Continued criticism of Bay-Waveland School Sup’s Partisan Political Activity

Bay-Waveland School Board member criticizes ‘politics’ ~ Geoff Belcher

My own opinion is Board Prez Sherry Ponder has lots to learn about both the Hatch Act and the First Amendment but that is another post. Board Member Maurice Singleton works at the Seacoast Echo, Board Prez Ponder is married to the publisher by way of background.

Here are Board member Mike Bell’s full comments:

As most of you may know, our Superintendent was recently involved in the rebuttal to the Governor’s State of the State address.

I am personally upset with our Superintendents involvement in this political partisan production. Instead of the usual live rebuttal on the house floor, they employed a video production unlike any I have ever seen.

Instead of her remarks focusing on educational issues like we were led to believe they would, and which we the Board of Trustees approved, the comments ran the political spectrum of states issues, government accountability, corruption, unemployment, medical care, hospitals, crumbling infrastructure, gas prices, nuclear waste, the department of transportation and women in the workforce.

The involvement of our Superintendent in this political boondoggle is, in my mind, a violation of School Board policy.

While our school board policy covering this issue; Political Activity of Staff Members, under the General Guidelines states, “All employees shall be encouraged to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens, but they shall not involve their schools in political campaigns.”

I have been advised that “she has not technically violated the policy,” which I do not agree with.

While I, as a military veteran, greatly value and appreciate our Superintendent’s 1st amendment rights, I disapprove her expressing them in her position as Superintendent of the BWSD.

Of the many calls and numerous conversations I had about this production, none have had a positive view of the comments, and no one has found anything of value from having them made on our behalf.

While a letter from Rep. Bobby Moak purports that our Superintendent was unaware of her title being used during the production, what reasonable professional would voluntarily participate in a partisan political event like this and not expect to be identified?

The Superintendents participation was contingent on her being identified as a professional educator and with the views that she holds.

In closing I would like to make it very clear that the opinions voiced by the Superintendent are hers, and do not reflect my opinion, or the opinions of the many, upset community members that I have spoke with.

Mike Bell
BWSD School Board Trustee

8 thoughts on “Continued criticism of Bay-Waveland School Sup’s Partisan Political Activity”

  1. Doug,
    While Superintendent Ladner’s remarks were partisan enough to say the least, what is most revealing is the other Democrats that she was grouped in with on this production:
    Remember Rebecca called for the Republicans to have some “courage?” Well, let’s start with one of her co-performers here, Robert Johnson–House of Representatives.
    Robert failed the Political Courage Test in 2011. A few more of Robert’s stands on government are:
    He voted NO on a grant to provide School Resource Officers
    No on Voter ID
    No on immigration reform
    No on establishing additional requirements for Abortion Physicians
    No on restriction of employees with undocumented immigrants
    No on prohibiting Abortion Coverage in the Miss. Health Exchange (wants the taxpayers to pay for them)
    No on allowing under performing schools to become Charter Schools

    Then there’s Linda Whittington ( House of Rep.) who didn’t even vote on increasing teacher’s salaries
    Voted no on Resource Officers for Schools
    Another abortion supporter as well

    I’ll save the best for last—Alyce Clarke–House of Rep.
    Voted to allow abortion after the 20th week
    no on voter ID
    No on regulation of abortion drugs
    no on additional requirements for doctors who perform abortions
    No on stricter requirements on abortion clinics
    Yes on Miss. Health Exchange to provide abortions
    No on Charter Schools
    No on classifying texting while driving as reckless driving
    No on additional requirements on abortions if fetal heartbeat is detected
    This is what I call Bi-Polar Politics
    Alyce wants to pray with the kids–that is the ones who survive her votes on abortion.

    Who in their right mind, with any integrity would participate with the likes of these politicians on anything? And these are the people who are “serving” the children of Mississippi?!!

  2. You go Mike Bell elected school board official. When the law is changed, and the Bay can elect its members
    on the board, the old boy [email protected]#$* or over paid OLE GIRL system will change. I say TRANSPARENCY and FISCAL responsibility is all I ask for.

  3. Having attended and watched the BW district for years, Most of the Board members NEVER speak out and are puppets of Ms. Ponder. Ms Ladner is also a puppet so she can keep her high paying job.

    It is so amazing how each person backs the other up so all can stay in their current positions. it is the best CYA scenario anyone can witness. From the Board President to the Attorney. I’d like to have an executive session with those two and wonder what new schemes they are cooking up.

    Ms. Ladner was totally out of line. There is a silver lining somewhere in this and maybe this is the opportunity to remove her and hire someone that will be for the children and not work for the Board and their attorney. Wake up Board and do the right thing. I am sure there are many qualified candidates in our area that would welcome the opportunity to be our superintendent with a high quality of integrity and mind of their own. Not be micro managed by the Board but work for the district.

  4. The Bay-Waveland School Board hit a home run again today in their efforts to operate under the same clandestine scenario that has become business as usual for them.
    At a special called meeting to interview potential architects for future projects, they chose to do so in Executive Session. Now, currently, there is no provision in the Open Meetings Law in Miss. for discussing in Executive Session those professionals who will do contract work for a public entity, only the entity’s own personnel.
    In a effort to keep things clean, I reminded them of this, but Board Attorney Artigues, stated that this was a” special situation.” Really, after reading the Open Meetings Law, I could find no “special situations” that could be subjectively declared by a public Board or their attorney that would give permission to conduct the kind of business they did today.
    The “special situation” was, according to Artigues, that it would be unfair for them all to speak in front of everyone, because they would all get to hear what the others had to say.
    The Administration building looked plenty big enough to me to separate them from each other until their turn came. And, their agenda contradicted Artigues because the Board had given each firm a different time to appear. That took care of privacy and confidentiality issues right there. I spoke to one of them as he waited his turn, and he told me that he had no problem having the others hear what he had to say.
    It’s just the PUBLIC that this Board and their attorney want to prevent fromknowing how “business” is conducted, and where their tax dollars are going.
    This Board desperately needs input because their track record this year regarding contracts, engineers, architects, and construction projects is disgraceful. But, who cares? The good old tax payers will pick up the tab no matter who they hire on their behalf and how much they let them run amuck.
    Who was it that said “Of, by and for the people?”
    Maybe it’s that building itself that provides an atmosphere for shady business dealings!!

  5. Lana
    Please file a open meetings complaint, as well as a Bar complaint against Ronnie! Let me know the date and time and I’ll also send one. Really Ronnie your job is not to bend the law, its to inform your client of right and wrong!

    1. Well simply said, if you don’t know who the Poolman is your not from the coast, and no I don’t clean pools,
      but I do know state law and open meeting law. FYI I drive a big blue truck with my name and photo on it…
      Jeff Harding 228-344-8001 I host the politically incorrect pool party Fridays from 5-11 on 103.5 WQRZ.
      If you wish to hear the next Bay St Louis Council meeting on Monday tune in on 96.3 WQRG. Bet you won’t have the fortitude to post your name or number!!!!!

  6. There are proper procedures that should be followed. If an entity is looking for any services then a RFP is put out. Each participant has a deadline to outline the services they will provide and scope of their work plus the fees charged. Simple as that.
    Once the Board members receive their packages with these proposals they can READ them to understand each person qualifying for the job.
    There is NO legal reason to go into executive session to question these bidders. Everything is written out on their services they will provide. NO letting the other person know. It is in writing. Board members in PUBLIC can then question if there is anything that is not clear on their bids to help decide who to vote on.
    NO letting the other person know. It is in writing already. Wake up people !! No changing their proposals once they have been submitted and clocked in on the expiration of bid time. There is NO cause for executive session, NO litigation or personnel issues.
    Oh wait! maybe they are reading “Ronnies Rules of Order” instead of Robert’s just as they are advised in other situations. This Board should put an RFP out for an attorney that will advise them in the proper legal manner and not HIS way.
    Stand up Taxpayers and Parents. This is NOT how we should want our Public Education System and Leaders spending our hard earned tax dollars and making unlawful decisions. They work for us. They must follow the rules…..

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