The FBI is looking into issues surrounding operations of the St. Joseph School District, according to two unnamed sources.

Those sources also said FBI agents met with at least one member of the school district administration.

“The FBI can neither confirm or deny any investigation,” said Kurt Lipanovich, a special agent in the FBI’s St. Joseph office.

“However, the FBI is always interested in listening to allegations of financial fraud or misuse of funds involving the St. Joseph School District.”

Steve Huff, assistant to the superintendent, confirmed that the FBI met with Superintendent Fred Czerwonka at about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

FBI agents identified as Mr. Lipanovich and C. Andrew Thomure also visited the home of Human Resources Director Doug Flowers on Thursday afternoon. They were at the home for nearly an hour and a half.

Questions surrounding the district first surfaced last month when Chris Danford, a member of the Board of Education, raised concerns about stipends paid to administrators. Ms. Danford said the stipends enhanced administrative salaries without going through the proper channel for board discussion and approval.

A few days later, the district’s chief financial officer, Beau Musser, was placed on paid administrative leave. Officials have declined to comment on Mr. Musser’s status or say why he was placed on leave.

Meanwhile, the board, during its monthly meeting Thursday evening, listened to a representative from the Missouri state auditor’s office lay out a timeline for its audit of district finances.

Last week, the Missouri auditor’s office contacted the district about conducting an audit of its budget. Audit manager Kelly Davis would not say whether the move was related to recent financial and personnel issues.

Ms. Davis said the audit will be done in three phases.

“Tonight is the entrance conference, where we notify the board,” she said. “Then we will begin our field work phase. We hope to be in field work on April 21.

“The first stage of the audit is when we review school records and procedures, and discuss with school officials and outside the school. This work will be done on site.”

Ms. Davis said they will use the standard objectives, which include a review of internal controls, management functions, legal compliance, administrative and financial transactions, meeting minutes and other measures. She added that the audit period will be for the current fiscal year, but they reserve the right to ask questions prior to that period if necessary.

“At the end of the field work stage is when we develop our findings,” she said. “Usually, we have a pre-exit conference with management and the board in a closed session. Our findings are closed information until they are public in our audit report.”

Ms. Davis didn’t give a time frame for completion of the audit. She said the cost would be covered by the state and not the school district.

Ms. Davis also said anyone wishing to provide information regarding the audit or district finances can call (800) 347-8597.

The board also said goodbye Thursday to members Sarah Siemens and Sue Wagner. Judge Dan Kellogg swore in Kappy Hodges and Lori Prussman as new members.

The first action for the new board was in selecting Brad Haggard as president, replacing Dan Colgan. Martin Rucker was elected vice president, replacing Mr. Haggard. Ms. Hodges nominated Ms. Danford for vice president, but it did not get a second.

The board also voted to appoint Wendy Czerwonka, wife of Dr. Czerwonka, the title of homeless coordinator for 2014-2015. Mrs. Danford was the only “no” vote for that appointment.

“This appears to look like nepotism. I don’t know if it is or not, but it certainly has the appearance of it,” Ms. Danford said.

In his superintendent’s report, Dr. Czerwonka again apologized for his awarding stipends without board approval. He said he walked into a situation he did not make.

“I respectfully ask that you allow me to do the job that you hired me to do. Please allow me to be the superintendent, and we will be that premier school district,” he said to applause.

Ms. Danford countered that speech by reminding him that the board is the final authority.

“Respectfully, I understand you have a job to do as superintendent,” she said. “But over the superintendent, over the team, is the Board of Education.

“Because when push comes to shove, the seven people up here are the ones who are responsible.”

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.

News-Press reporter Jessica Shumaker contributed to this story.







(107) comments

smith
smith

It's finally hitting home. Questions is how many will this land on.

Content
Content

Beau Musser, the CFO, may know where the bodies are buried....if not, someone does.

smith
smith

Beau Knows!

NoRegrets
NoRegrets

LONG overdue,I'd say

Shmrck5S
Shmrck5S

You can almost bet it won't be the ones it should land on.

Hawk
Hawk

This nightmare is so pitifully tragic.

wise1
wise1

Some were probably part of the "mass exodus" because of low pay bad morale.. yeah right. How stupid do some people think their source of income are? Probably couldn't fit anymore in their pockets or under the desk (not enough room) and Cadillac trunks without drawing suspicion. If this plays out like many think, and hope it will, the taxpayers have been subjected to some of the worst scumbags on the planet. Stipends first sounds more like the truth from what I heard from their employees.

smith
smith

Doug, remember orange is the new black.

wise1
wise1

Maybe they have a substitute on camera stealing a sandwich from a cafeteria or peeing in the parking lot, they don't put up with stuff like that in personnel. Must be pretty serious, perhaps some maintenance workers went rogue and reredesigned and built to whim the old Neely office to someone's desire. You never know.

Realtor
Realtor

Chris Danford has served as a lone voice in the wilderness. Rumors abound about special treatment for school board member family members, self-interest at the expense of the children and feathering of nests.

Children are supposed to learn important values from those that instruct and oversee them. If what has been rumored is true, they have now been shown that ethics are situational, one should go along to get along and that every administrator that took a "stipend" and proposed reasoning for the need of a school tax were only paying lip service in hopes of personal gain.

The school board, and by their oversight the administration, are supposed to serve as stewards over this communities most valuable asset for the future. If the rumors prove to be well-founded what they have done instead is both cynical and heinous.

To paraphrase an old Chinese curse or blessing, "May you live in interesting times."

Francesca
Francesca

"You should go along, to get along", hits the nail right on the head.

and if you don't . . . . . . . . . . if you stand up for what you believe, if you question authority, if you prove the defamation of your character and stand up for yourself . . . . . . . . . you will pay, and you will be OUT!

and this goes on in the "education profession" where we are to be examples and mentors of doing what is right. What a farce! I'd like to be the guest speaker at the next Convocation. I'd get a standing ovation from most of the district!

chili
chili

francesca, we have paid to date $155k to Flip Flippen for his motivational prowess. another of CZ's cronies coatailing into the district . i had so hoped for an overqualified older supervisor with a brilliant resume who wanted a last hurrah and was willing to come to our city and lift us up. instead we have a man who is stunned with all the groveling , developing a real complex about his importance, and whose past district was THE SIZE OF CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. i am terrified that the BoE will "let do my job".

sjcrush
sjcrush

So is the superintendent's wife's "new position" a paid one? When the school board in in to s#*t up to their necks, why in the world would he appoint his WIFE?!!! And why was Chris Danford the ONLY one to vote against this? Chris Danford seems to be the only board member who has our children's best interest at heart! I hope she is not the ONLY voice our children have on this board!

Robin Rhodes
Robin Rhodes

Oh! This sounds intriguing' doesn't Doug? What do you think, Rick? Sure hope Special Agent Lipan vice doesn't call me. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink ;-)

cityslicker1949
cityslicker1949

Aren't you the crazy guy that got fired at city hall and somehow was hired at the schools. And didn't they fire you for playing a guitar and singing in your under ware. They do toss out the bad fruits. I really value your opinion.

Robin Rhodes
Robin Rhodes

No, not fired from City Hall. When I left the City, it was well documented and well publicized. Playing my guitar in my underwear? Sounds li Ie you may b e someone with an axe to grind. Are you one of the people who would stand to lose if information is taken by the FBI and so you are trying to discredit me by making up outlandish lies? You are a moron.

Crazy, I just may be. I'm certainly a "tad" over exhuberant. I'm definitely confident in my abilities and what I know. And I go through life with a s###-eating grin. Can't help myself there either.

The best part: it doesn't matter if you value my opinion. I'm not working off opinion, I have facts.

Robin Rhodes
Robin Rhodes

it, doesn't it!! How does a word dissappear?

wise1
wise1

While the feds are taking a look they should poke around to see if any elementary PTAs have had missing money in the last couple of years, and if anyone is related to downtown administration, and if so who helped cover it up. Also any contract fraud and bid-rigging with latest changes in the school district especially any new fundraisers with cookie dough and magazine subscriptions.The taxpayers are due a thorough check-up of their employees by their employees.

keifferam
keifferam

Saint Joe has a great school system altogether, and it's just a shame how they choose to give stipends to a select few. It's especially very bothersome that a certain few with our district may be criminals. You just can't help but wonder...why is the district just now realizing this problem?! You can bet these stipends have been an issue since at least the 1990s! It wouldn't at all surprise me if Dan Colgan was in on this himself...

I especially praise Chris Danford for her disapproval of the stipends, and that she was willing to express it publicly.

sjcrush
sjcrush

I wouldn't be surprised if Dan Colgan didn't institute the administrations stipends himself. Anyone else notice how he sat right next to Chris Danford and didn't bother to open his pie hole at all?!!! And he was superintendent for HOW many years?!!!!

What
What

The stipends for travel expenses are a joke, too! Administrators get travel stipends and turn the travel time in for comp days off of work! More theft!

Leslie
Leslie

Does this have anything to do with the former super? Because
I heard lots of grumbling about her.

rezlas
rezlas

Hiring practices! Stipends! Rotten!

kidsfirst
kidsfirst

The FBI don't come over to your house for punch and cookies. And Dr Flowers considers himself the victim.

chili
chili

yes he does. flowers and long were largely in absentia at the past meeting, there but not standing in the phalanx i had to scoot by to get to the podium. and only about 10 wanted to gather for the Nice buffet. there was food for 50.

markd
markd

Since they are downtown the FBI can stop by City Hall to investigate sewer billing and the County courthouse to investigate the collector's and assessor's offices.

Robin Rhodes
Robin Rhodes

Ok, it also created Lipan vice out of Lipanovich. My apologies to you sir for not catching that before I hit send. I wonder who's rolling over on who (or is it whom?, I don't know!). What's that phrase one of the high paid administrators says? Oh, "You can do what you want when you have dirt on everyone else." I wonder which one thinks they have the most dirt on the other. I wonder which one was actually sitting in the shadows letting someone else hold the bag. Crossing my fingers. By the time this is over, there should be a lot of district employees talking to the FBI. (Pick me, pick me!!)

sjcrush
sjcrush

Robin, in the article it says if you have any information regarding the audit you can call 800-347-8597. I'm sure the FBI would make time to talk to you too! DO IT!!!!

64503
64503

ok in this article it say our superintendent's wife was given a new job and all of the board members voted for her to have this job except Danford which I agree with. This sure seems like another form of nepotism to us for sure. And what's
more amazing the 2 new board members voted for her to have this job as well I sure hope we did not waste our votes on these 2 and they are not going to be yes women to everything.
Now about the other issue this sure does not help the districts cause for another levy anytime soon it will get voted down for sure and who is going to suffer the most the CHILDREN. I hope this weak administration is happy with the mess they have caused our schools, our community, and the hardship this will put on the children
Way to go.

What
What

It has been rumored all year since CZ arrived that his wife was training as the understudy to take over the Homeless coordinator's job. I wonder how ready she really was to retire. Then when all the secrets come out, they post the job for 5 days? Will the preferred 5 who are supposedly under investigation and received secret raises this past year that were NOT approved by the board have to pay that money back or do they just get to keep raking in the extra 17,000 year after year? This is ridiculous. No one has bothered to explain what these secret raises were really all about except CZ says he's sorry? They have admitted they were told not to say anything about their raise. Have they told that to the FBI that Doug cut them a secret deal they were told to keep quiet about?

FlyOnTheWall
FlyOnTheWall

Dr. Czerwonka's wife has been working for the school district since they came to town. Why is her position just now getting approval? SJSD made a position for her and Jake L. when they came to town with Dr. C.

Francesca
Francesca

I honestly feel the former supt got pushed out of her position because she refused to be a puppet. She stood her ground and Colgan forced her to "retire". I am happy that she is out of that hornet's nest. It only showed solidarity when the other school staff members found employment in different school districts. Good for them.
Dr. Czerwonka cannot possibly be that naïve as to think he can give $250,000.00 in stipends without the school board's ok. He's not fresh out of college walking into a
supt position. That is a "no brainer" to pass this by the school board 1st! Pleading ignorant only makes him look ignorant. What is the saying, "don't risk asking permission & be told no, do what you want and apologize for it later". That is exactly what he did. $250,000.00 for principals and administration and what are the teachers getting . . . a measly 2% raise. It's ridiculous. Shame on him/them.

chili
chili

i believe that smith was able to leave gracefully, but the same violation of not getting board approval was the threat? of course CZ cannot claim naivete! look at this man. he "found" a very obscure and long unused rule that requires 5 working days notice to speak before the BoE and enforced it in his first meeting. he claimed that he HAD to limit public input because he was going to follow the letter of the law. he knew, and he did it anyway.

dillygent1
dillygent1

I particularly like that Chris Danford MAY be the one to reestablish school board authority and to teach the young people what honor is about. The school board is supposed to establish policy and to evaluate goings on. From what seems to have happened, the board seems to exist to just rubber stamp what they are spoon-fed. That is not only a tragedy, it is a dereliction of one's duty.

Francesca
Francesca

Wise1 mentioned possible elementary PTA's embezzling money. I know for a fact they have. The staff was told about it at a staff meeting after school . . . . then told NOT to talk about it, the parents didn't need to know about this, they wouldn't join PTA in the future . . . . . the amount was roughly $6,000.00 . . . . no names were mentioned but it wasn't hard to figure out. No charges would be made because the embezzlers "said" they would pay most of it back! Are you kidding me! Embezzlement is embezzlement. Wrong is Wrong. Cover up is cover up.

chili
chili

francesca you should be calling the FBI and the state auditor. ;0)

shortstack
shortstack

On the day that the FBI announces an investigation for inappropriate spending and nepotism the board appoints Czerwonka's wife a new title and position. I'm dumb founded by this level of arrogance and entitlement. And then Czerwonka demands the board to allow him to do his job! I'd be scrutinizing every decision this guy makes from here on out, how could we expect him to do the right thing now? I don't know how after all of this attention the board nearly unanimously approves it. Unbelievable. Keep it up Danford!

I'm really disappointed the audit will only investigate the current fiscal year, clearly these shenanigans have been going on for a long time. I would really like to see how many vacations, oops, I mean conferences these people have taken on the district's dime. Somebody ought to look into Sean Nash's travel records and technology expenses and who approved them.

chili
chili

the auditors stated at the meeting that if there was any indication of need to track back into previous years or administrations they would do so. if they actually do what they are going to do it will be a highly investigative forensic endeavor.

music46
music46

This is going to be ugly folks. It will take awhile for the investigations and audits but when its all finally out and done, there are going to be some people in alot of trouble here. Greed and corruption is alive and well in good ole StJ.

sassygirl
sassygirl

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/west-plains-mo/T32UVSI2EU8HFDH3N

read this article

chili
chili

this one on OPAA .s website is a flagrant advertisement for the company which CZ brought here to walmart our food services. we have already lost at least a dozen transfers open positions to being three part time positions each.

http ://www. opaa.tv/2010/07 /dr-fred-czerwonka/

take out the spaces so . surprised your link was allowed above!

64506
64506

The Superintendent, Flowers, and former Board President Dan Colgan need to resign immediately for the sake of the community. Not another dime of taxpayer funds should be paid to them. The real victims are the students of the District who are being served by unethical top administrators and a rubber stamp Board of Education (except Danford). St. Joe should never pass another tax levy until these 3 are in prison. The sunset claus on the tax levy expires next year and will have to be voted on again by taxpayers. Thank God the CFO had the courage to stand up to their bullying and do the right thing. Beau will never have to work again after he wins his case against them. Colgan got mad because Beau would not play his illegal games.

fanofsports30
fanofsports30

Where there is smoke there is fire! PorkChop you hit the nail on the head!

Hawk
Hawk

Oh, great. Just what this board needs--two more rubber stamps. We were hoping they would join Ms. Danford and We The People. So much for that.

Content
Content

I just hope that the FBI and the auditors get to the bottom of all of the corruption, wherever it exists and with whoever participated within the SJSD. Our public education is a stake and the welfare of our students and teachers.

And yes, we need to find more Chris Danford's who are not weak or corruptible.

Archer
Archer

When you have to beg for the right to do your job and tell the public you're not going anywhere you have already lost. Fred won't be making the choice to stay after all of this. He has lost the trust of the public and no levy will ever be approved under his watch. He can't be trusted with another dime. If he and the others really cared about anything besides their own pockets they would resign. We need to clean house, so long Czerwonka, Flowers, Long, Hartigan, Dial, Shindorf, Colgan, Rucker, Snethen, and Haggard. You have failed the community, and the ones paying the price will be a generation of students.

wise1
wise1

Is publishing false data on achievement to make some look good and others bad a crime? Principals do you know? How about instructional coaches fired for testing ethics elsewhere being test handlers for the MAP? Duh.

angeris
angeris

64503

For the record the two new board members did not vote on Mrs. Czerwonka's job. They were not installed until after the current agenda which including Mrs. Czerwonka's job vote. It had already taken place and been voted upon with the old board.

Hawk
Hawk

Thank you for the clarification. Maybe there's hope for us through the newest board members after all.

But this mess gets uglier by the day. The downtown administrators have had no fear of repercussion and, therefore, no need for accountability. State auditors, the FBI, the missing chief financial officer, the deposed superintendent, unauthorized spending, unauthorized promotions and huge raises for family members. If this was a book, no one would believe it.

ZRHtoNRT
ZRHtoNRT

Ms. Czerwonka's position may have been part of the deal, negotiated by none other than smilin' Danny Colgan, to hire Fred.

What
What

I'm sure Mrs CZ was promised an administrative position when they came. Their friends they brought with them were given administrative positions just like Doug's wife and other downtown members whose spouses and friends were guaranteed administrative jobs and moved here for the good money from the KC area. It's a known fact.

BoomerSooner
BoomerSooner

The first thing you learn in psychology is this: the best indicator of future behavior is previous behavior. The district, courts, and police force have been sickening in their corruption since the birth of that city. Until we see people go to prison and we witness marked change, I'll remain skeptical.

chili
chili

and for the record i, sarah hochschwender BEGGED the board NOT to vote on the agenda with the unprecedented issues before us. chris danford made an impassioned and reasoned plea, only to have CZ try and turn back time and pass the buck back to smith. as most people know, smith and i were not exactly frliendly, but this is just ridiculous. ask yourselves this. if CZ could find and enforce an obscure rule on speaking at BoE meetings and use it to shut down public comment, then how ON EARTH can he now state he did not realize that he was under stricture to get board approval? this man is as false as the "diamonds" by the name i use for him. ii see the throwing of Flowers and Musser to the wolves as a deflection. who has served the longest on the Superintendent's advisory board? i think you will find that man is Rick Hartigan. follow the rope.....

PorkChop
PorkChop

The big bad wolf is Dr. Danny Colgan. He is the alpha and the rest are his "pack". If you dig far enough back you will see that everything started with Colgan. Even CZ admitted last night at the board meeting he only had Colgan's approval for the stipends and he thought that was all he needed. Really, CZ? This isn't your first job as superintendent! How corrupt were you at west plains? I'm guessing pretty corrupt and that's why Danny boy hired you. Also, Danny agreed to the stipends bc he wanted his son to get one too! Isn't that the way the game is played? Your words, Czerwonka, right?

fanofsports30
fanofsports30

PorkChop what happened to your original post about there being 2 sets of books and the hiring of family?

64506
64506

Before August 2015 the Board needs to place their tax levy on the ballot before the sunset Claus expires. What will it take for taxpayers to pass it???

64503
64503

In our community there has been a huge trust issue and all of this going on makes it worse. It's going to take a house cleaning of admin and people hired that can earn the publics trust back anything less will me failure for any future levy at this point

What
What

I agree 64503! No honest person is going to pass a levy until the house is swept clean of all corruption. We need to start fresh with all new blood.

smith
smith

Yesterday in California a former public official was sentenced to 12 years. Here is part of an article on it:

The judge gave the former official, who has been incarcerated since her conviction in December, 11 years and eight months. She could have sentenced her to as long as 17 years.

Spaccia has been found guilty of 11 criminal counts, including misappropriation of public funds, conspiracy and falsification of government records.

Authorities said she signed off on contracts and other financial documents as part of the scandal in which taxpayer dollars were illegally diverted to pay her and other top officials huge salaries.

Some of the most damning pieces of evidence introduced at her trial were emails she exchanged with Bell's former police chief in which she told him the city's contracts were carefully crafted to avoid disclosing to the public what the officials were paid.


Sound familiar? Dan, Rick, Doug, Melanie will all look good in orange.

Doc Arnett
Doc Arnett

While I appreciate Ms. Danford's restraint, “This appears to look like nepotism..." seems quite the understatement.

I've worked a few places, seen nepotism, cronyism and favoritism and appointing the superintendent's wife to this position doesn't just seem like nepotism, I think it could pass a DNA test!

StJoeinmyMirror
StJoeinmyMirror

It is amazing. Everyone on the school board, except Mrs Danford, and possibly, Kappy Hodges, seem to be going along with a 'let's take care of our own' strategy. I am shocked that Mr. Czerwonka would pick the timing of this school board meeting to say, "....and we will be that premier school district" and, oh, by the way, let's start by promoting my wife. This is a sick, broken crony-driven environment. I am curious what the other School Board Members have and are hiding to react so silently. As Mr. Flowers and the Bully Team play politics, a state audit, the FBI, and promises made to Mr. Czerwonka are all going to become aware to the public. I hope the St. Joe voters remember these board members that left Mrs. Danford standing alone, holding high the principles of honor, honesty, openness and what is right. She is truly the heroine in a sad story that leaves St. Joe school children and their teachers stranded. I wish, as do the majority of St. Joseph citizens and educators, that she was the Superintendent of Schools. Mrs. Danford's integrity is what is needed to shine in this sick, dank dysfunctional environment.

rainy
rainy

Excellent post.

dillygent1
dillygent1

I would like to know about Mrs. Czerwonka's hire in her position. Was she appointed by the old board or the new one? That would say something what direction the new board is going.

ZRHtoNRT
ZRHtoNRT

The old one. It may have been part of the deal, negotiated by Colgan, to hire Fred.

St Joe Citizen
St Joe Citizen

Citizens that want to be informed and involved in their local school district should be applauded. Being involved doesn't mean one needs to be a School Board Member: All of the various school board committees (C and I, Personal, etc) hold open meetings. These meetings are posted on the SJSD website. These are open to all to attend (although comments are not generally allowed.) Many of the things that are mentioned above are discussed in detail at these meetings. Concerned citizens should attend these committee meetings and regularly attend school board members. Many of the items that are being touted as "secret" have actually been discussed in length at one or more of these meetings. Be involved, be informed. I applaud the entire school board for volunteering their time, energy and talents for our children. It isn't a negative that there is never 100% agreement on votes, it simply shows we have people thinking with different parameters-this can have many positive results. That said, I also applaud the superintendent and his staff for staying professional amidst all the mudslinging that is going on. Many that are throwing accusations around do not have all the facts, or are past disgruntled employees. Because other school board members haven't voiced openly (or, heaven forbid, on Social media) the information that they may have that contradicts what Mrs Danford is saying does NOT mean they don't know. It may mean they are dealing with it in a more professional manner. The fact that at the school board meeting Mrs Danford was in fact stating loudly and adamantly that "The board is up here (indicating an elevated position) above the superintendent" should itself be a red flag about her..is she perhaps, be on a power trip and upset that her voice and vote isn't the final say?
Time will tell.
I truly believe that ALL parties want what is best for our children.

Hawk
Hawk

Thank you, Mrs. Colgan.

St Joe Citizen
St Joe Citizen

Actually,not related to any school district employees.
It's amazing that opinions contrary to yours are hated.

Hawk
Hawk

St Joe Citizen--I apologize for my rude response. I'm not a hater. I'm a grandfather who's a graduate of the St. Joseph school system who is very concerned about the direction and the accountability of this administration and board of directors. Clearly the system of checks and balances has not worked. Clearly nepotism exists--even though board members may tokenly abstain. Clearly Dr. Colgan has orchestrated the removal of one superintendent and the hiring of another. And clearly there's enough smoke over this fire that state officials are auditing and federal officials are investigating. As to mudslinging, start by asking Mr. Flowers who reported the directors for his perceived violations. Perhaps the most incredulous thing of all, given the timing and the firestorm of the community's outrage, is the hiring of Dr. Czerwonka's wife at this time. Please explain to me how this hiring, at this time, is good for our school district and good our kids.

rainy
rainy

So were the $250,000 in stipends, Dan Colgan's sons promotion, Flowers wife, etc. all discussed in these meetings?

Someone posted earlier that CZ only had Colgan's approval for the stipends. Is that true?

Mrs. Danford should be applauded. I greatly respect her.

I'm highly skeptical of anyone in a position of power who has other relatives working for that organization.

St Joe Citizen
St Joe Citizen

The openings are discussed. And when anyone has a relative that has applied, that person abstains from voting, as it is with any public governing body.

What
What

Can you prove with board meeting notes that the openings you mention as discussed in any such board meeting were actually discussed openly concerning the 5 positions under investigation for the warehouse, retiring counselor, Doug's wife, and two coordinators gaining 17,000 raises? It's been admitted that CZ did not seek board approval for these positions, only Dan's approval. I don't understand how you can minimize these specific secret deals. Where there is smoke there is fire.

What
What

You seem to misunderstand "secrets". What else can you call it when 5 favored employees including Dr. Dan's son receive $17,000 raises this past year, and they were told not to tell anyone?

chili
chili

actually there has long been a tacit approval by board members before the official vote. i witnessed a full court press by the rest of the board at a work session against denis snethen. colgan has stated publicly that he prefers to iron out differences in private. until the board got the simultaneous voting system there were nearly always unanimous votes. the raise for Colgan's son is particularly of concern due to his abysmal job performance and loss of food products in his charge which were not properly handled or rotated.

ridicul00s
ridicul00s

I thoroughly enjoy reading all of these posts, factual or not. All opinions are rightfully posted and interesting, each in its own way or context. However, generalizations can be dangerous and offensive. Just because one, two, or a few "high-ups" have some alleged wrongful doings, it DOES NOT apply to all. Just as any related employee(s) is his or her own person. Respectfully, it would be nice if posters would refer to specific individuals or state more specifically, if possible, in their opinions. For example, rather than relatives of employees, how about either referring to whomever by name, or if generalizing, using better terms such as "placed", "high-paid", or "unqualified" relatives. Thank you!!

PorkChop
PorkChop

So was CZ sent here to raise the morale of the admin by providing them all with the $5000.00 raise? He is asking someone, Danny, maybe, to let him do his job he was hired to do? If that's so, then why did CZ give the raises and keep it a secret? Yes, he only had Danny's approval! Mr. Musser also told Doug Flowers that the stipends must be board approved and he told Musser to just transfer fund from another account that they set aside money and didn't use it. What a criminal mind! Wonder if Danny and Doug will enjoy each other's company for the next few years? They are going to spend a lot of "time" together:)

jones
jones

Inquiring minds want to know:
Czerwonka gets caught by the CFO, who won't sweep things under the rug, doing a variety of inappropriate things and panics. In an effort to save his own skin Czerwonka goes to the FBI and blows the whistle on all the fraudulent activity he "inherited" from his predecessors and successfully distracts the community away from his own activity and onto everyone else. He then proclaims there is a new sheriff in town and he's here to clean up this mess - let me do the job you hired me to do!

When they run you out of town make it seem like you're leading a parade...

sassygirl
sassygirl

Jones read my article that I posted earlier. It'll enlighten you!

bigdog1
bigdog1

The school district didnt build safe rooms for the kids at the the two new schools. Its clear the kids safety is not a priority of the school district. Just tax free stipend money is. Sad sad, sad.

sassygirl
sassygirl

Then there's the joining of OPPA to our district. Did Rick Hartigan get a $10,000 kick back for them coming here. Wonder what CZ got. He does an ad for them on the internet.
The poor women in the kitchens were dropping like flies when they first came in
The new ones can't work more then 28 hours. So there's times they'll be called after an hour of working and told to go home. This is supposedly a family company. Give me a break.

Hooray
Hooray

I think it is a good thing to bring this to the light (thanks to Mrs. Danford) and it is a good thing to participate in this debate. Everyone is free to express his/her opinion.

I am sure all these investigations and audits will give everyone an answer and justice will be served in the end!

64506
64506

Will the school district still pay for Dan Colgan family health insurance premiums if he is in prison?

PorkChop
PorkChop

That's a good question, 64506? Do the taxpayers realize that one retired persons health insurance premium is currently $583 a month? Just imagine what we are spending to pay for Danny boy's family! If you don't believe this post, ask a retired teacher what they pay every month. They won't lie and why else would Dr. Dan want his paid for if it were reasonable? I just never understood what the BOE and Danny thought was so special about himself to deserve such a lavish retirement package.

Mama2
Mama2

Not sure about all retired people from the district, but my mom is a retired teacher and she pays almost $1200 a month for her to keep district insurance just for her and my dad. The district does not pay any of it.

PorkChop
PorkChop

Mama2
Double $583 and it's estimation would $1200. That's $42,000 over 3 years time for a husband and wife. Now add a son!!!!

What
What

add a daughter-in-law

Megan
Megan

When a person chooses to enter a career of teaching education, one would assume it is because they enjoy children, and wish to be a part of bettering their lives. If that were the case with these administrators, stipends would not have been given out. That money would have gone to books, programs for the children, computers, the teachers (who are the ones that do the REAL work), whatever else would further help our kids. We are very lucky to have Chris Danford on the board. She was an elementary school counselor when I was young, and she is the PERFECT example of a person who truly cares about the children. Like so many have already said, we need more people like Chris on the Board, looking after our children!

Realtor
Realtor

St. Joe Citizen is a sycophant trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun; your credibility is immediately negated when you find no pause in the actions of the administration and the board.

It is similar to someone telling you that they are classy, always a determination best left to others to declare. Every minute that is spent by the administration and the school board having to explain and justify is a minute taken away from the core responsibility they have been entrusted with.

No one is entitled to be rewarded for time served only value delivered. Administrators have chosen a career path and they do so with expectations, the idea that results do not matter or that the population they serve is without the sentience to draw conclusions is the refuge of the incompetent.

I wonder if now is not the time to consider the introduction of Charter Schools into our community. Maybe the introduction of competition into a broken monopoly might well serve all.

okay
okay

St. Joe citizen, 3 things:

1 If not for the bravery of Ms Danford, we would all still be going about our lives clueless as to the way someone in the sjsd is shortchanging teachers, kids and taxpayers.

2 Perhaps these employees have good reason to be disgruntled.

3 Even my 87 year-old mother knows that social media is now a part of our culture. Get used to it. It is here to stay.

Karma
Karma

There is no way to hide anymore. When the dust settles, we will all be assured the guilty will be punished. It is my greatest fear that the tax levy will not pass. This would be another real crime because the victims would be the kids and the teachers. Without the levy being renewed, many teachers will have to be let go and class sizes would increase greatly. You might feel like you stuck it to the "Big Guys Downtown" by voting no, but in reality you are sticking it to the kids and teachers of St. Joseph. I think they have suffered in silence long enough. Please do not let a few bad apple ruin the batch. Let the system work and feel vindicated in the process.

gigan
gigan

I am concerned about these technical director titles with the $10,000 plus raise attached? Who authorized these increases? I mean no disrespect to any of these individuals, but I want to know what they have done to deserve raises of this size? The paper said Mark Colgan, director of the warehouse was making $50,000, give or take, and will now make $66,000, give or take. How has his responsibilities changed $16,000? I am sure most teachers are not even making $50,000? Again no disrespect and I am sure he and the four others do good work, but $10,000 plus in one year seems very high to me. Especially considering all the cuts that "had" to take place last year? I haven't heard many people talking about this, or seen any subsequent articles in the news since the original?

What
What

I agree gigan, the original article publishing these 5 names has never been followed up on concerning the large raises. I am surprised that their level of education hasn't been printed by the news-press or some explanation to the public as to what they had accomplished the prior year to earn 17,000 in one year raises. I see on the salary schedule if you move from teacher to principal the salary increases 15-20 thousand dollars, but I've never heard of a principal of a warehouse or of any school policy that awards a principal's salary to someone retiring or to coordinators. These Technical Director positions were not posted as new jobs either. Why hasn't the district been transparent on what qualifications are required to become a Technical Director and why weren't the jobs posted? It appears a mere title change awarded alot of money to those on the inside circle keeping money secrets.

wise1
wise1

On American Greed: Scams there was a case where a con man had no necessity for his crime. The experts advised those who asked: Why? What is the motivation?, that continually getting away with it can be the greatest motivation ever.

chili
chili

the motivation for at least one is risk taking behavior.

wise1
wise1

Here's what most teachers get if they oppose or opine against anything their "superiors" have decided is best for them and your kids. Oh yeah if they want to file a grievance it goes right back to the great wisdom of the decision maker. That's why you won't have teachers speak up in these matters. No rights to speak truths or have an opinion in America. Great civics lesson.


Teacher: ‘I was bullied’ for opposing testing system

04/01/14 03:07 PM


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By Jane C. Timm


A Missouri teacher says she was intimidated and bullied because she opposes the newly implemented Common Core, a new standardized testing and lesson plan that has been adopted by 45 states.

Kindergarten teacher Susan Kimball of Sikeston, Missouri, testified in a legislative hearing that her bosses and fellow teachers had pressured her and others not to speak negatively about Common Core in public or online, lest they face repercussions at work.

“In a professional development meeting … in November, and at a faculty meeting in January, we were told in my building, and I quote, ‘Be careful about what you post on Facebook, or talk about in the public regarding Common Core. Don’t say anything negative. It could affect your job,’” Kimball recalled for the Missouri Senate Education Committee. Video of her testimony was recorded by Duane Lester, a conservative blogger, who was asked by several activists to attend and videotape the testimony and questions. (Lester says he’s not an activist on the issue, but he’s concerned about the lack of transparency and cost of implementing new standards.)

“When I turned in a personal day request to come support the rally for House Bill 1490, I was asked by my principal, ‘Do you really want that in your personnel file?’ And then I was bullied and ostracized by my administration, a few other teachers and the president of the school board. And that continues today,” Kimball said.



Common Core is a set of math and reading curricula and tests promoted by the Obama administration; Kimball was testifying in favor of two Senate bills that would remove or curb Common Core in Missouri schools.

“It has been heart-wrenching to watch my students frustration when having to be taught these lessons, especially when I know better from all my years of teaching that this is not appropriate, but I am powerless to do anything,” she said.

The testimony comes as millions of students try out Common Core testing for the first time. The results won’t be applied to the students or given to their teachers, but instead used by the test creators to continue developing the program.

Emails to anti-Common Core organizers in Missouri were unanswered by press time.

wise1
wise1

I wish they had those cellphone cameras back when I taught and someone found a nearly $1000 lunch bill for the newly appointed and stipended instructional coaches. The angry administrator called a meeting and threatened the staff saying it was illegal stealing if someone took that receipt off the coaches desk and documented it. Talk about hostile environment. I was lucky enough to be old and able to get out, but really feel sorry for the young teachers in that system still with the same people being promoted and making stipends to boot. I'm done good-bye. Gonna enjoy my retirement before it goes broke. Thank God it's a private fund, it will last a little longer than public funds being wasted by corruption. Good luck. Seek the truth.

ridicul00s
ridicul00s

Certainly, no one needs to be told to call the tip line to provide information that he or she feels is relevant to these issues. And the fact that the involved agencies are reading these posts is common sense. Whatever "facts" one has can be discussed via threads like these, or again, reported to the proper agencies. But let's focus on the topic, not personal attacks. Credibility can be determined by those who deem any information factual or relevant. Basically, if you wish to partake in the discussion, then do so, but stop tooting your horn or slandering others. Not meaning to sound rude, but I'd rather read about the topic, not hear about how some disgruntled employee knows all about this or that or what he or she supposedly does in his or her non-topic, related free-time. Sigh....

MOSports
MOSports

Here is something to ponder over the BEAUtiful weekend , what if Beau Musser actually had a side job other than the SJSD with the FBI and he is about to rock the SJSD? Wouldn't that be interesting...

Francesca
Francesca

Now that would be sweet! He was absent and out of the building when this all went down. No one knew where he was or why!

Another ponder . . . . . why is Dan Colgan retiring. He just came into the "picture" so to speak. Was it just to drive Dr. Smith out of our school system. He did his dirty work and now he is done? Is he trying to "flee" the school board so as to not have to "testify", or name names.

1 more thing? when this came out it was stated the new Supt. did NOT ask the school board. He replied that he thought as Supt. he had the power to give the stipends. Now I see info that he says he asked Dan Colgan about the stipends. I would have to say that is a classic example of covering one's "behind". Dan Colgan is NOT the School Board, he is 1 member of the school board. Does he really think we are all that dumb? The entire school board votes, one person doesn't just decide yay or nay!!!! You got caught Fred. You might as well come clean and name names. Just get it over with. Be a man and man up!

Westplainser
Westplainser

We are rid of him, CZ that is. Beware, he does whatever it takes to get what he wants. He is a smooth talker who acts like he is such a wonderful person. Hope auditor gets him!

ridiculoose
ridiculoose

The West Plains Quill: At St. Joseph School District FBI looking into finances; focus is on former West Plains R-7 Superintendent.

Steve Conroy
Steve Conroy

With a student to teacher ratio of 13 to 1, Why do we need 164 Teachers Assistants? And teacher's Salary from $43,000 to $67,000 a year, for 9 months of work, Why do we have such of a hard time keeping GOOD teachers? I never made more than $35,000 a year doing Back Breaking Construction work,,, I guess I can't understand!! But disregarding ANY of that, Any money passed on out of the School fund needs to be approved by the people that money belongs to,, The Citizens, who are the ones that furnish it, I am going to do some research on my own to find out Every Single salary of Every member that takes their Wages from Tax Payer funded School fund !!!

64503
64503

OK the board of education has had plenty of time to clean house at the administration level to instill trust back within the community but they have chose to take the path they always do sit on their hands and think time and all of this will blow over.

fussy
fussy

Not unless we go down on the corner of 10th & Felix and protest with big signs like we need to every morning all day till some real answers come out.

cherrypickr
cherrypickr

Westplainser, hopefully the FBI and the state auditors continue their investigations on down your way. Sounds like CZ has done illegal things within your district during his position there. And the ones he brought with him????

WestPlainer3
WestPlainer3

Ready Freddie is just getting started. His next move will be to force out older teachers and replace them with young fresh ones at lower pay and only keep them 3-4 years, to lower teacher pay therefore “justifying” admin. pay increase. He will use all sorts of tactic to insulate himself from the general public and any backlash from the SB.
Fred perfected his way in a small setting, to bad for him that doesn’t work in larger settings. Fortunately, you have at least one SB member looking out for the student and tax payer interests.
Don’t think he is that smart he relies heavily on a law firm in St. Louis, Mickes Goldman O’Toole. (Google Tom Mickes to see what to expect)
The school board here in West Plains is nothing more than bobble heads and let him and his cronies have a personal playground, too bad he didn’t take all of them with him, he left some of his demon seed here to continue his ways.
I wonder if your SB got new iPads too, courtesy of your tax dollar. One thing you can say about Fred, is he loves to spend someone else’s money.

JohnQTaxpayer
JohnQTaxpayer

Even Napoleon eventually had his Waterloo after seeming unstoppable for so long. Will SJSD be where 2 former Superintendents meet theirs?

aromanov
aromanov

Lipanovich's picture shows he hasn't lost his "chic" yet. It's good to know he's taking some cases in St. Joseph. He usually was very requested in Kansas City. I feel sorry for the people involved in it, once that the dogs hold a bone, they usually don't let it go!

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