Thursday, July 20, 2017

R-8 Board bills include Victory Ministries attorney fees, half a million for computers, Chamber membership

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will be able to put one of the remaining follies of the C. J. Huff era behind it Tuesday when it approves bills, including attorney fees for the lawyers who represented Jane Doe in her First Amendment lawsuit over the May 2015 Victory Ministries field trip.

During a closed session at its June meeting, the board agreed not to oppose Judge Douglas Harpool's awarding of $103,976.45 to the American Humanist Association and $46,935 to Arthur Benson and Associates.

The fees were less than the $211,000 the lawyers originally requested. Harpool noted that while the basic decision had been in their favor, they had not totally won.

Contrary to what has been reported in some media, including the Joplin Globe, Harpool did not rule that the R-8 School District can no longer take field trips to Victory Ministries or other religious venues, only that no type of religious activities can take place. Trips that are made solely for social purposes, which would include the type of field trip North Middle School students took when they celebrated the conclusion of MAP testing would not violate Harpool's ruling.

The problem, according to Harpool's decision, did not stem from the trip itself but from the permission slip. The district used Victory Ministries' permission slip, which gave its employees authorization to not only deliver religious messages to the students, but also to use photos of them to advertise the facility.

Huff ignored warnings that the trip could bring legal action. He acknowledged there were problems with the permission slip, but only said something would be done about that next year. Even after Victory offered to substitute a permission slip that would have corrected the problem, for some reason Huff did not follow through.

Among the other items on this month's bills:

MAC airbooks- The district will pay $499,040.30 to Apple for the final shipment of MAC Airbook computers for Joplin High School students. Approximately $2 million has been spent over the past four years, enabling the district to replace the computers the district received thanks to a $1 million gift from the United Arab Emirates in 2011.

Joplin High School sink hole- The district paid $17,148.90 to Asbell Excavating to repair a sink hole at the high school.

Chamber membership- The list includes $360 to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce listed as "membership investment."

Bus Wi-Fi- $376.21

Numerous Meals- Among the meals the board is expected to approve are $345.50 to Moe's Southwest Grill listed under "supplies," $161.51 to Red, Hot, and Blue for brisket, pork, potato salad, and cole slaw listed under "miscellaneous supplies," $274.67 to Red Onion Cafe, a lunch for 42 people, plus tip and delivery fee and $191.23 to Schlotzsky's Deli for "sandwiches for 42 people."


Anonymous said...

How much did they spend in attorney fees on your case?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they should've looked into Microsoft or Googles free computers for schools program.

Randy said...

To the first anonymous commenter, it is interesting you should say that. I would guess that is a remark that is supposed to point out that I lost the case. At the same time that i recently made the Sunshine Law request for the FEMA correspondence, I also asked copies of the bill lists that were presented to the Board of Education during the complete calendar year of 2013. The board was never told how much C. J. Huff spent in attorney fees to get rid of me because after January of that year, there is no listing for the outside firm that was hired to prosecute my case, nor were there any listings of attorney fees for the other lawsuits in which the Huff Administration got the district into that year. As I noted in the Turner Report at that time, based on multiple sources, board members never knew about those lawsuits until they read about them on this blog. We will probably never know just how many things C. J. Huff hid from the Board of Education and the Joplin R-8 taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Whatever it was, it was money well spent to make sure you were never allowed around kids again.

Anonymous said... really are in need of therapy

Anonymous said...

12:50 is a troll who knows nothing about Randy Turner as a teacher. You will not hear any of the teachers, students, or parents he dealt with who have anything but good things to say about him. When CJ fired Randy, he did the biggest favor he could have done to the school district, not because Randy was no longer a teacher, but because Randy did the digging that helped us get rid of CJ and every member of his rubber stamp school board. Without Randy, Jeff Koch would never have been elected to the school board. It is a shame that Koch hasn't done one thing to put Randy back into a Joplin classroom.

Concerned citizen said...

Koch is a quirky egotripper...
He needs to not run again

Anonymous said...

Follow the money*!

How can a school superintendent spend money for attorneys or anything else and not have the expenditures show in the minutes as approved claims by the school board?

How can the money be budgeted and not accounted for as actually spent, or be budgeted for another thing and then reallocated to legal bills with no record presented to the school board or the public?

Your report that the board claimed to not know of legal expenditures being made would appear to suggest that the board had admitted to having knowledge (apparently after the fact) of the violation of at least one accounting and/or board governance principle concerning the expenditure of a probable significant sum of money.

* “I would say, ‘Follow the money, Earl, because that’s where it’s going to be.’ Unfortunately, we did not get it following the money because the records were either nonexistent or were destroyed.” (Henry E. Peterson 1974)

Harvey Hutchinson said...

A real good forensic auditor/detective could still find it.

Just need the motivation to go after it,
Those numbers need to be known; immediately if not sooner
Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text

Anonymous said...

My question is, Why would CJ even have had to hide it from THAT BOE? They rubberstamped everything he wanted. Remember?

Anonymous said...

Huff would want to hide items from the minutes so the public wouldn't know. That board knew but let him do whatever he wanted.

Anonymous said...

Why does the school district pay fees to the chamber of commerce?
That chamber hasn't done anything worthwhile. At least get rid of Rob O'Brian and anyone else connected to Huff and his groupies.