Public trust in the Rockwood School District superintendent and Board of Education continues to plummet—as do the chances of passage for the upcoming April bond issue “Proposition S”—indicates Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions (RS for RS). The watchdog coalition is a non-partisan group of taxpaying Rockwood citizens.
RS for RS issued a Monday morning press release, calling for most of the district's leaders to step down. However, Rockwood's Board Director Steve Smith already resigned Sunday, per the breaking news from Patch: Resignation Comes from Rockwood Board of Education Director Steve Smith
Update to article at 8:51 a.m.: RS for RS co-founder Eileen Tyrrell tells Patch they called all Rockwood board members and Superintendent Borchers on Thursday to have a conversation and to request the resignations.
Wildwood resident David Miller, a physician and parent of two students in Rockwood, was quoted in the RS for RS release, “So now they’re asking for more money when the State Auditor’s report firmly demonstrates their inability to adequately manage the money they already have?”
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“I am so disappointed that the district didn’t show more contrition. The facts are there in the auditor’s report. Rather than try to justify or make excuses, make it right and stop jerking the citizens around. How on earth can they expect us to vote yes on the bond issue in April when they have mismanaged the bond money from last year?” said Nancy Robinson, a resident and another parent of students in Rockwood quoted in the RS for RS release.
“We are much smarter than that.”
RS for RS spokespersons said Monday because Rockwood leaders have failed their fiduciary duty to the stakeholders of the district, they requested the resignations of Rockwood Board of Education President Janet Strate, Vice President Matt Doell, and directors Stephen Banton, Keith Kinder, and Steve Smith.
In addition, RS for RS asked Rockwood Superintendent Bruce Borchers to release the district from its contractual obligation of his employment contract, which goes through June 30, 2016, and submit his resignation effective June 30, 2013.
In Monday's release, RS for RS spokespersons stated they believed board directors Bill Brown and Sherri Rogers should retain their positions because they were only elected in April 2012, and a week ago voted against extending Borchers’ contract.
The RS for RS release specifically stated the following:
Despite the following impressive professional backgrounds, often touting extensive management and financial experience, these members of the Board have clearly and publicly failed their stakeholders by not asking the tough questions or making needed tough decisions as fully documented in the auditor’s report:
- Janet Strate – a certified public accountant with 20 years’ experience in the banking industry, current board president who has served on the board for nine years.
- Matt Doell – a licensed professional engineer with a master's degree in business administration, vice president at Sachs Electric Company, current board vice president, with extensive knowledge of construction contracts, bid processes, corporate management and labor relations.
- Stephen Banton – an attorney with the firm Quinn and Banton, former Missouri State Representative, former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, has an MBA, who has served on the Board for 15 years, and is a former board president.
- Keith Kinder – a career educator with a doctoral degree in education and a master’s degree in mathematics, former assistant principal and principal for three of the district’s high schools with extensive knowledge of the district’s policies, procedures and processes.
- Steve Smith – a lawyer and former law school associate dean, who has served on the board for a total of more than eight years, identified specifically by the State Auditor’s report to have a conflict of interest and violation of state law.
The RS for RS release spotlighted that Rockwood's board members had the specifics of the audit results since Feb. 12. "Prior to that, on Jan. 3, district staff members had an exit interview with the field auditors and were made aware of the findings and what direction the audit report would take. The board and district officials have had much more time to digest this than the community, and have failed to act," stated the coalition's release.
“We’re grateful for the State Auditor’s office for hearing our concerns and determining there was a need for an audit. We will continue to tirelessly advocate for all stakeholders in Rockwood,” said Tyrrell. “While our concerns were verified, this is a sad day for Rockwood. We must now all come together and work toward rebuilding trust and improving fiscal responsibility and transparency—and that starts with the resignation of the superintendent and several board members.”
Wildwood residents MaryJane and Alan Millner also were quoted in the RS for RS release: “We have become unbearably disheartened with this school district's school board, superintendent and the secretive, self-serving ways they operate. We are invested in this district financially, personally and emotionally, and they have let us down in ways that are unimaginable! Do the right thing and resign, so that we can all move forward and not continue a prolonged, bitter, expensive, public fight."