Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bright Futures wins the battle, but did it lose the war?

(Note: I would do better to review all of my notes before writing my post. A comment from a reader a few moments ago reminded me that it was not the memorandum of understanding that passed by a 4-3 vote, but the idea that the district should pay the salaries for Melissa Winston and Dale Peterson out of the operating fund. So some changes have been made in the post below. I apologize for the incorrent information and will do better next time.)

Be careful what you wish for.

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education, by a 7-0 vote, approved a memorandum of understanding with Bright Futures Joplin that will allow what has been a school program since 2010 to operate independently.

From all appearances, the Bright Futures Joplin Advisory Board, or whoever was pushing the memorandum, got almost everything they wanted.

Not only is Bright Futures Joplin, independent, but the school district will pay the full salaries of Executive Director Melissa Winston and Executive Coordinator Dale Peterson out of the operatinb fund. Previously, the money for their salaries came out of what donors had given to Bright Futures and placed in the district activity fund.. After January 1, contributions will go to Bright Futures through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Two paragraphs were removed from the memorandum which would have required the superintendent to help Bright Futures Joplin with it fundraising.

Though the memorandum received unanimous approval, the concept of paying two full-time officials out of the operating fund did not. That only passed by a 4-3 margin with board members Lynda Banwart, Sallie Beard, Ron Gatz, and Gary Nodler approved the memorandum, with Debbie Fort, Jeff Koch, and Jennifer Martucci casting dissenting votes.

Despite the 7-0 vote, there were hints tonight that the vote may have only prolonged the existence of Bright Futures, while at the same time marginalizing the organization.

Though Bright Futures Joplin is an independent not-for-profit following tonight's vote, Winston and Peterson still work for the district and not for the Bright Futures Joplin Advisory Board. Their employment is only guaranteed through the end of this school year and will be considered along with other personnel when it comes time to prepare a budget for the next fiscal year.

A mention was also made during the meeting that district officials can take student needs to Bright Futures or other agencies, leaving the possibility that the organization may have to get its act together and stick to its original purpose.

Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder also made it clear that district money will no longer be used to pay rent, which would mean that the $900 Bright Futures student need rent payment approved by a 6-1 margin (Fort voted against it) along with other bills will be the last time that line item is presented to the Board.

While Bright Futures Joplin has won the battle, it could very well have made it easier for the next Board of Education to marginalize or completely eliminate the not-for-profit's connection with the district- something that is clearly permitted under the memorandum of understanding


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Melissa and Dale!

Looks like the R8 will continue to pay YOUR rents.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, the previous version of this MOU was that the district would be paying 60% of those two salaries. Changing that to 100% isn't good in the long term.

What about BFJoplin's access to student records? Which, come to think of it, the district could cut off on the excuse it was being misused, a MOU does not trump the law.

The breakdown of the 4-3 vote is illuminating.

Anonymous said...

The Joplin Globe reported today that it was a unanimous vote. The 4-3 vote was just over the salaries.

Randy said...

The Globe is correct and I would have known that if I had checked my own notes. I have written a correction and revised the original post. Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

Better get in these important votes now before election time. 4 members were not voted in and I seem to remember no major decisions were going to take place because of that reason. Wonder how long CJ'S team will continue to plagued the district. What moves do they have up their sleeves next?

Anonymous said...

What a botched piece Turner...."the golbe was correct"...how did that taste?...lol. Oh, and it's "operating" not "operatinb". A little elementary proof reading goes a long way.

Randy said...

I admit my mistakes and perhaps you are right. If I had done a better job of proofreading, which is one word, not two, I would have caught my typo. However, I will not admit to something that I did not do. I never said the golbe was correct, I said the Globe was correct. If I were perfect, I would be posting anonymous comments on this blog with clever comments like "What a botched piece, Turner," instead of writing it.

Anonymous said...

....and I don't claim to be a "newsman"... And typing on a phone, not a computer. Leaving a comment isn't the same as typing an article. If you can't see the difference then your IQ is what I have always estimated it to be.

Anonymous said...

Turners back to the old "anonymous comments are good if the attack Joplin schools and CJ Huff or anything on his agenda but bad if they are directed toward him". Sorry old man, can't have it both ways, makes you a hypocritical ass. Same old same old with you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turner admitted that he made a mistake in his article. He did not try to excuse it. He apologized.You jumped all over him for it,gloating over his error, then when he caught you making mistakes, you began whining about how you are not a newsman and you were typing on a phone. Mr. Turner's biggest mistake wasn't in his original article, but answering your comment.Still, it looks like he rattled you far more than you rattled him.

Anonymous said...

10:20: if that's what you derived from those comments you are truly an idiot. Think you're wrong, he is the one with thin skin and continues to put down or attack anyone who calls him out. A very mean spirited, hollow burnout. You're a troll. Please stop reproducing.