Bad Judgment on Rockwood School Board (or something worse?)

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Everyone remembers the horrible audit of the Rockwood School District.

** $1.2 million wasted in double payments ** Contracts awarded to a construction company that had one of its executives on the board ** Feeble, “arrogant” response to the audit from board members ** Bad management!

But the worst example of cronyism and arrogance went largely unreported. (The great Elliott Davis caught it, though. Video to follow.)

Rockwood Board’s Secret Response #

The late auditor Tom Schweich released Rockwood’s horrible audit on February 28, 2013. That’s when the audit went public.

At least two weeks earlier, Schweich released the audit to the Rockwood School Board. The School Board, including member Matt Doell (now a candidate for the state House of Representatives), acted swiftly.

The board extended the superintendant’s contract and gave him a $250,000 $234,000 raise!

It’s likely that board members knew there was no way they could give their crony a raise after the taxpayers found out they’d lost $1.2 million. And with a $30 million bond proposal on the April ballot. (That bond issue failed.) So they secretly gave their buddy an extension and a raise. A raiser bigger than some people earning in a decade.

Watch Elliot Davis’s “You Paid For It” as he goes after Rockwood VP Matt Doell:

Rockwood Stakeholders Were Livid #

In response to the Rockwood Board’s unscrupulous actions, the citizens' group that lobbied for the audit demanded resignations from the school board.

In a letter issued March 8, 2013, Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions wrote:

Despite their knowledge of the audit findings nearly two weeks prior to the public release, the Board chose instead to extend Dr. Borchers’ contract and has yet to hold him or any staff accountable for their actions – including a Board member identified as violating state law.

The group demanded resignations of specific board members who voted for Dr. Borcher’s extension:

In failing their fiduciary duty to the stakeholders of the district, RS for RS has requested the resignations of Rockwood Board of Education President Janet Strate and Board Directors Matt Doell, Stephen Banton, Keith Kinder, and Steve Smith.  In addition, they have asked Superintendent Dr. Bruce Borchers to release the district from its contractual obligation of his employment contract which goes through June 30, 2016, and submit his resignation effective June 30, 2013.  (RS for RS notes Board Directors Bill Brown and Sherri Rogers should retain their positions as they were only elected in April 2012 and voted against extending Dr. Borchers’ contract.)

Total Lack of Accountability #

Go here to read the State Auditor’s report directly:  Read for yourself about these deficiencies, including:

** The sweetheart no-bid construction deals with Glenn Construction ** A Board member’s conflict of interest ** The lack of adequate inventory controls for school property where the status of thousands of items are unknown, including computers and furniture ** The lack of adequate oversight over District credit cards where millions of dollars of expenses are not fully accounted for ** The lack of adequate oversight of District vehicle use

David A. Miller, MD, Rockwood Stakeholder, April 3, 2013

What we have here is a total lack of accountability. Only Steve Smith, the board member who also worked for the construction company in question, resigned. Matt Doell and Keith Kinder remained on the board. They led charge to close board meetings to the public, replacing the open forum with moderated, closed-door meetings by appointment.

Voters don’t pay much attention to non-partisan school board elections. They don’t. So people of questionable ethics get re-elected. Luckily, Republican primary voters are very informed. They know who’s on the ballot.

The Missouri primary is one week from today, August 7, 2018. You know what you have to do. Vote for Dottie.