Elected Public School Board members – Respond

by Clayton Moore

The ECT wanted to know.

So some ECT contributors went to the first EC Public School Board meeting – after the landmark November 1st election where ballot issue 3B was voted on – and defeated.

The ECT folks had one simple question for your elected Public School Board…”what did you learn from the election in reference to YOUR 3B ballot issue – that failed?”

The ECT will show you.

FACT: Last summer 2011 – your elected Public School board voted to spend taxpayer money – to pay for a telephone “poll” to determine the (likelihood?) of a property tax increase, should it be put on your November 2011 Ballot.  The results of their poll (paid for by you) where NO! for any new Eagle County Tax increases (Click Here).  60% of the folks polled didn’t want it.

FACT:  Your elected School Board obviously ignored their own poll data (and the professional advise of the polling company Hill Research Associates – Texas) and decided to go ahead with their own Public School Ballot issue that was known as 3B.

FACT:  The results of the 3B election were – No/5014  Yes/4175 or 54% vs. 46%

FACT:  YTD Eagle County families are dealing with home foreclosure rates of 534 (YTD – 1JAN2011) this annual home foreclosure rate is now in it’s 3rd year.  Eagle County Job loss is and has been the #1 driver of this home foreclosure rate.

FACT:  The explicit Ballot language (Click Here) of 3B DIDN’T SAY (where/what) the permanent property tax increase money was specifically going to be used for.  Teacher Salaries?  In classroom expenses?  Voters had no clue based on the Ballot language that was approved (statutory requirement) by your elected School Board.

4 of your 7 elected School Board members did reply in writing in reference to the ECT’s question.  Thank you for replying Carrie, Kate, Jeanne and Ross.

Here is what your elected School Board had to say about their defeat on Ballot issue 3B.  Just CLICK on the graphic to enlarge it.

Elected ECSD board member Ross Morgan:

Mr. Morgan is the School Boards representative from (Gypsum)…based on a Zip Code analysis Gypsum is one of hardest hit parts of Eagle County – when it comes to home foreclosure.  What does this say about Mr. Morgan’s listening skills and over all ‘community awareness?  Not to mention Mr. Morgan’s willingness to ignore his own Polling data.

Elected ECSD board (President) Jeanne McQueeney:  ECT’s question from above “what did you learn from the election in reference to YOUR 3B ballot issue – that failed?”

Ms. McQueeney – that wasn’t the ECT’s question.  Was the ECT’s question “too complicated”?

Elected ECSD board member Kate Cocchiarella:

Ms. Cocchiarella:  What “disappoints” the ECT folks is our wasted Taxpayer dollars on a Poll – that our Elected School board, later chose to ignore.  This makes the ECT folks “dissatisfied” with our elected School Board at all levels.

Elected ECSD board member Carrie Benway:

Ms. Benway – When the ECT published the Taxpayers (ECSD Employee Payroll) – folks were OUTRAGED at the salaries of some top School Administrators.   The salaries are far, far in excess of the average private sector salary in Eagle County today.  Asking the average voter to vote to hand over more of their hard earned Private Sector income in favor of more money for (overpaid?) School Administrators – didn’t work very well, now did it?

What the ECT learned…

1 – Your average elected School Board member’s “sense of awareness” as to what is going on in our Community is abysmal.  i.e. gee, won’t families currently in home foreclosure – vote for a property tax increase?

2 – No elected School Board member thought it was necessary to apologize to Eagle County Taxpayers for WASTING Taxpayer money on POLLS, polls whose data was conveniently later ignored!

3 – The listen skills of your School Board members are abysmal.  This point rammed home by ECSD Board President Jeanne McQueeney – who chose to answer a question – the ECT folks – didn’t even ask!

4 – Your elected School Board obviously didn’t think there was “anything wrong” with their 3B Ballot language.  Not telling voters specifically what their tax increase money was going to be used for?  No problem – in their minds – none of them took the time to even mention that fact!

5 – Your average ECSD Board member obviously believes – they must be something wrong with you the Voter/Taxpayer.  There couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with our School District Board, could there?

Lest you think the ECT folks take things out of context – (Click Here) to read a complete copy of the School Boards letter to some ECT contributors.

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5 responses

  1. My entire reply….

    I have spent the last few years serving on the Board of Education for Eagle County Schools. I ran for the board because I believe in what our district does, for the most part. We have our issues. Everyone does…yet, I believe that we are doing a good job addressing those issues, and making positive steps forward. I have tried to maintain an open mind on all subjects. My core belief when it comes to education is that all children, have the right to get the best education they can, regardless if they find that education in our schools, home-school, charter school, etc….

    My latest brush with the true nature of politics has been on a County Wide ballot initiative titled 3B. Essentially, it is a property tax increase to help defray the lost revenue that is a result of the States’ K-12 rescission these past few years. My abbreviated stance on the subject has been, ‘we have made huge cuts in our district. IF 3B fails, we will continue to make huge cuts. If 3B passes, we will be able to operate as we currently operate. If you believe in what the school district has done, vote yes. If you think the school district needs to work with less, vote no.’ Either vote, in my mind, is a fair and honest critique on how we as a district are doing, and something we as a District should listen to. Sadly, many of those on either side of the fence do not see it this way. This vote is a vote for good vs. evil, so here are my thoughts to both sides…

    To the ‘Vote Yes’ crowd: Simply dismissing the comments towards Board/Administrative Expenditures is the exact reason why people say government is out of touch. To defend the cost of a lunch or staying at a 5 star hotel, in the face of a $5M shortfall is ridiculous. If this is the only reason why those opposed to 3B are complaining, I say fix it. Stay at the Comfort Inn, bring bag lunches, cut back. When I see the various departments in our high schools working with a meager annual budget of $3500, I tend to think the money for staying in hotels/eating out could be better utilized at the classroom level. Eagle Valley High School didn’t even have a full classroom set of calculators until 2007. We can do better.

    To the ‘Vote No’ Crowd: Grow up. You are taking the federal mismanagement of funds, and penalizing a local entity who truly cares about educating our students. You are effectively putting a whole generation of students at risk to prove a point that ultimately is about a fractional percentage of the districts’ $50 Million Dollar budget. What is sad is by voting no, the Board of Education isn’t going to get hurt. If you want to change the direction of the school district, run for the board next time around (2013). We had 5 open seats this election, and all ran unopposed. Not one thing is going to change at the board level, because we frankly spend nothing each year. However, at the classroom level, support staff is going to be let go, teachers will be let go, fees will go up, bus routes will decrease, and the overall quality of education will be diminished, just so you can make the board ‘more accountable’. This entire tax increase is to prevent these cuts, not to provide the Board with a single, extra dime. Get it straight.

    We as a County and as a Nation need to grow up. We need to turn off the Bill O’Rielly’s, Jon Stewart’s, and other pundits, and start learning the material ourselves, and making those decisions ourselves. We need to move beyond simplistic slogans like ‘Vote yes for Children’ or “Vote No for School Board Accountability’, and really look at how each governmental entity is operating, independently of other governmental entities. We need to stop demonizing the opposing side, and actually listen to their ideas. In short, more of us need to get actively involved.

    • Mr. Morgan,

      The ENTIRE LETTER was part of the ECT’s orginial story.
      At the bottom of the story is the WEB LINK to the Entire EC School Board Letter.

      ECT doesn’t take things out of context, ECT provides our readers with ALL the public record information we can get our hands on!

  2. Below EMail forwarded with permission to publish by ECT contributor.

    Dear Mr. Morgan,

    I read your entire response to the ECT’s (Pasted at the bottom) and I have some comments/suggestions.

    I have tracked all taxpayer expenditures per school board member from January 2011 through October 2011, paid by taxpayer check or taxpayer charge card accounts. Thank you to ECS for finally complying with state law and posting these online.

    in your written response to ECT, you stated “Not one thing is going to change at the board level, because we frankly spend nothing each year.” the reality is, you are the ONLY school BOARD MEMBER who returns the money you are paid. You cannot say “we”, you can only say “I”.

    With regards to your statement of “To defend the cost of a lunch or staying at a 5 star hotel, in the face of a $5M shortfall is ridiculous. If this is the only reason why those opposed to 3B are complaining, I say fix it. When I see the various departments in our high schools working with a meager annual budget of $3500, I tend to think the money for staying in hotels/eating out could be better utilized” – Yes! Fix it! For example, I have listed Heidi’s Deli Box Lunches for School Administration activities. (No teachers, no schools, no classrooms were counted here) To date the total school administration/ school directors box lunches/drinks expenditure is –> $3,520.81. That is equal to the ‘meager annual budget’ you spoke of.

    Any person who volunteers should not be receiving a reimbursement check for their mileage, meals, transportation, parking either. For example, the DAAC and SAC volunteers drive themselves up and back, and receive NO such reimbursements. We also used to take turns privately purchasing group meals for each meeting as well. These elected for DAAC/SAC are also elected to volunteer by choice, just like the school board is!

    Second, any salary or hourly-paid school district employee should assume the full costs of their travel by vehicle as well. For example, school kitchen managers drive to and from the schools banks each day on their own time-no reimbursements are/were paid out.

    And why are we paying hundreds of dollars each month for ‘Head Start’ free parent babysitting and why are taxpayer paid school babysitting services offered to only those parents and not for any other parents at other school meetings? These ones? “HEAD START PARENT SVCS, Child Care-Los Padres Las Madres” and “BABYSITTING – ELA MEETING.” This is hundreds of tax dollars for only a specific select few recipients. That is wrong and must be stopped now.

    And btw, wouldn’t it be cheaper to put in blinds in the new high Schools windows? Heck, “house-poor” new homeowners often use sheets in their windows! You are now a tax-poor school district? (10/28/11 SUN-RAY WINDOW TINTING BMHS WINDOW TINT, MEDIA CENTER $3,897.67)

    To close- when the following (listed below from ECS Financial Transparency webpage) is eliminated from taxpayer payouts, then see what programs and teachers still require ‘financial reduction.’

    A failure to stop the expenditures (below) and only implement classroom cuts will obviously be just a punishment for what you call the ” ‘Vote No’ Crowd. ”

    In my taxpayer opinion, we don’t need to ‘grow up’ as you suggested. The school district must stop the wasteful unnecessary non-class non-student spending.

    Sincerely, Eagle County Property Taxpayer
    ———————–

    Total taxpayer school Checks – PAID OUT to school board

    A/P Detail Check Registers

    School Board ROSS MORGAN

    6000232757 ROSS MORGAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL computer void -228.90

    6000231992 ROSS MORGAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL computer void -237.90

    School Board CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN

    6000240272 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL MILEAGE 55.08

    6000240639 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL MILEAGE 136.68

    6000241414 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL MILEAGE 122.40

    6000233631 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL MILEAGE 210.00

    6000232825 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/ TRAVEL MILEAGE 195.00

    6000232483 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL MILEAGE 90.00
    6000231613 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL- LUNCH-TRANSPORTATION 367.20

    6000232089 CONNIE KINCAID-STRAHAN BOE WKSHP/CONF 245.30

    School Board CARRIE BENWAY
    6000231595 CARRIE BENWAY BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL – LATTE- TRANSPORTATION 205.10

    6000232108 CARRIE BENWAY BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL – STARBUCKS 8.99

    School Board KATE COCCHIARELLA

    6000231601 KATE COCCHIARELLA BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL 179.30

    School Board JEANNE MCQUEENEY

    6000231622 JEANNE MCQUEENEY BOE WKSHP/CONF/TRAVEL – TRANSPORTATION 17.00

    CHARGE CARDS-school board

    MCQUEENEY,JEANNIE 10/26/11 THE BROADMOOR RESERVATIONS $389.88

    KINCAID-STRAHAN,CONNIE 02/24/11 THE BROWN PALACE $312.00

    MCQUEENEY,JEANNE 02/25/11 THE BROWN PALACE $166.95

    —————————————————————————————————

    Spending List by administration department-October 2011-
    http://www.eagleschools.net/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7019

    Eagle County School District – Master Transaction Consolidation

    * Taxpayer Credit Cardholder Name and Transaction Date
    * District Administration Directors and offices

    Office of SUPERINTENDENT

    Cardholder Name
    SMYSER,SANDRA
    10/06/11 THE BROADMOOR RESRVATIONS $191.45
    10/06/11 FIESTA’S CAFE & CANTIN $202.40

    Cardholder Name
    (School board) MCQUEENEY,JEANNE
    10/26/11 THE BROADMOOR RESERVATIONS $389.88

    Cardholder Name
    FORD,MELISSA
    10/05/11 DIETRICH CAFE $36.00
    10/12/11 RED CANYON CAFE $185.00
    10/26/11 RED CANYON CAFE $185.00
    10/26/11THE BROADMOOR RESERVATIONS $389.88

    Cardholder Name
    MACKE,BROOKE
    10/31/11 VAIL VALLEY PARTNERSHIP $40.00

    ———————–
    SPECIAL EDUCATION

    Cardholder Name
    POTTORFF,BONNIE
    10/20/11 MAGGIANO’S $17.51
    10/21/11 CARL’S JR $12.06
    10/22/11 DOUBLETREE HOTELS AURORA $178.00

    Cardholder Name
    SHANAHAN,MARY D
    10/19/11 LA QUINTA INNS $130.00
    10/29/11 DOUBLETREE HOTEL GRAND JU $84.00

    Cardholder Name
    SEELIG,LORI
    10/10/11 GREAT NORTHERN TAVERN DTC $163.00

    10/12/11 MARRIOTT 337N7 DENVER TC $325.90
    10/12/11 MARRIOTT 337N7 DENVER TC $298.00
    10/12/11 MARRIOTT 337N7 DENVER TC $298.00
    10/12/11 MARRIOTT 337N7 DENVER TC $298.00
    Cardholder Name
    BANDEL-SCHOTT,TERESA
    10/20/11 MAGGIANO’S $20.65
    10/22/11 DOUBLETREE HOTELS AURORA $178.00
    ———————–
    BUSINESS SERVICES

    Cardholder Name
    MORENO,AMY

    10/21/11 AMERIC INN $439.60
    10/21/11 AMERIC INN $439.60
    10/21/11 AMERIC INN $439.60
    10/21/11 AMERIC INN $439.60
    ———————–
    HUMAN RESOURCES

    Cardholder Name
    CONWAY,TAMMY
    10/03/11 RED LOBSTER $54.43
    10/04/11 TIMBERS $181.46

    ———————–
    BUILDINGS & GROUNDS

    Cardholder Name
    SCOTT,DIANA D
    10/27/11 RESIDENCE INNS COLORADO $83.00
    10/28/11 COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT-DEN $119.00

    ———————–
    HEAD START(District office)

    Cardholder Name
    GARCIA-AGUIRRE,ROCIO
    10/17/11 GORE RANGE BREWERY $153.60
    10/24/11 COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT LV $9.03

    Cardholder Name
    THOMPSON,SHARON
    10/23/11 GRAND AVE GRILL $45.35

    Cardholder Name
    SMITH,SHELLEY
    10/28/11 STARBUCKS CORP $8.85
    10/30/11 DUSTY BOOT II $526.00

    Cardholder Name
    LOPEZ,MARGARITA
    10/14/11 SUBWAY $55.50
    10/23/11 FIESTA’S CAFE & CANTIN $190.00

    Cardholder Name
    REINEKE,RACHEL
    10/13/11 MANTOS PIZZA $84.96

    Cardholder Name
    EJNES,JODY
    10/06/11 SUBWAY $315.00

    Cardholder Name
    PEREZ CHAVES,MARIA F
    10/31/11 FIESTA’S CAFE & CANTIN $29.90

    Cardholder Name
    SPENCER,MICHELLE
    10/06/11 SUBWAY $240.00

    Cardholder Name
    RUTTY,MERCED
    10/17/11 ROSS STORES $19.47

    ———————–
    ELEMENTARY EDUCATION (District office)

    Cardholder Name
    BALTIERREZ,BRENDA
    10/18/11 MOE’S ORIGINAL BBQ – $215.50
    10/25/11 PAZZOS PIZZERIA EAGLE $71.80

    ———————–
    SECONDARY EDUCATION (District office)

    Cardholder Name
    ROMERSHEUSER,BARBARA
    10/12/11 ROCKY RIVER BAR & GRILLE $10.00
    10/14/11 ROCKY RIVER BAR & GRILLE $15.00
    10/16/11 EMBASSY SUITES LOVELAND $357.00

    Cardholder Name
    WOODS,HOLLY
    10/18/11 FIESTAS $21.44

    ——————————-
    LEARNING SERVICES (District office)

    Cardholder Name
    WITT,MARY PAT
    10/20/11 PAZZOS PIZZERIA EAGLE $74.95
    10/27/11 RED CANYON CAFE $19.50

    Cardholder Name
    MARTINEZ,JESSICA
    10/04/11 LARKBURGER $70.60
    10/19/11 LARKBURGER $22.15

    Cardholder Name
    VAZQUEZ PEREIRA, MARIA
    10/12/11 COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT $27.07
    10/13/11 TGI_FRIDAYS $21.15
    10/14/11 COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT $288.00

    Cardholder Name
    MAYHEW,AMANDA
    10/04/11 WENDY’S $5.81
    10/17/11 DAILY BREAD CAFE $11.01
    —————————————————————–

    Mr. Morgan – school board response, in full, to ECT
    https://eaglecountytimes.com/2011/11/27/elected-public-school-board-members-respond/#comments

    I have spent the last few years serving on the Board of Education for Eagle County Schools. I ran for the board because I believe in what our district does, for the most part. We have our issues. Everyone does…yet, I believe that we are doing a good job addressing those issues, and making positive steps forward. I have tried to maintain an open mind on all subjects. My core belief when it comes to education is that all children, have the right to get the best education they can, regardless if they find that education in our schools, home-school, charter school, etc….

    My latest brush with the true nature of politics has been on a County Wide ballot initiative titled 3B. Essentially, it is a property tax increase to help defray the lost revenue that is a result of the States’ K-12 rescission these past few years. My abbreviated stance on the subject has been, ‘we have made huge cuts in our district. IF 3B fails, we will continue to make huge cuts. If 3B passes, we will be able to operate as we currently operate. If you believe in what the school district has done, vote yes. If you think the school district needs to work with less, vote no.’ Either vote, in my mind, is a fair and honest critique on how we as a district are doing, and something we as a District should listen to. Sadly, many of those on either side of the fence do not see it this way. This vote is a vote for good vs. evil, so here are my thoughts to both sides…

    To the ‘Vote Yes’ crowd: Simply dismissing the comments towards Board/Administrative Expenditures is the exact reason why people say government is out of touch. To defend the cost of a lunch or staying at a 5 star hotel, in the face of a $5M shortfall is ridiculous. If this is the only reason why those opposed to 3B are complaining, I say fix it. Stay at the Comfort Inn, bring bag lunches, cut back. When I see the various departments in our high schools working with a meager annual budget of $3500, I tend to think the money for staying in hotels/eating out could be better utilized at the classroom level. Eagle Valley High School didn’t even have a full classroom set of calculators until 2007. We can do better.

    To the ‘Vote No’ Crowd: Grow up. You are taking the federal mismanagement of funds, and penalizing a local entity who truly cares about educating our students. You are effectively putting a whole generation of students at risk to prove a point that ultimately is about a fractional percentage of the districts’ $50 Million Dollar budget. What is sad is by voting no, the Board of Education isn’t going to get hurt. If you want to change the direction of the school district, run for the board next time around (2013). We had 5 open seats this election, and all ran unopposed. Not one thing is going to change at the board level, because we frankly spend nothing each year. However, at the classroom level, support staff is going to be let go, teachers will be let go, fees will go up, bus routes will decrease, and the overall quality of education will be diminished, just so you can make the board ‘more accountable’. This entire tax increase is to prevent these cuts, not to provide the Board with a single, extra dime. Get it straight.

    We as a County and as a Nation need to grow up. We need to turn off the Bill O’Rielly’s, Jon Stewart’s, and other pundits, and start learning the material ourselves, and making those decisions ourselves. We need to move beyond simplistic slogans like ‘Vote yes for Children’ or “Vote No for School Board Accountability’, and really look at how each governmental entity is operating, independently of other governmental entities. We need to stop demonizing the opposing side, and actually listen to their ideas. In short, more of us need to get actively involved.

  3. Are you proud of what you write, “Clayton Moore”

    You say: “What “disappoints” the ECT folks…” and which folks would those be?

    • Many folks contribute to the ECT’s stories each week. Including the ones the ECT doesn’t run. ECT has always been about ‘the story’ not about a particular individual.
      Thanks for reading the ECT!

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