FLORENCE SUPERINTENDENT and SERIAL PLAGIARIST SEEKS NEW HOME IN SPITE OF 3-YEAR CONTRACT AND RAISES

FLORENCE- After all the debacle of last years Serial Plagiarism Scandal (FIVE ARTICLES PLAGIARISED in the SCHOOL NEWPAPER “The Falcon View”) Superintendent John C. McGee is now seeking the Superintendent Job in Sidney, Montana.

McGee received a one-year extension of his contract last year by default.  Two days before the September 12, 2013 Montana Board of Education Licensure Committee would conduct a HEARING and decide to place a PERMANENT LETTER OF REPRIMAND in his LICENSURE FILE, Florence TRUSTEES Vickie Cornish, Dorothy Rhodes, and Pat Appleby voted to extend McGee’s contract for an additional TWO YEARS with ANNUAL PAY INCREASES of 3% for a total contract extension of THREE YEARS.  Cornish and Rhodes are currently seeking there FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TERMS (3-yr terms) AS TRUSTEES in the upcoming MAIL-IN Election.

In light of this recent development, it would appear that this was not enough to entice the Superintendent to stay. Ravalli Republic reporter, Dave Erickson, published the following article in the Ravalli Republic.  Unfortunately, Mr. Erickson’s article cites only ONE of the FIVE CONFIRMED CASES OF PLAGIARISM that were discovered and documented by OPI and the MBPE at the Hearing in Billings last September.

1 hour ago  •  

Florence-Carlton School District superintendent John McGee is a finalist to become the next superintendent of the Sidney School District in eastern Montana.

McGee is scheduled to meet with the public at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 31 in the Sidney High School library. He joins two other finalists to replace departing superintendent Daniel Farr.

McGee has had a tumultuous tenure in Florence. In March of 2013, he was suspended for two weeks without pay by the Board of Trustees for plagiarizing a column in the school newsletter, the Falcon View.

McGee had attached his name to a column written by a Georgia school administrator without giving him credit. The column was copied almost word for word, except instances where Georgia was referenced were changed to say Florence. After an anonymous blogger uncovered the plagiarism, McGee apologized to the school board and published an apology in the newsletter.

The blogger also uncovered four other instances of plagiarism by McGee in the newsletter.

McGee has been at the helm of the Florence district since 2005.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 523-5253 or david.erickson@missoulian.com.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2014 Ravalli Republic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

The History of Montana City and Florence Carlton School District Superintendent John C. McGee

Article from: Florence Carlton Advocates for Better Education

Florence-Carlton Superintendent, John C. McGee, Leaves Mess in Montana City”

Posted Sunday September 18, 2011

Florence, Montana – Superintendent, John C. Mcgee, left behind a mess in Montana City to take the helm at Florence-Carlton.

ALL THESE ARTICLES WERE FOUND AT: www. helenair.com|The Helena Independent Record

Search for them by following these instructions:

  1. Got to www.helenair.com
  2. Click on News.
  3. Go to arrow and click all the way over to archives
  4. Enter January 01, 1999 (click on Calendar and go back)
  5. Do the same with last date of 12/31/2005

You won’t believe your eyes! You will find numerous articles regarding current Florence-Carlton Superintendent John C. McGee and the tremendous financial burden he left his previous Community with in Montana City and the damage inflicted to the Teaching Staff there.

Article 1: Road, Grants latest obstacles for Sports Center

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_743a568b-9889-53fe-9be7-96f16d2fdaa9.html

  • Read the 5th paragraph beginning with the word “And”
  • McGee resigns to take Florence-Carlton job

Article 2: Montana City mulls abandoning sports complex

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_8245ca62-6dd3-5191-b6a9-260607502231.html

Some notible quotes from this article:

  • Whatever decision the district makes, the math is bleak.”
  • “However, no group in Montana has abandoned a grant, so it’s unclear if this reimbursement will be granted.”
  • After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that the Montana City School District can no longer afford to stumble through the what ifs and he said/she said process that has engulfed this project”
  • McGee said, reading from a written statement.“Although we started off well intentioned, it is now clear that I made some poor assumptions as we worked through the LWCF grant process.”
  • “The additional match monies and the costs for either improving Antler Avenue or building a loop road are ‘cost prohibitive’, McGee said. While some money for the complex is already in the budget, an additional $63,536 or $96,806 would be required, depending on which road access the district chooses. Attempts to find outside funding have been exhausted.”

Article 3: Firings unleash teachers’ furor

http://helenair.com/news/article_59e2090a-3cdf-5946-9b3f-45f06e440a3e.html

  • Montana City staff submits letter of no confidence in leadership due to ‘no-cause’ dismissals. More than 35 teachers and concerned parents packed the Montana City School Library at a special meeting of the Montana City School Board Monday night. The turnout was to show support for eight staff members dismissed without cause by a vote of the trustees at the last regular board meeting. The trustees made their decision based on the recommendation of Superintendent John McGee.

Article 4: Montana City School voters grapple with mixed feelings

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_0e566bd1-adb6-57b4-8c18-a2691ded5ee1.html

  • The full cost of the complex is estimated at $300,000, according to McGee. However, the total listed on grant applications is $444,551, which he said is an inflated figure. Why is it inflated?

Article 5: School board, McGee suprised by teachers’ reactions 6/5/2001

http://www.helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/article_9796ab31-f041-53ca-ae3c-e6af77ffd50f.html

Article 6: Loophole saves 7 Montana City teachers

http://www.helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/article_71fbb2fc-a722-55ad-b129-d4fea1607b6e.html

Article 7: Title: School levies, layoffs or program cuts?

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_d8fba183-7966-513a-80f0-f517b5ff313d.html

Article 8: School board kills Aug. levy vote

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_1514dc90-a919-5ada-90ee-52bc80cce3de.html

Article 9: Mill levy failure a suprise to many

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_156babec-fa8d-50ad-a50e-ded19d1b15c3.html

Article 10: Road dispute threatens sports complex

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_ed5955db-969a-5e0f-9466-c5f918917a6f.html

Article 11: Montana City Schools to ask for building levy

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_201d5056-2f7f-5356-b413-7aec309994d9.html

Article 12: Montana City hires principal

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_e64bbe71-265b-5747-8913-f09c18e485b0.html

Article 13: Montana City sets mill levy request

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_6c62955f-e212-56a7-9c3c-1af62f6609d8.html

Article 14: Montana City school levy set June 11

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_675aef01-4066-5f53-90b7-ae4eb91fe5f1.html

Article 15: Montana City principal paid $22K to resign

http://www.helenair.com/news/article_b61cd515-9cf7-5f9e-87df-ed1b675c3846.html

Article 16: Montana City awards contract

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_8ddb3ebc-8ada-5af3-a821-f490f763b9f8.html

  • Why wasn’t the Football Field sprinkler in Florence done in the same way? Local bid was less expensive, better equipment and more coverage? Mr. McGee’s home sprinkler system also done by the same company that did the Football Field? Mr. McGee never addressed this issue and refuses to talk about it? Why?

Article 17: Road, grants latests obstacles for sports center

http://www.helenair.com/news/local/article_743a568b-9889-53fe-9be7-96f16d2fdaa9.html

Article 18: A win for public’s right to know

http://www.helenair.com/news/opinion/article_4b1dd1e8-54b1-5cab-9daf-80aa493837d9.html

  • Thumbs down to whatever is going on in the Montana City School District. This week, some portion of the school’s staff responded with a vote of no confidence after Superintendent John McGee advised the school board to dismiss the school’s seven non-tenured teachers. We understand that non-tenured teachers often are given notice to afford trustees options as they deal with a tight budget, but the response in Montana City suggests what appears at least to be a big communications problem.

Article 19:

http://helenair.com/news/article_c2885513-2467-5fcd-bc30-2fff1763bddc.html

Reader’s THOUGHTS ON Article:

FLORENCE-CARLTON SUPERINTENDENT, JOHN C. MCGEE, LEAVES MESS IN MONTANA CITY”

Cheryl Bramsen
said:
October 28, 2011



Thank you for this web site. I have had my own run in with Mr. McGee and do not feel we know the “whole story” about his past and current dealings. I have heard many rumors and I am glad to find someone who has done research on his prior employment.


Kristin Nei
said:
October 28, 2011



Where has the civility gone in this community. I live by treat others the way you want to be treated. There is nothing good that can come from this hatred. Imagine how great this community could be if each of us stopped hiding behind our computers, agreed to stop the adult bullying, stopped the name calling and actually worked together. Don’t our children deserve this? If you are interested in joining me to try to bring our community together, please contact me at pagenei2721@gmail.com.


Rob Dixon
said:
October 28, 2011



I think civility left the equation when Citizens and Trustees become ostracized for asking questions and expecting answers and accountability. This IS for our kids. Our Students are being short-changed, overcharged and under-educated given the resources available to this District. Rally your troops… you are going to need them.



Kristin Nei
said:
October 29, 2011

Mr Dixon,
I have no intention to choose a side in this “war” some adults in this community are waging. As I stated earlier if you are interested in working to improve our school and community together then let me take to coffee. I would love to work with you. I have no interest however in participating in what looks to me to be a witch hunt. It is so easy to hold on to hate and frustration. True strength is demonstrated when we check our negativity at the door and work with even our most undesirable neighbor. Respectfully submitted, Kristin



Rob Dixon
said:
October 29, 2011



Well Kristin, that is quite neighborly of you. I would rather speak in the open instead of private. Too many “private” conversations go on in this Community as it is. But thanks again for the offer. However, NO CUP OF COFFEE can change the facts. Look at the FACTS. As far as choosing sides is concerned, there is only one side to be on in regard to wasteful, irresponsible spending with NO ACCOUNTABILITY by our Publicly Elected Trustees and Administration….. we should all be on the side of our Students. We are allowing Administrators to waste Taxpayers’ resources and our Students are paying for it. How? In the form of a mediocre education and limited opportunities. All to protect the “Teachers Paradise” that has been allowed to be created in our District. A Student-to-Teacher Ratio of 10-11:1. This is extremely wasteful considering our mediocre Academic standing. Yes, we do well in certain areas, but not as a whole. The bottom line is, Excellence will NEVER be achieved for our Students until we have HONEST, TRUSTWORTHY leadership. Please tell me how a cup of coffee with you will change these FACTS. Aside from your sentimental and emotional “can’t we all just get along philosophy”, I would love for you to share with us your explanations and solutions based on the FACTS.



More Misinformation!
said:
October 29, 2011

Kristen,
What is your opinion on our last 5 audits? Have you read them? How about Title 9 ? Are you up to date on that ?


Past Trustee with No Trust
said:
November 1, 2011

Civility cannot be obtained due to the actions of our current Administrator and his three “down comforters”. Mrs. Nei, if you look in to the history of your neighbor, John C. McGee, or are even willing to learn about his historical methods you may find the word Civility adds up to repulsive with John’s history. Unfortunately our children (mine included) and I’m not sure if you have any, are the ones who continue to have opportunities stolen by unqualified personnel..



Kevin O’Brien
said:
November 1, 2011

Article # 15 in the list of the Helena Independent Record articles reports a key piece of McGee’s historical character. Superintendent John C. McGee intimidated Mrs. Delaney out of her position. She was an eleven-year employee (Principal) at Montana City. Has anyone ever heard of a settlement reached by Trustees offering to pay over $22,000 to a terminated employee without legal council? Yet another “1st”, to go along with the paying back of two Federal Grants, in the history of Montana Public Schools! Dianne Delaney was trusted and respected by ALL staff at Montana City. Superintendent McGee, I’m told, had to split her connection with the staff to gain control over the entire staff. This might sound similar to the situation Mrs. Rebecca Stapert and Mr. Ed Norman were faced with here at Florence-Carlton. The major difference is that Mr. McGee (“the best thing that has ever happened to Florence” according to Chairperson/”Trustee” Vicki Cornish and “Trustee” Dorothy Rhodes) had the backing of a few staff, including Chairperson Cornish’s husband, and took the gamble on ousting Stapert and Norman. Stapert and Norman opted to resign. These two excellent Administrators were lost due to disagreements on internal (family/staff) decisions. As for Mrs.Delaney, she was offered $22,500 to walk away without entering into litigation against the worst Administrator in Montana City history. I still get calls from teachers and residents of Montana City thanking me for the actions of our 2004-2005 school board’s decision to hire John C. McGee. His contract was in question (non-renewal) for several blunders, if you wish to keep reading the links.
To all the sleeping parents in Florence, we have received exactly what we have trusted our elected (now 5 appointed) Trustee’s to accomplish! Lonnie, Vickie, Tim, Dorothy, and Renee, what medication were you folks prescribed when you decided to hire our current Superintendent, John C. McGee? I am not willing to discuss much of the business done during my term as Trustee due to the fact that it may cloud future litigation upon the District.



Fed Up Staff Member
said:
November 1, 2011



Has anyone read the current Falcon View? In the front page article written by Mr. McGee, you will find that Mr. McGee listed as many accounts in the Student Activity Fund as there were Government Students in attendance at the October 11 School Board Meeting, which was postponed due to the request of Chairperson Cornish. Mr. McGee is quoted in the Ravalli Republic article about that meeting, saying, “The room was full of Florence-Carlton High School Students who were attending as part of their Government Class”, and “It set a good example for those Students to see”, “God knows what kind of example that would have set for the kids if nobody respected the school’s authority. I feel (Cornish) was put in a very difficult decision, and I was proud of the fact that she kept her cool and was very respectful of the situation and didn’t let it get out of control.”
In case you missed that meeting, you will find the number of accounts listed in the Falcon View to be equal to the number of Government Students that actually attended that meeting. I hope this does not confuse anyone, due to the fact that there were ZERO Government Students at the meeting and there are ZERO accounts listed in the Falcon View article.
Unfortunately, our Superintendent manages the Budget, and our Staff, with the same techniques recently displayed in the Ravalli Republic and Falcon View articles.
God help our Staff to receive the financial promises made by Mr. McGee to educate our under-achieving Staff and Students. 
The local MEA Members have had enough. Mr. McGee please take notice of our “invisible students” and stop using them as a crutch to promote your sorry ability to administrate.
By the way, Title IX violations are ongoing. Will you be taking the blame for these again???



 

Florence Carlton School District Trustees Approve Audits Despite Discrepancies in Accounting for Student Association Funds


This past August, the Florence-Carlton School District Board of Trustees approved an Independent Budget Audit Report (for the Fiscal Year 2010) delivered by Denning, Downey & Associates, PC, CPA of Kalispell.  The Florence-Carlton School District Board of Trustees reviewed this report twice collectively (follow these links: June 27, 2011|FCSBM|Official Minutes and August 9, 2011|FCSBM|Official Minutes of Regular Florence-Carlton School District Board Meetings).  Each Trustee received their own copy to review between the above stated meetings. In this report is contained the following information:

 

This letter is our School District Administration’s response to the findings:

This report doesn’t really seem too out of the ordinary until you realize that this specific problem has been pointed out by Independent Auditors in ALL Budget Audit Reports from FY2006-FY2010. (5 years in a row)

 (Follow this link to view Reports: http://www.box.net/shared/e5jnmffm0nuo19eeo4m3)

The Florence Carlton School District Business Manager, Julie Mason, manages two seperate accounts for the District.  One of these accounts is held at Farmer’s State Bank in Florence under the name: Florence-Carlton Student Association, also known as the “Student Activity Account”.

In regard to the stated “weaknesses” in reconciling this account, Florence Carlton Review has learned that when previous Trustees attempted to look into these discrepancies, and requested information (documentation of the account at Farmer’s State Bank), they were denied access to the account.  Superintendent McGee cited a “right-to-privacy” as their reason for not releasing ALL of the Student Association Account Information. Specifically, copies of checks were selectively and intentionally withheld from the information when it was finally delivered to Trustees, more than a year later.  The information withheld remains a mystery to this day.

The question in all of this is:

Why have these reports continued to be approved by District Trustees, when this recurring problem has NEVER been resolved?

FLORENCE CARLTON REVIEW IS LOOKING TO POST RESPONSES/EXPLANATIONS/COMMENTS FROM ANY PAST OR PRESENT FLORENCE-CARLTON SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEES ON THIS MATTER.

*************

ANY TRUSTEES INTERESTED MAY SUBMIT ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS VIA E-MAIL, AUDIO OR VIDEO RECORDING.  YOUR RESPONSES WILL BE ADDED TO THIS ARTICLE FOR OUR VIEWERS.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AS TRUSTEES.

Florence-Carlton starts Cross Country Team

Big Sky, Florence-Carlton create co-op cross-country team

By LINDSEY GALIPEAU for the Missoulian | Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2011 7:00 pm |Comments

Two schools become one this autumn for cross-country season.

Big Sky and Florence-Carlton high schools have signed a three-year cooperative sponsorship agreement that creates a co-op cross-country team.

Florence students will practice at Big Sky and travel with the team for competitions. They will follow the same rules, pay the same fees and compete at the same AA level.

Florence-Carlton activities director Sam Baerlocher said the idea of a co-op was tossed around for years, but finally generated enough interest to prompt the move.

“It’s something that we always have looked into,” said Baerlocher. “Not always does it work out. We’re just fortunate that everything fell together.”

Baerlocher said Florence-Carlton put out “feelers” before officially asking schools to work with them, and Big Sky seemed like the perfect choice.

“We knew that Big Sky still had some openings, that they weren’t completely full,” said Baerlocher. “They showed interest that they would open arms accept us.”

Brian Fortmann, Big Sky vice principal and athletics director, said he liked the idea of a co-op, but couldn’t agree without talking to the school’s cross-country coach Paul Marron.

“I wanted to have an opportunity to talk to my coach,” said Fortmann. “I wouldn’t move without his input. He was in favor of it all.”

“We actually spoke about it several years ago,” said Marron. “It didn’t work then and they were interested and so we just agreed to it.”

Both schools benefit from the agreement. For Florence, the kids get to enjoy a lifelong sport.

“It gets our track kids and our cross-country kids more opportunity to participate,” said Baerlocher. “They’re great kids. They’re kids that like to work hard.”

For Big Sky, the benefit is friendship.

“It builds a relationship between other schools,” said Fortmann. “We’re looking forward to it.”

“It’s just a positive experience for all the kids involved. If we can help out we’re more than happy to do so,” said Marron.

Big Sky is already participating in a co-op with Loyola’s swim team. They renewed their original agreement and begin their fourth season this winter. Fortmann said the Loyola agreement is working out well. He expects the cross-country co-op to do the same.

Baerlocher said Florence-Carlton wants to have its own cross country program some day, and the co-op is a perfect launching point.

“It’s a great way, instead of jumping in with both feet, starting a program and seeing if it’s going to work or not,” he said. “It’s a learning process. We can go in there for three years and hopefully we can develop a program ourselves eventually.”

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in State-and-regional on Saturday, August 13, 2011 7:00 pm | Tags: RunningCross Country RunningFlorenceCarlton High SchoolHigh SchoolSportsPaul MarronBig Sky

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_6809e09a-c606-11e0-bf13-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1VBUvrXX5

Florence school eliminates position to tighten budget

MISSOULA COUNTY COVERAGE

Florence school eliminates position to tighten budget

Posted: Aug 15, 2011 10:43 PM by KPAX Media Center
Updated: Aug 15, 2011 10:49 PM

 Florence school eliminates position to tighten budget

FLORENCE- The Florence Carlton School District eliminated the School Resource Officer (SRO) to try to tighten the budget.

Board member Mel Finlay says the SRO position is an unnecessary expense and while it’s nice to have authority around, it’s just something they have to do to save money.

The SRO position is part-time and Finlay says the move saves more than $12,000 a year.

Superintendent John McGee the community found out about the decision back in March or April.

Topics: Florence Carlton School DistrictSchool Resource OfficerSRObudget

CONTINUATION of Final Budget Meeting, Thursday August 11, 2011, 6:00 PM, DISTRICT CONFERENCE ROOM

CONTINUATION of Final Budget Meeting, Thursday August 11, 2011, 6:00 PM, DISTRICT CONFERENCE ROOM.

 

FCSBM|August 9, 2011|Continuation fo Final Budget Meeting

Look for Future Public Notices at these locations:

  1. District Office : Front Door
  2. Florence Post Office: Display Case at
  3. Gary & Leo’s IGA: Bulletin Board

 

Florence-Carlton placed on “No Child Left Behind” Watchlist for Inadequate Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)

Six of seven Ravalli County school districts don’t meet AYP goals

DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic | Posted: Monday, August 8, 2011 5:50 pm | Comments

Lone Rock Elementary School was the only school district out of the seven in Ravalli County to meet the federal requirements for annual progress last year under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

On Friday, the Montana Office of Public Instruction released the ninth annual Adequate Yearly Progress report to comply with the federal law. The report showed that Corvallis K-12 schools, Stevensville Elementary, Victor K-12 schools, Darby K-12 schools and Florence-Carlton K-12 schools are now in their first year on a watch list for not meeting the rigorous standards. The Darby K-12 schools are in their first year of being identified for corrective action.

Stevensville High School is in its second year of being identified for improvement.

Hamilton School District K-12 schools did not make AYP and is in the third year of being identified for corrective action by OPI.

When a school district is listed as not making AYP, often it is because only a small portion of the student population in one school didn’t meet the standards.

For example, Hamilton School District Superintendent Duby Santee said that four out of the five schools in his district made the AYP goals: Hamilton High, Daly Elementary, Grantsdale Elementary and Washington Elementary. It was only Hamilton Middle School that didn’t meet the standards, and even within that school it was only the economically disadvantaged math students and students with disabilities who didn’t test high enough.

“It’s pretty harsh,” Santee said. “We had four out of five schools make AYP, but one didn’t, so the whole district suffers. Every year, we’ve had something like this come up. The problem is it’s all over the place. One year, it may be a subgroup at the middle school, and the next year it’s somewhere else. We are just trying to improve everything, but obviously we are trying to bring up the scores for the economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. Those are obviously two at-risk groups.”

There are 41 different categories measured by NCLB, and if a school fails to pass any one of those marks, the school doesn’t meet AYP standards.

According to OPI communications director Allyson Hagen, Hamilton School District must take four steps of corrective action: Revise its Comprehensive School Improvement Plan within three months, set aside and expend 10-percent of its total Title I allocation for professional development of teachers and other instructional staff, implement before school, after school, or summer activities and promote effective parent involvement in the district’s Title I schools.

On Friday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said she was unhappy with NCLB and AYP testing because they set arbitrary benchmarks and unrealistic goals.

Santee said he agreed with her.

“You are asking schools to become proficient in 41 different criteria,” he said. “With some of those subpopulations, that’s unrealistic. We’re trying very hard to improve, and we will submit a plan to correct those areas where we are deficient.”

Lloyd Rennaker, superintendent of the Darby School District, said the entire school district was listed as not meeting AYP even though two out of three schools did meet the standards.

“It’s interesting that our elementary and middle schools made AYP, but because of our graduation rate at the high school, we didn’t make it,” he said. “But we have some definite areas to work on. We are not making our graduation rate. We had a 28 percent dropout rate in 2010, and that’s way too high, no question about that. But we are making plans to address that. We want to keep those kids in school.”

Rennaker said students with disabilities also didn’t test high enough to meet AYP standards.

“Students with disabilities aren’t always being taught at grade level, because they have disabilities,” he said. “But they are expected to test at grade level. So it’s a double-edged sword. But overall, our students are 93 percent proficient in reading and 72 percent are proficient in math, and both of those exceed the state minimum. So our students do really well, it’s just the graduation rate that gets us. So we are going to have to look at getting an alternative school of our own, or something, to address that.”

At Lone Rock School District, Superintendent Dave Cluff said he credits the hard work of his teachers in helping the school meet the AYP mark.

“It’s good news,” he said. “We don’t make it every year. It’s a hard fight every year, and we work hard at it. We’ve got a titled program and a special ed program, and our teachers are all committed to teaching the essential core curriculum. One of the things that is helpful is the Ravalli County Curriculum Consortium. They are making sure the kids in the valley are learning what they need to learn.”

Cluff said that in recent years, his school has been able to start teaching students the same things that they get tested on, which hasn’t always been the case in the past.

“There is an alignment issue between what kids learn and what they get tested on,” he said. “We are very pleased that we are starting to get that back on track. Our middle school kids are 98 percent proficient in reading and 87 percent proficient in math. When they get out of here, they know what they are doing.”

On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced he would unilaterally override one of the controversial main requirements of the No Child Left Behind act – that 100 percent of students be proficient in math and reading by 2014 – if states can show they are making improvements.

For a complete report on the Montana AYP results visit http://opi.mt.gov.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at 363-3300 or at david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Ravalli County AYP results

Corvallis K-12 Schools: Did not make AYP, first year did not make AYP (watch list)

Stevensville Elementary: Did not make AYP, first year did not make AYP (watch list)

Stevensville High School: Did not make AYP, second year identified for improvement

Hamilton K-12 Schools: Did not make AYP, third year identified for corrective action

Victor K-12 Schools: Did not make AYP, first year did not make AYP (watch list)

Darby K-12 Schools: Did not make AYP, first year identified for corrective action

Lone Rock Elementary: Made AYP

Florence-Carlton K-12 Schools: Did not make AYP, first year did not make AYP (watch list)

Copyright 2011 RavalliRepublic.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Local on Monday, August 8, 2011 5:50 pm

Read more: http://ravallirepublic.com/news/local/article_75878b82-c219-11e0-ac0b-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1UY0YomGM

Florence-Carlton School District Title IX History

FLORENCE  -  On June 29, 2010, at the Florence Carlton School Board of Trustees Meeting, Attorney Elizabeth A. Kaleva advised the board in regard to multiple Title IX offences that were settled via two seperate Resolution Agreements with the Office of Civil Rights in Seattle.  In the official minutes for the June 29th meeting it is stated the following:

The following Public Records show a different story than the one told to Florence Carlton School District Board of Trustees at this meeting.  This mis-representation of the facts has been continued by Superintendent John C. McGee on numerous occasions according to eyewitnesses and the information listed in chronological order.  Pay close attention to the dates on the documents and take the time to listen to the recordings.

*************************


CLICK IMAGE TO SEE ENTIRE DOCUMENT:

 OCR Reference # 10101079 Title IX Offences Resolution Agreement, August 6, 2010

April 13, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

 

May 10, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:
 

June 29, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FULL AUDIO RECORDING 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FULL AUDIO RECORDING 

 

August 5, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

January 11, 2011 Florence Carlton School Board Minutes

 February_8,_2011_Board_Minutes|Title IX Report

April 12, 2011 Florence Carlton School Board Minutes 

 June 14, 2011|Superintendent John C. McGee|Title IX Report

 

 CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO:  Florence Carlton School Board Trustee, Pat Appleby, speaks to Title IX at June 27, 2011 Meeting

DOWNLOAD ALL THESE DOCUMENTS, CLIPS, AND RECORDINGS HERE:  http://www.box.net/shared/u69oqdxgjgvl9duhjc9j

*******************

 *** READ COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ARTICLES ***

28 Responses to “Title IX Offence/Resolution Agreement for Florence-Carlton School District”

LINK to comments - http://wp.me/pMV51-bV

45 Responses to “Second Title IX Offence/Resolution Agreement for Florence-Carlton School District”

LINK to comments - http://wp.me/pMV51-8D 


Listen to Lawyer, Elizabeth A. Kaleva, advise the Florence Carlton School Board of Trustees on Open Meeting Law

Kaleva Educates Board on Open Meeting Law

CLICK HERE to Listen to Lawyer, Elizabeth A. Kaleva, advise the Florence Carlton School Board of Trustees on Open Meeting Law

Montana Public Meeting Laws – via Florence Carlton Public Information (FCPI)

The Montana Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Part 2, section 3 of the Montana Code define the law.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,

” The legislature finds and declares that public boards, commissions, councils, and other public agencies in this state exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of this part that actions and deliberations of all public agencies shall be conducted openly. The people of the state do not wish to abdicate their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. Toward these ends, the provisions of the part shall be liberally construed.”[1]

Which government meetings are open to the Public?

The law defines meeting as any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body, including the use of electronic equipment, so as to deliberate and decide on public policy. [2]

What government bodies are subject to the Laws?

The act defines government body as all public agencies of either the state or any of the political subdivisions that are either funded through public funds or dispense public funds, including the Supreme Court.[3]

Legislature

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Montana statute 2-3-203 and is subject to the Montana Open Meetings Law. In addition, the Montana Constitution requires that “The sessions of the legislature and the committee of the whole, all committee meetings, and all hearings shall be open to the public” without exception. [4]

Notice requirements

The act does not specify a time-line for notice but requires that all public agencies allow sufficient notice so as to permit public participation. This requirement can be meet by placing an add in the local media or holding an open public hearing about the question. [5]

Meeting process

The act requires all public bodies to record and make available minutes of meetings, including all public officials in attendance, subjects discussed and any votes taken. [6]Public agencies cannot prevent the media from photographing and recording public meetings. [7]

Executive sessions

The act permits the chairperson to close an open session for a number of reasons, including:

  • To discuss matters of a personal nature, assuming the individual in question has not waived his right to privacy
  • for materials associated with the attorney-client privilege, in order to discuss pending litigation, this exemption does not apply to litigation between public agencies
  • Courts may close meetings for judicial deliberations [3]

If violated

Anyone may bring action against a public body who has violated the open meetings law. If a court finds a violation it may void any action taken at the meeting in violation, if the action was commenced within 30 days of the meeting. [8] Courts may also award attorney fees. [9]

See also

External links

References


Flag of Montana

http://florencecarltonpublicinfo.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/montana-open-meetings-law/

Watch Video: Florence Carlton School Board: SPECIAL MEETING: Monday, June 27, 2011

 

Florence Carlton School Board: SPECIAL MEETING: Monday, June 27, 2011, 4:00PM, SCHOOL LIBRARY 

A Letter to the Class of 2011 by Superintendent, John C. Mcgee

Florence schools: Vendetta misses real problems

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_40b1ad1c-8c5d-11e0-af2a-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=story

Florence schools: Vendetta misses real problems

Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 9:00 am | Read COMMENTS

I have a question for the Florence residents (bullies) who believe beyond a doubt that all Florence school budget problems are due to mismanagement by Superintendent John McGee.

Why are all the schools in the Bitterroot (Missoula schools were, but passed their mill levy) facing large budget deficits? Does it cause you to pause and make you wonder if maybe you were wrong and something else is going on? It is too bad that your vendetta against McGee was used to actively encourage people to vote “no” on the mill levy.

Personally, I have been very happy with the Florence-Carlton School system. The teachers and staff really care about the kids, and put in many extra hours showing it.

What will the bullies do next – spray graffiti on the school walls, throw raw eggs, TP the school? That would be their level. It’s shocking they were actually educated in Florence.

Nancy Rusho, Florence

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Mailbag on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 9:00 am | Tags: FlorenceMissoula MontanaEducationSocial Issues,Florence-carlton SchoolSuperintendent

March 8th School Board Meeting Overview: Agenda, Approved Minutes, Audio Recordings, Related Articles

FEATURED AUDIO CLIP FROM MARCH 8th MEETING: http://www.box.net/shared/ensa0diz2o

LINK TO: March 8th School Board Meeting Overview: Agenda, Approved Minutes, Audio Recordings, Related Articles.

Florence-Carlton: Learn facts about school budget

Helpful Links:

March 14th, 2011 School Board Meeting InformationAUDIO LINK: http://www.box.net/shared/mch967j87b

February 9, 2010 School Board Meeting Information


Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:00 am |  Comments 

On May 17, a letter appeared in the Missoulian from former Florence-Carlton school Trustee Jim Shreve regarding spending accountability. His letter misleads the public with regard to bills that must be paid by the school district regarding facility planning.

Shreve asks, “How could our administration and trustees even think of spending these general fund dollars knowing that they are short $293,000 for next fiscal year?” The answer to this question is simple. On Feb. 9, 2010, then-Trustee Shreve made a motion to approve the expenditure of general fund dollars as a match to the Department of Commerce Quality Schools Planning grant. In November 2010, the school entered into a comprehensive facility planning process that involved several engineers and numerous community members. The culmination of this comprehensive facility planning process was presented at a public school board meeting on March 14.  (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING OF March 14th Meeting) After more than a year of hard work and effort by CTA Architects, the school district had a responsibility to pay this bill, a bill that was created by Shreve’s motion on Feb. 9, 2010.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW OFFICIAL MINUTES AND AGENDA FROM February 9, 2010

Although $24,850 was spent on a comprehensive facility plan for the Florence-Carlton School, Shreve conveniently left out the fact that $12,416 of these monies was reimbursed back to the school by the Montana Department of Commerce. He also conveniently portrayed the decision to spend these monies as a negative on next year’s budget, when in fact the payment of this bill has no effect on cuts in next year’s budget.

Anyone interested in learning more about our school is encouraged to contact the school’s district office so we can share our information with you. If you are interested in how the Florence-Carlton School is managed, you are welcome to attend our next regular school board meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14 in the Florence-Carlton School District board conference room.

John C. McGee, Superintendent, Florence-Carlton School District, Florence

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Mailbag on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:00 am | Tags: FlorenceBusiness_financeSchool DistrictBoard Of EducationEducationFlorence-carlton SchoolSuperintendentTrusteeFiscal YearBudget

POLL: BUDGET CUTS: What do you think?

WATCH VIDEO RECORDING OF May 25th, 2011 SPECIAL SCHOOL BOARD MEETING : http://youtu.be/hRUICwC6vmQ

 

MORE INFO: florencecarltonpublicinfo.wordpress.com

Florence school board: No accountability with spending

Letter to the Editor:  Missoulian

Florence school board: No accountability with spending 


Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:27 pm | Comments

The Florence school board met May 10 for the monthly general business meeting. Several residents attended, and the meeting was moved from the district office across the street to the school library due to the large turnout.

The school had placed a mill levy on the May 3 ballot in the amount of $150,000 and explained to the public that the district would also be cutting $143,000 out of its budget even if the levy passed. The voters turned the levy down by approximately 80 votes. This was very close, as a little over 1,200 people cast their vote.

On May 10, our board passed its business checks for the month, one of which is $24,850 for CTA Architects to begin the planning phases of a new facility for the Florence school. The administration has offered four proposals for the board to consider. The first proposal is a new facility located on the 19 acres across from the current facility. This proposal is projected to cost around $26 million. The fourth proposal will cost around $10 million and it is a major upgrade to the current facility. There were two proposals ranging from $15 million to $20 million in between the first and fourth. Trustee Melvin Finlay stated, “How about scrapping these plans and not spend any money” in the April Master Plan meeting.

This check that was approved last night is 35 percent of the total that the administration was asking for in the mill levy. How could our administration and trustees even think of spending these general fund dollars knowing that they are short $293,000 for next fiscal year?

As a past trustee I can assure you that Florence-Carlton School has adequate funding for the next fiscal year, but I may have to change that statement if our trustees and administration continue handing out raises and spending our dollars with zero accountability.

Jim Shreve,

Florence

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Florence school funding: Residents want quality education

Letter to the Editor: Missoulian

Florence school funding: Residents want quality education

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 10:00 am | Comments

Thank you to the Missoulian for your recent editorial concerning the Florence school dispute (May 16). I believe you have correctly represented the issues and would like the public to know that as far as I can ascertain, the majority of residents of Florence feel the same way.

We are ashamed of the actions of a few who have made our school a laughingstock, and ask that everyone consider what they are teaching our students about effective civil discourse in our community.

The vast majority of us are only interested in ensuring the highest quality education for our children. There are many important issues at the school that need our attention, but recent actions will make no improvements or further the possibility for our children’s success.

Tracy Rogers,

Florence

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Title IX Offence/Resolution Agreement for Florence-Carlton School District

Second Title IX Offence/Resolution Agreement for Florence-Carlton School District.   

Florence School Board votes to reduce Staff levels

Florence school board votes to reduce staff levels

By DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic | Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 9:05 pm | Ravalli Republic Comments

FLORENCE – Tears flowed at a special meeting of the Florence School Board of Trustees on Monday night, as the board voted to eliminate or reduce several positions because of a forecast $220,000 budget shortfall next year.

During the meeting, the board voted to reduce the force of both the teaching staff and the classified staff. Trustees voted unanimously to reduce the full-time high school counselor position to a .6 full-time equivalent position, and to reduce a full-time physical education teacher to a .5 FTE position.

Superintendent John McGee told the crowd that because several teachers are either retiring or resigning, the school district will be able to shuffle several positions and avoid more cuts, as well as saving the German course offering.

Next, the board voted to eliminate a full-time special-education aid position, as well as reduce one full-time special-education secretary position to a .5 FTE position. McGee said that the budget committee took a long look at the classified staff, and determined that the best way to go about reducing the staff was to make sure that any staff member with seniority could not bump another, lower-ranking staff member out of a different position unless they were qualified to do so.

McGee said it was possible for certain staff members to take secretarial, custodial, or lunchroom positions to make up the loss of their full-time position.

This is when Florence Middle School special education teacher Jeanne Miller broke down.

She raised her hand to comment, but had to take a few moments to collect herself. One other woman in attendance at the meeting also had to leave the room to dry her eyes. Finally, after a few long moments of silence, Miller was able to continue.

“I just want the board to know there is a lot more involved,” Miller said. “It takes a lot of training and a lot of time. I just want you guys to understand. When these (reduction in forces) happen, it just doesn’t affect the adults, it affects the kids. And that’s going to be the hardest part. So I just want you to understand how hard this is on my department, and the special ed department. Sometimes people forget that this affects the kids.”

McGee told Miller that he knew that the decision to eliminate the positions was tough on everybody.

“I want to thank you for your words,” McGee told Miller. “The difficult thing in all of this is none of this is personal. We just had to look at seniority. I don’t want to trivialize this and say it’s easy for someone to step into this position.”

Board chairwoman Vickie Cornish also empathized with Miller’s feelings.

“Anytime you make cuts we know it’s affecting the children, and that’s the hardest thing we have to do,” she said.

“I do understand that,” Miller responded. “I just wanted you guys to know.”

Monday night’s meeting went off without much in the way of fireworks, unlike last week’s regular school board meeting, where a Ravalli County sheriff’s deputy had to intervene to calm down a vocal citizen who spoke out against McGee.

The only contentious part of Monday night’s meeting came when former board member Jim Shreve raised his hand to ask a question about the reduction of the physical education teacher.

“Is it not true that several years ago that Mr. McGee recommended to fire her without stepping foot in her classroom?” he asked.

Chairwoman Cornish took his question.

“That’s really not relevant to this discussion, Mr. Shreve,” she responded.

“That’s all right, I just wanted it on record,” Mr. Shreve said, and asked no further questions.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2011 RavalliRepublic.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Education on Monday, May 16, 2011 9:05 pm | Tags: EducationFlorenceJohn McgeeBoard Of Education,School BoardSpecial EducationFull-time EquivalentVickie CornishFlorence School BoardFull-time Physical Education TeacherCounselorSuperintendentJim ShreveSpecial Education TeacherFlorence Middle SchoolBoard Member,Physical Education Teacher

Florence School Dispute Sets Poor Example

Florence school dispute sets poor example

Missoulian editorial | Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 9:00 am | Read Missoulian Comments

What kind of example is being set for Florence children?

Certain members of the Florence School District Board of Trustees and its critics need to set aside all the justifications and rationalizations they have offered for their recent bad behavior and ask themselves that question.

Children pay attention to what the adults around them say and do – and actions always speak louder than words. Unfortunately, some recent actions demonstrate exactly the kind of behavior we do not want our children to repeat.

It started when a former Florence school trustee, Jim Shreve, posted a sign urging voters to reject the local mill levy request and “Fire McGee,” referring to Superintendent John McGee – despite the fact that McGee’s employment status had absolutely nothing to do with the May 3 election.

Shreve is no stranger to controversy over signs. While running for a seat on the Ravalli County Commission a few years ago, he had a photo of Florence elementary school students and staff digitally altered to make it appear as though they were gathered to support his candidacy. Florence faculty and parents objected to the alteration, and he was asked to take down the photo from his website. McGee, as superintendent, was the individual who did the asking.

Shreve refused to remove the photo, by the way, opting instead to blur the faces of the people pictured.

His latest sign, in calling for McGee’s dismissal, has stirred up controversy as well. Shreve’s explanation for that portion of his message: “I felt McGee has done a terrible job as superintendent, and this was an initiation of an aggressive move to get rid of him. It’s time to take the school back.”

But school board chairwoman Vickie Cornish, who was re-elected May 3, thought that crossed a line: “I felt the ‘Fire McGee’ part of the sign was a personal assault on Mr. McGee and his family. It was bullying and intimidation.”

So two days after the election, she rendered the Shreve’s sign unreadable by removing a screw and laying it down flat. She explained later that she did not realize that she was breaking the law by tampering with the sign, which property owner Paul Kamarath had given Shreve permission to put up.

Cornish would do well to remember that Shreve has every right to engage in public criticism of a public official. And Shreve should take care to keep his criticisms of McGee from turning into a personal vendetta.

In any case, Shreve has asked Ravalli County law enforcement to press charges against Cornish for destruction of property. Meanwhile, some immature individual vandalized Shreve’s sign with graffiti.

If Florence’s young children and teens were able to ignore all this before, they were surely sucked into it at the most recent regular school board meeting. There, Florence High School students attending the meeting for a government class got to hear Julie Shreve-Harris repeatedly interrupt McGee, and witness Cornish repeatedly try to gavel the interruptions to a stop – and finally, see Ravalli County law enforcement called in to restore order.

Some lesson. Each of these folks probably has a long list of reasons ready to justify their deplorable behavior. Ultimately, none of it excuses the poor example they have been setting for the children in their community.

Indeed, the only person who has behaved like a grown-up throughout this situation is the man at the supposed center of the controversy itself: Superintendent John McGee. In fact, he even made a point of knocking on the doors of those who posted Shreve’s signs.

“I had to make a split-second decision on how to explain it to my son,” McGee said. “So I parked the truck, and I told him I’m going to go up there and knock on the door. When I got back in the truck, I told him that’s how you deal with your issues. You go confront them straight up. If someone has a problem with you, you would expect them to come to you directly. But when you hang a sign on a fence, all you are doing is inflaming a message that is one-sided and stirring up the community. It puts my family in a difficult spot.”

A difficult spot indeed. But McGee is handling it like a responsible adult and setting a grownup example – an example certain people in Florence should start following. There are, after all, children watching.

EDITORIAL BOARD

Publisher Stacey Mueller, Editor Sherry Devlin, Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen, Sales and Marketing Director Jim McGowan

Safe Routes to School Grant Denied: CTEP Trail Project Slated for June

http://florencecarltonreview.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/april_12_2011_board_minutes.pdf

The Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP) is a Montana program that funds transportation related projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of Montana’s intermodal transportation system. The CTEP allows for the implementation of a variety of non-traditional projects.

MDT’s CTEP Program
The MDT has elected to sub-allocate the enhancement funds to local governments for selection and prioritization of local CTEP projects. Funds are distributed to the eligible local governments based on population figures provided by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. CTEP activities are a sub-component of the Surface Transportation Program (STP). The funding policy and procedural requirements that apply to the STP also apply to the CTEP.

Through ISTEA, TEA21 and SAFETEA-LU Congress provided innovative opportunities to enhance and contribute to the transportation system. This is being carried out in a non-traditional fashion through implementation of a specific list of CTEP eligible activities. The focus of these activities is to improve the transportation experience in and through local communities.more…

Important Notice:


It is important for project sponsors to understand that, since this is not a grant program, if project activities approved for funding are conducted prior to receiving written notification from MDT that they may proceed, all or part of the project may become ineligible for reimbursement. These activities include advertisement for construction contractors, purchase of supplies, and any other activities approved for reimbursement.

Florence-Carlton Facility Planning Committee Peruses Plans for New Building Projects

Florence-Carlton Facility Planning Committee Peruses Plans for New Building Projects

http://florencecarltonreview.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/march_14_2011-1.pdf

April 12, 2011 Agenda/Approved Minutes

April 12, 2011 Board Agenda – PDF 

April 12, 2011 Approved Florence School Board Minutes – PDF 

March_8,_2011 Approved School Board Minutes


Sheriff’s deputy called to contentious Florence School Board meeting

Listen to audio recording of May 10 incident between School Board Chair, Vickie Cornish, Superintendent John McGee and community members:

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING

 

Sheriff’s deputy called to contentious Florence School Board meeting

By DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:30 pm | Read Comments

A Ravalli County sheriff’s deputy had to be called to cool down a contentious Florence school board meeting on Tuesday night, after tempers flared between several citizens and members of the board and administration.

Before a crowd of around 80 people, including a class of Florence High School seniors who were attending the meeting as part of their government class, the board chairwoman had to repeatedly strike the gavel to cut short a vocal citizen, Julie Shreve-Harris.

Chairwoman Vickie Cornish eventually had to recess the meeting and call the deputy to assist in gaining order after Shreve-Harris would not stop interrupting public comments by superintendent John McGee. When the sheriff’s deputy arrived, Shreve-Harris left the room to talk to him without incident and did not return.

“The only way I can classify it is we’re developing a new kind of green energy here in Florence,” said board member Mel Finlay, who witnessed the ruckus. “We’re all running on emotions. The only problem is we’re having trouble harnessing it.”

The dust-up started after Cornish started the meeting by giving an explanation of her actions last Thursday, when she removed a screw and laid down a sign on private property that said “Fire McGee,” referring to superintendent McGee. The sign was put up by former school board member Jim Shreve, who is unhappy with McGee’s performance and who has asked the sheriff’s office to press destruction of property charges against Cornish (the incident is detailed in Tuesday’s Ravalli Republic).

Shreve also parked his large work truck outside of the board meeting, with signs reading “Fire McGee” and “Do it for the school.”

The school board had decided before the meeting to allow Cornish to talk about the incident.

“With unanimous board approval, we added another item to the agenda,” Finlay explained. “We thought, we might as well air (the sign incident) out in public. We all voted to do that. Vickie said her spiel to begin with, she gave her rationale, and it just went south from there. And pretty soon it just plumb snowballed.”

During Cornish’s explanation of her actions, she stated that she was sorry for breaking the law, but that she felt the sign was offensive and needed to come down.

“She explained it all,” Finlay said. “Emotions can control a person. She said, ‘What I did was wrong, but probably a lot of people thought what Jim did was wrong.’ “

During her speech, Jim Shreve shouted the word “objection” several times, according to Finlay.

After Cornish’s statements, the public was allowed a rebuttal period. Several community members spoke up in support of Cornish and McGee. And the owner of the property spoke out against McGee, who last week knocked on the man’s door and asked why the sign was on his property – and if he would remove it.

Then McGee was given time to rebut.

During the superintendent’s testimony, however, Julie Shreve-Harris made several loud comments from the front of the crowd. Cornish repeatedly asked her to quiet down.

“An individual in the front row, Julie Shreve-Harris, kept interrupting,” Cornish explained. “She kept voicing her opinion on things, but it was John McGee’s turn to speak. I told her she would have to be quiet or I would have to ask her to leave. And she kept continuing to talk.”

Finlay said it was obvious that the meeting was starting to get out of hand.

“Julie started butting back in, saying that her father had been maligned,” he recalled.

Shreve-Harris’ father was the person who observed Cornish, in the middle of the day, laying the sign down and had confronted Cornish about it.

“(Shreve-Harris) wouldn’t control herself, and (Cornish) gaveled her a couple times,” Finlay said. “Cornish asked her to stop talking, and she wouldn’t do it.”

“In any kind of open meeting, it’s an open meeting in that the public is observing us running a meeting,” Cornish explained. “But if they choose to disrupt us, that can’t happen. You can ask them to stop what they are doing, and as chairman, I have the right to recess the meeting.”

Finally, Cornish told Shreve-Harris that if she didn’t leave, Cornish would have to call a sheriff’s deputy and wait for him to arrive.

“She didn’t leave, so I called the sheriff,” Cornish said. “John McGee and I left the room, and we waited about 45 minutes for the sheriff’s officer to arrive. I wasn’t going to continue the meeting until he came. When he got there, (Shreve-Harris) came to the door and left with him. The meeting went very smoothly after that point, but we had to table several other agenda items because it was getting late.”

The sheriff’s office collected statements from witnesses at the meeting, and has submitted a report to the Ravalli County Attorney’s office.

A call to Shreve-Harris was not returned as of press time.

Cornish said she especially regrets the bad example the meeting set for the high school students who were present to gain experience on how local government works.

“I don’t want high school seniors coming to a meeting and thinking it will be a free-for-all,” Cornish said. “It was chaos. I’ve been on the board nine years and it’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that. Hopefully, it will be the only time. It was pretty contentious. It’s a sad thing. We have a good community and a very good core of people up here, and they are all not happy about this particular incident and want the community to come back together. At this point, I’m not quite sure what the answer is.”

Florence senior and student council president Kendall Cotton was at the meeting and said he wishes all parties involved had handled the situation a better way.

“Florence has a problem, in that we have a stigma of being a bad school,” he said, “because of people in the community who constantly demoralize the school and the school board. But in fact we have a great program that prepares students well for college. I respect their opinions, but I think it’s unfounded.”

Finlay said he hopes the community can find a way to work out the problems.

“Everybody’s got a valid point, but we need to figure out a better way to present our cases,” he said. “We had a lot of students there. They are seniors, but their sensibilities are tender. I wish we could be a bit more civilized with the democratic process. I’m happy John McGee is our superintendent. He’s doing the best he can with federal mandates. Doing a little time on the board should educate you to that aspect. I’m glad I’m on the school board, because I see how things work. It’s like making a newspaper or anything – there’s a lot more that goes into it than meets the eye.”

When all is said and done, Finlay said he is philosophical about the situation.

“We’re not hum-drum here in Florence,” he chuckled. “If we go to the school board meeting, we do it with gusto.”

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2011 RavalliRepublic.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Education on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:30 pm Updated: 6:25 am. | Tags: Board Of EducationVickie Cornish,John McgeeMel FinlayJulie Shreve-harrisSuperintendentFlorenceSheriffSchool BoardFlorence High SchoolJim ShreveHigh SchoolCounty SheriffFlorence School BoardFormer School BoardStudentSenior And Student Council President

Sheriff’s deputy has to intervene at Florence school board meeting

Listen to audio recording of May 10 incident between School Board Chair, Vickie Cornish, Superintendent John McGee and community members:

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING

 

Sheriff’s deputy has to intervene at Florence school board meeting

By DAVID ERICKSON Ravalli Republic | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:03 pm | Comments Posted

Related Stories

FLORENCE – A Ravalli County sheriff’s deputy had to be called to cool down a contentious Florence school board meeting on Tuesday night, after tempers flared between several citizens and members of the board and administration.

Before a crowd of around 80 people, including a class of Florence High School seniors who were attending the meeting as part of their government class, the board chairwoman had to repeatedly strike the gavel to cut short a vocal citizen, Julie Shreve-Harris.

Chairwoman Vickie Cornish eventually had to recess the meeting and call the deputy to assist in gaining order after Shreve-Harris would not stop interrupting public comments by Superintendent John McGee. When the sheriff’s deputy arrived, Shreve-Harris left the room to talk to him without incident and did not return.

“The only way I can classify it is we’re developing a new kind of green energy here in Florence,” said board member Mel Finlay, who witnessed the ruckus. “We’re all running on emotions. The only problem is we’re having trouble harnessing it.”

The dust-up started after Cornish started the meeting by giving an explanation of her actions last Thursday, when she removed a screw and laid down a sign on private property that said “Fire McGee,” referring to the superintendent.

The sign was put up by former school board member Jim Shreve, who is unhappy with McGee’s performance and who has asked the sheriff’s office to press destruction of property charges against Cornish.

On Tuesday, Cornish told the audience she was sorry for breaking the law, but felt the sign was offensive and needed to come down.

“She explained it all,” Finlay said. “Emotions can control a person. She said, ‘What I did was wrong, but probably a lot of people thought what Jim did was wrong.’ “

Then the public was allowed a rebuttal period. Several community members spoke up in support of Cornish and McGee. And the owner of the property spoke out against McGee, who last week knocked on the man’s door and asked why the sign was on his property – and if he would remove it.

Finally, McGee was given time to rebut.

During the superintendent’s testimony, however, Shreve-Harris made several loud comments from the front of the crowd. Cornish repeatedly asked her to quiet down.

Finlay said it was obvious that the meeting was starting to get out of hand.

Cornish eventually told Shreve-Harris that if she didn’t leave, a sheriff’s deputy would be called.

“She didn’t leave, so I called the sheriff,” Cornish said. “John McGee and I left the room, and we waited about 45 minutes for the sheriff’s officer to arrive. I wasn’t going to continue the meeting until he came. When he got there, (Shreve-Harris) came to the door and left with him.”

Shreve-Harris did not return phone calls Wednesday from the Ravalli Republic. No charges have been filed.

Copyright 2011 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in State-and-regional on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:03 pm Updated: 9:05 pm. | Tags: Julie Shreve-harrisVickie CornishJohn McgeeFlorence High SchoolJim ShreveRavalli CountyFlorence School Board

School Election Sign Draws Fire In Florence

School Election Sign Draws Fire In Florence

Listen to audio recording of May 10 incident between School Board Chair, Vickie Cornish, Superintendent John McGee and community members:

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING

RAVALLI COUNTY

POSTED: 6:14 pm MDT May 10, 2011

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UPDATED: 6:26 pm MDT May 10, 2011

FLORENCE, Mont. – A homemade sign has made for hard feelings in Florence. It was painted to protest a school levy and calls for the ouster of the school’s top administrator.
But the sign’s painter says his right to free speech has been violated. The sign went up election day.It took a hard line against a $150,000 thousand mill levy that failed. The sign’s maker wants the superintendent fired.Jim Shreve said, “failed policies and money management in the Florence school district. There’s one way to solve it, replace the top of the ladder, the manager.”Shreve is a cabinet maker and former school board member. He says people in Florence can’t afford to pay more taxes.So he got permission from the superintendent’s neighbor to put up a sign calling for the superintendent to be axed. Board chair Vicki Cornish prepares snacks for her pre-school students.She took Shreve’s sign down two days after the election. “It’s a disgrace, ” said Cornish. “I think to our community that a family has to live three houses down from a sign that refers to the husband and the father in the family, that he’s not dong his job.”Cornish could be prosecuted for destruction of property. She said she didn’t know she was breaking the law.Superintendent John McGee said the sign has been hard on his family. But he said he’s tried to be open with critics.”These are tough economic times, ” he said, ” and the reason why it was tough to ask for a way was because of that. These people are hurting.”Twelve-hundred people in the Florence Carlton School District voted. The levy failed by 78 votes. To balance the budget there will be cuts, said McGee.
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Signs stir up controversy in Florence School District

Listen to audio recording of May 10 incident between School Board Chair, Vickie Cornish, Superintendent John McGee and community members:

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING

Signs stir up controversy in Florence School District 

By DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic | Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 7:48 pm | Ravalli Republic (1) Comments:

The chairwoman of the Florence School District Board of Trustees has found herself on the wrong side of the law after taking the controversy over a political sign into her own hands – literally.

Now a former school board member, Jim Shreve, is asking the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office to file destruction of property charges against current chairwoman Vickie Cornish for tampering with the sign, which read “Vote no” and “Fire McGee,” referring to Florence School District superintendent John McGee.

Shreve posted the sign on Tuesday, May 3, the same day a proposed school mill levy was struck down by Florence voters. Located near the corner of Holloway Lane and Florence-Carlton Loop, the sign was also only three blocks from the private residence of superintendent McGee. The property where the sign was placed is owned by Paul Kamarath, a disabled senior citizen who gave Shreve permission. Several similar signs were put up at other properties around town.

Last Thursday, two days after being elected to another term on the Florence school board in an uncontested race, Cornish was driving by the sign and decided to take action. She pulled over, pulled one screw out that was holding the sign to a fence, and laid the sign down flat.

“I felt the ‘Fire McGee’ part of the sign was a personal assault on Mr. McGee and his family,” Cornish said. “It was bullying and intimidation. I had driven by the sign for two days after the levy was over, and I was waiting for it to come down. Getting out of my car, I noticed that it was in the right-of-way, leaning up against the fence. It had one screw in it that was connecting it to the fence, which I removed, and I laid the sign down.”

A relative of Shreve observed Cornish laying the sign down and followed her to the stoplight after she drove off. The relative confronted Cornish, and she told him that she didn’t realize what she had done was illegal.

“I told him I removed it because I felt it was in the right-of-way,” she explained. “I was contacted by a sheriff’s deputy, who explained to me that even if it is leaning against the fence it is private property, so what I did was against the law. I didn’t realize that it was against the law, or I wouldn’t have done it in the middle of the day with everyone watching.”

Cornish said she knew that McGee lived very near to the sign, and she didn’t want him and his family to have to see it anymore, especially if the sign wasn’t completely on private property.

“It wasn’t the ‘Vote no’ part that concerned me,” Cornish said. “It was the ‘Fire McGee’ that was a concern for me because of his family. I recognize that there is freedom of speech, but if a family is being continually harassed and intimidated? (McGee) is not an elected official. He’s not the president or the governor. I felt it was attacking an individual. The mill levy had nothing to do with his job, and he had no bearing on it. I didn’t damage the sign. If I had malice in my heart or if I knew it was against the law, I wouldn’t have done it. It wasn’t my intention to stir up a hornet’s nest.”

Since then, the sign has also been vandalized with graffiti, but Cornish was quick to say she was out of town over the weekend and didn’t have anything to do with that.

Shreve, who served on the Florence school board with Cornish from 2007-10, asked the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office to prosecute Cornish, but he hasn’t heard back yet.

“I was not too happy about the sign being taken down,” he said. “I was against the mill levy because during the three years I was on the school board, I felt the school district is overstaffed with teachers and administration, and we have done nothing to cut back, even though we have dwindling enrollment here. I felt McGee has done a terrible job as superintendent, and this was an initiation of an aggressive move to get rid of him. It’s time to take the school back.”

Shreve said that after he was elected in 2007, he was asked by Cornish and McGee to step down from the school board because he doesn’t have any kids in the district.

“I have numerous properties here and I pay taxes,” Shreve said. “Two years ago, a number of board members were interested in running a mill levy, and McGee guaranteed us we wouldn’t have a money problem. It’s a total misrepresentation of management. It was time for somebody to speak out. It’s gone on long enough.”

The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident, and officers have told Cornish it will take about a week to decide if they will give her a misdemeanor citation.

Shreve stirred up another controversy last year when he was running as a candidate for the Ravalli County Commission in District 1. During his campaign, Shreve used digital photo manipulation to paste a picture of himself onto a picture of Florence elementary school students, teachers and staff. The photo was also altered to make it appear that the students were holding a banner that read “Vote Jim Shreve for Commissioner,” even though the students had never held any such banner and the photo was taken in 2005.

McGee contacted Shreve about the photo and asked Shreve to remove it from his campaign website, telling him that “the students in our school district do not publicly support the candidacy of any candidate for political office.”

Also, 32 faculty, staff and parents in Florence signed a letter voicing their objection to Shreve’s use of the photo.

After initially refusing to remove the photo, Shreve eventually blurred out the faces of the children but kept the photo, with himself and the banner, up on his website.

McGee, for his part, said he is more than willing to talk to anybody who is unhappy with his job performance.

“I understand how inflammatory the sign is,” he said. “It’s created a stir within the community. There are those that are happy with my job performance, and there are those that are unhappy with my job performance. I’ve knocked on those doors of people who have the signs in their yards, and I’ve asked them what I can do to serve them better. Each of these individuals that I’ve spoken to, two of them said they don’t have a problem with me. When I asked them to take down the sign, they stated that I would have to talk to Jim Shreve about that. The third person I spoke to, he said his dad had displayed the signs as a personal favor to Jim Shreve, and I have not heard back from them.”

McGee said the defining moment came when he was driving back from baseball practice, with his son in the truck and they saw the sign.

“I had to make a split-second decision on how to explain it to my son,” McGee said. “So I parked the truck, and I told him I’m going to go up there and knock on the door. When I got back in the truck, I told him that’s how you deal with your issues. You go confront them straight up. If someone has a problem with you, you would expect them to come to you directly. But when you hang a sign on a fence, all you are doing is inflaming a message that is one-sided and stirring up the community. It puts my family in a difficult spot.”

McGee said that when Shreve was on the school board, he signed an evaluation of McGee that gave the superintendent a 4.85 out of 5 job-performance rating.

“Mr. Shreve was in agreement with the board back then,” McGee said. “It essentially meant that he agreed that not only was I doing a superior job, I was doing an excellent job. So what has transpired between then and now, I have no knowledge. We have had issues over public issues, over the budget. That’s part of the job. As a superintendent, you don’t always agree with the board. But I had always respected Jim’s opinion. It was always a ‘let’s agree to disagree’ type of thing and move on. But nothing that would have elevated to this. The school has addressed all those issues.”

McGee said he wishes that Shreve would have addressed any concerns with the school, especially the budget, when he was a board member.

“My question to him is why didn’t he deal with it then?” McGee said. “That’s when he had the power and the responsibility to deal with it. If there are things he wanted changed, he was derelict in his duties as an elected official if he didn’t address any issues then. I do know that Jim was very upset and angry over this school during the controversy with the campaign photo last year. But Jim made that choice, and it was my duty as a superintendent to call him out on that.”

McGee said his main hope is for the community to move on from negative publicity the signs have generated.

“The concern that I get into is that it is sending a very negative message,” McGee said. “If you’ve got a problem with me personally, come to my office, or see me at the park when I’m coaching kids and tell me. I would be more than happy to find out what I’ve done wrong. My job is to serve the community. I wish Vickie Cornish hadn’t done what she did, because it served to give more attention to them. That’s what they were hoping for. But people are trying to sell homes in this community, and this type of thing makes that difficult. And people have pride in this school. The teachers aren’t overpaid, the administrators aren’t overpaid. If people have a personal problem with me, hanging a sign on a fence isn’t the way to go about it. It’s childish. We have bigger things to focus on.”

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

SPECIAL MEETING: Florence-Carlton School Board Monday, May 9, 2011

Second Title IX Offence/Resolution Agreement for Florence-Carlton School District

CLICK IMAGE TO SEE ENTIRE DOCUMENT:

April 13, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

 

May 10, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:
 

June 29, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

August 5, 2010 Florence Carlton School Board Meeting Minutes:

January 11, 2011 Florence Carlton School Board Minutes

April 12, 2011 Florence Carlton School Board Minutes 

  Title IX Offences/Voluntary Resolution Agreement #1      Title IX Offences/Voluntary Resolution Agreement #2

     CLICK HERE TREAD ENTIRE DOCUMENT                                 CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE DOCUMENT

                        

UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS

http://www.ravallicounty.mt.gov/elections/documents/2011school-special_unofficial_results.pdf

Florence Resident Speaks Out On Mill Levy

Florence school elections: Tax money is being wasted


So again the Florence homeowners are being asked to “bail out” the Florence-Carlton School, since it seems like the current budget and finance committee can’t seem to balance the books.

As I recall, in 2007, prior to a similar levy being passed, Superintendent John McGee attended our senior luncheon and begged all of the seniors in attendance to vote in favor of the levy, since the funds were needed for much needed repairs. And they were in desperate need of a new boiler (for which I’ll be paying for as long as I own my current home).

After that levy passed my tax bill increased by $38.25 a year. If this current levy proposal passes my tax will increase by another $54 a year. For what? More raises for the administrator(s) and staff and maybe a new snare drum for the FCS drum line? Sorry, you fooled me once, but not this time!  I agree with Jeanette Copeland (letters, April 15). Taxpayers likewise in Florence need to let this Florence-Carlton School administration know that Florence is not like the city of Bell, Calif., and cannot and will not support policies that do nothing to enhance or academically challenge its students.

For a school the size of Florence-Carlton with fewer than 1,000 students, it would seem to me that for far too long the current administrations have engaged in some “questionable bookkeeping” when they are repeatedly asking for additional funding from what should be regular maintenance and student support activities. I also find it quite interesting that they are trying to push this levy before the federal and state allocations for schools are passed.

But then again, Florence-Carlton has looked into its fiscal crystal ball and only see what its wants to see. As always, it’s only about the money.

Barry Jefferson, Florence

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_e97e48ee-7275-11e0-b6e5-001cc4c03286.html

COMMENTS:

WATCHDOG SAYS:Mr. Jefferson, you have no idea about the depth of the questionable bookkeeping stated in your article. As a past Trustee I was shocked to learn in Oct. 2007 at a special meeting we were notified by McGee that our district “FORGOT” to make a payment on the June 2007 Payroll Taxes. All total there was over $169,000 dollars owed in taxes and we were also fined by the IRS another $20,000+ for penalties and late fee’s. We voted 5-0 to pay the tax and fines on the advise of a private attorney that cost another $2,500. This was in early Oct. 2007. To make matters worse the Administration failed to pay the IRS until Jan. 22nd of 2008. After several months of requesting to see the IRS information and notices of penalties I found that the IRS had given our school it’s last notification and were coming to seize property if the fee’s weren’t paid by January deadline. Business from that point on only went downhill after learning of a $280,000 private account controlled by the Superintendent and Business Manager. Florence needs an Audit and a Board comprised of accountants or conservative business people. Friendships and “ZERO” accountability have caused this malfunction of a once higher than average school. Last year McGee asked the board to run a $155,000 Levy. 1 Trustee said “you show me where every dollar of that Levy is going and I will support putting it on the May ballot”. That Trustee never got the information therefore voted not to support it. You are fortunate to have dealt with this Superintendent, and see through his agenda.”

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_e97e48ee-7275-11e0-b6e5-001cc4c03286.html?mode=comments

CLOUD9  SAYS:  Mr. Jefferson, Judging by your address, It seems to me you could probably afford to pay more,but like a lot of seniors, all you want to do is sit back and complain. I have been involved in this school and community for over twenty years, and neither myself or any of my friends have ever heard of you or seen you in the school or any board meetings. The vast majority of us that are the broad middle class of America own comfortable houses filled with furniture, televisions, and gadgets of every kind We have multiple cars, boats, motorcycles, and RVs. We have plenty of money to spend on sporting events. music, concerts, plays, theatre, and. Movies, and We regularly travel across the country and around the world. Our society generates unimaginable wealth, and we build office towers and shopping malls and sports stadiums that are wonders of the world. We are vastly better off than our parents, and rich beyond the imaginings of our grandparents. We have lives beyond the dreams of most people in the world.

We are the richest people in the richest nation in the history of the world.  And yet we act as though we are poor.  Our politicians tell us, and then we tell each other, that we are broke, that we can’t afford to pay for schools and teachers, health care for children and the old and the poor, food or the millions who struggle to make ends meet, that there is no moneyï for clean air and water and parks, that our college student, the best and brightest and on whom our future depends, will have to make it on their own or not at all. And we are told not only that we can’t afford more, but that we have to cut the budgets for all of those things, that no one – not a single American – can afford to pay a single dollar more in taxes.

Let’s be honest: as a nation, and as a state, we can afford anything we want. You should be ashamed. Someone paid for you, pass it on.

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_e97e48ee-7275-11e0-b6e5-001cc4c03286.html?mode=comments

JUST A NATIVE SAYS:  Cloud stupid! You apparently must be involved in getting a pay check from the tax payer’s. Mr. Jefferson has some real and understandable concerns about how John McGee has ran the Florence School since being hired. It is time to start cutting back and getting the most of every dollar. If you think that just because Mr. Jefferson must have money because of his address, your a damn idiot! People like yourself is why we must never outlaw abortions. The Florence School Dist. is a complete failure since John McGee has taken control. I have attended numerous board meetings Cloud Stupid for a number of years. Queen Cornish for the past nine years has stated that we are so over crowded in the school that we are putting teachers and kids in closets and useing them as class rooms. Let me tell you something. The schools enrollment has declined since 2002 and the school has continued to hire more staff. Maybe look in some of those closets Queen Cornish is talking about and we will find some of our very educated trustworthy union monkeys sleeping and playing grab ####. Cut the fat and over staffing at the public sector and then come ask me to pay more of my money to public education. I have lived in the District my entire life and don’t know Mr. Jefferson, but he sounds to me he is also tired of being lied to also. In the early 80′s there was some money taken from the school and charges filed with a conviction. Maybe we should ask one of the current board members if she had her fingers in that money also, but wasn’t charged because she was just borrowing the money and it was a small amount and it wasn’t worth the money it would of cost her to be tried for the theft. She only needed the $300 for Christmas she was short money and was paying it back. This trustee should resign along with John McGee. I will Vote No on May 3rd and continue to until Florence Carlton School district cuts staff and gets back to OPI standards. Vote NO! Vote NO! Vote NO! Vote NO!

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