"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Naughty Washington Township School Board shenanigans and what you can to stop it

Mervilde is still bucking to increase his already massive compensation package and the school board has even more wanton spending planned if you don't stop it. They scare the public when they threaten to cut teachers. Anyone notice that they NEVER threaten to cut administrators? Activist extraordinaire, Penney Bigelow sent us the following shameful details about the school board and what you can do about it! --Melyssa, for HFFT

The new MSDWT Board President, Cheri Harris, has announced that there were be an Executive Session Board Meeting by the end of July (closed doors, no public allowed by law, since they will be discussing personnel – Mervilde -- issues), with the goal of placing the raise for Supt. Mervilde on the August 12 regular Board Meeting Agenda (public allowed to attend, but will they be allowed to comment?

This Mervilde salary increase issue is NOT DEAD.

Here’s what you can do NOW:

1. Please email the entire School Board (see list below). Send more than one email to the Board, each one on a different topic – or repeatedly on the same topic, as you wish… If you only send one now, please make about the first topic – the Superintendent’s salary increase.

Addtional suggested topics:

1) The public MUST see details of the Superintendent’s contract BEFORE the Aug 12 meeting and the public MUST have public comment on this issue specifically at the Aug 12 meeting (or whenever they bring this topic up again). Do not forget to mention your views of Mervilde’s salary and pension increase!

2) Your views about the number of administrators in MSDWT while they are cutting teachers’ aides and teachers (see info below).

3) Your views about the use of PR firms, paid for with taxpayer money, to convince taxpayers to pay more taxes (see info below).

4) Your views about the management (or mismanagement) of tax dollars for schools by the Supt. and the complicit School Board. Ask yourself if additional funds (e.g., the 2011 referendum for $250 million) are needed for construction instead of instruction. Ask yourself if you want MSDWT to emphasize education over athletics. Ask yourself if you believe that there is too much money spent in some areas other than DIRECTLY on education.

Here is the list of School Board members and their emails:

President Cheri Harris charris@msdwt.k12.in.us

VP Don Kite dkite@msdwt.k1.in.us

Secretary Tony Dzwonar tdzwonar@msdwt.k12.in.us

Member Wanda Spann Roddy wsroddy@msdwt.k12.in.us

Member Greg Wright schoolboardgreg@att.net

For the Board’s phone numbers, see the list . Please note that Greg Wright prefers to be contacted at a different email address schoolboardgreg@att.net, which affords both the sender and Greg privacy.

Does Washington Township School Board serve Superintendent Mervilde or does Mervilde serve the school board?

And by the way, WHY is Supt Mervilde listed at the top of the BOE list? He is the primary employee of the Board, not an elected member of the Board. He should not even be on this page! You will also find this oddity in the Board picture, with Mervilde in the center!

Does this tell you how Mervilde and most of the board view his position and power? During school board meetings, I have also seen him interrupt then-President Don Kite numerous times; Kite not only permitted it, but deferred to Mervilde in the most ingratiating manner AND paid rapt attention to him – unlike the way Kite treated the public.

2. While you are at it, why not send copies of your emails to all the legislators who represent MSDWT?

NOTE: Please list the legislators in the cc: area of the email, NOT the bcc: area. This way the Board knows that you are letting our legislators know your thoughts, also. Believe me, this will get the attention of the Board Members and the Supt.


Jeb Bardon

Edward DeLaney

Cindy Noe

Brian C. Bosma

John Bartlett

Gregory W. Porter

Vanessa Summers

Michael A. Delph

Teresa S. Lubbers

Greg Taylor

Jean Breaux

1. Greg Wright, the lonely fiscal conservative on the School Board who consistently votes against excessive spending, has written an article which appeared in the Opinion section of Saturday’s (July 11) Indy Star -- online:

Trying to contact Greg through this link is impossible. First, they had his author’s name listed as Gary Wright. Then, they had an incorrect link for his email address. Be sure to read the Comments under the article – and leave your own, if you are so inclined. The number of comments an article receives is an indication to the Star of the interest in that topic and whether or not they will cover it more intensely.

The Indy Star’s coverage of MSDWT and Mervilde has been one-sided, at the least, and could be described as fawning over the Supt and Board… For this glowing coverage, Indy Star reporter Gretchen Becker has been granted special privileges and access repeatedly. On two separate occasions that I personally can verify, she received advance copies of reports before the meeting.

The latest incident was her receiving a copy of the Investigative Report hours before the June 24 meeting. No copies of the report were given to the public at that Board meeting. The poor taxpayers were only allowed to read it when Greg Wright released it after the meeting; it was attached to my last email.

Only when Greg complained about the latest unbalanced Star/Gretchen Becker coverage of the Spring Mill investigative report did the Indy Star tell Greg to write his article--and then published it late and with incorrect info about Greg.

2. As part of his increased compensation package, Mervilde had requested ANOTHER administrator – which he has already received. See the Star article , which details this new position. Also note that there is a “Superintendent’s Cabinet”. Thus, Mervilde has another level of administration, which further removes him from the students and teachers. What does HE do, besides think of ways to feather his nest and increase OUR taxes? Oh, yes, he also makes public/government appearances in support of his spending plans. And he has two public relations firms to help him do this. Is this what you want to pay the Supt. to do?

3. Speaking of public relations firms, Mervilde has plans to hire a THIRD, out-of-state PR firm to help convince WT taxpayers to support the two referendums that are planned for 2010 and 2011. Not surprisingly, this coincides with his request to extend his contract for another year, -- just enough time so he can shepherd (“sheep” -- that’s US! – “herd” -- us into paying more taxes) these two referendums. With THREE PR firms, who needs Mervilde?

Penny Bigelow, WT activist
1424 Sandi Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46260-2729
Email: pbigelow6@comcast.net


Anonymous said...

HFFT can be counted on to expose the latest bad behavior in many areas, including Washington Township.

Thank you for shining the light on these nefarious practices.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that they will bring up the pay raise in the closed session and approve it. They know that if they conduct their business in the open that there would be public out cry.

I guess we need to show them the door in the next election.


Thank Penny Bigelow who is doing the heavy lifting!

Anonymous said...

Start emailing the board before the Aug 12th meeting and share your feelings, just incase it is a closed door meeting the squeekie wheel hopefully will get the oil. Tell the board members enjoy their last term if they don't start listening. So far it is a pretty much of a "yes" board, except for Greg and sometimes Tony!

Anonymous said...

The next election is May 2010. Only two of the five board members are up for election then: Don Kite and Greg Wright.

If you want to support Greg Wright, email him at schoolboardgreg@att.net. He will be happy to have you on board, as he expects the opposition to spend mega-bucks trying to defeat him in the next election.

In the last election, the public chose Cheri Harris, Tony Dzwonar and Wanda Spann Roddy, all of whom were supported by parents, teachers and the administration.

If you want a change, GET INVOLVED -- NOW! Email Greg!