Archive for Dr. Michael Kuduk

New School Start Times A Flub For School Board?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, School Buses, Schools with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by Joan Graves

374837_2066137873001_485897450_nI am hearing everyone loud and clear. So, please don’t send me anymore emails in an all caps rage. These school start times are for the birds. No, wait. The birds won’t even be up when the littlest kids are sent out the door.

As I’ve said, many times before this board has been left with a mess to clean up from the previous board. I’m fully aware that this board spends more time making decisions along the lines of, “Is it better to shoot our selves with this gun or stab ourselves with a knife?”  We have people like Judy Hicks to thank for that. However, that doesn’t give them a free pass on all of their choices.

Yes, they were left with an atrocious facility plan they had to clean up but did that lead to this decision about start times?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, because schools had to be closed and others opened because the state refused to allow us the freedom to toss the entire plan out the window and begin again. The state eventually conceded on some items but refused to budge on others. That left us with a less crappy facility plan than we originally had but not a great plan by any means. Now, we have too many kids, in too few of schools, in too large of an area, with too many obstacles for it to make any kind of sense.

I am certain there were many things to consider in making this decision.  But the only true vision of what they have done can be obtained by actually walking in the shoes they forced on our kids feet, especially the little kids.  I challenge every board member, with the exception of Ashley Ritchie (she voted no) and our superintendent Paul Christy, to get on these buses and ride them. Each of them need to be endure the sentence they have placed on our kids. And after they served their time on the bus that’s on the road the longest then go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan.

While we wait to see if anyone actually has the courage to take up this challenge, I challenge all of you to contact them and tell them exactly what you’ve told me. This board may make ridiculous choices sometimes but I do believe that they will actually listen.

Stand Up Clark County and say no to these new start times

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.
IF WE GOTTA START SOMEWHERE WHY NOT HERE? IF WE GOTTA START SOMETIME WHY NOT NOW?
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.

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Kudos To Kuduk For His Handling Of Tonight’s BOE Controversy

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by Joan Graves

When Dr. Michael Kuduk became the board chair he made it clear that a major priority will be improving the district and community relationship. He certainly demonstrated his commitment tonight. Even though tonight’s board meeting meets Kentucky Open Meeting regulations that was not enough for Dr. Kuduk. He has higher expectations. He does not want a board willing to meet the bare minimum of the law. Instead, he seeks a board that embodies the “spirit of the law“. That spirit is how the board carries out KRS statute 61.805 which states that the public must have ample notice regarding any meeting that will be discussing public business. Dr. Kuduk made clear  someone had failed to put the public’s best interest first and he was not happy about it.

To remedy the situation, Dr. Kuduk announced the board wouldn’t be taking action on any agenda items tonight. Instead, the public would be made aware of what was going to be discussed so they may attend the next meeting if they desire. He went on to say the board would continue with presentations from superintendent search organizations in attendance but there be no board vote on it until the public had an opportunity to comment.  What is likely not a surprise to anyone,  Judy Hicks objected.

Judy determined that because one of the agenda items was the acceptance of Superintendent Elaine Farris’s  resignation they shouldn’t hear any presentations until the resignation had been formally accepted by the board.  Judy seems to be laboring under the misconception that Elaine’s resignation is questionable. Dr. Kuduk pointed out that Elaine publicly announced her resignation to the board at the last meeting and it has been posted on the  district’s website.  He concluded that it would be a tremendous waste of time for the organizations prepared to pitch their services to now be denied because someone on our part dropped the ball.

In her typical passive-aggressive style, Judy continued to verbally spar with Dr. Kuduk, who was having none of her nonsense. Then in a shocking move, Judy attempted to undermine Dr. Kuduk by soliciting the opinion of board attorney Henry Rosenthal. Rosenthal agreed with Dr. Kuduk, stating it was common knowledge Elaine resigned and the vote to accept her resignation was formality because Elaine couldn’t be forced to work at a job she quit.  Discussion over.

The importance of the exchange between Dr. Kuduk and Judy Hicks cannot be ignored. Judy claimed only to be asking a question to get clarification. Yet, there was no confusion. It had been established that Dr. Kuduk was acting in accordance with the law and that Elaine had made her resignation public.  Despite these glaring facts Judy continued to press the issue.

Dr. Kuduk is the chairman of the board which technically makes him Judy’s boss. In what other job would an employee be allowed to continue protesting the instructions of her boss and not be insubordinate? Insubordination is grounds for automatic dismissal in the working world. While Judy’s behavior is up for interpretation, it certainly raises some questions. Is she having trouble relinquishing control of the board to Dr. Kuduk? Was she challenging Dr. Kuduk because she personally resents him? Is there a deeper, more sinister motive of which we are not privy?

It’s important to keep these questions in mind. If Judy is on a personal mission it is the responsibility of the board and the community to seek her removal from the board. It is also our responsibility to give Judy an opportunity to demonstrate that she is willing to work with the new board for the betterment of Clark County students. At this stage we can’t determine for certain what is taking place so we should carefully observe her behaviors and attitudes in the future.

In the mud of all the legalities, petty differences and personal agendas one thing is absolute. A new era has arrived in Clark County. Change is marching in and taking no prisoners. Dr. Michael Kuduk is taking the board of education in a new direction. People are talking about how, under his leadership, the board is more focused on priorities. As more energy, enthusiasm and zeal tear through the board the public celebrates its readmission into education.

Stand Up Clark County and give kudos to Kuduk.

Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), In The News, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Casey Castle with the Winchester Sun reported on events from last night’s board of education meeting.  His report is the latest in the accolades being heaped upon new board members. Expectations for the board were high but  after only one meeting, the praises are higher.  Control of the board is now in the very capable hands of Dr. Michael Kuduk who made it clear that the community-board relationship a priority.  Stand Up Clark County for Dr. Kuduk as he stands for us.

New Beginnings – The First 2013 Board Of Education Meeting

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Dr. Michael Kuduk, Judy Hicks, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Tonight was the first meeting of our newly elected board of education. For anyone not in attendance you missed the excellence of a board united in improving the educational climate we have adapted ourselves to. Should you happen to run into board members within the community be sure to take a moment and stop to thank them for taking on the enormous responsibility of improving the education of our students.

The new board elected their governing body this evening. Previously, Judy Hicks served as chairperson with Debbie Fatkin as vice-chair. For 2013, it will be Dr. Michael Kuduk directing the board by serving as Chairperson. Michael McGowan was elected to serve as vice-chair.

Dr. Kuduk wasted no time getting down to business. One of the first changes he wants to initiate is changing board meetings from once a month to twice a month. When Judy Hicks indicated two Tuesday’s a month would be too much for her work schedule, Ashley Ritchie wisely asked if board meetings had to occur on Tuesdays. They do not, which opened up enormous opportunities for setting days convenient to all. There are still details to hammer out but at this point it appears as though board meetings will be conducted one Tuesday and Thursday of each month.

By increasing the frequency of meetings it provides the board extended time to review and finalize the agenda, as well as provide the community additional time to come before the board with comments and concerns. Board meetings have a history of being extensively long. In June, a board meeting wasn’t adjourned until two in the morning. Many working parents find the extensive length of board meetings a deterrent for their attendance. They simply don’t have the time to work, care for the family and attend a 3-4 hour board meeting. Dr. Kuduk’s proposal will decrease the time commitment for parents, board members and faculty. If you are unable to make a meeting you won’t have to wait an entire month before getting the assistance you need. Tonight’s meeting was for organizational purposes so the regular board meeting will take next week as usual.

During the years I have been attending board meetings it has always been easy to determine who the new board members were. They are often timid and unsure of themselves. That was certainly not the case tonight. Our newly elected officials had no hesitation making motions, seconding them, asking questions or offering recommendations.

Another significant change was inclusion. Several times Dr. Kuduk looked to those in attendance to include them in decisions. He specifically looked to them as the second date for a board meeting was discussed. Involving the community and employees in decision making was highly promoted by Stand Up Clark County so we are well pleased to see the board turning in this direction.

After a tumultuous year, hope, peace and unity reined this evening. This is a board willing to put the needs of the students above their personal ones. This board firmly established that they have done their homework and are well-versed in proper procedure and knowledge of how a successful board conducts themselves.

This is only the very first meeting on the very first day of our educational restoration. It is a new year filled with the promises of what is truly a new beginning. So, Stand Up Clark County because without a doubt, you made it happen.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.