School Board Meeting 1-28-2015 Short Summary

Meetings Notes 1-28-15The January 28, 2015 meeting agenda can be viewed here:

http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public

Clicking on the little blue document icons will open up information related those subjects.

4.01 Board Recognition

January is School Board Recognition month. Mr. Lewis arranged for cake and drinks for everyone at the meeting and gave a thank you to the board.

Madison Fitzsimmons was welcomed as the ASB Student School Board Representative for this year. She will sit in on all board meetings for the rest of the year.

4.02 Public Comments

Parent Scott Martin commented on the decision made by the school district on January 5th when a portion of the district received heavy snow, but the bus schedule was not delayed. He admonished the board for not calling the Steven’s County Public Works Department to check for road conditions before making the decision to run the buses on schedule without a two hour delay.  He felt it caused a safety hazard for the buses and for families. He asked the board to contact Public Works to check road conditions in the future.

Director Sid Green said only one bus was late to school that day. When Mr. Martin asked how many students missed school, Mr. Green told him he could not ask any questions.

Mr. Martin also asked about the school district improvement plan for 2014-2015. The board did not give a response.

Personal Note: My daughter informed me that there were several buses late to school because several of her friends were late, and they rode different buses.

5.01 Art History Trip

The board approved a trip for the Art History Class to Italy to be taken April 1, 2015.

5.02 High School Interact Club Trip to Ecuador

The board approved a trip for the Interact Club to Ecuador. There is an open invitation for anyone who would like to tag along on the trip. They are currently actively fund raising for the trip.

5.03 Policy 1400

School board approved changing the regular school board meetings to start at 6pm instead of 6:30pm.

5.04 POLICIES FIRST READING Continue reading

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Superintendent Pete Lewis Fired from Previous Position in Fairbanks

Fired_stamp_commons.wikimedia.orgThis post is informational for the good people of Colville. I believe it is important for this community to understand as much as we can about our new Superintendent. I find it important for people to know that Mr. Pete Lewis was fired from his last position in Fairbanks, Alaska for

“significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”

handcuffs-294516_640To put it more bluntly, an employee named Claude Fowlkes III was arrested for allegedly raping a student multiple times on campus.

Prior to this, Mr. Lewis was made aware of multiple complaints that Mr. Fowlkes was grooming students. The action Mr. Lewis allegedly took was to transfer Mr. Fowlkes to another building without informing the principal of his past behaviors. This action by Mr. Lewis is what allegedly led to the rapes and to Mr. Lewis’ own firing.

Here is an excerpt from a Fairbanks article written on the KSL.com website  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=29870313

The board cited a “total failure of leadership” by Lewis in the investigation and retention of employees, including Claude Fowlkes III, 34, a tutor at Hutchison High School who was arrested in March and charged with six counts of abusing a student at the school.

“Significant allegations and observations of ‘grooming’ and other alarming behavior with students were either not understood or were not dealt with in a serious manner,” Haas said in a statement signed by all board members.

Problems began at Fowlkes’ previous assignment at another Fairbanks school, Haas said, but the Hutchison principal was not made aware of them, Haas said.

Fowlkes from 2008 to 2014 was the subject of at least three complaints regarding conduct toward male students or minors. He violated district policy and engaged in inappropriate behavior with a male student at Tanana Middle School, the board said, but remained employed.

The superintendent’s unwillingness to perform his duties or inability to do them exposed students to harm and the district to legal vulnerability, the board said. Despite inappropriate student contact, Fowlkes received a glowing recommendation [by Mr. Lewis], Haas said.

You can find links to more informative articles at the bottom of this page.

5222712198_a24e1ba298_b_flickr.comQUESTIONS

– Do you as a parent feel our school board was honest with us in every way?

– Why did the school board hire Mr. Lewis two days after he was fired from Fairbanks, AK?

– Why did our board feel the need to rush in a superintendent to our district that had been fired for “significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”?

– Should this community have been properly informed of Mr. Lewis’ past mistake before he was hired?

– Did our school board do a thorough hiring process, or was Mr. Lewis rushed in? (See post ‘Questionable Interm Superintendent Hiring’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/ )

– Did our school board skip the steps in their own policies that require them to inform the public of a superintendent or interim superintendent search? (Once again, see “Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring post). If so, why?

– Did our school board rush Interim Superintendent Pete Lewis into a permanent position without a proper Superintendent search (according to school policies) before the public could be informed of Mr. Lewis’ past? (See post ‘Superintendent Hiring Procedures’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/superintendent-hiring-procedures/ )

– Do you, as a parent, feel comfortable with Mr. Lewis in charge of your children?

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11 Inches of Snow and No Bus Delay?

Nature Photography

The decisions by the administration at this school district never stops amazing me. Our community gets 11 inches of snow and the school says there will be no bus delay? Really? What were they thinking?

Does this community feel that 11 inches of snow is a no-brainer keep the same bus schedule or a two hour bus delay situation?

There was only about 3 to 5 inches of snow in Colville with deeper accumulations in the outlying areas. So since the city folk didn’t have any trouble getting to school, did they decide that it wouldn’t matter if the rural areas made it to school safely? Is that what they were thinking? This smells a lot like discrimination against some of the students in our district.

Not everyone has quick snow removal equipment. I have a friend that needs 9 hours to plow from their home to the highway. It takes us 3 hours to plow our driveway. We have to catch the bus at 7 am, so we would have to start plowing at 3:30 am to make the bus on time. We  were up at 5 am to plow which would have been plenty of time to make a 9 am bus.

If the school put in a 2 hour delay for the buses, like they normally do on a deep snow day, we could have made the bus at 9 am. But here’s the catch. They don’t put up the notice for the bus schedule until 7 am, which is long after rural people need to make decisions. So as hard as we worked to catch the bus, it seemed like the school chose to completely ignore the rural families.

Steven’s County Department of Public Works

aka “The Guys who Plow the Roads”

8488922849_50d4cf6a43_flickr.comDon’t take my word for it. We were very upset with having to drive in to town, so we stopped to talk to the Steven’s County Department of Public Works,  here’s their web page http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/publicwrks/

The people we talked to in their office were very upset that nobody from the Colville school district called them to ask about the road conditions. They were so upset that they had already called the school to make sure they had the contact information. The school assured them they did, but the Public Works people weren’t going to take their word for it and were in the middle of writing a letter to make sure the school had a written record of all their contact information.

It is important for the public to know that every other school district called into the Steven’s County Department of Public Works to check road conditions. The only school district that did not contact their office was Colville. Apparently Colville doesn’t seem to care about the safety of our community members. This includes, students, families, staff and teachers.

You see, these guys bust their behinds to clear the roads in time for the buses. As a matter of fact, they make a whole schedule around clearing the roads specifically for the school buses. They don’t just clear the highways, they have to clear up many county roads too. On Monday, January 5, 2015 they could not clear all the roads in time for the standard bus schedule so consequently, many buses made it to school late.

What that means is that there were many many many families who worked extra hard to get their kids to the bus stop only to;

1. Find out they missed the bus and their kids will either miss school or they have to drive them in.

– How would you like to be the family that worked their tail off to make the bus only to find out that you now had to double time it because you have to get ready for work AND drive the kids to school. I wonder how many people were late to work because of our schools decision.

2. Have their kids sitting on the buses for a much longer time before they reached the school.

– There were quite a few buses late to school.

3. Find out that the buses were traveling on dangerous road conditions.

– Un-plowed roads means dangerous conditions for the buses even when the use chains on their tires. I do not want my children riding a bus with dangerous road conditions. But I especially don’t want my children – or any children in this community riding a bus in a dangerous road condition that could have been avoided by a simple two hour delay of the buses.

Continue reading