Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What to Believe?

 Dykes' Half Day Trip Hard to Believe

WLEX Plans Follow Up Report

Fayette County Public Schools Special Education Director Kathy Dykes, her boyfriend Dave Holder, and former elementary special ed district administrator Mike Muncy (a 13-year veteran of FCPS with whom I had occasionally worked) were in Las Vegas. They were supposed to be attending a professional conference paid for by the Fayette County Schools. But that beautiful day they decided to ditch the conference in favor of a road trip to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.
When WLEX investigative reporter Leigh Searcy broke this story yesterday, the district responded with a statement claiming that "she only skipped a half day." That's really too bad. The story made sense - until then.

Now folks are reminding themselves of the logistics of our nation's western expanses and going to Mapquest for verification. It is at least a four hour drive from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam and then on to the Grand Canyon. And that assumes they didn't get out of the car at the Hoover Dam. Some folks were checking the photo of Dykes and Holder in front of the "Grand Canyon West 18" sign, searching for the inevitable long shadows that would be produced by a late afternoon sun. 


Plus, Muncy says it's just not true. "We left way before noon," Muncy told KSN&C. "We were in the hallway [of the hotel] waiting [while Holder rented a convertible]. I didn't attend anything and I don't recall [Dykes] attending either. We hit the convertible and stopped at a store for her to get some shorts, and away we went." Later they stopped so that she could buy some jewelry. Total round trip? We gotta be talking 10 hours plus.

I don't know if he's checked, but Muncy probably has a time/date stamp somewhere in his photo file's info.

KSN&C asked FCPS Spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall, 
"Does the district plan to stand behind her statement?  At present I'm being forced to choose between the district's stance and the laws of physics...and physics is winning."
The district responded, 
Kathy has the notes from the sessions she attended that morning. She said they left at about 12 or 12:30 p.m. and returned about 11 p.m.
It's stories like these that put a district in a tough spot and no doubt undermine all of the good work the district does. But it is also clear that Fayette County Schools has a growing number of detractors among the special education parent population. KSN&C has been talking to several and I have a feeling that this story runs deeper than a few ill-advised social media messages. There are issues of ethics, professional judgement, and public service at the heart of this.

I will update this post when the district responds. Until then, watch WLEX 18 at 6 again tonight as Leigh Searcy takes a swing at the dubious half day trip. We hear that she only has been given time for a quick snippet tonight, but she is scheduled to meet with FCPS Superintendent Friday and will follow up.

Also, The Special Education Advisory Council has a meeting tomorrow, Thursday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. The council gathers at 5:30 p.m. in conference room D at "It’s About Kids" Support Services, 701 E. Main St. Everyone is welcome.


Anonymous said...

An Open Letter to the Teaching Staff and Public (Not a real one, of course, but I want to have some humor at Tom's expense!)

Dear Teachers and Families:

I want to reassure all of you that I will take no action against Cathy Dykes, who will be allowed to continue to attend conferences and who will be allowed to function in a managerial capacity without a "Corrective Action Plan."

Let me tell you, in the interest of transparancy, that Central Office will continue to carry out the legacy of Stu Silberman. That means, teachers, if you want to make your opinions known about the doings here, please post your views anonymously on the Principal.blogspot.

The teaching staff will be expected to go above and beyond for the public, but at Central Office, the administrators here will continue business as usual.

I want to reassure all of you that Jim Warren and the Herald-Leader will continue to ignore --- not publish--any stories that are negative regarding the school district.

I look forward to serving the people of Fayette County until I replace Stu as head of Prichard Committee.

Effective immediately: We will no longer carry WLEX on our district televisions.


Tom Shelton PhD

Anonymous said...

They deserve to be caught if they are so dumb as to post something like this on facebook. Maybe they have a disability?