School District sued by former superintendent
Board member Carol Karl, also being sued on an individual basis by Kegerise, issued the following statement today:
I decided to say a few things to all of you. Although I know you understand that no Board member can speak freely when there is pending litigation, I do believe that elected representatives have a responsibility to communicate with the public and inform the public – for school board members, there is an especially strong responsibility to parents of children who are inside our schools 180 days a year and obtaining their educations there (as mine are). I will not violate the confidentiality of issues that board members are legally required to treat confidentially, such as personnel issues and student information. I have never violated that confidentiality and will not start now.
First, I am being sued individually, so right now my house, my children’s college education, etc. etc. are at risk. They are at risk because I agreed to run for a seat on our School Board and then to carry out those responsibilities to the best of my abilities. I refused to shrink from my responsibilities even though I knew given past behavior of the lawyer involved that there was a strong chance that I would be sued. So, although I do understand the frustration that many of you are feeling that you are not being kept informed of everything that is going on, please try to put yourself in the shoes of the board members who genuinely are trying to do the right thing, who genuinely are working hard on behalf of the students and families in our district. I think you, too, would be concerned about the fact that you were jeopardizing your children’s future and your own future even while you continued to do the right thing.
Many years ago in a Mark Twain book (can no longer remember which one), he wrote something along the lines of this, and it has stuck with me ever since: Courage is not the absence of fear. If that were the case, then the flea would be the bravest creature on earth because it jumps on these huge creatures (dogs). True courage is knowing you are afraid and doing the right thing anyway. Right now, it takes courage to be an STSD school board member. Ask yourself, would you be willing to risk your children’s futures, your homes, to do this job? I lose sleep worrying about whether it was fair to my children to have taken this risk. But, I am committed to doing the right thing. They are learning something from this. Sometimes you just have to stand up, step up and do the right thing.
Second, I know that some of the statements made about me in the Complaint are simply not true. I know for a fact they are not true, there was no basis for thinking they were true, and it can be proven easily that they are not true. Once I saw that, that cast doubt on all of the other statements made in that Complaint. You cannot expect any of us to come out now and start denying or confirming or responding to statements made in the Complaint. Again, our homes and cars and savings and children’s futures are at risk. This is a legal matter and the responses and counter-responses will have to be made in that venue, not here on Facebook.
Third, I want to assure all of you that the current School Board IS NOT GOING TO ALLOW THIS DISTRICT TO TANK. We are doing what needs to be done to make sure STSD has effective leadership in place. It is true that we cannot bring back all of the strong families who have left us or all of the fine educators who have left our schools. But, there are reliable processes of which we can avail ourselves to make sure the district has an experienced leader while the lawyers fight over the legal issues. We are taking deliberate, steady steps to make sure that STSD has effective leadership at the helm. And we are moving quickly.
I must say that I often find our pace to be frustratingly slow. Actually, that is an understatement. So I do understand where you are coming from. I don’t know if it is my inadequacy that has resulted in my inability to get over the hurdles, or if it’s the intractability of the hurdles. For example, do you know that I have been asking to see the timesheets and bills for all of the lawyers the district has been paying since probably my second meeting as a Board member? I was shocked when I found out that no elected Board member was reviewing the legal bills before they were paid. What a boondoggle for lawyers. When I pressed at one meeting, I was told that the solicitor (at that time, KingSpry) and the business manager were reviewing the bills to make sure they were legitimate. Within a few days, the solicitor was quoted in the Patriot as saying his firm in fact never reviewed the other lawyers’ legal bills. Then when I pressed at the next meeting, it came out that NO ONE at STSD had ever received or reviewed the timesheets from Attorney Kutulakis. We were just paying whatever bills he submitted, based simply on the total figures provided there. Since my verbal requests were getting me nowhere, I sent in a formal written request for all lawyers’ bills, including timesheets, that the district has paid over the past year. The response? My request – the request of a sitting elected member of the board with oversight responsibility for the district — would be treated as a Right to Know Request, the bills would be redacted, and due to staffing constraints it would be several weeks before I receive even that. I’m still waiting. Undoubtedly, when I do receive them, I will have to fight over the redactions. Is there something else I should and could be doing to break down this wall? And remember, there is a lot else going on at the same time. Fortunately, we now have an interim solicitor who was able to obtain some of the information. However, the elected board has ultimate responsibility for the expenditure of taxpayer funds – funds that then are not available for our children’s educations — and I am not going to stop seeking Board review of these expenditures.
My final comment is to Kassi Stanton, in response to your post: ”I, personally, do not understand how School Board member Carol Karl has been dragged into the entirety of this suit. It seems that the only real item that Dr. K can point to is that Ms. Karl signed the petition asking for the resignation of Superintendent Kegerise. Good Grief, she even named Carol Karl in the allegation of physical intimidation.” That’s what I thought! How did I end up in all those counts?? You know, even in the worst situations, you have to be able to find some humor. I have to shake my head and chuckle (albeit with exasperation) at the idea that I would discriminate against a white female over 40 – I’M A WHITE FEMALE OVER 40! We’re pretty much in the same class there. And I actually have a pretty high opinion of the value of women (of every ethnic
background) over 40. :) Oh, well. I’m not a lawyer. Maybe that makes sense in lawyer-land…… Okay, men, don’t start accusing me of bias against men over 40. I actually have a pretty high opinion of a lot of men over 40, too — they may be my favorite subgroup! Sigh, I see another lawsuit coming.
Thank you to everyone who has offered me support. It means a lot to me, in this situation. We are a good, strong community and I’m proud to be part of it.