As the clock struck 12 this afternoon, victory was handed to the people and parents of Union County. The corrupt and harmful practices of Dr. Mary Ellis, Dr. Mike Webb, and the Board of Education majority that encouraged and enabled them has a final expiration date. It will come to an end at the Dec 2016 Board of Education meeting. It’s official, they will no longer have enough votes on the new Board of Education to shove anything down our throats. We may have lost the fight on redistricting, but we absolutely won the war. We won, and we won big. Here’s the tale of the tape so far:
Dr. Mary Ellis – Superintendent & Dr. Mike Webb – Deputy Superintendent: Resigned in disgrace after violating their employment contracts. They both knowingly failed to disclose a private business relationship with a UCPS technology vendor, a vendor relationship worth tens of millions of dollars. They both oversaw the largest student redistricting in Union County history based on arbitrary capacity numbers created at their request by Don Hughes, Head of Facilities for UCPS. Despite parent warnings and research, this redistricting plan (which Dr. Ellis told us would be free) cost taxpayers nearly $1 million per year in lost transportation funding from the state due to the additional miles generated by the redistricting plan. Because of a shortage of buses (due to the extra routes and miles created by the redistricting plan), a number of buses were forced back into service despite having known mechanical issues. These issues were willfully ignored resulting in 1 bus overturning and crushing a mother & daughter and 1 bus spewing boiling engine coolant onto the legs of several children.
Richard Yercheck – Chairman of the Board of Education: He spent years working with private developers on a plan to rebuild Sun Valley High School in exchange for handing over some commercial property. In order to speed up the timetable for his developer friends, Yercheck implemented the largest (and most disastrous) student redistricting in Union County history. He also earned the dubious honor of bringing about the largest property tax increase in Union County history. A whopping 15% increase due to his failed leadership. Subsequently he lost the election by a landslide. He continues to meddle in the affairs of the BOE by proxy, for now.
John Collins – Chairman of the Board of Education: Resigned in disgrace after the BOE, under his failed leadership, refused to perform the annual review of Dr. Ellis which would have brought to light her unethical side business with a UCPS vendor. He refused any attempt to reign in Board Member Kevin Stewart and his threats of violence against the people of Union County.
H. Kevin Stewart – Chairman of the Facilities Committee: Resigned in disgrace after violating Closed Session policy and leaked the name of Rob Jackson as a candidate for Superintendent via Facebook, threatening harm against parents and fellow BOE members, and generally being an asshole to anyone who dared disagree with him. He famously threatened to redistrict students again if their parents didn’t vote to approve a bond for nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars.
The following Board of Education members who supported the corrupt and failed leadership of Dr. Ellis also lost the election or were to afraid to file again for fear of facing the people they harmed:
- Rick Pig
- Rev. Jim Bention
- Mike Guzman
- Jason Marton
By refusing to face the people of District 6, Jason Marton handed the victory to Kathy Heintel who will now run unopposed. District 2 candidate Matt Helms will also run unopposed to take over the seat Kevin Stewart abandoned in disgrace.
Earlier this week the Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Andrew Houlihan as the new Superintendent. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet Dr. Houlihan, but there is 1 thing about him that I believe you need to know:
- He didn’t hurt our kids.
I know, my standards might seem a little low, but that’s about all you need in order to stay on my good side. I don’t care about your politics. I don’t care about your opinion of common-core. I don’t care about your opinion on bathroom assignment. Sure, we can discuss those things and agree or disagree or maybe even compromise. But my minimum standard is don’t hurt our kids. With that being said, I’ve taken down the links from stoptheucpssuperintendent.org and it will no longer point to this website. Dr. Houlihan deserves a clean slate, and I will do my best to give him one.
Election Battles Remaining
While there’s no chance that the current BOE majority will maintain a majority for the next 2 years, there is still a little bit of house cleaning to do. Incumbent Christina Helms will try and keep her place on the Board against Dennis Rape and Lee Henage. Yercheck & Collins BFF Amelie Schoel is running in District 5 against Joseph Morreale. We still need to work together to elect Dennis Rape, Lee Henage, and Joseph Morreale. Knowing that Matt Helms and Kathy Heintel are unopposed, we can focus our support behind these three candidates.
We have a little more work to do in November, but for now, let’s celebrate our complete and total victory over the people who tried to hurt our kids.