Hope everyone saw Lana on the news last night

The reason WLOX ended up seeking her commentary on the recent activity inside the Bay-Waveland Schools as opposed to some of the loud mouths bloviating on social media is because Lana actually attends School Board meetings such as the one held this past Monday. For those that missed it the video from last night’s 10:00PM WLOX newscast is embedded below:

WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

Was Assistant Superintendent Kristen Ladner really supervising the business manager like former Board President Mike Bell claimed? Ladner, who oversees special education, has no background in finance so such an arrangement, unique among Mississippi public school districts, would certainly raise the eyebrows of people that know better but if Ladner were really the CFO answering to the Superintendent like Mr. Bell claimed, wouldn’t she be presenting the cash balances and the claims docket to Vikki Landry?

IMG951935

Bullshit Chinese firewalls may sound good to $435/hour hired guns but it certainly didn’t pass muster with the locals.

That was quick….

Yesterday afternoon rumors were flying that Bay Waveland School Superintendent Vikki Landry would be resigning and sure enough it came to pass:

Bay-Waveland Schools superintendent resigns without explanation ~ Cassandra Favre

Slabbed had this bit of news last night on Twitter as well:

Meantime School Board Trustee Mark Kidd of Waveland told Cassandra some whoppers implying the School Board is somehow, just now, becoming politicized.

At the end of the meeting, Kidd spoke on the events that transpired during the meeting.

“One thing about the school board is that it shouldn’t be political, but it’s getting that way,” Kidd said. “It’s a shame, really, what some of them are doing. Some of them have their own political agenda. I was really surprised what they were looking at trying to do. We’ve got really good people that work for our school district.”

From the outside looking in my impression was Trustee Bell got on fairly well with Trustee Favre right up to the point where Kidd was elected to the Board to succeed Sherry Ponder. Mr. Kidd’s arrival on the school board scene also times up pretty well to screwy things occurring like sanctioning nepotism in the Central Office and cutting classroom teachers while adding Central Office Administrators. Politics does make for some strange bedfellows.

In any event the hot political rumor is that Mr. Kidd is just using the Bay Waveland School Board as a place to pass time while he waits for the next municipal elections in Waveland. Kidd ran for Mayor last go round and lost to current Mayor Mike Smith. Prior to that Kidd was an Alderman, having beat Charles Piazza for the seat by a coin toss due to a tie vote. Piazza is the incumbent Alderman setting up a rematch should Kidd run for Waveland Alderman as expected. Waveland Municipal elections are scheduled for later this year. Continue reading “That was quick….”

On Tap Tonight: A New School Board Trustee

The Lady that will be appointed – her name was dropped a couple of time in comments here, I’m sure she will make a fine trustee.

As for outgoing Trustee Joan Thomas, her goose was cooked by her own hand, almost one year ago to the day:

Siblings working for Bay school district an ethical concern, says commission – Justin Vicory

Either the superintendent or the business manager of Bay St. Louis–Waveland School District — who are brother and sister — should resign from office to avoid the appearance of nepotism, a Mississippi Ethics Commission opinion says.

Yet the majority of Bay–Waveland School Board members disagreed, and recently voted 4 to 1 to approve an additional 18-month contract for business administrator John McCraw, as well as a contract for Superintendent Vikki Landry, his sister.

And the so called Chinese firewall the high priced lawyers constructed to rationalize and prettify such nepotism? It is bullshit, or put another way if it weren’t, the exchange where the lawyers advised the school board in an official meeting would not have been purposely omitted from the record and the business manager would to this day not be presenting cash balances to his sister for the School Board to approve. It’s sad folks:

At the February meeting, board attorney Ronnie Artigues and James Keith, a longtime education attorney with the North Pike and Pearl River County school boards, told the board it was acceptable for them to appoint an employee other than Landry for McCraw to report to. In response, the board appointed Kristen Ladner and Cherie Labat as assistant superintendents.

School board meetings are open to the public, and an audio recording is normally taken and saved. But when Lana Noonan, a member of political watchdog group Hancock County Alliance for Good Government, contacted the central office secretary to get a copy of the February recording, the conversation about McCraw and Landry was not on the tape.

The flawed decision making that created a mess in the district’s elementary schools, along with multiple assistant superintendents to go with the family at the central office has to be fixed folks. Tonight’s school board appointment will flip the Board majority away from those that would disregard state ethics opinions.

So MDE was Down Investigating Bay Waveland School Board Trustee Casey Favre……

Folks I could go three for three posting quotes from Macbeth but not today. This past weekend I almost felt like we were treated to some old news and in a way it was old news:

Bay-Waveland School District retains accreditation status after MDE investigation – Cassandra Favre

A preliminary report of an investigative audit dated Dec. 4 from MDE to Superintendent Vikki Landry and BWSD School Board President Mike Bell – provided by BWSD board attorney Ronnie Artigues – stated that MDE found the district in violation of “Process Standards 1 and 1.1.; a board member is acting individually and outside of the role prescribed by law by giving directives to district staff members.” According to Standard 1, “the local school board’s responsibilities shall pertain to matters of setting policy and shall not interfere in the day-to-day operations of the school district that include, but are not limited to, such duties as those relating to personnel and management decisions.” 1.1 states that “the school board assigns all executive and administrative duties to the superintendent.”

And for all the lurid things found by MDE auditors late last year all it took was a response from School Board Attorney Ronnie Artigues supported by the minutes to cause MDE to withdraw their recommendation that the district be placed on probation.

On Jan. 30, MDE issued its response – also provided by Artigues – where MDE withdrew its recommendation for probation.

However, Office of Accreditation Executive Director Jo Ann Malone said in the letter that MDE “still has concerns regarding the allegations made that prompted the investigative audit” because the superintendent and other board members did not provide information in the district’s response that “confirms or contradicts MDE’s findings.”

“Therefore, the MDE will continue to monitor the actions of the board member(s) of the district throughout the 2017-2018 school year or until such time the Office of Accreditation determines the district is fully compliant with all process standards of the Mississippi Public Schools Accountability Standards, 2017,” Malone said in the response.

It took me a couple of reads of Cassandra’s story for everything to sink in and the bottom line is it appears some elements of school board, my guess being the faction that will soon find itself in the minority after Mayor Favre makes his pick top replace School Board Trustee Joan Thomas, dropped a dime on Mayor Favre’s son Casey and blew a whole bunch of smoke up MDE’s hiney about him and that brings us to the old news quality to Cassandra’s story because it was alluded to here on Slabbed in comments last October on the post Bay Taxpayers, Utility Users Stuck paying Excessive Post Katrina Engineering Firm Fees by commenter SuperStar. Starting with this comment and reading down it is clear SuperStar had no use for Casey Favre. Continue reading “So MDE was Down Investigating Bay Waveland School Board Trustee Casey Favre……”

Bay St Louis Civil Alert: Break out the Hip Waders, It’s getting deep

We have this from the last Bay St Louis Council meeting:

Bay residents urge city to keep Joan Thomas on school board ~ Stacey Cato

I watched the last Council meeting live stream and Stacey’s story was short a couple of paragraphs because not everyone that spoke was highlighted in her coverage. For example one of Ms. Thomas’ former students speak on her behalf which is a testimony to how well respected she is by her former students and that speaks well to her time as a teacher in the Bay Waveland Schools.

Another of the public speakers on the topic of the school board appointment was David Wells, who I thought did exceptionally well making his points in a way that most respectful of Ms. Thomas. For those that are uninitiated in the ways of a Facebook live stream is the audience gets throw cyber-rotten tomatoes in the form of emojis such as angry emoji, the ‘rolling on the floor laughing my ass off’ (ROTFLMAO) emoji etc and sure enough when Mr. Wells started his remarks so did the rotten tomatoes. Then something happened about half way into his time when the assembled audience in the Council chambers were told of the declining, abysmal accreditation scores at the elementary schools and let out an audible gasp. Mr. Wells spoke to nut and bolt issues and never in fact mentioned Ms. Thomas once by name in his remarks. It was very well done.

The point I want to make is a bit over a week ago I predicted there would be a change on the school board and I stand by that prediction. Here Slabbed has no inside intel, no leaks as to who Mayor Favre is appointing other than knowing it will not be Ms. Thomas. Somehow though, things have gotten nasty. As we have this public service alert from Facebook:

Chenaey Beaugez Cody, please change your settings so that we have the ability to share the post. Better yet, make it public.

Enter Ms. Courtney “Cody” Thomas, Trustee Thomas’ daughter with new information that Ms. Beaugez thought needed to be seen widely:

So, apparently, someone paid to spam the residents of the Bay-Waveland area with a text in attempt to disparage my mother, Joan Thomas. I will say three things:
1. It is disgusting that these people are using the school board to push their own political agendas.
2. Every vote that my mother cast was done with the best interest of the children of the BWSD in mind.
3. I challenge them to put the resume of ANY applicant next to Joan’s resume. Not lies, nor innuendo, but a side-by-side comparison of qualifications.

Councilman Smith offered his sympathies:

Larry Smith oh I am so sorry this has happened..i know it happened to you too! My heart goes out to you and your mom.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage…

Sorry folks that was last post. What I mean is the Ca Ca is getting very deep. Continue reading “Bay St Louis Civil Alert: Break out the Hip Waders, It’s getting deep”

I’m not sure exactly where to start….

Slabbed has an embarrassment of riches and I do not have the time this morning to do any of it justice. In no particular order:

  1. Last week Slabbed was told by a source connected to Diamondhead City Government that Bay St Louis City Clerk Sissy Gonzales had interviewed for the City of Diamondhead Treasurer position with the Assistant City Manager in Diamondhead and that she would be leaving the Favre Administration. The agenda for the next Diamondhead City Council meeting indicates the Treasurer’s position would be authorized to pay up to $60,000. I would look for Gonzales to take the money and run.
  2. Last night, the Bay Waveland School Board by a 3-2 vote extended the contracts of Superintendent Landry and her brother John McGraw the business manager by four years.  Those voting yea were Bell, Kidd and Thomas.  The action was taken after a lengthy executive session and according to one of the trustees in the executive session not authorized to speak for the School Board the action was taken against the advice of School Board Attorney Ronnie Artigues. The contract extensions were not listed on the School Board meeting agenda in advance of the meeting according to Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government, who also attended the School Board meeting.
  3. Just weeks ago New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was the darling of the national media with the New York Times even pumping Landrieu as a national political candidate after he removed the Confederate monuments from public display. Later today Slabbed will join the feeding frenzy on the Landrieu flash flood thanks to a reader that took an observation I made on Twitter to its natural conclusion. It is my hope the local media that has their teeth sunk into Mitch Landrieu’s hiney saves a bit of space for Slabbed to take a bite. 😉  This also illustrates why you should never get your local news from a national news outlet.

It is my hope the readers advance public knowledge of items 1 and 2 in comments, especially item 2, because the local school board really stepped out last night.

I’m afraid a very small group of people will be greatly disappointed and other Miscellany……

But that story isn’t to the point of development where we can share it just yet folks but indications are it will go something like this:

Next up is last week’s Bay-Waveland School Board meeting:

BWSD votes not to attend consolidation workshop ~ Cassandra Favre

Meantime up in Lamar County:

State Board of Education finalizes Lumberton schools’ consolidation ~ Ellen Ciurczak

The dynamics between Bay Waveland Schools and Lumberton are very different. Lumberton is a small community in a long term decline thus the declining student population. Bay St Louis in particular is a community whose population skews older due to its popularity as a retirement destination. Regardless what is now a three vote majority on the School Board wants no part of even discussing the possibility of administrative consolidation.

In other news there had to be a complete lack of internal controls over at Hancock Justice Court: Continue reading “I’m afraid a very small group of people will be greatly disappointed and other Miscellany……”

A couple of thoughts on last night’s recessed BSL City Council Meeting

Sadly folks, City Clowncilmen were spotted. Just a thought, but using a school board appointment to fight a political consultant’s third party agenda is ill advised on so many levels, including and especially invoking a new found love for ethics in government involving a school system which has systemic issues complying with basic state mandates on the subject [Lana Noonan’s first hand account for Slabbed is here]. Whoever put that bug in Councilman Buddy Zimmerman’s ear did well in making him appear to be a Clowncilman rather than a Councilman.

Equally amusing but not quite as inane was the question about whether or not a school level administrative assistant (school secretary) had any  contact with the children. My own experience is a teacher has a kid for a year, maybe two tops while the same child comes to the same office needing help at various times every year they attend school. By definition a school secretary would have more contact with the children over the long haul.

Just an observation but in all my time attending BSL Council meetings, never once did I see the previous council deny the Mayor such an appointment, even when the Mayor and Council were not otherwise getting along. That would have been true in February of this year had then Mayor Fillingame appointed Maurice Singleton to another term on the School Board.

I am told the reason Singleton was not reappointed when his term of office expired was because then Mayor Fillingame was trying to leverage Singleton into qualifying for City Council against Ward 3 Councilman Reed. It is for that reason that Slabbed presented this post, and accompanying artistic rendition of a Toolman. Last night’s short meeting was the final chapter in that particular saga, such chapter titled “disposal”. Continue reading “A couple of thoughts on last night’s recessed BSL City Council Meeting”