Lovejoy Schools Issues
"Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows."
Frederick Douglass, African-American slave, and abolitionist
Texas schools are "independent" and therefore under "local control".
There is no outside agency that holds your local school district fiscally accountable.
It is up to the taxpayers and parents.
These issues listed here are very serious.
Yet the Lovejoy ISD School Board ignores, minimizes or attempts to hide them.
Mainstream Media provides no coverage of Lovejoy ISD's serious issues allowing a culture of corruption to flourish.
Lovejoy Schools Issues Overview
There have been several allegations against Lovejoy ISD of the following: (Details listed below)
From Conditions favorable for corruption list:
-"Entrenched self-interested closed cliques and "old boy networks"".
-"Family-, and clan-centered social structure, with a tradition of nepotism/favoritism being acceptable."
- "Lack of investigative reporting in the local media."
- "Contempt for or negligence of exercising freedom of speech and freedom of the press."
-"Frequent discrimination and bullying among the population." Especially intimidation and harassment of residents who stand up for integrity and fiscal and educational accountability.
Discriminatory Curriculum - ALL HONORs classes for ALL students.
LISD appears to be a political and marketing arm for local developers. (more details below)
Lovejoy ISD uses Lovejoy ISD taxpayer dollars to fund attorneys to prevent access to public information - including public information about alleged administrator involvement in misappropriation of funds in other school districts.
Elementary, Middle and High School Campuses are a politicized environments for special interests and children & their parents are used as pawns in political struggles.
Abuse of power.
Disregard for First Amendment rights.
Cheating on TAKS testing.
Refusal to identify and help learning difference children and honor 504 modifications as required by law.
Lovejoy ISD faced a $1.7 million deficit last year, yet administration hired more admin, and cut staff and expect parents to volunteer at clerical jobs.
Lovejoy ISD admin spends an extravagant amount of money on meals and travel.
Lovejoy Schools Issues Detailed (still working)
- Excessive travel and meal expenses -
overpriced hotel rooms $300/night Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio is one example. Almost $3600 for 4 rooms for 3 nights - Invoice
Past Years Expenses link:
Totals for 2008 from Lovejoy ISD check register only
Travel/car rental $170,324.78
Restaurants & Catering $64,387.08
Flowers & Gifts $1513.55
LISD attorney fees $131,753.29
Bestway Office Supply (ex-board member, John Walsh) $124,972.54
Totals for 2009 (Jan-Nov) from Lovejoy ISD check register only
Jan-Nov 2009 Travel & Gas $336,275.94
Jan-Nov 2009 Lobbyist $38,554.45
Jan-Nov 2009 Local Restaurants & Catering $80,400.57
Jan-Nov 2009 Other Staff Incentives $16,934.17
Jan-Nov 2009 Gift & Flowers $990.15
Jan-Nov 2009 Attorney Fees $186,930.03
Jan-Nov 2009 Bestway Office Supply (John Walsh) $110,211.30
- Lovejoy ISD refuses to post credit card statements online, despite residents volunteering to scan and post at no charge.
(LISD has charged financial committee volunteers $169 for public information requests for credit card statements and other financial documents needed to provide educated input to the committee.)
The City of Lucas provides credit card information online along with budgets and check registers.
- VP of Lovejoy School Board, John Walsh, received no-bid business from Lovejoy ISD, without a conflict of interest formed signed (illegal). He resigned after LISD school board decided not to give each other business.
John Walsh's wife works for the district now, and he continues to get office supply business from Lovejoy ISD. Mr. Walsh has received well over a MILLION dollars of business from Lovejoy ISD.
- Lovejoy School Board allegedly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act for many years and may still be doing so.
The Lovejoy School Board would go into executive session for up to three hours waiting out the public in attendance outside the door.
- Hiring and overpayment of friends and family, It appears many were hired because of who they know or are related to rather than competence and ability.
Outdated link - more "friends and family hired: http://www.lovejoyschools.com/McKinneySouth.html
- Lovejoy ISD refused to notify all residents of a two cent tax increase election. LISD only notified parents and those over 65 to let them know their taxes would not go up. Secret Election
- The Secretary of State's office has had to intervene in two elections when Lovejoy ISD refused to follow election law and place two locks on the early voting ballot box.
- Lovejoy ISD failed to comply with the law concerning the identification of learning difference children and to properly follow legally required 504 accommodations. A principal was fired for telling a student not to show up for TAKS testing. Other students 504 modifications are ignored. LISD has had at least six civil rights complaints investigated by the Department of Education, according to Ted Moore. At a financial meeting attended by a large group of parents Mr. Moore castigated those who filed explaining how costly it was to the district for parents to file complaints against LISD if they believed LISD failed to properly educate their children. Parents with kids who have learning differences move from the district.
LD population drops at LISD
- LISD promised to offer regular track classes and Lovejoy only offers honors classes. LISD has refused to provide a non-honors track of classes.
Promised vs. Delivered
- According to the TEA, LISD skipping 6th grade math may be a violation of the Texas Education Code 28.002 but the TEA does not enforce this law - it is up to "local control" to enforce the law - the Lovejoy School Board.
- Children are "gift-graded".
- Children have told their parents that they received help on the TAKS test in the learning lab. They were encouraged to re-read the question until they answered properly.
- Lovejoy ISD School Board hired a trio of administrators involved in alleged misappropriation of funds in McKinney ISD. Ted Moore, Lovejoy ISD superintendent was Dennis Muizer's boss in McKinney ISD when he allegedly misappropriated funds to Ted Moore's stepson, Mark Slavin. Muizers was hired a few weeks later at Lovejoy ISD on Mr. Moore's recommendation. Although the alleged misappropriation of funds occurred in another district-McKinney ISD, Lovejoy ISD attorneys intervened to stop access to a public information request about misappropriation of funds.
- Lovejoy ISD created a daycare program for Mark Slavin to manage. Mr. Slavin does not have a college degree, but manages degreed teachers.
- Lovejoy ISD banned the parent (who filed the pubic information request about the misappropriation of funds), from campus and attempted to frame her on falsified charges of defaming Ted Moore. Lovejoy ISD had documents in hand from the "Teacher of the Year" which stated the parent never talked about the superintendent much less defamed him, yet Lovejoy ISD still accused her of defaming Ted Moore and banned her from campus. Lovejoy ISD attorney, Mari McGowen of Abernathy, Roeder, Joplin & Boyd refused to provide the "Teacher of the Year's" statement and told the parent to file a public information request if she wanted to see the "accusing" statement. Mari McGowen and Lovejoy ISD then fought for months deferring to the Attorney General's office in an attempt to keep the teacher's written statement from the parent.
The Attorney General ruled that Lovejoy ISD had to give the parent the teacher's written statement and it became clear why Lovejoy ISD wanted to hide this statement from the public.
(Compare the documents that Lovejoy ISD had and listen to the attorney's conversation banning the parent.)
- Lovejoy ISD fired the "Teacher of the Year" after she refused to write an untrue statement falsely accusing the parent above. The teacher called for a public hearing to clear her name and reputation. The day before the public hearing Mark Slavin was deposed. Ted Moore withdrew his allegations against the teacher and LISD's attorneys offered to pay her the maximum amount she could get per TEC law.
- LISD school board approved funding the attorneys that defended Moore and Muizers in a TEA investigation.
- From all the documentation available it appears in that the only person to have defamed Mr. Moore, is his stepson, Mark Slavin who received a 20% salary increase after not going to Austin for the TEA investigation of the whole matter. Mr. Slavin and Mr. Moore are still employed at LISD. No apologies have been forthcoming from LISD.
- The Lovejoy School Board has subpoenaed the identities of all posters on the opinion forum and personal emails, files and documents of the webmaster who is not a public official in an attempt to shut down the only accountability measure that exists in Lovejoy ISD. Liberty Legal defended the webmaster's First Amendment rights pro bono.
- Ted Moore, Lovejoy ISD superintendent threatened to sue the webmaster, several Lovejoy ISD residents, and the community at large. The Lovejoy School Board has encouraged the harassment of residents.
- The Lovejoy School Board and Superintendent retaliated against citizens who ask for accountability. Mr Moore called a secret invitation-only meeting with "community leaders" and canceled the promised public meeting for no reason.
Blogger report from an outsider: Lovejoy ISD: Tales from the Dark Side
- School board real estate purchases appear to have been made for special interests, not community interests.
The high school property
was purchased from the Paxton/Puckett family who handed out flyers promoting the passage of the land bond to purchase their property for the Lucas Lovejoy High School.
The Paxton/Puckett family own 150+ acres directly across the street to the high school in Lucas, that now has sewer access due to the first introduction of sewer into Lucas at the high school.
Sewer + commercial zoning + high school traffic = Big Profits for the Paxtons.
The 70 acre Lucas site was a poor choice for many reasons. The site is too small for the Lovejoy high school, traffic issues, infrastructure issues, the property is surrounded on three sides by existing home developments.
The Lovejoy School Board refused to mark the property despite numerous requests, until after the successful land bond election, the election to build secondary schools, and the high school bond election.
Lovejoy School board trustee Sue Hoffman voted to build the high school on the the Lucas land next to her five acres, then attempted to sell her property as commercial property.
- Lucas residents want to preserve large lots and are fighting developer interests that want sewer for more profitable high-density developments.
The Paxton family was the largest developer in Lovejoy ISD at one time. They had friends on school board and Lucas city council and and one of those friends was on the Lovejoy School Board AND Lucas Planning and Zoning who pushed to bring sewer and apartments and high-density to their 150 acres across the street from the high school. Lucas residents do not want sewer in order to protect large lots and country living. Developers want sewer to bring in high density housing which is more profitable than developing 2 acre developments.
- Lovejoy administration and school board continue to push for development interests and attempting to run sewer throughout Lucas. They allow the pro-sewer city council candidates to campaign on campus, but refuse access to all city council candidates. They provide resources for city campaigns and the Foundation for Lovejoy Schools promotes pro-sewer/developer candidates for Lucas City Council.
- The Foundation for Lovejoy Schools was co-founded by Barbara Paxton, wife of developer Mark Paxton, who develops property DBA Colco Real Estate.
Colco Real Estate developed Skyview Estates, Summer Hill Estates, Hampton Court in the Lovejoy ISD area. Hampton Court was developed by Paxton, and Strong Homes built homes in this development.
- Three Paxton/Puckett family members (Mark Paxton, his sister Julie Puckett, and Julie's mother-in-law Bobbie Puckett ) were appointed to a Committee of 40. Forty people, most of whom would profit from Lovejoy ISD building a high school, were tasked with voting for the community on whether a high school would be built in Lovejoy ISD on Paxton property. The Lovejoy School Board attempted to keep the community from voting on the most important issue in Lovejoy ISD history - the creation of Lovejoy secondary schools.
- The Lovejoy School Board tried to deny the community the right to vote. Community members had to gather 1300 signatures in order for a county judge to force Lovejoy ISD School Board to allow the community to vote.
- Committee of 40 member Bobbie Puckett now works at Lovejoy ISD.
- Jim Bob Puckett is now the athletic director at Lovejoy ISD. Jim Bob is Bobbie Puckett's son (Committee of 40 member) and Julie Puckett's brother-in-law (Committee of 40 member).
- Julie Puckett's daughter now works for Lovejoy ISD.
- Julie Puckett's husband has received landscape contracts and free advertisement from Lovejoy ISD.
- Lovejoy ISD School Board abused eminent domain and took a widow's property for a poorly placed elementary school. There are thousands of undeveloped acres in Lovejoy ISD and there was no need to take this woman's property. Interestingly, the property right next to the widow's property is owned by LISD athletic director's father-in-law, Mr. Strong. See property..
Mr. Strong's property is in Lucas ETJ, which means he can build whatever he likes on this property, including commercial. Mr. Strong worked with Mr. Paxton on developing Hampton Court (read above)
- Lovejoy ISD uses parent's love for their children/sports and "air horns" to make the City of Lucas out to be the "bad guys" and target ethical council people they cannot control.
Air Horn Crisis
Lovejoy High School neighbors complained to the school and city about the loud noise from the air horn. Mr. Moore came to an agreement with the city not to allow air horns at the game - from other districts and Lovejoy as well. http://www.lovejoyschools.com/AirHorn.html
Jim Bob Puckett and Lovejoy ISD called a news conference. "We're really looking at just five Friday nights" to blow the air horn, says Jim Bob Puckett. At Jim Bob Puckett's & LISD's directive,
Lovejoy parents showed up at the Lucas city council meeting. They directed their anger at council members and threatened to remove these council members despite these council members not voting against the air horn. These council members did however vote against running sewer to Jim Bob Puckett's father-in-law's property which would increase it's market value.
Lovejoy ISD immediately violated their promise to the Lovejoy High School stadium neighbors, blowing the air horn outside the agreed days and times.
Baseball Field Crisis
A large number of very angry Lovejoy parents and children were asked by the LISD superintendent to show up at a Lucas city council meeting (9/17/09). Mr. Moore misled the parents giving them the impression that the City of Lucas was needlessly denying a building permit and holding up work on baseball fields. Documents show that LISD had been in violation of city codes for years. LISD and the City had been working on a Memorandum of Understanding for weeks and the council approval was just a formality.
Documentation of Ted Moore's email to parents, LISD code violations and Memorandum of understanding