Archive for the Debbie Fatkin Category

My Final Thought In Song For Tonight’s Meeting

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Dr. Michael Kuduk, Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by Joan Graves

keep-calm-and-love-toby-mac  I find the words I long to say to my community in the lyrics of a Toby Mac song.  I ache for our school board struggling to make decisions for the common good of everybody.  But my heart also aches for those, few as they may be, who will feel disappointed.  My prayer is that we all find a way to look beyond ourselves and go back to being the family of a community.  It was Winchester that taught me the meaning of community and forever changed my life.  I pray for us to once again become the family we were meant to be. After all, as Toby Mac says, “If we’re gotta start sometime why not now?”  Well, I’ll let Toby tell you the rest.  Just know I love you Clark County – ALL of you.

If you gotta start somewhere why not here? If you gotta start sometime why not now? If we gotta start somewhere I say here. If we gotta start sometime I say now. Through the fog there is hope in the distance, from cathedrals to third world missions. Love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave!

Tonight’s the night, for the sinners and the saints. Two worlds collide in a beautiful display. It’s all love tonight. When we step across the line, we can sail across the sea to a city with one King. A city on our knees

Tonight could last forever. WE ARE 1 CHOICE FROM TOGETHERas a family. We’re family.
Oh Tonight couldn’t last forever, we are one choice from together. You & me. It’s you and me.
Stand Up Clark County & be that City on our Knees. A city willing to start here and now.

Facility Plan – What Are We Made Of?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Encouragement, In The News, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Joan Graves

the-future Tomorrow night the Clark County School Board will vote on which facilities plan to accept.  Each plan has its strength and its weaknesses.  Each plan will make some pleased and leave others mad.  That can be said of any facility plan in any school board room in any town USA.  Clark County will no doubt have double the emotions simply because of all we have been through prior to this point.

Our facility plan drama began years ago with a highly controversial plan cloaked in accusations of wrongdoing and corruption.  From the moment the ink was quietly placed on the contract, the deal immediately began treading water in a pool of innuendo that immediately divided the community.

It had been quite some time since several of those school board members had been challenged so apparently they were under the misguided notion they could do as they pleased.  They simply did what they had always done.  They counted on the community’s outrage to play itself out and citizens to lose their steam.  When instead the community rallied together to fight for the common good of everybody then things changed.

behind clouds  The previous board’s inability then and even now to consider that they made terrible mistakes, disregarded community opinion, failed to weigh all the options or even begin to have the courage to stand up for the least of us, proves how grossly inadequate they were to represent the greatest of us.  Therefore, they brought shame and suspect upon all of their actions most notably the notorious facilities plan.  In an outrageous show of unification, the community made clear their disgust of being muted and voted out the old and in the new.  Now, we turn to a new era.  It’s a new time and opportunity.

This is the first time that any board member, with the exception of Judy Hicks, in this entire facilities plan drama, has taken time to consider all angles.  This board heard the community loud and clear.  They fought the state.  They have labored, sweat, prayed, talked, lost sleep over and contemplated beyond the realms any of us wish to consider.  This board has taken on what everyone wanted changed but few dared to tackle.  This board, with the exception of Judy Hicks, stepped up to the mound in the last inning with everything lined up against them and nothing going for them but an overwhelming desire to take one for the team because it’s the right thing to do.  Could you do it?  I couldn’t.  That’s why I didn’t run for the board.  images (18)

So, on this eve that changes everything I am asking you, Clark County, what are we made of?  This facilities plan is more than about a mere vote on metal and steel.  It’s a vote on the kind of people we are.  Are we selfish people willing to turn on one another if we don’t get our way?  Are we weak people willing to flaunt that our vote won over the plan that didn’t?  Or are we people with backbone, people who reach deep and know that regardless of what tomorrow holds it is a new era?  It’s a time of when we say all that is gone before, matters no more.  We have a board that will never again put our kids or their own reputations on the market to the highest bidder.  There is no more secret meetings, over-paid bureaucrats, over inflated egos or nauseating misuse of the media.

Life has shown us that more often than not to find what is keeping we must first sift through the rubbish.  To find a hidden treasure we must get dirty digging it from the dirt.  To find a diamond we have to travel the blackest coal shafts.  And if we want real gold then we have to spend hours on our knees shaking it from the imposters and fool’s gold surrounding it.  Finding what is real is important but what becomes more important is how do we treat what is authentic when we are not accustom to seeing it?  Now, is our time Clark County.  Stand up for your school board and say we respect your effort you have put into this decision making process – thank you for having the courage to do the job no one else wanted.



Michael McGowan: What We Learned At The Candidate Forum

Posted in Debbie Fatkin, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Joan Graves

My son DJ is special needs and non-verbal which makes his health care twice as difficult. Doctors make their best guesses, we try the treatment and see if it works. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I have tremendous confidence in his doctors which is why it took them awhile to convince me to let another doctor have a chance with DJ. They felt another doctor could provide a view we’ve overlooked. As they explained, sometimes you can’t see the cure for the problem because you’ve been looking for it for too long. They were right. The other doctor was instrumental in finally getting a diagnosis that changed DJ’s life.

That is the same philosophy we need to apply in the school board election. Michael McGowan needs to be our educational second opinion. His lack of experience in education is one of his strongest points. He’s not coming into this campaign with any hidden agendas or special allegiance to an elite few.  He is free to openly examine the board and see what we all may be missing.

Michael is a military man who has served our country in some of the most hostile environments in the world, such as Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  It’s said that America is the world’s police. Therefore, by being military police that makes Michael McGowan the police of the world’s police.

Serving our country has taught Michael the benefits of slow deliberate assessments rather than plunging head first into decisions. He is a fact checker with preparation skills to be envied. He is not afraid to move ahead if need be and he has an uncanny ability to analyze data and people and balance them equally.

In the past our board has shown a tendency toward cliques. Though there is only 5 of them somehow they manage to divide themselves in ways that aren’t beneficial to our students. The military isn’t tolerant of that sort of behavior and taught Michael how to lead and unite people even when they disagreed. Years of dealing with hostile, aggressive enemies has taught him the art of peacekeeping without domination. He is the exact equilibrium our board needs.

Michael McGowan was born to serve. It’s not something he was taught it’s  something he is. He lacks the ability to see anything except what is best for the common good of everybody. He bravely served our country during the dark devastating days of 9/11 with calm, focused determination and commitment. He will do no less for our schools.

If you want more of the same political games, childish cliques, self-centered decisions and deception then vote for Debbie Fatkin. If you want a new perspective on our problems from a researched, logical non-emotional view point then vote Michael McGowan. He stands ready to protect our kids with the same valor he used to protect our country.

Debbie Fatkin: What We Learned At The Candidate Forum

Posted in Board of Education (General), Debbie Fatkin, In The News, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , on October 26, 2012 by Joan Graves

Debbie Fatkin has been on the board for 8 years. I think in the beginning Debbie had good intentions. But the longer she is on the board the less in touch she becomes. Over the years Debbie’s behavior indicates she has become more inwardly focused. She no longer sees people only policy. Michael McGowan, Debbie’s challenger, has the exact opposite approach. He believes people are more important than policy making.

At the forum, Debbie stated that our students need iPads rather than textbooks.  On the surface that makes sense. But when we look deeper we find it is just not an option right now.

The argument against textbooks is that they are quickly outdated. Yet, as anyone with an iPhone, iPod or iPad can tell you, a new version comes out frequently and if you don’t upgrade, the older versions become sluggish and high maintenance. An iPad also comes with a lot of expenses such as apps, batteries, cords and repairs to name a few. Besides that, if we can’t afford a $40 textbook how in the world will we pay for $500 iPads?

If an iPad is better than a textbook why do colleges across the nation require  textbooks?  Reading and studying online is vastly different from book learning. Textbooks are formatted in a specific way to maximize learning. Not to mention being online opens a ton of distractions for students. It’s too easy to ditch studying for fun. The board has the goal of every student being college ready. How is that ever going to happen if we don’t give them the basic tool needed in college – a book?

Debbie’s actions on the board defy her words. She says her decisions are made based upon what’s best for students. She says she wants to improve the relationship between the board and the community. Yet, after listening to strong, well-stated arguments from parents to slow down the middle school merger, she not only voted to go ahead with it, she actually made the motion for it. If she refuses to turn her words to action now when she is days away from the election what will she do when she has four years of job security?

Debbie defended the building of new schools by saying they would stimulate our economy. Her rationale is that industries considering locating here will see large new buildings and conclude the school system must be great. That single statement defines exactly what is wrong with the board.

Everything the board does is cosmetic. They invest time and money into making things look good. Their thought is that if it’s pretty on the outside no one will see the chaos on the inside. It’s all smoke and mirrors and by the time people figure out they’ve been duped it’s too late.

At the forum Debbie simplified the choice. If you want more of the same trickery, board-focused policy with no say in how your child is educated or the way your money is spent then vote for her. But if you are tired of playing make-believe and are interested in real change for our kids and our community vote for Michael McGowan.

Why The Number One Has More Power Than One Board Member

Posted in Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Dr. Michael Kuduk, Elaine Farris, Judy Hicks, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by Joan Graves

The common theme of the community is a desperate cry for change. People want more from the board of education and they deserve it. Parents want to know their opinions matter. Teachers want to work without fear and students need to know their best educational interest is more important than political games. So, what do we do? Who do we believe?

I keep asking myself how we got here. I know the obvious answer is poor leadership but how did the leadership get placed? How have less than stellar board members been able to retain their seats on this sinking ship for so many years?  I think the most obvious answer is that most of us just don’t want to be a part of the board. The pay is a joke and the headaches many.

Once a board member is seated they tend to retain the position until trouble rears its ugly head. Historically, it has been that as long as there are no huge news making negative events no one runs against current board members. BJ Swope’s position is case in point. He was tapped to run by a citizen’s group formed long before Stand Up Clark County. That group vehemently opposed the building of a new high school. At that time, our board of education was making news for their conduct which resulted in a near brawl on more than one occasion. The goal was to get former board member Minnie Spangler out and they succeeded. But the victory was short lived.

Replacing only one board member doesn’t change anything. A single board member has no power. Even 2 board members can’t accomplish much.  It takes at least 3 board members with common goals and ideas to bring about change.

It’s a unique time in Clark County because we have exactly that. Ashley Ritchie, Michael McGowan and Steve Graves are all like-minded. They are not clones. With their varying personalities and personal experiences combined with their common ideology and goals they will have the majority vote and represent equally our ever changing community. If you add to that the voting history of Dr. Michael Kuduk you get a perfect storm for change. That puts 4 out of 5 board members making decisions with a new focus on our schools. Judy Hicks’ votes, if not in the best interest of our community, will amount to nothing. Because one member has no power.

In the draw of  ballot positions I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Ashley Ritchie, Michael McGowan and Steve Graves all got the number 1 ballot slot. Many people have no idea what district they are in but to get change they really don’t need to. If you live in a district that has a board member up for election on November 6 you will be able to cast a vote. If not, the voting machine won’t allow you to vote in the board race. If you can vote all you need to do is simply, push the first name on the school board ballot and you will send change on it’s way to Clark County Schools. Spread the word to everyone you know that if we want our schools to be number one all we have to do is push it.

Stand Up Clark County for the perfect storm.




Quick, Get Superintendent Elaine Farris A Fire Extinguisher – Her Pants Are On Fire

Posted in Debbie Fatkin, Elaine Farris with tags , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2012 by Joan Graves


At the March board of education meeting I advised the board and superintendent Elaine Farris that Clark County Schools have mold problems. I specifically addressed the preschool department and the consequences mold could have on students with special needs. Rather, than look into the situation Elaine Farris’s opted instead to threaten me with a lawsuit.

Stand Up Clark County was unwilling to take part in the gross negligence that now makes up our board. Instead, we set about quietly collecting documents, information, first-hand accounts and pictures. When a news reporter called Superintendent Farris she lied and said there was no mold in any Clark County School.   They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But when the picture proves beyond doubt that the superintendent of our schools flat lied, I think it’s worth a lot more.


Everyday students are required to sit in this classroom with obvious mold problems. Is it your child’s class?


After fibbing to the reporter Elaine Farris hung up the phone and immediately went to work on the cover-up. She instructed mold-filled rooms be cleaned. She placed new tile over old mold which does nothing. Because she failed to follow appropriate Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocol she may have potentially made a bad situation worse. According to the EPA improper mold removal may endanger the employee and potentially release hundreds of mold spores into the air.

The EPA website has a section dedicated specifically to mold in schools. They emphasize the importance of school administrators communicating with the community about potential mold problems. “Special communication strategies may be desirable if you are treating a mold problem in a school. Teachers, parents, and other locally affected groups should be notified of significant issues as soon as they are identified.” (emphasizes mine)

The EPA further states that all reports of mold should be taken seriously and acted upon. It has been 6 months since I brought the issue of mold to the board. According to vice-board chair Debbie Fatkin, “Elaine always follows protocol”. That clearly is not true in this case. Rather than follow EPA protocol the board and Elaine first opted to ignore the mold issue then to cover it up.

People respond to mold differently. Even the least dangerous variety may significantly impact the health of some. Interestingly, I received a picture of mold from someone who doesn’t know me or my family. The picture was of students standing approximately 10 feet from mold. One of those students was my son, Dalton. Dalton has reactive airway disease (RAD) a form of asthma. He has an inhaler and has been hospitalized requiring an oxygen tent in the past. It is truly frightening for a mother to see her child standing so close to something that could kill him. Even more frightening is knowing that the board of education and superintendent are so willing to gamble with his life.

Elaine Farris’s response to the mold is in direct opposition of what the EPA recommends. “Communication with building occupants is essential for successful mold remediation. Some occupants will naturally be concerned about mold growth in their building and the potential health impacts. Occupants’ perceptions of the health risk may rise if they perceive that information is being withheld from them. The status of the building investigation and remediation should be openly communicated including information on any known or suspected health risks.” (emphasizes mine)

Indeed, we must wonder why our superintendent would go to such lengths to cover up mold. Which is why members of Stand Up Clark County contacted the EPA. Today the Clark County Health Department, at the request of the EPA, conducted a walk-through of GRC and mold was visible. All the lies in the world can’t cover up what is clearly right before our eyes.

Stand Up Clark County and tell the board that you are fed-up with them and the superintendent endangering students and betraying public trust.


Are Clark County Schools Making You Sick – Literally? Toxic Mold In Our Schools

Posted in Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Documents, Dr. Michael Kuduk, Elaine Farris, Emails, Judy Hicks, Point of View with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by Joan Graves


Superintendent Elaine Farris loves to say that if something is important to us we will invest time, effort and money in it. I agree. If we apply Elaine’s self-proclaimed mind-set, priorities and mode of operation to this email we find the driving-force and attitude of the leader of our school system.


Foremost on her mind seems to be appearance. She has invested most of her time and energy and most of our money on cosmetic fixes. As long as things look good she can fool us into thinking they are good. She depends upon visual eye-candy to make her feel successful.

Science has proven that people obsessed with appearances hone in on even the smallest faults and use them as a way to prove weakness. Therefore, everyday  she passed through the slightly flawed central office she saw failure. If she saw it then surely the mass of commuters on Lexington Avenue saw it as well. But if they saw a well-landscaped building they would assume success, she hoped.

I took these pictures in the middle of a scorching hot, dry summer. Notice the greenery?  While the rest of us had grass so dry it could nearly cut and we watched our flowers shrivel up, our taxes paid for the water required to keep central office landscaping looking good.


Meanwhile, a silent potential killer was enveloping our kids. Elaine generated this email and the board approved this spending and work less than a month after I told them there was mold in the preschool. I pleaded for their help and pointed out the possible deadly consequences mold may have on people with compromised immune systems, respiratory conditions and other health impairments. With the exception of Dr. Michael Kuduk, the board sat silent and unemotional. They gave no indication that they cared that every second someone is exposed to a mold spore it increases the likelihood of serious health complications.

They weren’t moved by my pleas because it wasn’t new information to them. They knew about the advancing mold problem long before I addressed it. In fact, one year the preschool had to delay the start of school due to mold. They knew then what I’ve only recently learned. The mold problem is advancing to  epidemic proportions and has spread through multiple schools. Everyday they ignore it the body of our students and school employees are being invaded by this.


Each year teachers remark how the start of school always brings illness to them. It has always been attributed to germs spread between students and staff. Now we know that typical illnesses such as sinus infections, allergic responses, bronchitis, throat infections, headaches, respiratory illnesses or increased asthma attacks may be attributed to mold exposure.

We cannot allow this deliberate assault upon the health of our community to continue. The superintendent has invested time, energy and money in cosmetic issues such as prettying up central office and building a new high school. She dresses to the hilt, travels across the country and drives a celebrity-type SUV, all on our dime because she believes it makes her powerful and successful.

The board of education not only refuses to rein in our superintendent’s gross negligence but they actually support her. Judy Hicks and Debbie Fatkin lavished praise after praise on Elaine during her evaluation. Our kids are inhaling toxins and the board is giving Elaine a raise. Something is terribly, terribly wrong.  The board and superintendent have failed our kids. It’s unacceptable for us to do the same. STAND UP NOW CLARK COUNTY! The child you save may be your own.


Soldier Denied Voting Right

Posted in Debbie Fatkin, National Stories, Point of View with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2012 by Joan Graves

Soldier Denied Voting Right

Michael McGowan is running against Debbie Fatkin in the school board race for district 3. As we all know there are those working overtime to keep you from having a choice about who represents us. McGowan has had multiple deployments and numerous awards. He put his life on the line to secure for us what he was denied. Shameful.