cultivate, and solicit prospects for private gifts that benefit Joplin students."

The memorandum gives the Bright Futures Joplin Board the right to "consult"  with the district on the employment and ongoing evaluation of employees. The Board of Education would have the right to approve the membership of the Bright Futures Board.

The first steps toward implementing this agreement were taken November 11 when Winston filed papers with the Missouri Secretary of State's office registering Bright Futures Joplin as a non-profit. In addition to Winston, Bright Futures Advisory Board members Chris Sams, Christie Barnhart, and Sara Newman are listed as incorporators.

The memorandum is scheduled to come up at tonight's Board of Education meeting. If it is approved, it locks the district into a continuation of the worst of the excesses of former Superintendent C. J. Huff, including a bloated bureaucracy and directing nearly all private donations through the framework of Bright Futures Joplin.

Instead of allowing this not-for-profit to gain a permanent foothold in the Joplin R-8 School District, it is time to take a close look at the program, maintain the portions that have worked, eliminate the full-time staff members, and finally, once and for all, leave the name Bright Futures in the dark past where it belongs.


Anonymous said...

The BOE finally has control, the ball is in their court, continue with the facade that is Bright Futures, continue to bankroll CJ Huff and all of his conspirators, continue with appearances that it is actually doing something in the school district OR have a clean break, J8 can set up their own internal program to help students without having a outside company control anything within the school district, without having to be the fundraisers and provide those monies to someone's personal bank account...taxpayers, which one do you think they will choose? How many of the current board members are still stuck in time or still controlled by whomever is pulling the strings? This will be interesting to see which way the ball drops!

Anonymous said...

Not 60 percent.....not a damn dime

Anonymous said...

Yep..Ridder is making changes!

Anonymous said...

What's missing is the fact that this is Dr. Ritters idea! What's wrong Randy, can't write the truth? Expected as much from you. Also missing is who else supports this decision. Great "investigative" writing.

Anonymous said...

Don't want to mention that this was Dr. Ridder's idea? What happened to the truth, Randy?

Anonymous said...

What happened to the R8 foundation?
Why are the tax payers paying ANYTHING for a "non-profit" organization?
Dr. Ridder, If you are okay with all this, you need to pack up and leave now.

Anonymous said...

So that's a two thumbs up for the caramel apple sale next year?

Anonymous said...

Where does it say that Ridder thought of this? I didn't see that. Where does it say who supports it? Is that you, Cj? Is Winston leaking info to you? I'm glad this wasn't even read last night. It's time for Bright Futures and its greedy, corrupt Board and managers to go on down the road. We can take care of Joplin students without them.