Friday, September 17, 2010

Lack of oversight and supervision may influence school board race

The Times reported this morning that partial restitution has been made in the Bossier School fraud case.
"This week, the board received a lump sum of $496,086.18 from the federal clerk of court's office as "restitution payments and seized and sold assets" from a case involving former Bossier School Board employees and Ark-La-Tex Air Repair. There may be additional payments, but this likely will be the largest amount, board attorney Jon Guice said."
........"Ark-La-Tex Air Repair co-owners Garrett Gene Wilson and Alan Victor Lee and former Bossier school employees Winfred Johnston, William Rodes and Mark Rowe pleaded guilty early last year to one count of mail fraud as a result of a 196-count indictment arising from a scheme to defraud the School Board in the purchase and maintenance of air-conditioning systems from 2004-08."
....... "I think bottom line why they did it, it wasn't for us; it was for those kids," District 1 School Board member Jack Raley said of the U.S. attorneys involved in the case. He suggested that the School Board write them a letter of thanks."
I don't think they did it for 'those kids', I think they did it because they are charged with prosecuting crimes, in this case, 196 crimes over a four year period.
 It still amazes me that the board promoted the person who was in charge of administration during this period, to Superintendent.
The board members who voted to install D. C. Machen as superintendent are: Brad Bockhaus, Allison Brigham, Tammy Smith, Michael Mosura, Bill Kostelka, Julian Darby, Mack Knotts.
Since the entire board is up for election this year, this may be something to consider in making your decision.
Morgan Johnson is running against Alison Brigham in District 3.
Jo Jo Hamiter is opposing Tammy Smith in District 4, while Mack Knotts has a couple of opponents in the District 12 race.


  1. Keep in mind that over that 4 year period Air Repair was paid a total of $8,666,025 in invoices. The $1.2 million in theft is just a guess. Also, the Director of Finance, who still has his job, stated that no red flags were raised because they stayed IN BUDGET.

    If all the assets were sold and it only amounted to $500,000 - where did the other $8 million go or to whom to keep the relationship alive?

    Just wondering ;)

  2. The two from the Benton area should be the first to go. They have done nothing positive for bossier parish schools. There was a candidate for super. who was well known to both of them, but they would not support him. He was the only one who said he would deal with the people responsible for the crimes.

  3. Yes, you are right the two that represent Benton and Plain Dealing should definetly be voted out. They have used their positions to further their children and themselves. One hasn't been able to attend over half of the meetings in the last for years and the other has spent more time stumping for her family business than actually doing anything!

  4. Anon @ 9:37 said, "They have used their positions to further their children and themselves."

    Damn, that could be said about the current superintendent. Especially when it comes to family. Nepotism is very much alive and well when it comes to that family.

  5. Yes, I did forget to include the Machen in my last post..... If I had my way the entire sitting board would be voted out and central office would be cleaned out!!

  6. D.C. Machen doesn't even have the sense to run a Dairy Queen, let alone a multi-million dollar business. At what point to we continue to put coaches in charge of schools, programs, and the entire school board? This isn't 1968 anymore, people. It no longer works. Bossier Parish's socio-economic population has changed. We're more educated, younger, and smarter then the voting census 20 years ago. We need to show our leaders we don't want archaic, good ole boy politics anymore. Put the coaches on the bench...

  7. Working for the Bossier Parish School Board, I think I have a pretty good insight into how our parish does things. Obviously, you people do not have a clue nor the people you criticize! Our administrators and board members do a great job of providing education for our children in a safe environment. The two women on the board are very active and are the most accessible with answering phone calls and e-mails. Attend a meeting or call any of the people you sit here and attack, you will be surprised how open and honest they are and they really care about the kids.

  8. just like most of the other bloggers on this post - ill informed - nothing but half truth distorted attacks on people who are doers - like my old platoon sgt used to say - private - need more doah and less hoah - arm chair quarterbacks sit at their tables and throw stones and never put on their big boy pants and do anything - dont worry - they also are too lazy to organize much of any competition - so my bet is that brigham and smith go back in as they should - go ladies - keep kicking butt

  9. Anon 3:32pm said "open and honest and care about the kids."

    That post is truly laughable. Did they care about the kids when Air Repair had work release prisoners going in and out of every school in the parish for years?

    They have a supervisor ignoring court orders signed by a district judge resulting in the BPSB being sued. Open & honest?

    Let me give you a history lesson anonymous BPSB employee. In 1980, thirty years ago so board employees can follow along, the student enrollment was 18,744 students and the budget was $40 million WITH an $11 million capital outlay. The current board just passed a $182 million budget and the new enrollment this fall according to BPSB figures is 20,655 students. That is 1,911 more students and $142 million more money being spent, yet all we hear is how underpaid our teachers are. How is that possible?
    Yes, the teachers are underpaid but it is surely not a money problem. It is a management problem because it's run by retired coaches and principals, but don't let facts get in the way of the dream world you're living in.

  10. The two ladies on the board are very active trying to micromanage schools in their area. Hire good people and let them run the school. What does Smith and Brigham know about education anyway.

  11. Anon 4:17, if the people who are posting are ill informed, how about enlightening them as to why they are wrong. You aren't giving any specifics as to why they are wrong.
    Looks to me some of the people who are posting are giving examples as to why they are dissatisfied and not quoting their old platoon sergeant.

  12. There are some very sweet, nice, lovely people working on the BPSB and for the BPSB. However, as nice as they are, the issues require fresh ideas and the ability to make decisions that are best for our schools. When so many people here, from administration to support staff to teachers to "popular parents" are all related, married to, cousins of, best friends with, went to school with, aunts and uncles of, go to church with and have known each other since kindergarten or any of the other myriad relationships that are so obstructing to progress how can the parish really progress. If someone tries to make a change they run into the Great Wall of Nepotism! If someone were to actually report wrong doing they may actually be reporting one relative to another! If you cross swords with someone their spouse maybe writing your evaluation. Really people! The same employees who are supposed to be watching out for problems are watching people they spend Christmas with. A student who is different, from another area, has parents who are not in the "Family" or who thinks for themselves must be assimilated or is removed. Teachers who identify problems and suggest ways to fix them are shut down. You think bad teachers can't be fired? That is a myth. No one wants to fire them because it will make bad blood at the next family reunion. Well, good teachers can be run off and have their careers ruined. Read "Breaking the Silence-overcoming the problem of principal mistreatment of teachers" by Blase and Blase. If you don't know what good schools look like, you will never know it when you see it. Good teachers are not necessarily the ones who are popular or the ones running around dressed in pretty dresses with kitten heels. They are too busy to hang out in the teacher's lounge so they get labeled Antisocial. They may have moved to a few schools looking for a place to fit in and are then suspected of being a trouble maker by the ones who have taught the same thing in the same school with the same lesson plans for 30 years. No professional in any other career would brag of having changed nothing in 30 years-good teachers who are professionals change things for the better IF they are in a system that encourages professional growth, uses real educational research and is not afraid to take a hard look at themselves on a daily basis. Teachers move from classrooms to supervisors to administration, then into the school board office. Look how many teachers get masters degrees in administration and not their subject areas-how many masters prepared teachers with degrees in social studies, math, science, or english do we have? Not masters in education with some classes on how to teach these subjects but actual masters in the subject area? There is an enormous difference between 18 hours of grad work in a core area and 28 hours. An even bigger one at the baccalaureate level-compare 4 years (an average of 138-142 hours) of math, science, social studies or english to 20 hours. We do not need all teachers to have undergrad and grad degrees in core areas but we need much more. So many teachers see administration as their ticket out of the classroom, those new positions that were created mentioned in another post are so needed since career growth for most is limited to administration. We need good administrators at all levels but do we need so many teachers with masters in educational leadership and administration? Why are they so eager to leave the classrooms?

  13. Anon @ 6:30, what you said about nepotism could not have been said any better, and to that I will say , "Amen!"
    If you read this and replace the word "teacher" and apply the word for whatever employee within all Bossier Parish or Bossier City departments it would fit.

  14. Anon @4:17...I noticed you used "quarterbacks" and "platoon sgt" in your little locker room spill. Looks like your voters on here have more brains then the jocks you're used to convincing, Coach. I know what I'm doing with my vote...I bet these folks do, too.

  15. It is easy to post a note and be negative. How many of you even know what you are talking about. I have heard the hearts of both the young ladies on the school board. I have personally prayed with them concerning many trials they have faced the four years they have been on the board. If you spent the time both of them have spent on you knees, you would not act like you do. Many times when anonymous blogs are posted they are posted with sufficient information.

  16. In my last comment I should have written without sufficient information. Many times when votes are cast by any board the people who make comments to not know all the facts. Both of the young ladies on the board do there homework. Ms. Smith goes to most all interviews, meetings and schools on many occasions. She and Dr. Brigham stay informed on every decision they have to make. They are open to discuss any decision they have made. And they are not afraid to stand behind their decisions. Have you who complain done as much???????????????

  17. Why don't you who write complaints ask the principals and teachers in these young womens districts what they think? Plain Dealing has had the best representation that it has had in many years. Ask the people who know. Maybe you just might learn something!!!!!!!!!!!


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