Archive for the Elaine Farris 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.

Final Legal Update

Posted in Board of Education (General), Elaine Farris, Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2013 by Joan Graves

A Flashmob for Free Speech - 2

This will be the last update I will provide regarding the lawsuit. I have been notified by my attorney that an order has been secured which prevents me from having any comments on this blog or elsewhere in social media. This “gag order” of sorts, is in effect for ALL parties. Your continued support and prayers are greatly appreciated and I will be back in touch as soon as I am legally able to do so.

Our Answers Only Hours Away

Posted in Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by Joan Graves

2012 teacher of yr Rebecca Mieliwoki

For over a year the citizens of Clark County have searched for answers for what has been described as burning questions. Yet, we have been repeatedly denied what we believe is our right to know. Despite a rigorous legal campaign launched by Elaine Farris to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit she filed, that deposition will take place in a little over 12 hours. At long last many questions that have echoed in our minds will now be asked and In a peculiar twist it’s Elaine that we can thank for our impending revelations.

The lawsuit Farris filed against the Columbias and me was ambiguous at best. Though rich in shock-value adjectives, the suit provides not a single shred of evidence or specific allegations.  It basically says we said things about her she doesn’t like so she is suing. Only in a civil case could someone have others hauled into court with a list of baseless allegations and not even a smidgen of circumstantial evidence. The only requirement for a civil lawsuit is money for an attorney. It’s a shocking revelation of American “justice” of which, I could have lived my entire life without knowing,  It’s an an insult to the integrity our forefathers thought they were creating in America and disgusting waste of tax-payer money that could be invested in our schools.

In her deposition Farris will either defend herself and her actions or she will be as evasive as she’s been in the past. I am expecting the latter but Farris’s supporters are excitedly spreading  word that Elaine will rigorously defend herself in great detail. . According to them, Elaine will provide evidence and details that will be a logical explanation for everything and prove us to be liars. And I’m saying that’s not even possible. But one thing is for absolute certain, this time tomorrow we can all stop speculating.

To be fair, we should note that after Farris’s deposition the Columbias and I will also give a deposition. Don’t expect any new information from us. Lord, knows we’ve not only been an open book but we’ve provided sketches, maps and Cliff Notes. But regardless of whether you are interested in information from Farris, the Columbias or me you will have it tomorrow.

Having never gone through the process before, I am uncertain how long it will take tomorrow. But I will provide an update to this blog as soon as possible. It’s impossible to face tomorrow and not thank all of you. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve my community in this fashion. Thank you for your overwhelming support, perseverance and grace to correct any mistakes I have made. Together we are marching toward truth and justice.

Stand Up Clark County – our time is at hand.

Board Of Education To Finalize Restructuring

Posted in Board Meetings, Dr. Michael Kuduk, Elaine Farris, Judy Hicks, School Board Election 2012 on January 15, 2013 by Joan Graves

I Apologize for this late notice but the board of education will be meeting 6:30. I’ve been so busy I forgot about it. Ooops! If you can’t attend the meeting you can watch it online using this link Sometimes the link doesn’t work so you can also access it by going to and in the search box at the top of the screen enter “CCPS BOE” (all caps & space in the middle). That will bring up the channel for the board. If the meeting is already in process a box will appear and ask you if you want to watch live. If they are not live a choice of videos will be provided and you can click the date you want to view.  I’ve provided tonight’s agenda at the end of this post.

This will be the second meeting with the new board. As reported last week, Dr. Michael Kuduk is leading the board and has a number of changes he intends to make. At the top of the list is putting the public back in our public education system. Last week Dr. Kuduk made clear his intent to turn the board from an internal focus to a focus on students, employees and the community. His leadership goals will likely be an important aspect of tonight’s meeting.

New vice-chair Michael McGowan, known for his exceptional ability to break down jargon into real terms, is also in-line with the community focus. During middle school merger meetings and the candidate forum he articulated the very real results of the ramifications of board decisions. He removed the fluff we had come to expect from the previous board and made clear our options and projected outcomes of each.

Last week, Ashley Ritchie stunned as she behaved like a 5-year board veteran rather than a newly elected member. Her uncanny insight into the hearts and minds of a younger generation is unprecedented. Last week Ashley silenced anyone who may have questioned her ability. She arrived early and was in her chair reviewing board documents and expressed her thoughts and  provided insight. District 5, once a silent “yes man” seat now has a confident, focused voice.

This board is like none other. Typically high profile positions as this board has taken on, often creates a mountain of stress. This board, however, runs like a well oiled machine. It is an extremely exciting time to have a student in Clark County.

Stand Up Clark County for board members eager to serve our children.


 Welcome
 Moment of Silence
 Pledge of Allegiance
1. Adoption of Agenda
2. Approval of Minutes for December 11, 2012 Regular Meeting and January 8, 2013 Organizational Meeting
Board of Education Recognition Month
3. Update on New Elementary School – Mike Smith
4. Update on New George Rogers Clark High School – Ron Murrell
5. 5th Month Attendance – Barbara Disney
6. District and State Updates – Dr. Farris
7. Overview and Update of Implementation of Instructional Rounds – Brenda Considine
8. Consider Approval of Contract Between Clark County Board of Education and OVEC Financial Services – Dr. Farris
9. Consider Approval of 2012-2013 Nutrition and Physical Activity Report Card – Rebecca Lowry
10. Consider Approval to Surplus Used/Non-Working Cell Phones – Gina Amos
11. Consider Selection and Approval of Name for New Elementary School – Barbara Disney
12. Consider Selection and Approval of Name for Combined Middle School – Barbara Disney
13. Consider Approval of Pay Application #10 from Codell Construction Company for Construction Services for the Conkwright Renovation Project in the Amount of $30,973.00 – Paul Christy
14. Consider Approval of Pay Application #14 from Codell Construction Company for Construction Services for the New Elementary School Project in the Amount of $1,000,076.65 – Paul Christy
15. Consider Approval of Change Order #20-3 for the New Elementary School Project
Regarding Change of Heat Pump Lines (credit of $10,438.00) and Addition of a Manhole
(Cost of $11,465.00) for an Additional Cost to the Project of $1,027.00 – Paul Christy
16. Consider Approval of Pay Application #20 from Codell Construction Company for Resident
Observer Services at the New George Rogers Clark High School in the Amount of $9,375.00
– Paul Christy
17. Consider Approval of Pay Application #26 from the General Contractor D.W. Wilburn for
the New George Rogers Clark High School Project in the Amount of $331,815.00 – Paul
18. Consider Approval of Change Order #41 for the Phase I: George Rogers Clark High School
Project Regarding the Addition of Wall Hung Aluminum Canopies at the Green Roof Area in
the Amount of $5,265.85 – Paul Christy
19. Consider Approval of Pay Application #1 from Allen Company for the New Highway
Entrance and Turn-Lane Project for the New George Rogers Clark High School Project in the
Amount of $297,996.00 – Paul Christy
20. Consider Approval of the Pay Application #5 from D.W. Wilburn, Inc. for the Phase II:
Clark County Area Technology Center Project in the Amount of $239,265.00 – Paul Christy
21. Consider Approval of Change Order #4 for the Phase II: Clark County Area Technology
Center Project Regarding the Reworking of the Pavement in the Courtyard Area in the
Amount of $4,200.00 – Paul Christy
22. Consider Approval of Change Order #5 for the Phase II: Clark County Area Technology
Center Project Regarding the Addition of Anti-freeze Type Sprinkler Heads for the Exterior
Material Storage Area in the Amount of $4,582.75 – Paul Christy
23. Discussion of 2013 Agenda Planning Meetings – Dr. Kuduk
24. Consider Approval of 2013 Agenda Planning Meetings and Dates, Times, and Locations –
Dr. Kuduk
25. Consider Approval for Board Team to Attend KSBA 77th Annual Conference February 22-
24, 2013 at the Galt House East, Louisville, KY – Dr. Kuduk
26. Consider Approval of GRC Varsity Cheerleaders Trip to Bowling Green, KY to Compete in
the State KAPOS Competition January 25-27, 2013 – David Bolen
27. Consider Approval of GRC Band Trip to Louisville, KY to Participate in All-State Band
February 6-7, 2013 – David Bolen
28. Consider Approval of GRC Winter Guard Trip to Nashville, TN to Compete in Winter Guard
International Contest February 16-17, 2013 – David Bolen
29. Consider Approval of GRC Senior Advisory Senior Class 2013 Trip to New York City
March 20-24, 2013 – David Bolen
30. Consider Approval of GRC Softball Trip to Orlando, FL to Participate in Softball
Tournament March 30-April 6, 2013 – David Bolen
31. Consider Approval of BG-4 Closeout Document for the Direct Purchase Order #DPO 0746-
37, (CCBoE PO#11010062) for Rexel Southland for the New George Rogers Clark High
School (Phase I) Project – Paul Christy
32. Acknowledge the Cash Position Report – Gina Amos
33. Acknowledge the Clark County Clerk’s Motor Vehicle Tax Report – Gina Amos
34. Acknowledge the Clark County Sheriff’s November and December Report – Gina Amos
35. Acknowledge the Monthly Financial Report – Gina Amos
36. Acknowledge the General Fund Budget Summary Report – Gina Amos
37. Acknowledge the Notice of Personnel Action Report – Scarlett Ryan
38. Authorize Payment of Salaries and Accounts Payable – Gina Amos


School Superintendent Files Lawsuit Over FB Posts – Sound Familiar?

Posted in Elaine Farris, In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories with tags , , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Joan Graves

It seems we are not alone. This article is eerily similar to our current situation.  What I found most interesting was that this superintendent was also very vague in the complaint. I am amazed that our court system allows lawsuits to even be filed without identifying specific details about what the crime is supposed to be. No wonder how court systems are backed up.

School Superintendent Files Lawsuit Over Facebook Posts – – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – |.

Judy Hicks & The Winchester Sun – What’s THAT About?

Posted in Board of Education (General), Elaine Farris, In The News, Judy Hicks, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun on November 5, 2012 by Joan Graves

I am responding to Judy Hicks comments in the Winchester Sun because so many of you have asked me to. What I first want to say is we need to see this for what it is; a desperate attempt to save a sinking ship. It’s a whole smoke and mirrors act that isn’t even close to being honest.

We have previously posted emails from Elaine Farris where she treats the Winchester Sun more like her publicist than a local paper. We have emails between Judy and Elaine in which Judy says, “Strong PR” will be needed to convince the public to buy into the superintendent’s propaganda. Even Debbie Fatkin admitted that Elaine has an uncanny ability to “use the media to her advantage”.

We must first look at the fact that it’s Judy, not Elaine.When have you ever seen our schools in the news for anything and Elaine wasn’t prominent?  Why not now? Elaine’s picture and words have become a stigma. People are angry and fed up. Elaine is smart enough to know that any message coming from her would not be well received.

We should also note that Judy’s remarks are not a letter to the editor or a report from a Sun employee. This is the chairman of the board of education having her say about controversy that is a major part of tomorrow’s election. In other words it’s a political ad. Stand Up Clark County had an ad in today’s paper. The only difference is that we paid for ours.

The board claims the facilities plan has been in motion for years so why on election eve would Judy suddenly feel the need to explain?  If her account in the Sun is accurate why did she not mention it at the meeting with parents? Rather than respond to the people who vote her and the rest of the board in she waited to take a one-sided stand at the midnight hour.

This deceitful tactic reveals how low this board is willing to stoop. Every middle school parent should be outraged. Judy Hicks is using your child’s education for her political gain. Rather than face you and respond to your questions she opted to take an “ad” out in the paper when you can’t question her about the validity of her statements.

The fact remains that if anything Judy Hicks said in the paper today was actually correct why wait until now to say it? Her intent was to provide a presentation that might give voters a bit of doubt and keep you from voting for the candidates backed by Stand Up Clark County. Then after the election you discover it was all just a fairytale. It is blatantly trickery and insult to your intelligence.

We need board members willing to answer questions we put before them. We need board members more concerned about our kids than their image. We need to ask ourselves why the board is going to such lengths to keep us from voting for Ashley Ritchie, Michael McGowan and Steve Graves.

This board knows that when those three are voted in the community seizes control of the board room and our schools. That is something they can’t  tolerate. If Judy Hicks is so certain she makes the right decisions how come her kids weren’t educated in the schools she runs?

Stand Up Clark County and tell Judy Hicks her deceitful tactics won’t work anymore. If you want the truth about the facilities plan the only way to get it is to vote for Steve Graves, Michael McGowan and Ashley Ritchie. They’ve been here all along answering your questions when you ask.

Tonight’s Middle School Merger Meeting & Why BJ Swope Didn’t Vote For It

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Documents, Elaine Farris, Emails with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2012 by Joan Graves

Tonight's Middle School Merger Meeting & Why BJ Swope Didn't Vote For It

Tonight there was a meeting about the merging of middle schools. Michael McGowan and Steve Graves, candidates for the school board, both eloquently stated their convictions against the merger. Judy Hicks took a hard-nosed approach about not breaking contracts. She fails to remember her contract was first with the community she serves and second to the people we pay.

The theme of the night was parents pleading for the board to slow down and consider all options before blindly plowing ahead. The board was basically listening only because they are required to. The superintendent and boar chair made it clear their minds were made up. Dr. Michael Kuduk voted against the merger. Debbie Fatkin who made a motion for the merger last week didn’t bother to show up. Deanna seconded Debbie’s motion last week be remained silent tonight. That leaves only BJ.

In this email dated September 23, 2010 BJ questions Elaine regarding safety issues of the current GRC building. Two years ago BJ Swope made it clear that his conscience wouldn’t allow for him to place middle schoolers in a building that so many of us already have kids in. The safety violation is never explained. Is it mold? Is it worse?

We don’t know because as BJ clearly states Elaine won’t answer. What we do know is that in the email BJ says he can’t vote to put middle school students in the building and last week he stayed true to his word. Rather than take a stand on it he opted to abstain.

The cry from the parents tonight is clear. What is really behind the rush of this middle school merger? Why is our board so absolutely adamant that this be done right now? Is the rush somehow connected to BJ’s safety concerns? There is more than we know but the great thing is that we have a group of middle school parents able to clearly articulate exactly what’s on their minds. They are willing to invest their time and effort into finding what is truly steering the middle school merger.

Stand Up Clark County and support the middle school parents.


When A Picture Hides A Thousand Words & Costs You Lunch

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Elaine Farris, Emails, In The News, Judy Hicks, Winchester Sun on October 18, 2012 by Joan Graves

Yesterday, the Winchester Sun ran a picture of Superintendent Elaine Farris going through the lunch line at Shearer Elementary to mark school lunch week. But what you saw in the paper is not a complete picture. This is the  rest of the story.

In the August 9, 2011 edition of the Winchester Sun Elaine announced that Clark County was going to opt out of the Community Eligibility Option. The program is administered by the USDA as a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed by President Obama. The program provides all students with free breakfast and lunch in school regardless of income.

School districts in three states, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois were the initial states selected to participate in the program. But each district had the option to opt in or out of the program.

In emails obtained by Stand Up Clark County, there were several between Elaine and Judy Hicks pertaining to the Community Eligibility Option. To Judy’s credit her emails reveal that she did a lot of research on the issue and questioned Elaine on the wisdom of opting out.  As is typical of her, Elaine refused to entertain the notion of changing her mind.  Unfortunately, Judy lost sight of her responsibilities and went from trying to talk Elaine into it, to trying to talk the community out of it. (see email at the end of this article)

Nine months after refusing to take part in a program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, the board announced an increase in lunch prices. Elaine was quoted as saying, “We are never happy about putting another mandate or increase on our constituents or our stakeholders. I just want to say to our public that we do try to find ways not to put too much of a financial burden on you. However, this is a mandate from the federal government, so we have to bite it off and chew it.”

Elaine quoted the Healthy, Hunger-free Act of 2010 in both of her decisions. The program is implemented in stages over a span of about 3 years. When Elaine opted out in August 2011 she did so with full knowledge of what was coming. She knew what foods schools would be required to serve and how much should be paid for them. She certainly didn’t share that information to the community.

Elaine stated in August 2011 that by choosing to be a part of the Community Eligibility Option the district’s annual revenue would drop $249,150. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced grants of approximately $100,000 more than what she said we’d lose.  Rather than give us all the information Elaine reveals only the  parts of the program that support her thought of the moment. She forced us to bite it off and chew but turns out the hardest part is swallowing it.

Stand Up Clark County and demand all the facts behind the decisions.

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.