Thursday, March 25, 2010

Don Stinson Angry About This Blog

Last Saturday's Mooresville-Decatur Times reported that Don Stinson is angry about this blog, and got "some things off his own chest". (I'd link to the article, but, the Times has a subscription only access to their online newspaper.) The Times' Amy Hillenberg, who filed the report on the March 13 School Board meeting, quotes MSD Decatur Township Superintendent as saying "Some faction in our district has decided, in a Jerry Springer-fashion, to tell lies, spread rumors and make personal attacks on my staff and school board members."

As an aside, the number of blog visitors numbered 200 in during the hour right after that School Board meeting. So, thanks for the 'shout out' Don.

Well then, in case Don has missed it, the statements made in this blog are well supported with documentation. Even the commenters hold themselves to a standard of fact-checking not often observed even in prestigious newspaper letters to the editor, much less the blogosphere. Following is my compendium of the points raised in this blog about the actions of the MSD Decatur Township School Board and Administration, along with the public documents supporting each point.

1) Not content to simply put the facts out there, I have also offered a Plan to dig us out of the hole Stinson, Baer, and the rubber stamping School Board have gotten us into. This Plan minimizes the impact of fiscal cuts on the education of Decatur's children by keeping Lynwood open as an elementary school and cutting no teachers, bus drivers, security officers, or custodians. It does, however rely heavily on selling excess property, including the former Concentra Building that Stinson covets for a new Central Office, and cuts in the number of Administrators running the District.

Documentation : This plan relies upon Stinson's own "Fiscal Restructuring Plan" for cost savings estimates, plus documents from the Marion County Assessor's office, and real estate documents.

Blog Entries : "MSD Decatur Township Should Sell Excess Properties and Cut Administrators", "How to Minimize the Impact of Decatur School District Cuts", "What's Behind Closing Lynwood Elementary?", "Will Teachers Union Try to Save Lynwood Elementary?", "Decatur School Board Should Demand More Administrator Cuts", and, "Let's Back Up and Move in a Different Direction"

2) Salaries and benefits are sky high in MSD Decatur Township for Administrators, and, despite statements to the contrary, raises were given to this class of employee for the current school year.

Documentation : Indianapolis Star's signed copies of Superintendent's contracts, Forms 100R filed by the MSD Decatur Township with the Indiana State Board of Accounts in 2009 and 2010.

Blog Entries : "Top Decatur School District Salaries for 2008-2009", and "Most Administrators Saw Increase in Salary and/or Benefits"

3) Central Office Administrator cuts are largely smoke and mirrors accounting.

Documentation : Mooresville-Decatur Times articles on School Board meetings and interviews with Don Stinson, open records requests filed by me and responded to by Gary Pellico of the MSD Decatur Township

Blog Entries : "Decatur School Board Should Demand More Administrator Cuts", and, "MSD Decatur Township - Administrator Cuts"

4) The Decatur School Board and Administration broke state laws including those regarding opening or reporting bids for contracts in a public meeting of the Board, regarding Board consent to and signing of contracts between the District and vendors, regarding the purchase of property by the District, regarding spending more from funds than appropriated by the Board, regarding where the Board can hold a special session, and regarding the filing of Form 100R with the SBOA.

Documentation : Indiana Code, the SBOA audit for 2005-2007, the SBOA audit for 2003-2005

Blog Entries : "Decatur School Board Broke State Law in Purchase of Properties", "Decatur Administration Broke State Law By Spending More From Funds Than Appropriated By Board", "More Violations of State Law by Decatur School Board and Administration", and "MSD Decatur School Administration Breaking Yet Another Law"

There are many many other statements made in this blog that have been backed up by documents from School Board minutes and documents available on the Indiana Department of Education website, just to name two sources. No, the lack of communication with the public and lack of proffered documentation of claims made is not coming from this blog. Perhaps Don Stinson needs to be looking a bit closer to home....


Anonymous said...

Hillenburg got the quote right. I was at the school board meeting.

Too bad only the media (which is not supposed to be an ally but leans toward the negative) is allowed to print what really happens at school board meetings.

Hey Pellico, etc.
Do you REALLY want lots of community involvement? STREAMING VIDEO (and audio BTW) of school board meetings.

Anonymous said...

Previously, the School Board approved a 15 percent cut in Superintendent Don Stinson's $189,000 salary and a 5 percent reduction in administrators' pay, saving $191,215.49. A reduction in administrative staff by six employees and a cap on the cafeteria employee insurance plan saved $933,000.

The above is from today's Indianapolis Star article on Decatur. The numbers don't make sense. The cap on cafeteria employee insurance meant that administrators do not pay additional costs over 2009-2010 cost - how could that total $933,000?????????? They did not reduce 6 positions - they eliminated 6 people and hired two new people for two of the positions???? The newspaper quotes Jeff Baer.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Jerry Springer graduated from the Northwestern Law School in 1968. Springer served as an aide to Senator Robert Kennedy. Springer was mayor of Cincinnati. Springer was a radio talk show host.

Stinson graduated from Decatur Central HS in 1968. Stinson worked as a DJ in Kentucky. Stinson has been an elementary teacher and superintendent of schools. Stinson is the second highest, if not the highest, paid public school superintendent in Indiana.

Springer said: "Take care of yourself and each other."

The Had Enough Indy blog has communicated to Stinson and the Board that you have taken good care of yourselves and Decatur residents must take care of each other.

Guess the superintendent is mad about these facts.

Anonymous said...

Well you know something?Homer Simpson once said "It take two to lie,One to lie and one to listen". Stinson does just that by lying to the parents and they repeat his words to everyone else. Nice try DON.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:25

1. A Homer Simpson quote IS definitely the strongest way to make an argument.

2. By capitalizing DON, I assume you are emailing yelling at him?

Anonymous said...

We're just using the common vernacular that Stinson introduced to the public discourse.

Stinson was derogatory to Jerry Springer but has accomplished less and is now ranting like a Jerry Springer guest.

Anonymous said...

At the nex board meeting someone could say:

Thank you Superintendent Stinson for your reference to Jerry Springer at the last board meeting.
Springer said: "Take care of yourself and each other."
You and board members have taken good care of yourselves and now Decatur residents must take care of the education of students. We insist that the superintendent be paid no more than $150,000 per year. We insist that the superintendt have no more than two assistants at the central office. Place the remaining administrators in the schools so they can work directly with students, teachers, and parents. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Understand that you cannot answer questions and no comments are necessary at this time. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Suggest that the above be read at the next board meeting.

Anonymous said...

Stinson and the Board need to think about an "old saying": "Silence is golden compared to a brilliant display of ignorance."