Florence Carlton Superintendent Scully Awarded Two-Year Contract By Trustees

FLORENCE, MT – After a lengthy search and interview process, conducted at additional taxpayer expense, by private attorney Elizabeth ‘Bea’ Kaleva on behalf of Trustees, Florence Carlton Schools finds itself with a new leader. Edward “Bud” Scully will be holding the reins  of the Florence Carlton Schools.  Scully is a seasoned veteran of Education with over 30 years of experience at all levels, from Janitor, to Teacher, to Administrator, and even 10 years as a Trustee.  Mr. Scully has been the Interim Superintendent for Florence since the untimely departure of Superintendent John C. McGee who terminated his own 3-year contract with Florence to take the Superintendent job at Centerville Schools here in Montana.

Since his arrival, Mr. Scully has been busy cleaning up loose ends and addressing financial concerns of the District while building rapport and morale in the Student body and boosting the confidence of Teachers and Staff with his passionate comittment to Excellence in Education and Life.

Trustees conducted Public Interviews at a Special Meeting on February 4th.  Trustee Pat Appleby made a motion to extend the search “a couple more days” but was voted down 3-2 (Zeiler, Dixon, and James opposing).  The motion was then made to hire Bud Scully on a 2-year contract beginning July 1st, 2015.  The motion passed 3-2 (Finlay and Appleby opposed).


February 10, 2015 8:16 pm  • 

FLORENCE – Edward “Bud” Scully has been hired as superintendent of Florence-Carlton Schools. He has been the interim superintendent since June 30; his position was solidified at the special school board meeting Feb. 4.

Scully received a two-year contract.

Tara Ziegler is the Florence-Carlton school board chair.

“In Mr. Scully’s interim contract, we knew we wanted to open this position up, as last time we didn’t have many applications,” said Ziegler. “In December we hired Bea Kaleva, legal counsel, out of Missoula and she did a thorough search on our behalf.

“We were pleased as a board to receive the applications of seven very qualified candidates. We did our due diligence and narrowed it down to the three best and one of them was Mr. Scully. We took our time, vetted it out, discussed it and looked at each candidate in detail. We selected the top three to interview.

“Two were able to come – Bryan Kott, current superintendent in Drummond, and our interim superintendent Bud Scully. One applicant was unable to interview due to a scheduling conflict.”

On Feb. 4, the school conducted a reception for the public to meet the candidates, then completed the interviews and the board met to discuss and vote.

“We had been at it since December and it was a very thorough, very thoughtful process,” said Ziegler. “After we interviewed them and discussed this with public input, we voted to hire Bud Scully and give him a two-year contract.

“We’re thrilled. He works really well with the staff he currently works with. He has been given glowing reviews from staff, administration and the public.”

Ziegler said she is proud of the progress that has been made and that she is looking forward to the next two years.

“I have high expectations for where we’ll be as a school and a community, and I think we are on the right track to move forward,” she said.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2015 Ravalli Republic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trustees Narrow The Field In Superintendent Hiring Process At Florence Carlton Schools

3-Year Contract, John C. McgeeFLORENCE, MT – At a SPECIAL MEETING held January 22, Florence Carlton School District Trustees met to review applicants and deliberate on their task of hiring a Superintendent.  So far, seven applicants have been reduced to three candidates, along with a motion by Trustee Dan James leaving the door open for any further potential applicants/candidates that may arise between now and the yet unscheduled Public Interview process.  The current Interim-Superintendent , Bud Scully, has been at the helm for Florence since shortly after the former Superintendent, John C. McGee, resigned from his 3-Year Contract to take a position at Centerville Schools.

Edward ‘Bud’ Scully (former Principal of River Valley High School in Mohave Valley, Arizona) of is among the candidates selected for interview along with Bryan Kott (current Superintendent of Drummond Schools) and Michael Perry (current Superintendent of Keller and Harrington Public Schools in the Spokane, WA area).


  1. Superintendent Fired For Misuse of Computer


    “Edwards was sent packing for misuse of his computer. McGee was hired shortly thereafter. Edwards didn’t agree with 2004-05 Board about IMPACT FEES, and the publically funded $40,000 Tishler-Bise study.” –https://florencecarltonreview.wordpress.com/2005/03/06/proposed-aspen-springs-subdivision-near-florence-is-the-largest-ever-in-the-bitterroot-valley/#comments

Florence-Carlton Graduate Plays Supporting Role In Major Movie Production

Florence grad lands role in David Spade comedy sequel….

January 01, 2015 4:14 pm  • 

Florence High School graduate Erica Ibsen has just completed a film – “Joe Dirt 2” – starring David Spade.

“I have a small supporting role in a scene with David, but it’s definitely funny and a favorite scene of everyone involved in the production,” said Ibsen, who began acting with the Missoula Children’s Theater program as a gnome in “Rumpelstiltskin” at age 9.

The highly anticipated Happy Madison Production of the sequel to the 2001 cult-comedy, written by and starring legendary funny man David Spade, is wrapped.

“Wrapped means the film is all done with the production phase and now is in post production,” said Ibsen.

“This is my biggest feature film role so far. It is exciting and definitely worthy as a sequel to the big hit. I’m excited to see the fans’ reactions, and the cast and crew said it is going to go over even better. Fans from the first movie are going to be happy with this one. David and Wolf have written a few scripts together – it reflects their humor. I’m a huge fan and it was so fun to walk on and have them welcoming me.”

Ibsen said she was also a huge fan of Spade’s 1996 comedy “Black Sheep” (which also stars late comedian Chris Farley).

“Earning a chance to work alongside David Spade and writer/director Fred Wolf was an absolute dream come true,” said Ibsen. “I had no idea until I was auditioning, but Fred actually went to Montana State, so it was fun to do a little Brawl of the Wild trash-talking on set. I brought him some Montana huckleberry candy to ease the pain of this year’s Bobcat loss.”

On working with Spade, Ibsen said, “It was nearly impossible to keep a straight face while looking at David. I thought I was going to break character every time.”

This year Ibsen also is in two additional independent feature films in major supporting roles and is represented by Matt Prater at Dedicated Talent Management in Los Angeles.

Sony’s online network (Crackle) will play JOE DIRT 2 in 2015.

Though never a student at the University of Montana, Ibsen is a huge Grizzly fan.

“I didn’t go to the UM, I love Montana but I wanted to see the world, so I did do some college in Portland but then started my acting career. I was thinking of a marketing degree possibly but now I’m enjoying acting.”

Ibsen said she sees a solid future in the acting industry.

“What’s exciting about the entertainment industry is that there are so many platforms and scripts that I used to say I wanted to be set in film, it’s wonderful to be able to spend three to four months on one story, but there are so many television shows with quality scripts that I would love to be involved in as well. So, I’m building a long term career across many platforms and there are probably even platforms that don’t even exist yet. I love telling stories and reaching audiences.”

Ibsen was home in Florence for the holidays but will head back in early January for the “pilot season” in LA.

She has family in Ravalli County, Missoula County and all over the state and said her family has been around for a number of generations. She now lives in Los Angeles, California and misses the Treasure State.

“When I’m in Montana I feel like I’m a California girl and shiver in the cold, but when I’m in LA I’m definitely a Montana girl,” she said.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2015 Ravalli Republic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Florence Carlton School District’s New Superintendent says “Attitude is everything and we are going to be positive.”

Scully takes over as head of Florence schools

Edward “Bud” Scully is the new superintendent at Florence-Carlton schools. “Attitude is everything and we are going to be positive,” said Scully. “Everything is new – like a fresh coat of paint. I’ve talked to a lot of kids and they tell me how great the staff is. Stay positive to do a better job for the kids – that what we’re here for.” PHOTO BY: DOUG McCONNAHA – for the Ravalli Republic

July 20, 2014 3:00 pm  • 

FLORENCE – Edward “Bud” Scully is settling in as the new superintendent at Florence-Carlton schools, replacing John McGee, the turbulent superintendent from 2005 to 2013, whose time was filled with argument, strife and plagiarism.

Scully started in Florence on June 30 with a five and a half hour board meeting – which included a walk-through, meeting, general updates and planning for the future.

“Attitude is everything and we are going to be positive,” said Scully.

“Everything is new – like a fresh coat of paint. I’ve talked to a lot of kids and they tell me how great the staff is. Stay positive to do a better job for the kids – that’s what we’re here for.”

Scully has 35 years in education and moved to Montana from Mohave Valley, Arizona where he was the principal of River Valley High School. He said his career in education began in high school when he became head custodian as a senior.

“I was handed the keys to the kingdom and worked hard for nine months until I went to college,” said Scully.

He continued doing maintenance work while at college where he received a P.E. major and a minor in science. He taught at the Catholic high school he graduated from, worked at a warehouse and then got a job in Salome, Ariz.

For 16 years he taught science, P.E., health and driver’s education and coached baseball, basketball and football. When he left he was the superintendent.

He and his wife taught in Needles, California. He worked at a Junior High teaching science and media technology.

“I’ve taught 13 different subjects – at small schools you’ve got to be flexible,” said Scully. “I’ve been a teacher, a counselor, the AD, vice-principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent – I’ve worn many, many hats in my long career.”

He has even served on a school board.

Then, he worked for Monte Silk at River Valley High in Arizona as a principal.

“I went to work for him and we became best friends,” said Scully, who stayed as principal of River Valley for the past 12 years.

Silk moved to Montana five years ago to be the superintendent of Corvallis Schools, he retired in June.

Silk was Scully’s tie to Montana.

“I interviewed for the Corvallis superintendent job and other places,” said Scully. “[The Florence-Carlton School District] had heard about me from articles in the paper on Corvallis. They called and asked if I could interview and they offered me a one year interim job – I took it. They had issues about hiring practices so they wanted to open it up so it is just an interim job.”

Scully said he is also here for beautiful Western Montana and that Florence-Carlton is small enough to provide big opportunities for his kids. He has three boys: 18, 13 and 11. In the fall they are going to Wichita State University in Kansas on a baseball scholarship, studying at Florence-Carlton in eighth and fifth grade, respectively.

The Florence-Carlton School District has big changes in their administration team.

“Audrey Backus was the principal of grades 3-8; she is moving up to 6-12,” said Scully. “What’s great is that she’s had all those kids through middle school and she’ll know them in high school. Chrissy Hulla will be principal of grades k-5. Also, our business manager resigned and is still here helping us out while we’re looking for a new one.”

Scully said he has had a positive start as superintendent of the Florence-Carlton School District.

“Everyone is very welcoming and there’s a great office staff,” said Scully. “I’d love to stay here. I’ve met many so many wonderful people.

“Attitude is everything and we are going to be positive – if you complain about the district you complain about yourself. We cannot allow a political agenda to affect the school.

“If it’s good for kids, we’re going to do it and we are going to stay positive.”

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

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

SOURCE: Scully takes over as head of Florence schools.


Jul 1, 2014 10:26 AM by Jacqueline Quynh – KPAX News

Interim Florence schools chief tours school

FLORENCE – The new interim superintendent for the troubled Florence-Carlton School District marked his first day on the job on Monday.

Bud Scully takes over for the former embattled Superintendent John McGee – who resigned earlier this month.

Scully had a full agenda Monday, touring the district’s elementary and high school facilities to see what needs attention. Although the position is “interim,” Scully says he wants to stay for the long term.

“You’ve got to go out and beat the bushes for money – writing grants, talking to local contractors for some of the improvements, and just finding ways to bring in dollars that just aren’t part of the normal budget,” Scully told us.

Scully says he’s had 35 years of experience in education and has worn a lot of hats – starting from being a janitor as a teen in high school to becoming a teacher later in life, before working as a superintendent for 30 years in Arizona.

Members of the board of trustees say they still have to look at other applicants before coming to a final decision on hiring a permanent superintendent.


VIDEO: http://www.kpax.com/news/interim-florence-schools-chief-tours-school/

SOURCE: http://www.kpax.com/news/interim-florence-schools-chief-tours-school/

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Florence-Carlton Superintendent to Interview for Principal Job at Emerson Elementary

Ten people apply for Emerson job: Ten candidates have applied for the Emerson Elementary School principal’s job.  They will be interviewed starting May 13.  The candidates are Brenda Miner, Josh Schad and Travis Johnson, all of Butte; Dawn Rowling, Helena; Patti Harrison and Steve Nash, Bozeman; Rebecca Clute, Roundup; John McGee, Florence; Herman Gerving, Whitehall; and Frank Cassidy, Idaho Falls. Details on when that new principal will be named weren’t immediately available.”

Florence Carlton Superintendent Interviews for Emerson Elementary Job

Florence-Carlton School Superintendent, John C. McGee, Seeks Emerson Elementary Principal Job


FLORENCE – In his second effort in recent months to secure employment elsewhere, Florence-Carlton Superintendent, John C. McGee has yet another job interview with another School, in Butte, Montana, Emerson Elementary.  The interviews will begin, May 13, 2014.  Mr McGee will not be present at the scheduled Florence-Carlton Board of Trustees meeting at which two new Trustees will be sworn in as a result of the current election.  The fact that McGee has been openly seeking other employment could be a cause for concern to newly elected Trustees.


mtstandard.com mcgee applies for job in

Superintendent John C McGee Interviews for Emerson Elementary Job

SOURCE:  http://mtstandard.com/news/local/emerson-elementary-school-principal-retiring-after-years-in-the-district/article_8b7f4bd2-d738-11e3-afcd-0019bb2963f4.html

2012 Mill Levy Not Enough To Save German Language Program at Florence-Carlton

May 04, 2012 … “the mill levy will be used to retain two middle school teaching positions, one high school foreign language teaching position, and will help to prevent maintenance supply cuts. It will not go to the superintendent.” – Florence-Carlton Superintendent, John C. McGee, via the Missoulian

FLORENCE – Superintendent John C. McGee called for a  SPECIAL MEETING of the BOARD of TRUSTEES Monday evening, May 5th, 2014 (the eve of the Trustee Election).  At the meeting, Superintendent McGee recommended Reductions-In-Force (RIF’s) (firing Teachers) as a solution to balance the alledged Budget shortfall that has yet to be proven to the Public and one Trustee in particular.  McGee further stated the following:

… it was a difficult decision, but it had to be made because of budget constraints and declining enrollment. The news was hard to take for those who showed support for the teachers.

The quote at the beginning of this article was made by McGee in May of 2012. In the May 8th, 2012 election, the Florence Carlton School District 15-6 Taxpayers voted to approve a $130,000 Mill Levy.  The Levy was presented as a way to ensure that Florence would be able to KEEP the GERMAN LANGUAGE  program.  In the months preceeding the Mill Levy Vote, a group, which included Florence Teachers, formed “PASS IT – Florence”. On this page you will find the following information and comments urging community members to VOTE in FAVOR of the LEVY:

PASS IT - FLORENCE Description We are People Actively Supporting Schools In our Town - Florence. We welcome supportive posts and will only accept posts from individuals who identify themselves. We will NOT accept anonymous posts.

We are People Actively Supporting Schools In our Town – Florence. We welcome supportive posts and will only accept posts from individuals who identify themselves. We will NOT accept anonymous posts.

PASS-It - 02 PASS-It - 03PASS-It - 04PASS-It - 05PASS-It - 06 PASS-It - 07

Ironically, only two years later, there is not enough funding in the current Budget to maintain the program, so it is cut.  One fact that is disturbing to many who voted for the Mill Levy in 2012 is that the Superintendent recently received a 3-year extension to his contract with a 6% Raise in the face of being reprimanded by the Montana State Board of Public Education in September 2013 for his multiple acts of PLAGIARISM in the Florence School Newspaper over the course of at least 3 years.


KPAX was at the Meeting and filed this report:

17 hours 39 minutes ago by Jacqueline Quynh – KPAX News

Discussion heats up over Florence teacher cuts

FLORENCE – It was an emotional night for parents and teachers as they grilled the Florence Carlton School Board about why they are letting teachers go.

The school board ended up cutting two positions – with a math teacher and a foreign language teacher losing their jobs. Because of an unexpected resignation on the staff, a librarian will keep her job, although her duties will change somewhat.

Superintendent John McGee says it was a difficult decision, but it had to be made because of budget constraints and declining enrollment. The news was hard to take for those who showed support for the teachers.

“I would like to know as a first year German student what am I supposed to do for my second year of German to get into college?” student Jade Zeiler asked.

“I’m sorry again we don’t have a crystal ball to make this all better, so what the opportunities are going to be available will be put you guys, and you guys will be able to make some sort of decision about how you want to proceed,” chairperson Pat Appleby stated.

“So yes we don’t have a crystal ball, but we can’t be sitting here doing a trial and error, when the people that people that actually suffer, are the students we are actually trying to prep,” parent Roger Castillo commented.

The eliminated teachers will be effective at the end of the school year this year. Some students we talked with say they may look into how they can attend schools in Missoula to continue classes that will also be cut as teachers are let go.

The job cuts will take effect at the end of this school year. Some students told us they may transfer to Missoula schools to continue classes that have been affected.


SOURCE: http://www.kpax.com/news/discussion-heats-up-over-florence-teacher-cuts/?fb_action_ids=10201914707214478&fb_action_types=og.comments

Trustee Candidate Called On To Organize “Teacher Appreciation” Event Despite Lack of Support From Teacher’s Union

Florence-Carlton School: Zeiler supports students, teachers Image

I would like to take a minute to let the people of Florence know Tara Zeiler the way I do.

The day after the teachers of Florence-Carlton School voted to stand behind Vickie Cornish and Dorothy Rhodes in the upcoming school board election, Zeiler received a phone call from the principal asking to take the lead or charge role in “teachers appreciation week.” Guess what? She said, “Yes, not a problem.” Zeiler is called upon time and time again to organize and take the lead on many functions at the school.

People have been dragging her name behind a big truck since she decided to run for school board, calling her names, calling her unfit to be around our kids, just to name a few things. She is involved in the school in so many positive things.

They asked her to head teachers appreciation week because they knew she would get the job done. If the teachers don’t want her on the school board and want Cornish and Rhodes, why then were they not asked to head this event?

Zeiler and her family are very hard-working people and I would trust them to get the job done and done well. This is just a small sample of the kind of women she is.

To the citizens of Florence, it is time for a change. It is time to invest in our children and in all the positive things our school and community has to offer. Our current school board has been filled with conflict, chaos and questionable actions for far too long. We need a full board whose actions are transparent, honest and amicable with the community.

Zeiler has been a prominent member of our community and has volunteered countless hours at our school in many ways.

Kelly Mikesell, Florence

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

Former Teacher’s Union President and Senior Teacher At Florence-Carlton Explains Union Endorsement

Cornish, Rhodes value quality education at Florence-Carlton

April 29, 2014 8:04 am

On April 10 the members of the Florence-Carlton Education Association voted overwhelmingly to endorse the two incumbent candidates, Vickie Cornish and Dorothy Rhodes, in the upcoming election to fill two seats on the Florence-Carlton Board of Trustees.

The FCEA, comprised of 100 percent of the faculty in grades K-12, conducted this vote after holding private interviews with all four candidates as well as hosting a community forum at which the candidates answered questions posed by both the FCEA and members of the community. This vote is significant because it not only validates the 12 years of service provided by Cornish and Rhodes, but also provides a clear mandate for future educational policy decisions made by the local school board.

The Florence school district has endured some tumultuous times recently, but throughout all of it, Cornish and Rhodes have served unselfishly, generously giving their time and effort to attempt to improve the quality of education and the daily life of every student in the Florence-Carlton Schools. They have never sought individual gain nor pursued a narrow, personal agenda.

We have reached a tipping point concerning the viability and future of the Florence-Carlton School District. A relatively few people who don’t seem to understand the value of civility, unity and compromise have taken it upon themselves to attempt to divide and potentially destroy the school system. This small, but very vocal segment of the community has repeatedly used negative tactics over the past several years to attempt to further an agenda that undermines much of the educational progress made in the Florence school district over the past 10 years.

The true significance of this vote is the nearly unanimous rejection of the platform espoused by this vocal minority in our community. The teachers of Florence-Carlton School have emphatically voiced their dedication to the interests of their students and the overall educational quality of the school by repudiating the negative message promoted by a destructive minority in the community. I urge all members of the Florence community who truly value the educational future of this school district to join in supporting quality education by electing Vickie Cornish and Dorothy Rhodes.

Craig Kuchel is a 36-year member of the Florence-Carlton Education Association, and lives in Florence.


“If you are interested in the students and education, maybe you should retire Kuchel. You are one of the leaders of the club of teachers that intimidates and bullys other good teachers. The kids see it and if you want this school to move beyond the tipping point you should revisit your youth and remember why you got into teaching in the first place. The young Kuchel would dissaprove of the present day Kuchel. You are one of the best Biology teachers, but now you spend your time bullying and intimidating young teachers that oppose your good ole boy club trying to hold on to a corrupt administration. Wonder what a young Kuchel teacher would do if he had to face the bullying of the old Kuchel. Food for thought.” – comment by ‘WaitingforSuperman’ in Missoulian….

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

Florence Coffee Company Owners: “Lost Location, In Our Own Words”

Lost Location, In Our Own Words……

  We’ve recently received a tremendous amount of questions about the circumstances surrounding the loss of our location on South Reserve.  We would like to take this opportunity to express our thoughts on this matter, and fill you in on the details, most of which has just recently come to light. 


   Our family, The Tamblyns were taught you get ahead by working hard.  Being raised in Montana by parents who own and operate their own businesses stressed the importance and value of ethical business behavior and treating your competitors with respect, this is called ‘Commerce’.


   With that said…..Clearly, Ed Coffman (Lambros Realty) only had intentions of making this transaction work for the Loose Caboose.  Coffman was fully aware that we wanted to stay in this location.  Ed Coffman and Malcolm Lowe can say what they want, but we know for a fact they worked behind the scenes to steal our location.  As the buyers, Realtor and Malcolm Lowe’s Realtor (conveniently the same), Coffman had a moral obligation to give us an opportunity to secure this space.  We would have gladly taken the opportunity to negotiate the price and ability to secure a long-term lease and warehouse space.  In defense of Stockman Bank, we received a phone call from the President of the Bank personally apologizing for the way this situation was handled, and assuring us that this is not the way he does business.


   Four years ago when we purchased the prior location, Copper Cup Coffee, we were so excited to serve this region of Missoula and accommodate our Bitterroot cliental.  Growing this location took a lot of hard work and determination but with help from our great employees and loyal customers we pressed on and made it happen.  Our amazing customers are the whole reason behind our success and make all this hard work worth doing.


   We are so disappointed that our opportunity to serve our loyal customers has been stolen out from under us, especially after four years of a combined effort to build the value of the business on that property.  We will continue to do what we do best by serving superior product and ethically conducting business.  We must look forward to the future and put this whole situation behind us to focus on what is important, serving our customers.


   At this point, we will take it as the highest form of flattery that our competition felt the need to underhandedly acquire part of our business, as well as Starbucks wanting to compete right next to us on Brooks.  We must be doing something right!


   Lastly, we want to thank our customers for your continued support of Florence Coffee Co and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our company.



The Tamblyns

SOURCE: http://florencecoffeeco.com/lost-location-words/


Florence Carlton Students Protest Teacher’s Firing Over Budget Cuts


Pending Teacher Firings Met With Protest in Florence

Photo courtesy of Tara Zeiler

Hand drawn signs reading, “Save Buckner” were posted outside of Florence-Carlton High School this morning, April 30, after children found out that a beloved German teacher would likely be cut from the staff.

“The kids were upset so they made 100 posters last night,” said trustee candidate Tara Zeiler,  mother of one of the protesters. “They displayed them this morning at 7:00 a.m. according to the school’s handbook and Mr. Grabowska, the high school principal went around at 7:30 this morning tearing all of them down. When the students went in and asked why he tore them down or if they could have them back, he wouldn’t engage in any conversation with the students at all.”

Mr. Buckner isn’t alone in receiving a staff reduction letter. According to school board Trustee Colby Reynolds, a librarian and a science teacher will also be cut on May 5, one day before the next trustee election.

“I think it’s unethical,” Reynolds said. “I mean, they did the same thing last year when they called a special meeting the day before the election and rehired all the teachers and gave them raises. I’ll call it straight-out as dirty politics.”

Florence-Carlton is struggling with declining enrollment and the need to make a quarter of a million dollars worth of cuts.

LISTEN TO TRUSTEE CANDIDATE Tara Zeiler & CURRENT TRUSTEE Colby Reynolds: http://newstalkkgvo.com/pending-teacher-firings-met-with-protest-in-florence/

Photo courtesy of Tara Zeiler

Read More: Pending Teacher Firings Met With Protest in Florence | http://newstalkkgvo.com/pending-teacher-firings-met-with-protest-in-florence/?trackback=tsmclip

“The Superintendent must be of good character and of unquestionable morals and integrity.” Has Been Removed From FCSD 15-6 Policy 6110

“The Superintendent must be of good character and of unquestionable morals and integrity.” Has Been Removed From FCSD 15-6 Policy 6110.





Over-Zealous Campaigning By Florence Carlton School Teacher Angers Residents

As residents of Florence, it is alarming to us that a teacher from Florence-Carlton used a school list to email in mass to write a letter that states, “To the haters, if it’s that bad at Florence, take your children and go to another school. And to the few teachers that have agendas, (the Office of Public Instruction) has many job openings.”

First of all, we do not consider ourselves haters. We have the right to support whoever we choose in an open election. Giving our support to one candidate does not mean that we hate the other candidate(s). As adults, we are allowed to disagree with someone without hating them. It is similar to purchasing a car. After narrowing our choices down, we purchase one because we like it the best, not because we hate the other choices. The community of Florence is blessed to have four qualified people who care enough to run for school board. There have been other districts that have not had enough people to fill open positions.

In response to the ongoing invitation to “take your children and go to another school,” we did. If anyone from the school had bothered to ask us why we left, we would have gladly explained. For the record, we did not leave because of the economy or loss of jobs. To the contrary; the strong economy has make it possible for us to be able to pay the additional tuition and traveling expenses associated with switching schools. Before we left, we were promised time and again that Florence-Carlton School is “all about the kids.” Inviting even one student to leave rather than taking time to work together as a community for the best interest of the students, proves that it is not all about the kids.

Russell and Julee Guenther, Florence

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

Mixed Reactions to Judge’s Report on Ravalli County Treasurer Scandal


Report on Ravalli Treasurer’s office creates mixed reaction in community


scott zoltan By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
POSTED: 5:18 PM Apr 12 2014

We’re continuing to gather new reaction on retired judge Nels Swandal’s report released Thursday, which stated that Swandal found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the Ravalli County Treasurer’s Office. Stamey had made allegations of corruption against multiple county officials and workers.

Swandal’s report also stated Stamey should have made more effort to learn her duties and responsibilities.

Commissioner Suzy Foss tells us she thinks Swandal didn’t perform a true investigation, and says it was limited. She says from what she knew, Stamey was a dedicated worker who put in extra hours on nights and weekends.

“I think that the goal of this particular investigation was to try and make everybody come out looking okay without getting into the realities,” said Foss.

Former treasurer JoAnne Johnson tells us from the beginning that Stamey didn’t appear to be interested in how the office worked or how the money was receipted and reconciled.

“It was like, from the get-go, she was not cooperative. She didn’t want to learn. She wouldn’t sit down with me and let me teach her things,” said Johnson.

Ravalli Commissioner Greg Chilcott tells us commissioners are expected to schedule a meeting next week with the Ravalli County Attorney’s office to discuss further action about the Treasurer’s Office.

Man Loses Life In Fall From Roof In Florence

Worker dies after fall from roof of Florence home

April 10, 2014 1:38 pm  •  

A 51-year-old Bonner man died Thursday of injuries he sustained after falling from the roof of a Florence residence.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said the man was part of a crew removing shingles from the roof on Wednesday when he fell approximately 9 feet to the ground.

He was taken to a Missoula hospital where he died late Thursday morning.

The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Watch Missoulian.com and RavalliRepublic.com for updates on this story.

SOURCE: http://ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/article_da556eab-cdf5-563f-9248-78aba9fa8422.html

Judge Swandal says no criminal wrong-doing, FBI Investigation not complete


“At this time it does not appear that Judge Swandal uncovered any evidence of criminal conduct,” “However, we will also wait to see if any evidence of crimes under Montana law is developed by the pending FBI investigation.” – Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fullbright

by Dennis Bragg

(HAMILTON)- A retired District Court judge finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the dispute between Ravalli County commissioners and suspended Treasurer Valerie Stamey.

The release of the report written by Judge Nels Swandal was came this afternoon by Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright, who called for the investigation after Stamey made allegations of criminal activity involving county commissioners. Stamey made the claims after county commissioners pressed her on escalating accounting problems in the office she was appointed to run last fall.

“At this time it does not appear that Judge Swandal uncovered any evidence of criminal conduct,” Fulbright wrote in a prepared statement. “However, we will also wait to see if any evidence of crimes under Montana law is developed by the pending FBI investigation.

“Fulbright says that report will help determine whether there are any problems that might need to be referred to the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation. Any “non-criminal”personnel issues would be dealt with in Hamilton by following the county’s personnel policies and Montana labor laws.

Stamey was placed on paid administrative leave after the falling out with commissioners,who subsequently fined her more than $50,000 for not filing reports required by state law. The suit leveling those fines has been on hold pending the rest of the investigation being handled by the county attorney.

Superintendent McGee Still at the Helm in Florence, But For How Long?

FLORENCE, MT – Superintendent John C. McGee is questioned by Trustee Colby Reynolds about his intentions to seek other employment outside of the District.  Reynolds recommended that the board enter into some discussion about the possible need to begin the process of finding a replacement for the Superintendent if he is going to continue to “look for work elsewhere”.  Trustee Reynolds also expressed displeasure in the fact that he had no knowledge of the Superintendent’s interview with Sidney prior to reading about it “in the paper.”



 by Dennis Bragg – KPAX News

Florence school superintendent, other candidates passed over for Sidney job

SIDNEY – Florence School Superintendent John McGee won’t be packing his bags for a new job in Sidney, as he’s been passed over for a new superintendent’s job in the northeastern Montana city.

McGee was one of three finalists for the post of school superintendent in Sidney, where the district is looking for a new chief administrator to take over this coming school year.

The other candidates were Culbertson School Superintendent Larry Crowder and Kim Harding, who’s been superintendent for the Sheridan School District for just over 5-years.

All three candidates were hosted in Sidney last week, but when the board met Monday night it decided to pass on all three.

Sidney School Board Chair Kelly Dey says directors felt none of the three candidates were exactly what the district was looking for in its next administrator.

She added that the board enjoyed meeting McGee and the others, but have decided to widen their search to find other candidates.

McGee has had a rocky relationship at times in Florence, clashing with some parents who have taken him and the board to task for different policies.

That included a clash last year when McGee was suspended for a time after admitting to plagiarizing someone else’s writings for a school newsletter.

Florence, Montana Doctor’s Medical License Suspended After Raid

Florence, Montana Doctor’s Medical License Suspended After Raid

“The board’s investigator also examined records from the Montana Prescription Drug Registry as part of her investigation. She found that Christensen prescribed one chronic pain patient 8,900 methadone tables in a 133-day period, or roughly 67 tablets per day.

In another 14-month period, Christensen prescribed that same patient 19,508 methadone tablets, or more than 45 tablets per day for more than one year. The patient would commonly use 1,000 tablets, a 30-day prescription, in as little as 13 days.”

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/raided-florence-doctor-s-medical-license-suspended/article_04218d92-3fbd-51e4-82da-feda32bb78da.html#ixzz2yJsUgOx2

3 hours ago  •  

Citing the death of two patients from drug overdoses along with “substandard medical decision-making and judgment” and “irresponsible and substandard prescribing of controlled substances,” the Montana Board of Medical Examiners indefinitely suspended the medical license of Dr. Chris Christensen of Florence after a hearing Monday.

Christensen’s medical practice, Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Florence, was raided by Ravalli County and federal authorities, including DEA agents, last Monday. They were serving a search warrant following a two-year investigation into the doctor’s prescription-writing practices.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

The medical board, which conducted its own investigation into the doctor, released a number of facts regarding Christensen to support its decision.

Among them was a finding that two of Christensen’s patients in Montana, for whom he prescribed methadone, have died from drug overdoses. The board also found that Christensen’s practice was on a cash-only basis and that he improperly acquired prescription medications intended for patients, including controlled substances, and then kept and distributed the drugs at his clinic.

They also found that Christensen resorted to fraud, misrepresentation or deception in the examination, treatment and billing of patients.

On Jan. 16, the Montana Board of Pharmacy filed a complaint against Christensen, alleging that some of his patients had filed complaints against a pharmacist on the grounds that the pharmacist refused to fill prescriptions issued by Christensen.

The Board of Pharmacy dismissed the patients’ complaints against the pharmacist, finding that the pharmacist had properly exercised his professional judgment to refuse to fill prescriptions for controlled substances. The pharmacist’s professional opinion was that the prescriptions had not been issued in the course of a legitimate or reputable professional practice.

The Board of Pharmacy then issued its complaint against Christensen, and the Board of Medical Examiners launched an investigation into the Board of Pharmacy’s allegations.

On April 3, two days after Christensen’s offices were raided by authorities, the board’s investigator released her report.

The board convened a special panel Monday to make a decision on Christensen’s medical license, and he took part in the discussion by telephone, accompanied by his lawyer. The board summarily suspended his license, effective indefinitely.


In defending its decision, the board made a number of facts from the investigation public.

The report was prepared by Michael L. Fanning, a special assistant attorney general with the Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Legal Services. Christensen’s suspension order was signed by Dr. Anna Earl, presiding officer of the Montana Board of Medical Examiners.

The report states:

“The Screening Panel finds that the public health, safety and/or welfare imperatively requires emergency action in this matter.”

The report also states that Christensen’s medical charts demonstrate irresponsible and substandard prescribing of controlled substances, and that his prescriptions were written and timed so as to permit the patient to acquire excess pills over the number needed for the dosage for a given time period.

“Dr. Christensen prescribed dangerous combinations and quantities of drugs which are known to decrease respiration, posing a risk of death to the patient,” the report states. “In such cases, Dr. Christensen failed to properly counsel patients on the risks of these drug combinations and quantities and failed to adequately monitor the patients’ use of these drugs. The patient records document not only high doses of methadone, but also these same patients were simultaneously prescribed Xanax, Soma and hydrocodone in excessive doses and quantities.”

The board’s investigator also examined records from the Montana Prescription Drug Registry as part of her investigation. She found that Christensen prescribed one chronic pain patient 8,900 methadone tables in a 133-day period, or roughly 67 tablets per day.

In another 14-month period, Christensen prescribed that same patient 19,508 methadone tablets, or more than 45 tablets per day for more than one year. The patient would commonly use 1,000 tablets, a 30-day prescription, in as little as 13 days.

She also found that unusually large doses of controlled substances caused some pharmacists to resist or refuse to fill Christensen’s prescription orders.

The report states that Christensen’s medical practice was marked by substandard medical decision-making and judgment, often not performing evaluations on patients complaining of pain and simply prescribing unusually high doses of narcotics. Christensen is alleged to have issued a false statement in connection with a medical marijuana card in 2013.


The report states that Christensen’s charting and medical records are often illegible and are substandard, and that he failed to document even routine physical examinations and proper histories.

“Dr. Christensen wrote a prescription to a chronic pain patient for 300 Dilaudid 4 mg tablets and then remarked to the patient, ‘This is $3,000 worth of Ds,’ ” the report states. “The patient reported surprise that her doctor used the street name for Dilaudid and was aware of the price of diverted Dilaudid on the street.”

The fact that Christensen accepted only cash also raised suspicions.

“Cash-based pain clinics that do not accept private insurance or government-funded health care are recognized by law enforcement and medical professionals to attract patients seeking to abuse or divert controlled substances,” the report states.

The investigator also found that Christensen left blank prescription pads lying around the clinic, and that one chronic pain patient admitted to stealing one. Christensen also possessed an unsecured bag of hundreds of assorted tablets and capsules.

Christensen was acquitted by an Idaho jury in 2010 on charges of illegal distribution of controlled substances. Another case was brought against him in 2007 alleging that he prescribed methadone and Xanax that resulted in the death of a patient, but the charges were dismissed by an Idaho district court judge.

Christensen has 20 days to appeal his suspension.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/raided-florence-doctor-s-medical-license-suspended/article_04218d92-3fbd-51e4-82da-feda32bb78da.html#ixzz2yJoISIk2

McGee Contract Extension w/ Raises Despite Reprimand from Montana Board of Public Education

Superintendent Given Raise and Contract Extension After Admitting to Serial Plagiarism in School Newspaper

Trustees and Staff stood unified in their conviction that the Office of Public Instruction taking away “our local control” would be bad. Trustee Vickie Cornish stated, “there are a few ‘individuals'” who are trying take local control “away from us”. To see more video from this meeting, please follow the links contained in the video.

Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey Testifies at Commissioners’ Hearing

Appointed treasurer Valerie Stamey testifies at commissioners’ hearing


Kevin Maki
By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
POSTED: 7:17 PM Apr 02 2014
HAMILTON, Mont. – AppointedRavalli County Treasurer ValerieStamey has been elusive in most public meetings.She is on paid administrative leave since January for failing to provide financial reports on time. But on Wednesday, she testified before county commissioners over a reorganization plan in her office.

Commissioners looked at a proposal to eliminate the chief deputy position. They ended up keeping it, but they made changes.

Stamey’s appearance in the audience may have been a surprise.

But before Stamey was removed from office she had been working on a plan to eliminate the chief deputy job and to replace it with two supervisors for each department. The chief deputy helps oversee both taxes and motor vehicles.

“I believe I should have the opportunity to be involved in this staffing recommendation,” said Stamey.

Stamey is concerned that Montana law leaves the county liable if its clerks are called deputies. Human resources doesn’t see a problem. Commissioners kept the chief deputy position, but won’t fill it at this time.

Two supervisors or “leads” in taxes and DMV will get stipends for additional work they are doing.

Stamey said FBI agents have interviewed her at her request about corruption she alleges in the treasurer’s office.

“My attorney and I met with agents for over five hours,” said Stamey, “reviewing the evidence and the documents that I already have.”

Stamey said she should not have been put on administrative leave. She said evidence in investigations should “prove beyond a shadow of a doubt” that she did not commit a crime.

Commissioners have sued Stamey over late reports.

She remains on the primary ballot for treasurer.

“I believe my chances are strong,” she said. “I am a supporter for our citizens’ rights.”

Stamey said she has no plans for filing any additional lawsuits at this time. But she said there will be more forthcoming once the FBI finishes its first review of the evidence.

Florence Superintendent John C. McGee Speaks to Sidney School District in Interview

McGee did discuss his involvement with plagiarism. He was suspended for 10 days without pay in Florence-Carlton. He said he didn’t lose his position because trustees told him that’s not what the community wanted. He spoke to high school classes about plagiarism. He said the episode brought him back to the roots of who he is.

“I’m an educator.”

Sidney’s school officials heard from John McGee, one of three candidates for the superintendent of schools position, on Monday. Candidate Larry Crowder was interviewed Tuesday and candidate Kim Harding will be interviewed Wednesday (today) at 7 p.m. at the Sidney High School cafeteria.

McGee has served as superintendent of the Florence-Carlton School District since 2005. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of the Montana City School District in Clancy.

During Monday night’s interview with trustees and a small audience, McGee noted that he has had success passing mill levies in places “where they said they don’t pass levies.” He added that “good people value education.”

When asked about the role of a school board, McGee said a board is a policy-governing body. Trustees need to know what’s going on and hold people accountable. The board should allow the operation of the school to be done by the administration.

He feels the most important part of a superintendent’s job is hiring and making recommendations for the people to serve the students. “When the rubber hits the road, the most important thing in the classroom is the teacher.” He also mentioned communicating with the public as an important part of the superintendent’s job.

His vision for public education is to have all students be involved as life-long learners. Graduating from high school shouldn’t be the end of learning. “Public education needs to instill that in kids.”

As far as recruiting teachers, McGee said he’s enjoyed success by getting involved with the university’s teaching education program. Florence-Carlton tries to have as many student-teachers as possible. He said attending job fairs and contacting the university when an opening occurs are also important.

When asked how the superintendent should be evaluated, McGee said the best evaluation involved establishing and meeting goals. Evaluations should be an ongoing process of discussions and analysis. “A good evaluation is a respect of understanding between parties.”

McGee did discuss his involvement with plagiarism. He was suspended for 10 days without pay in Florence-Carlton. He said he didn’t lose his position because trustees told him that’s not what the community wanted. He spoke to high school classes about plagiarism. He said the episode brought him back to the roots of who he is. “I’m an educator.” 

After Wednesday night’s interview, trustees will consider offering the position to one of the candidates.

editor@sidneyherald.com – http://www.sidneyherald.com/news/school-interviews-begin/article_f05cb01c-b9f1-11e3-a7e1-001a4bcf887a.html#.UzwWtGeqGIE.facebook


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.


Florence Superintendent John C. McGee Seeks Sidney School District Superintendent Position

Florence Superintendent Seeks Sidney Job

Florence Superintendent Seeks Sidney Job


Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014 8:00 pm
By Bill Vander Weele Sidney Herald

“The Sidney School Board has selected three finalists to be the school district’s next superintendent of schools. In February, Daniel Farr announced his decision for this to be his final school year as Sidney’s superintendent of schools.

The three finalists are Larry Crowder, the current superintendent of schools in Culbertson, Kim Harding, the current superintendent/K-6 principal in Sheridan and John McGee, the current superintendent of the Florence-Carlton School District. Seven individuals applied for the position.

The interview process is scheduled for March 31 and April 1-2.
Crowder has served as Culbertson’s superintendent since 1998. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of schools in Saco. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northern Montana College and master’s degree from Montana State University.

“Sidney’s always been revered in northeastern Montana as a top school, both in academics and activities and in about every capacity,” Crowder told the Herald. “The thought of working at a larger school has always been intriguing to me.”

Harding joined the Sheridan School District in 2008. She has also served as the pre-K-12 principal of the Garden Valley in Garden Valley, Idaho. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in elementary education, a masters degree in educational leadership from the University of Montana and a doctorate of educational leadership from the University of Montana.

McGee has served as superintendent of the Florence-Carlton School District since 2005. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of the Montana City School District in Clancy. McGee holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana and a masters degree in administrative supervision from the University of Phoenix.”

SOURCE – http://www.sidneyherald.com/news/finalists-selected-for-school-position/article_de68ba9e-b227-11e3-bf09-0019bb2963f4.html#.UzWyewUj6Y0.facebook




17 hours 53 minutes ago by KPAX News Staff

Florence schools superintendent finalist for Sidney job

Florence schools chief John McGee is in the running for the top spot in Sidney.

The Sidney Herald reports that McGee is one of three finalists that were recently selected by the Sidney School Board.

Current Sidney Schools Superintendent Daniel Farr announced last month that this would be his last year in the post.

The Sidney Herald reports seven people applied for the position, and that interviews with the finalists will take place on March 31, April 1 and April 2.

McGee has served as superintendent of the Florence-Carlton School District since 2005.


Maclay Ranch asking price adjusted to $17.5M, a $5M discount


Navigating the COMMON CORE – A Smarter Balance?

Complexities threaten implementation



The debate over the Common Core State Standards Initiative has rocketed to the forefront of education policy discussions around the country. More than 3,000 stories were written about the common core in August of 2013 alone, with another 3,000-plus in September. While gallons of ink have been spilled trying to make sense of it all, there remains much confusion about where this reform is headed. Despite some potential benefits from the common core standards, to be successful the policy must navigate a field of mines, any one of which could blow the enterprise sky-high.

There is certainly value to having a common set of clear, cross-state standards, and its developers have two things absolutely right: First, common standards will clarify the brave new world of online and blended learning and the explosion of innovative and useful technology resources for students. It is of enormous help to developers to have a uniform set of standards to guide the design of their applications. When I started in education, I taught in Montgomery, Alabama, a small city in a state with much less access to customized textbooks and resources than larger and wealthier cities and states. With a common set of standards, the innovations of developers in Silicon Valley can be downloaded as easily in Alabama as in California. At least in theory, the greater, nationwide competition among developers should drive down costs and drive up quality. Lesson-sharing web sites like BetterLesson and Share My Lesson can benefit teachers from across the country, helping them separate grain from chaff.

Second, there is also something to be said for having common expectations for all students. This is not a new idea. Thomas Jefferson outlined a pretty reasonable set of standards back in 1818. He said every student should be taught the skills and knowledge necessary to transact his own business, improve his morals and faculties, understand his duty to his neighbors and country, know his rights, vote in an informed manner, and hold elected officials responsible. Core Knowledge guru E. D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy has brought this call into the 21st century. Echoing Jefferson, Hirsch argues that a basic set of common knowledge is essential to our economy, our democracy, and our society.

But the common core is not the only game in town. All across the country, states are reforming teacher preparation and evaluation, technology policy, school finance, school organization, and a host of other facets of the American education system. The question is not, therefore, are these standards “good” or “bad,” but rather, whether they will be successfully integrated into existing efforts to reform schooling. On this score, I remain skeptical.

Three forces will be central in determining whether or not the common core is ultimately successful in accelerating and not hindering efforts to reform education: oversight, infrastructure, and politics.


The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia with the strong support of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). While this genesis was great for securing the backing of various stakeholders and for ensuring the successful adoption of the standards, such an origin does not have clear implications for long-term management and oversight. There are numerous tasks that a CCSS governing body would need to undertake, including revising the standards as needed, holding states accountable for faithful implementation of the standards and administration of the tests, and fostering cooperation across states so as to leverage the national scope of the project. To date, it is not clear who or what is going to perform these functions.

If states are allowed to create their own tests and set the associated cut scores for proficiency or implement the standards as they best interpret them, any “common” element of the common core will fade away. This risks fracturing the national marketplace the standards created back into the 50 independent markets that existed before the standards were adopted. Whatever other impact this would have, it would certainly prevent the common core from living up to any Jeffersonian or wide-open market ideal.

Former National Education Association chief John Wilson has called for the creation of a “Common Core Czar” to manage the common core. He believes that this person, who would need to have “excellent education credentials including teaching experience, understand a systems approach to education, and have the trust of teachers and parents” and “the respect of both political parties,” could be appointed by the NGA and CCSSO to “oversee the implementation, call out bad practices, and recommend policy changes to the politicians.” Quite a tall order, especially if the “czar” has no government-based authority.

Patrick McGuinn, a Drew University political scientist, has offered several other possible models for common core governance. Leaders could create a national network of organizations like the NGA and CCSSO, as well as prominent nonprofits and unions, that would serve as revisers, implementation watchdogs, and political advisors. Alternatively, a structure could be developed like the National Assessment Governing Board, which currently oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Empowered by law, the board is required to represent major constituent groups. States could then enter into a memorandum of understanding to agree to abide by the board’s rulings. If that is too heavy-handed, states could band together in smaller groups with interstate compacts that promise particular behaviors and create organizations to help them achieve their goals. One possible manifestation of such an organization could look like the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), a consortium of three states (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) that formed in 2004 to create a common assessment framework. These states deal with each other through informal agreements and with their existing staffs to develop and vet standards, assessments, accommodations, and reporting.

So far, no one has stepped up to handle these issues, despite the scale and scope of the activities that must be under way within the next year or so. It is all too easy to default to the federal government and say that it is the only organization with the capacity to do these tasks. In 2011, the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank aligned with the American Federation of Teachers, called for the creation of a national curriculum aligned to the common core. Among its recommendations to make the project work? “Increasing federal investments in implementation support.” Until such a time that another body develops with both the oversight capacity and the leverage to get states to do what they promise, folks will look to the federal government.

This is problematic. While it is true that linking future federal dollars or regulatory relief to faithful implementation of the standards might induce state and local compliance, the Department of Education does not in fact have the statutory authority to take control of the common core (although many of the decisions related to No Child Left Behind [NCLB] waivers have stretched the statutory limits). Beyond the legal hurdles, ED would be hard-pressed to ensure faithful implementation of such a complex program in 100,000 schools in 14,000 school districts in 50 states across the country.


New assessments for the common core, currently being developed by two multistate consortia, will rely on technology to an unprecedented degree. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) are creating computer-adaptive exams that will offer customized questions based on student responses, which will measure what students do and do not know more efficiently and accurately than standardized tests have in the past. The current generation’s paper-and-pencil tests are forced to offer the same bank of questions to all students, with more discerning questions mostly clustered around proficiency cutoffs. This design gives the most accuracy to the judgment of proficiency that is tied to consequences under the NCLB accountability rules.

In order to use the SBAC and PARCC tests, schools need hardware. Both sets of tests are designed to be taken on desktops, laptops, and tablets (provided the tablets have keyboards that can be attached), but even with the diverse set of compatible devices, many schools are struggling to prepare. The state of Arizona needs to spend an estimated $230.2 million statewide to get schools up to standard. The Boston-based Pioneer Institute (which, in fairness, has made its opposition to the common core well known) estimates a cost of $6.87 billion for technology to bring schools up to par with the requirements of common core assessments. This includes $2.8 billion in up-front costs for initial purchases of new hardware and software, $326 million for the first year of operation, and $624 million for the following six years of implementation.

Bandwidth is also an issue. The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), which worked with both assessment consortia to estimate bandwidth needs, recommends Internet speed of 1 gigabyte per second per 1,000 students. Many states are not even close. In Arkansas, for example, only 12 percent of schools have the recommended broadband speed. Education SuperHighway, which advocates for technology in schools, used a quick speed test completed by more than 600,000 students and teachers nationwide to determine that 72 percent of schools lack necessary high-speed Internet bandwidth.

It is possible that testing mandates will kick-start investment in technology infrastructure. Provided that these funds are spent on devices that can be used for more than just testing once a year, this would be a clear benefit.

There are serious risks, however. Cash-strapped districts have an incentive to try to purchase whatever tools are the least expensive while meeting the minimal requirements for testing. These devices will very soon be obsolete in the ever-evolving world of technology and need to be replaced or be unable to support new tools being developed that are aligned to the common core. This would represent an enormous waste of resources.


Technology is the least explosive of the mines waiting to go off if a misstep takes place. Political impediments span the spectrum. What began as a bipartisan effort by state governors has shed most of its Republican wing, as some early supporters on the right have begun to express misgivings. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee took to his web site in a post titled “Common Core Is Dead” to distance himself from, in his words, “what the Common Core has become”: “top-down federal intrusion into local schools” and “agenda driven curriculum that indoctrinates instead of educates.” Other (at least nominal) initial supporters from the Republican ranks like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker have both expressed discomfort with the common core standards. Indiana governor Mike Pence, the successor to strong common core–supporting Republican Mitch Daniels, pulled the Hoosier State out of the PARCC consortium in July 2013 and in January 2014 called for the state to create its own standards “written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration appears to have little interest in substantively engaging with its critics. In a speech in June 2013, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sought to separate the federal government from the initiative:

The federal government didn’t write [the standards], didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them. And we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.

Let me say that one more time—the federal government didn’t write them, didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.

The line the federal government has walked in promoting the standards has been much finer than Duncan’s comments indicate. Later in that same speech, Duncan acknowledged that the Department of Education “absolutely encouraged” states to adopt the standards through Race to the Top. In the scoring rubric for Race to the Top, 40 of the 500 total points were awarded for “standards and assessments.” Earning these points required “commitment to adopting a common set of high-quality standards” and “participation in a consortium of States that is working toward jointly developing and adopting a common set of K–12 standards” that “includes a significant number of states.” With respect to assessments, to earn points states also needed to provide evidence that they were participating in a consortium that was working on assessments.

But carrots are not sticks. Sanctions showed up in 2011 when the Department of Education mentioned the common core in requirements for regulatory relief from some of the more onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind. The policy document begins, “To receive flexibility through the waivers outlined above, an SEA [state education agency] must submit a request that addresses each of the following four principles.” The first is “College- and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students.” What do those expectations look like? The first sentence reads, “Over the past few years, Governors and Chief State School Officers have developed and adopted rigorous academic content standards to prepare all students for success in college and careers in the 21st Century. States are also coming together to develop the next generation of assessments aligned with these new standards.” While common core is not directly named, it is hard to read that document and not think that it is referring to the common core. It is true that Texas, Alaska, and Virginia have called the department’s bluff, opting not to embrace the standards and receiving waivers regardless, but that does not prove that the federal government was not attempting to promote these standards. It just proves it was not willing to go to the mattresses on it when states pushed back.

Pushback from the political left continues as well. As the common core is integrated into teacher and school accountability systems, those that take issue with accountability policies are starting to conflate that opposition with antipathy toward the common core. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten went so far as to say that the implementation of the common core was “far worse” than implementation of Obamacare. Weingarten has argued that teachers have been insufficiently prepared to teach to the standards and that the tests for the standards are not ready to have consequences attached to them, calling for a “moratorium” on attaching any stakes. In January 2014, this phenomenon boiled over in the state of New York. Citing “conversations where we’re all saying our members don’t see this going down a path that improves teaching and learning,” the board of the New York State United Teachers withdrew its support for the common core and gave a vote of no confidence in the state’s education commissioner, John King.

Ensuring Success

So what are the chances that the common core ultimately helps efforts to reform schools rather than harms them?

The oversight and governance challenge is a catch-22: any governing body that actually holds states’ feet to the fire will most likely drive pushback from state- and local-control advocates; any group that defers to those advocates will most likely be so powerless as to be ineffective. What’s more, these issues have been known to common core supporters for a long time now; their inaction seems to indicate that no one wants the hot potato.

Strides can be made on the infrastructure issues. Ultimately, technology can be a cost saver for schools and districts as they migrate away from expensive paper textbooks. Yes, there are serious up-front costs, but it would appear that pushing back against improving technology would mean that states are simply being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission is attempting to reform E-Rate funding, the primary vehicle for subsidizing school bandwidth upgrades. Should that go through and funds be allocated to update bandwidth, many of these issues could be resolved.

To reduce the political noise on the right, the Department of Education could take clear and public steps away from the standards. ED could, for example, adopt the language from the House Republicans’ Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill that explicitly states that the federal government will not make future grants or regulatory relief contingent on adopting a particular set of standards.

Will these adjustments be enough? InImplementation, political scientists Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky encouraged those interested in assessing the likelihood that a policy will succeed to calculate the cumulative probability that all necessary decisions will be made correctly. I tried to run through what I thought were the core decisions for the common core to succeed and came up with 17 unique steps (see sidebar). When I published them, a state education chief took me to task for, in his opinion, drastically undercounting the number of decisions that had to be made. Fair enough.

So the question is, Can state-level bureaucrats, operating in a politically charged, cost-conscious environment without governing structures in place for support, be able to implement a radical overhaul of what K–12 students learn?


It may be that common core will usher in a new regime, with substantial benefits for student learning, that stops short of its advocates’ ideal.

In one scenario, a large number of states may adopt the standards in name only, develop their own tests, and set their own proficiency cut scores. We’ve already seen Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania pull out of the consortia to develop their own tests, and more states could join them. If the standards are superior to those currently in place in those states, this is not the worst outcome. States can still benefit from the national marketplace for textbooks, professional development, and supplementary materials that should provide both higher-quality and lower-cost products for them without all of the baggage that participating in multistate consortia brings. Interstate comparisons or nationwide definitions of proficiency based on common standards might never materialize, but we do not have those now either.

Second, a number of states may drop out of the endeavor altogether, and the remaining coalition of states will form a more manageable group committed to the common core. Perhaps the common core is unwieldy at 45 states and the District of Columbia. It might work better if 10, 15, or 20 states with sufficient infrastructure and a hospitable political climate develop a governance model that all can buy into.

The rub, of course, is that the common core has been disruptive to teachers and students in every state that has adopted it. It has caused states to spent large amounts of money on new materials, new professional development, and new technology. In January 2014, for example, Maryland announced that it would cost more than $100 million to get the state up to speed with technology for students to take the test, and even with upgrades, on testing days teachers and students might have to refrain from using e-mail or computers for elective courses to preserve bandwidth. Should the project shrink or become an in-name-only exercise, all of that time, all of that disruption, and all of that money will have been to purchase the accoutrements of yet another educational fad.

Michael McShane is research fellow in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and coeditor with Frederick Hess of Common Core Meets Education Reform: What It All Means for Politics, Policy, and the Future of Schooling (Teachers College Press, 2013).

Signs Opposing Lolo School Bond Violated Campaign Law

Signs Opposing Lolo School Bond Violated Campaign Law

Signs opposing Lolo School bond violated campaign law

Montana’s commissioner of political practices ruled Tuesday that an outspoken opponent of both failed Lolo School bond measures violated the state’s campaign practices law.

However, the election results stand.

In the decision, Commissioner Jonathan Motl found that Lolo businessman Frank Miller failed to properly attribute signs and advertisements prior to both of the school bond votes – one in October 2013, the other earlier this month.

In both instances, voters said no to the proposed expansion of Lolo School and its attendant tax increase.

“There seems to be confusion on the part of people involved in school bond issues as to whether or not the campaign finance act applies. It does apply to school bond issues,” said Motl, who received complaints from other school elections as well.

In a call to Hayloft Equipment, one of Miller’s businesses, a reporter asked to speak with Miller about the violations. The man who answered said he fixed the campaign signs within days of learning of the violation.

“I’m not playing games,” he said, adding that he was unaware the law applied to school bond measures.

“I’m just trying to save our taxpayers in Lolo some money,” he said.

He took issue with the process school officials used to select a general contractor, saying the school didn’t properly use competitive bidding, and that unanticipated tax increases would arise because of the project.

At the end of the conversation, the man claimed not to be Miller, saying he was instead Miller’s “right-hand man.”


Because the Lolo School District serves a population of fewer than 6,500 people, people who post signs or run advertisements in school elections are only required to attribute the materials with the payer’s name and address. People who do the same in larger school districts are required to attribute materials as well as to report expenditures.

Due to a backlog of complaints, Miller wasn’t contacted about the initial complaint after it was filed last September, but was contacted about the second complaint, which was filed in early February.

On Feb. 5, Miller placed proper attribution stickers on existing signs and attributed an additional ad running after that date. He had partially attributed some earlier ads to either “People Against Higher Taxes” or “Overtaxed Property Owners Against Higher Taxes.”

However, those names were not recognized political committees until after the ads ran, according to the formal decision document.

Miller’s campaign pushed for a “no” vote on both bond measures.

Had either measure passed, it would have funded construction of a new K-4 elementary building on a 20-acre Farm Lane lot.

In both the October and March elections, the $10.5 million measure narrowly failed by roughly 50 votes.

People should know who’s on one side or another and be able to approach them for civic discourse, Motl said Tuesday. To achieve that, advertising and election materials must be properly attributed.

“The reason for it is pretty simple: When you get a vote, particularly a close vote like Lolo’s was, people have to feel like the civic discussion was fair so that they can accept the decision,” he said.


Everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, said Alex Beal, a Lolo resident and school parent who filed the initial complaint in September 2013.

“But I think it’s important that we know who it is that’s talking,” Beal said.

If you don’t know who’s behind messages, it’s impossible to engage in a conversation with them or to weigh comments, he said, adding he does feel that the materials influenced the election. “And that’s more in terms of the information that’s in them rather than the fact that he didn’t have his name on there.”

The findings have been sent to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, where it will be decided within 30 days if civil litigation is warranted against Miller for the violations.

Typically, county attorneys send the decision about appropriate penalties back to his office, Motl said.

The final penalty likely will have no impact on the election results, although people have until 60 days after the election to ask that the results voided and another election held, he said.

If the case returns to his office, though, his intent is to assess a fine to Miller, considering Miller took action to correct the violations once he learned of them, Motl said.

“He put an attribution on his signs as quickly as he could and also published the last ad with proper attribution,” he added.

A scale that takes into account the amount of money spent while engaging in improper activity and harm to public is used to assess fines, which go upward of $100.

Lolo School Superintendent Michael Magone said he didn’t have any comment on the decision, but that the district heard voters when they said no and plans to move ahead with its educational program.

“We’re looking to move forward, at least for the remainder of this year into the next year, doing the best we can and taking care of facilities with the resources we have available,” he said.

Lolo school board chairman Clint Arneson said he would like to hear from people about what they see as solutions to the aging buildings and safety concerns so that a collective solution can be found, whatever that is.

“What I do know is that the faulty building and those much-needed repairs are not going away,” Arneson said.

Reporter Alice Miller can be reached at 523-5251 or at alice.miller@missoulian.com.

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


The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

Originally posted on TRUTH ABOUT EDUCATION:

nclb One of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.

A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard.

How can teachers hold all children to the same standards when they are not all the same? They learn differently, mature at different stages – they just are not all the same especially at the…

View original 696 more words

FBI Investigating County Treasurer’s Office

FBI launches investigation into Ravalli County Treasurer’s Office Image

HAMILTON – One investigation into the troubled Ravalli County Treasurer’s Office has concluded and another one – this by the FBI – was confirmed to have started this week.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said Friday that he expects to receive a report soon from retired District Judge Nels Swandal.

Swandal was hired by Fulbright in mid-February to lead an independent investigation into allegations of criminal and civil misconduct made by interim treasurer Valerie Stamey against the county commission, as well as past and present county employees.

At this point, Fulbright said he has no idea what the report will say.

“We were very careful in ensuring this was an independent investigation,” Fulbright said. “I served as his point of contact, but that’s all. He has not shared any details of his investigation with me.”

Likewise, Fulbright said he is also unsure where a Butte-based accounting firm is on its forensic audit of the county treasurer’s officer.

Since the accounting firm made its initial report a couple of weeks ago, Fulbright said he has not heard anything more.

Stamey sued the firm, Anderson Zurmuehlen, shortly after it released a status report that said it was apparent the duties of the Ravalli County Treasurer’s Office had not been properly executed and the office was in disarray.

Fulbright and Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman confirmed Friday that they have been told that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting its own investigation into Stamey’s allegations.

At the January meeting where Stamey accused a number of people of wrongdoing, she told the audience that she planned to ask the FBI to examine her allegations.

Ravalli County officials were unable to confirm until last week that a federal investigation was underway.

A phone call to an FBI public affairs officer in Salt Lake City was not returned to the newspaper Friday.


Two days after Stamey made her allegations at a public hearing, the commission placed her on paid administrative leave after the treasurer refused to attend a meeting set aside specifically for her to explain a civil judgment filed in South Carolina.

Stamey was appointed interim treasurer by a 3-2 vote in September. During her four-month tenure, three of the office’s most experienced employees quit after citing a hostile work environment, and the office fell months behind in providing disbursements and financial reports to local government entities.

After the commission placed Stamey on paid leave, they brought in a retired Beaverhead County treasurer to assist in bringing the office up to date at a cost of about $20,000.

The commission recently agreed to file a lawsuit against Stamey seeking $29,000 in fines for missed financial reports that state law requires of all county treasurers.

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at 363-3300 or at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

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

13 hours ago  •  By Perry Backus


Valerie Stamey responds to allegations that led to her being placed on administrative leave.



Florence boys stay alive at state tournament
3 hours ago  •  By David Erickson

The Florence Falcons defeated Jefferson 44-37 on Friday at the state Class B boys’ basketball tournament in Bozeman.

Levi Clagett had 18 points for the Falcons, and Brad Schaff added 10 points. The Florence boys out-rebounded Jefferson 32-21, and Schaff had seven of those boards.

Florence will advance to play at 10:30 a.m. in a loser-out game at Shroyer Gym in Bozeman.


7 10 13 14 — 44


6 10 7 14 — 37

Florence-Carlton (14-11) — Brandon Johnson 3-7 2-2 9, Levi Clagett 7-11 2-3 18, Travern smith 1-6 0-2 2, Ryan Mangun 0-2 4-7 4, Brad Schaff 4-5 2-5 10, Brady Pickering 0-4 1-2 1. Totals: 15-35 FG 11-21 FT 44.

Jefferson (21-5) — Scotty Ferguson 3-8 0-0 8, Logan Williams 2-10 4-4 9, Cole Woodland 0-7 1-2 1, Trae LeTexier 6-11 1-2 13, Sam Fletcher 1-4 0-0 3, Sage Fadness 1-2 0-0 3, Alex Brunett 0-3 0-0 0, Wyatt LeTexier 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 13-47 FG 6-8 FT 37

3-pointers — F-C 3-5 (Clagett 2-3, Johnson 1-2), Jeff 5-16 (Ferguson 2-4, Fadness 1-1, Fletcher 1-2, Williams 1-6, Woodland 0-3). Rebounds — F-C 32 (Schaff 7), Jeff 21 (T. LeTexier 4). Assists — F-C 8 (Mangun 3), Jeff 10 (Fletcher 4). Steals — F-C 7 (Smith 2), Jeff 9 (Fletcher 3). Blocks — F-C 0, Jeff 4 (Fletcher 2, T. Letexier 2).

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.


Class B basketball: Florence boys gearing up for another trip to the state tournament

Coaches preparing their team for State run.

Assistant Coaches Evan and Kiel Hansen defending Senior Brad Schaff in practice as the Falcons get prepped for the 2014 State Tournament.

2014 CLASS B Boys Basketball State Tournament Bracket 2014 2014 CLASS B Boys Basketball State Tournament Bracket 2014

RAVALLI REPUBLIC:  Article by Dave Erickson

RAVALLI REPUBLIC: Article by Dave Erickson

Class B basketball: Florence boys gearing up for another trip to the state tournament.

Florence Fire Chief Under Investigation



The Florence Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) was founded in 1949 to serve the greater Florence area in Western Montana, 20 miles South of Missoula. Our coverage area is approximately 65 square miles and serves a population of approximately 6,000. The FVFD responds to around 300 calls per year, handling structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle fires, medical emergencies and physical rescues and other emergency and non – emergency calls. The Florence Fire Department operates out of one fire station, at 234 Holloway Lane in Florence, and has over 35 dedicated volunteer members available to handle calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The department operates seven fire engines and one command vehicle, equipped to handle medical emergencies, structure fires, wildland fires, rescues, and other emergency and non emergency calls.

Florence Fire Chief Under Investigation

Florence fire chief under investigation

Posted on March 11, 2014 in Page One

By Michael Howell of the Bitterroot Star

The Florence Volunteer Fire Department Board of Trustees has launched an investigation into allegations of mismanagement and possibly criminal actions by past and present employees including current Fire Chief Charlie Lambson.

Accusations of mismanagement and possible criminal activity have surfaced and resurfaced at the department over the last few years. The most recent complaints led the board to hire a private attorney, Kim Christopherson, and a company called Maverick Management Solutions to look into the allegations.

At a meeting held last week, Board Chairman Kevin O’Brien said that he had received a report from the investigator and that the board would be discussing it in a closed meeting. A few people in attendance, including Fire Chief Charlie Lambson and a reporter from the Bitterroot Star, protested the closure of the meeting. After some discussion it was decided not to go into closed session to consider the report. Instead, the meeting was simply cancelled.

Asked what allegations were being investigated, O’Brien said the same allegations that were recently made public in an e-mail that was disseminated to the press.

In that e-mail, Jason Sorlien claims that the Florence Fire Department “is plagued by frequent immoral, unethical, and illegal activity.” He states that the problems have been ongoing for years but worsened under current Fire Chief Charlie Lambson’s leadership. He claims Lambson is being protected by relatives and friends on the board.

In what he calls a partial list, Sorlien lists several general accusations including “witness tampering, criminal negligence, falsification of public documents and records, bullying, sexual misconduct/harassment, unethical use of funds, defamation/slander, retaliation, discrimination, putting department members’ lives at risk, misconduct and law violations on medical calls/scenes, and frequent use of extreme vulgar language.”

Lambson claims there is no truth to any of the allegations.

“In my opinion I have done nothing wrong,” said Lambson. He also said that he has nothing to hide and would like any discussion of any accusations against him to be done in public.

“Right now I don’t know what accusations they are really investigating nor any of their findings,” said Lambson. He said it was not fair to be victimized by the kind of anonymous allegations about activity at the department that have surfaced and resurfaced for years without any evidence ever being presented.

“Accusations like this can be damaging,” said Lambson, “but what I want is for the truth to come out. I have nothing to hide and the truth is the truth.”

Board Chairman O’Brien said that the investigation was instituted following a grievance that was registered with the board and is currently in the process of being addressed. He said the board had privacy concerns to consider but the report was going to be turned over to an attorney representing the grieving parties on Friday, March 14 and that the Board had scheduled a meeting for Monday, March 17 to consider the report.

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Ravalli County commissioners OK lawsuit against interim treasurer

HAMILTON – Ravalli County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to direct the county attorney’s office to file a lawsuit against interim treasurer Valerie Stamey.

The suit will seek $29,000 in fines for the 58 instances the commission documented that Stamey either neglected or refused to file financial reports that state law requires of all treasurers.

The commission compiled the list at a meeting in February that included public testimony from a variety of local tax entities that depend on the county treasurer’s office for bookkeeping and tax disbursements.

Stamey did not attend Monday’s meeting.

She was appointed last September to fill the term of an interim treasurer who left for personal reasons. After her appointment, the office fell months behind in its workload following the departure of three of the office’s most experienced employees – who left amid hostile workplace complaints.

Stamey last appeared before the commissioners in January. At that meeting, she fired off a series of accusations against three commissioners and others before leaving without providing an update on the situation in her office.

On Monday, Commissioner Jeff Burrows made the motion to accept the resolution to move forward with a lawsuit against Stamey.

He said the commission provided the treasurer with ample opportunity to come in and explain the situation, but Stamey decided instead to make allegations or refuse to attend meetings entirely.

At the beginning of Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Suzy Foss said she wasn’t comfortable moving forward with the lawsuit before ongoing investigations into the treasurer’s office are completed.

The county attorney’s office has hired an independent auditing firm to complete a forensic audit of the office and a retired judge to do an investigation into allegations made by Stamey. There is no timetable on when the audit or investigation will be finished.

Foss worried the commission was being pushed by public perception that something needed to be done about the treasurer before it had a chance to gather all the information being compiled in the investigations.

“I’m concerned about the increased liability to the county by moving forward at this point,” she said.


Commission chair Greg Chilcott said Monday’s action had nothing to do with the information that will come from either the audit or investigation.

At its February meeting, Chilcott said the commission focused its investigation on whether Stamey made the financial reports required by state law during the months of October, November and December.

The public provided a good deal of testimony at that meeting that the commission used in making its determination, he said.

“I believe this was a very thoughtful and thorough process,” Chilcott said.

The commission placed Stamey on paid administrative leave Jan. 23 after she failed to attend a meeting set aside for her to explain a civil judgment she faced in South Carolina that alleged she cashed an $18,149 check twice.

Stamey sued the Butte-based auditing firm working on the forensic audit of the county’s books after it issued a status report in February that said the treasurer’s duties had not been properly executed and the office was in disarray.

Ren Cleveland of Hamilton told the commission it was time to fire Stamey.

“Just fire her and let her prove her innocence,” Cleveland said. “She didn’t do the job … end of story. Let the judicial system figure it out.”

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at 363-3300 or at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

Treasurer Stamey Speaks with NBC Montana’s Heidi Meili

FOLLOW LINK TO VIDEO: ——–> Treasurer Stamey Speaks with NBC Montana’s Heidi Meili

NBC Montana’s Heidi Meili interviewed Valerie Stamey for more than a half hour in our studio Monday.

Stamey accused the treasurer’s office of mishandling the sale of tax liens — that’s what happens when someone pays delinquent property tax. Stamey told us she found the county hadn’t properly publicized the sales, so taxpayers didn’t know if a lien was filed on their property.

She said she told county commissioners and the county attorney about a court decision that questioned the way these tax liens were filed, but she says she got nowhere.

Florence Carlton School Enrollment Lowest in Two Decades

FLORENCE – Superintendent John C. McGee of Florence Carlton School District 15-6 explains to Trustees that Student Enrollment has dropped by 22 Students Since Fall of 2013. The current Student Enrollment is 787. There was discussion of an exit questionnaire to understand why students are leaving. Graduation Standards were considered as a possible reason. It was suggested that enrollment is down throughout the Valley. It was also brought to Trustees attention that there are currently 27 students that live in Florence Carlton District 15-6, but choose to attend Missoula County Schools and pay Out-of-District Tuition. Florence Carlton School District 15-6 currently charges no Out-of-District Tuition for it’s 83 Out-of-District Students.

OPI SOURCE: http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/Measurement/12EnrollmentHistory.pdf

Ravalli County Treasurer – Valerie Stamey – Explains Her Position to the Public


*** UPDATE *** FLORENCE-CARLTON Superintendent Proposes MAIL-IN Ballot Election – TRUSTEES VOTE on the 18th


2014 March Falcon View-001 2014 March Falcon View

FLORENCE – At the most recent Meeting of the Florence-Carlton School District 15-6 Board of TRUSTEES, Superintendent John C. McGee informed Trustees that a Resolution would be drafted for the upcoming SPECIAL MEETING. (February 18, 2014, 6:30 PM, District Office Conference Room)

The RESOLUTION (drafted by McGee and Business Manager/Clerk, Jeannie Morgan) will be presented for APPROVAL on the 18th of February, 2014. The DEADLINE for County Notification of this CHANGE IN THE LOCAL VOTING SYSTEM is FEBRUARY 25, 2014.

From what we understand, the PASSING of this RESOLUTION would indeed do away with Traditional POLL BALLOT ELECTION/ABSENTEE SYSTEM currently in effect and CREATE a PERMANENT MAIL-IN BALLOT SYSTEM for the upcoming, and all future, School District Elections/Votes in the future.


Superintendent to use Child Protective Services as Leverage to Collect Delinquent Hot Lunch Accounts

FLORENCE – Superintendent John C. McGee, of Florence Carlton School District 15-6, announces to Trustees that an ‘aggressive’ phone campaign has been conducted by the Administration in an effort to collect payment on delinquent hot lunch accounts. The Superintendent further stated that, if necessary, Child Protective Services would be contacted and complaints of neglect filed, against parents who do not pay, as incentive for payment.

Florence School Board Chair Makes False Accusation Against Fellow Trustee During Public Meeting

Watch Florence Carlton Trustee Chairperson, Pat Appleby, falsely accuse fellow Trustee Colby Reynolds of filing a complaint with the Office of Public Instruction in regard to the Serial Plagiarism of Superintendent John C. McGee.

The accusation was proven false by the sworn testimony of Montana Office of Public Instruction, Deputy Superintendent, Dennis Parman, at the Montana Board of Education Licensure Committee Hearing in Billings on September 12, 2013. The Hearing was held at the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau, to determine a degree of punishment for his actions. The Board concluded, unanimouosly, to place a permanent Letter of Reprimand in Superintendent, John C. McGee’s permanent file.

Trustee Chairperson Appleby has yet to make any form of apology, public or private, to Trustee Reynolds.

Attorney and Superintendent Mislead Trustees on TITLE IX

TITLE IX HISTORY: June 29, 2010 – Listen to Florence-Carlton School-District Lawyer, Elizabeth ‘Bea’ Kaleva and Superintendent John C. McGee pass blatantly FALSE INFORMATION to Trustees in regard to Sexual Discrimination Violations, Complaints and Resolutions.

The Title IX History of Florence Carlton School District 15-6 has NEVER been about FUNDRAISING. This FACT could explain why Florence Carlton has repeated some of these Violations and has been, to date, UNABLE TO RESOLVE ISSUES that have been there since 2009.

Our District is currently under Monitoring by the Office of Civil Rights for numerous violations, over which Superintendent John McGee has willingly agreed to enter into Resolution (like a plea bargain), none of which have anything to do with Fundraising but rather EVERYTHING to do with Discriminatory Treatment of our Student Athletes in the Florence Carlton School.

There have been additional VIOLATIONS/RESOLUTIONS since this meeting in 2010. LISTEN HERE: http://youtu.be/dYO0HmdSuDk — with Florence-Carlton School-District in Florence, MT.

FOR THE FULL HISTORY———> Follow this LINK: Title IX History of Florence Carlton School District 15-6

School District Trustee Chairperson Prohibits TITLE IX Meeting on Advice of Attorney


FLORENCE – At the January 14th Meeting of the Florence Carlton School District Board of Trustees, Florence School Board Chairperson, Pat Appleby, prohibited the scheduling of a TITLE IX Committee Meeting on Advice of Attorney Elizabeth Kaleva.

ATTORNEY Elizabeth 'Bea' Kaleva


4-out-of-5 Florence Trustees Vote To NOT ALLOW TITLE IX Committee Meeting

FLORENCE – On December 19, 2013, Trustees discussed the a proposal by Superintendent John C. McGee that he be appointed as the CHAIRPERSON of every Committee assembled by Trustees. Amid that discussion, talk of Title IX Committee Meetings is raised by a member of the Public. The rules and application of Public Participation appear to be inconsistent and Board Chairperson, Pat Appleby, ultimately follow the direct command of the Superintendent to close discussion by calling for the Question (calling for a vote on the Motion at hand).To watch the full discussion, follow the links in the Video.

On January 14, 2014, Trustees discussed the matter of TITLE IX specifically.  Watch the Video of the Discussion:


LISTEN TO THIS COLLECTIONS OF DISCUSSIONS dating back as far as June 29, 2010.

Florence Carlton Board Chair Makes False Accusation Against Trustee’s Wife

LINK TO Trustee Reynolds FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/ColbyReynoldsTrusteeFCSDistrict
“At our most recent Board Meeting, Trustee/Chairperson, Pat Appleby decided to violate Trustee Colby Reynolds’ wife’s Right-to-Privacy by bringing her name into our Discussion of Per-Diem Meals/Travel for our Students who participate in Extra-Curricular Activities.” – (SOURCE: http://youtu.be/fK-NcDzhdE0)

Ravalli County Treasurer…… Whistleblower?

4 hours ago  •  By Perry Backus

Florence Carlton School District 15-6|SPECIAL MEETING|Board of Trustees|December 19, 2013

This is a Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Florence Carlton School District.

When Does an Individual Trustee Have Official Authority?

When Does an Individual Trustee Have Official Authority?

November 27, 2013 at 8:59pm

- Author Unknown, December 2013 Falcon View

– Author Unknown, December 2013 Falcon View


Believe it or not, Never! It is the Board as a whole that has authority over the school district. It can some as a shock to a trustee, but an individual trustee has authority on his or her own only to the extent that the Board specifically authorizes such authority. Because a school board (not each trustee thereof) is a governmental body, it can take action only by majority vote at a public meeting. The individual board member has no formal authority beyond expressing an opinion, debating an issue and casting a vote at meetings. The power to debate, discuss and vote, however, can be compelling if properly exercised!


Because he or she casts only one vote, a trustee can become frustrated with the pace or lack of change and turn to other options in seeking a change. Although other options may seem attractive at first blush, they will lead to division, and run a strong risk of reducing the trustee’s effectiveness and credibility with other members of the Board. The end result of such action is often division and dysfunction on the Board. With the visionary elected leaders mired in controversy, the prospects for positive change in the district under such circumstances become dim at best.


A trustee who hopes to bring about change must do so within the existing legal and organizational framework of the Board. Many a good idea has died because it was not properly presented to the full school board or because some minor part of it presented avoidable legal difficulties. Focus your energies on establishing healthy lines of communication with the other members of your Board, bring your good ideas to the Board for discussion and deliberation, and your efforts will pay dividends in the final analysis.


The Power of an Individual Trustee Exists Only to the Extent That the Board Has Authorized It


A Board member who attempts to speak for the total Board, direct members of the staff or make other individual decisions without Board authority is acting outside the law. In fact, the only time a trustee is immune from personal and individual liability is when he or she is acting in an official capacity, at a meeting of the Board or a Board Committee, or pursuant to motion of the Board or duly-appointed committee.


The following sections of law clearly specify the authority of the Boards vs. the authority of an individual trustee, as well as the obligation of all trustees on the Board to act collectively.


20-3-301. Election and term of office.

 (2) . . . . When exercising the power and performing the duties of trustees, the members shall act collectively and only at a regular or a properly called special meeting.


20-3-322. Meetings and quorum.

(4) . . . . Business may not be transacted by the trustees of a district unless it is transacted at a regular meeting or a properly called special meeting. A quorum for any meeting is a majority of the trustees’ membership. All trustee meetings must be public meetings, as prescribed by 2-3-203.


When a trustee is acting in a manner contrary to the provisions above, he or she loses the personal and individual immunity ordinarily enjoyed when working in concert with the Board. A trustee acting on his or her own, without and/or contrary to the authority of the Board as a whole, runs a significant risk of incurring individual and personal liability for such actions. Section 20-3-332, MCA, provides in relevant part as follows:


Section 1. Section 20-3-332, MCA, is amended to read:

“20-3-332. Personal immunity and liability of trustees. (1) When acting in their official capacity at a regular or special meeting of the board or a committee of the board, the trustees of each district are individually immune from exemplary and punitive suit for damages, as provided in 2-9-305. (2) The trustees of each district are responsible for the proper administration and use of all money of the district in accordance with the provisions of law and this title. Failure or refusal to do so constitutes grounds from removal from office.


Under this section, a trustee’s individual immunity from suit attaches only while acting in an official capacity. Official capacity come upon approval by a majority of the trustees of the Board. Actions taken individually could lead to individual liability, which is another good reason why individual trustees should work within the structure of the Board as a whole. The version you see above is from SB 266, which passed by the 2007 Legislature.


Source: Keys to Effective Governance, Montana School Boards Association



Florence Boy Scout Completes Eagle Scout Project at Hideout Mountain

Florence Boy Scout Completes Eagle Scout Project at Hideout Mountain

from the November 2013 Falcon View

F A L C O N   R E V I E W : NOVEMBER 2013

My name is Nate Miller and I am a Boy Scout in Troop 1115 in Florence. I decided to do my Eagle Scout project at the park because over the years, my family noticed a consistent problem with trash being spilled all over the ground. I realized that building some type of garbage can holders would significantly reduce or eliminate the problem. After discussing this with John Cornish Tabor of the Florence Park Board, we later learned that birds and dogs were tipping the garbage cans over. It is well known that the park has also had a problem with vandalism. A security camera system was installed, but I thought that adding some night time lighting would further help to discourage vandalism. It would also be nice to have some extra lighting for people using the park facilities during the short winter days when even daytime can be somewhat gloomy. With the helpful suggestions from my family and others, I decided that a motion light mounted above the pavilion would add much needed light to the front of the playground area. A timer light inside the pavilion would provide essential lighting for use during fall and winter activities.


John also informed us of one more serious and expensive problem at the park, and that is the illegal disposal of household trash in the park’s dumpsters. The Park Board wanted us to install a utility pole mounted with a security camera and motion light to eliminate this illegal activity. I started out by doing some fund raising and thanks to very kind and generous monetary donations from my grandparents, my family, Mr. and Mrs. Smith of Florence, and Paul Brand of Florence Pharmacy, I had enough to begin my Eagle Scout project.


To get information, help, and supplies I called and met with representatives from several businesses. Mr. Marty Maclay from Maclay Electric and Pump Service, Inc. enthusiastically agreed to do the electrical work and supply the electrical wire, conduit, and fittings. Montana Security and Communications Inc., which installed the current security system at the park, very generously donated a security camera and all the wire, connectors and brackets required. Home Depot in Missoula kindly gave me a 20% discount on the purchase of motion lights, a timer light, Trex for the garbage can holders, and other miscellaneous hardware. Fasteners in Missoula also gave me a 20% discount on miscellaneous hardware. Russ Clark Welding and Fabrication graciously donated a hand crafted custom bracket to enclose the wiring and mount the motion light above the pavilion roof. Missoula Electric Cooperative Inc. kindly donated the pole and its installation. Mr. Mike Maclay of Maclay Electric very generously donated his labor and equipment to do the nearly 200 ft. of trenching needed for running the electrical and camera wiring.My project was divided into two phases. During the first phase, I had the garbage can holders built at my home and then installed at the park by the fantastic volun-teer labor of my fellow Boy Scouts and some of their parents on their personal time on a Saturday in June (June 1st). During the second phase, I had all of the electrical work done at the park. The unbeatable volunteer labor of Boy Scouts in my troop, some of their hard working parents, and the professional help of Mr. Marty Maclay and Mr. Mike Maclay were essential in the completion of my project. Because this work was also done on a Saturday (August 3rd), all labor was generously done on private, donated time.


Also, the Ace Hardware store in Florence came to the rescue on project day when it was discovered that more conduit was needed and they not only had it in stock, but also gave me a charitable 20% discount. I am very grateful for the immense and kind assistance from many scouts from my troop, their parents, and all the professionals from the businesses mentioned above. One of my fellow Boy Scout parents and his son even offered to come back the next day after project day (on a Sunday ) and help me and my family finish culling rocks and leveling out the almost 200 feet of trenched area. Phil from Montana Security and Communications Inc. also selflessly donated his valuable time on Sunday and came to the park to finish connecting the camera and integrate it into the existing system.


Now that all of the work is done, the already impressive Hideout Mountain Park in Florence is even further improved. The garbage can holders eliminated the problem with the garbage cans tipping over and because they are constructed from Trex and corrosive resistant hardware, are heavy duty and virtually maintenance free. The motion lights, timer light, and security camera have added previously nonexistent lighting and improved the security. Now schools and the community can count on a much cleaner and brighter experience than ever before.


I would again like to thank the following businesses; without them my project would not have been possible: Marty Maclay, Maclay Electric and Pump Service, Inc., Mike Maclay Electric, Russ Clark Welding and Fabrication, Montana Security and Communications, Inc., Missoula Electric Cooperative, Inc., Missoula Home Depot, Fasteners of Missoula, Florence Ace Hardware.

SOURCE: http://www.florence.k12.mt.us/cms/lib01/MT15000348/Centricity/Domain/30/2013%20November%20Falcon%20View.pdf


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