The Excelsior Springs Board of Education announced Tuesday that they would no longer respond to accusations posed by two area residents. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Superintendent Dr. John Lacy:
Two community members began bringing forward concerns about employee wrongdoing in December of 2011. Superintendent Dr. John Lacy said the district eventually launched an investigation into the matter in June of 2012. They changed attorneys because of a possible connection between the first investigator and a district employee.
A total of $35,000 was spent during the six-month investigation. The attorney found no evidence of any violation to state law or board policy.
“A better way to look at this is, the actual cash money that we spent on attorneys would pay for a teacher in our district,” said Lacy, “A full-time teacher for one year. Then if you were to include the number of hours that we spent dealing with these two individuals and their constant record requests, and all of this, you’d probably have the cost of another teacher. So, essentially, one way you could compare it is that we spent the equivalent of two teachers on this investigation.”
The district will no longer respond to Rick Moore and Ken Fousek, with the exception of lawful requests for public records.
Press Release from the Excelsior Springs School District
Beginning in December 2011, the Excelsior Springs School District became aware of allegations of wrongdoing against the District and certain District employees being registered by Mr. Rick Moore and Mr. Ken Fousek through various means, including a self-published newsletter entitled “The Real Truth.” Although the Board of Education had no cause to suspect the validity of any of the allegations, it voted to commission an independent investigation to look into the allegations in order to determine whether there was any cause for concern. The Board hired an investigation experienced in such matters. Shortly after the investigation had commenced, the complainants raised concerns that they did not believe the investigator was truly independent because they believed he may be an acquaintance of a relative of a District employee. In order to ensure a fair and unbiased investigation, the Board discharged the investigator and hired a new independent investigator who had no connection whatsoever with anyone associated with the District.
The independent investigation spanned from June through November 2012 and consisted of a comprehensive review of records and detailed interviews of several individuals, some of which were transcribed by a licensed court reporter. Throughout the investigation, the District and its employees made all requested records open and available for inspection. The investigator prepared a lengthy report summarizing his findings and specifically commented that all records and information he deemed necessary to investigate the complainants’ allegations had been readily and voluntarily made available.
During a specially set Board of Education meeting held on December 19, 2102, the investigator presented his report to the Board and summarized his findings. In short, he found no violation of any state law or board policy on the part of the District or any District employee.
During the course of the investigation, the complainants also lodged complaints with other entities, including but not limited to the FBI and the Missouri Commissioner of Education. To date, none of the other agencies with which the complainants have registered complaints have found any wrongdoing on the part of the District.
The District a its employees have been completely exonerated of any violation of state law or board policy as alleged by the complainants. The Board has gone above and beyond what it is legally or ethically required to do in ensuring the appropriateness of the District’s actions. To date, it has spend over $35,000 in attorneys’ fees and countless hours in administrative time and expense in investigating an d responding to the complainants’ baseless allegations.
These public funds and resources have been wasted at the expense of our children. Diverting public funds toward chasing down allegations that ultimately have no factual basis only serves to deflect our attention away from the business at hand. Board members were elected by the citizens of this community to focus on doing what is best in education our children, not to spend out time and resources in responding to innuendo from minority opinions held by a few. As such, the Board considers the allegations posed by Mr. Moore and Mr. Fousek closed and will not respond or warrant any further District funds or attention to the matter other than to respond to lawful requests for public records.
The Board of Education is issuing a call to action for the community to unite and focus on the business of educating our children. This primary responsibility requires the dedication of every teacher, custodian, bus driver, food service worker and parent in our community. Our future rests within the youth in our schools. We cannot afford to sacrifice their education to special interest groups and unfruitful investigations. We must rise up as a community and dedicate ourselves to the continued success and legacy of the schools of Excelsior Springs.