P  E  Y  T  O  N     W  O  L  C  O  T  T
h o w   w e   t a k e   b a c k   o u r   c h i l d r e n ' s    e d u c a t i o n  --
o n e   p e r s o n ,   o n e   q u e s t i o n ,   o n e   s c h o o l   a t   a   t i m e .        
  Copyright 1999-2006 Peyton Wolcott
Modern Minutemen:
Nancy Gadbois & Pat Yezak
Open records pioneers in Bremond ISD whose
searches help bring their former supe, Kenneth
Johnson, to justice--and prison--June 26, 2006;
Nancy's blog:  
http://www.nancysblog.com
Here's the page with the 24 drop-the-ballers:
http://www.peytonwolcott.com/BremondJohnsonPlea.html
Still more here:
http://www.peytonwolcott.com/BremondJohnsonSentenced.html
Will Fitzhugh
Nancy Gadbois (left)
and Pat Yezak
NOTE:  Although Nancy and Pat are referred to
as "The Bremond moms," their husbands
(Maurice Yezak and Robert Gadboise) have
been an integral part of the process from the
beginning.  Both Pat Yezak and Robert
Gadbois handily won their board races in 2004.
  And both couples have called for a
Congressional hearing.
Commentary:
What's a Mere
$800,000?
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales , New Mexico

I have been following the news
and Peyton Wolcott's web site
and there apparently is some
concern about some missing
money. I am going to be giving
my age away here, but this
reminds me of one of the old
sitcoms-with Bud Abbott and Lou
Costello.

Many years ago, they had their
own weekly television show and
one week, apparently, the IRS
made some type of mistake and
sent Lou Costello an extra
million dollars as a tax refund.
Naturally (and those of you who
saw the show remember this)
his eyes widened, he began to
shiver and shake , and his hand
went to his hat and he began to
bang his hat on his head, only to
be interrupted by his pal, Bud
Abbott who grabbed him by the
lapels of his coat after seeing the
size of the check.

Change scene to the Offices of
the Internal Revenue Service.
Boss to employer: Hey, did you
ever catch that error? Employee:
No, but I'm working on it…Don't
worry about it. It's only a million
dollars. Not to worry.
Change scene back to Bud
Abbott and Lou Costello. What to
do about this check? Must have
been a mistake. Are you crazy?
The IRS doesn't make mistakes!!
Who's on First??
Change scene back to some
small town in Texas . No more
money for books? Supplies ?
Desks? Pencils? Paper? Rulers
? Must be some mistake!!
Change scene to home of
average taxpayer. “Well, honey,
I'm home ! We got our refund
check. We are forty dollars richer.
I guess we can put more in the
plate at church this week. Or
maybe send one of the poor kids
in the parish to summer camp.
Forty dollars will just about do it. I
would really like to see one of the
kids get to go to the camp where
there is a lake and trees and
grass.

Change to Bremond ISD. This is
apparently, allegedly the place
where there is this missing
money. Well, there could have
been a “clerical oversight” or as
Eddie Haskell used to say “ Well,
it was an inadvertent oversight”.
Maybe “ generally accepted
accounting principles? “

And Peyton Wolcott has been
following this story as we have
here at www.educationnews.org
For Bud Abbott and Lou Costello,
the issue of a million dollars
made for a real funny television.
show and a lot of laughs. For the
children of Bremond
Independent School District ,
there is no laughter in that town.
For the taxpayers of Bremond, I
send my sympathies and hope
that justice will be done.
Pat &
Maurice
Yezak
In their own
words
We would like for
people to know that
we are disappointed
that more people
were not prosecuted.

Dr. Johnson did not
go alone on the trips
to the World Series
and Cancun, the
fishing trip off the
coast of California,
to Las Vegas
multiple times, dog
races in LaMarque,
and the Horseshoe
in Bosier.  

He did not go alone.
 

They know who they
are and we know
who they are.

To these people we
say, "Your beloved
Dr. J. took the plea
for you."
Nancy Gadbois
In her own words
It is very difficult to put into words what we have
experienced over the last three years in our search
for the truth of how our tax dollars have been spent in
the past and how they are being spent now.  Our first
open records request was for a copy of the school
district’s audit.  Once we received the audit, it only
made us question our finances more.  People in the
community began to catch wind of what we were
asking for and would call and give us information
about something they had seen or heard about.  
There had been rumors of trips and Dr. Johnson’s
sons being on the payroll floating around for years.  It
turns out the rumors were true.

Some of the things we asked for included:

The school district audit – which showed the District’
s deposits unsecured by more than $3.2 million and
lack of sound budgeting practices.

A request for Coach’s salaries, stipends and
memberships paid for by the district – this did not
produce the same information as received from the
Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA).

A request sent to the THSCA for memberships listed
under Bremond ISD – Dr. Johnson’s two sons,
Jason Johnson and James Johnson Jr., were both
listed as lifetime members.  Their paperwork listed
them as active coaches at Bremond ISD, which they
were not.

A request for 2003-2004 Revenue sources and 2003-
2004 budget – The board approved a budget for
almost $1,000,000.00 more than what the projected
revenues would be.

A request for several payroll summaries and a list of
actual expenditures listed by code – We received a
copy of the general ledger, which showed the
superintendents salary to be more than his contract,
and the payroll summary showed paychecks to Dr.
Johnson’s sons who did not work for the district.

A request for purchase orders, contracts, etc. for
Brushmasters – Reviewing the checks and invoices
sent to us the firm was paid in amounts that
exceeded the statutory minimums requiring specific
bidding procedures.  The authorities to my
knowledge never reviewed this.  We were told the
owner was the uncle of one of the coaches at our
school.

Subsequent requests showed board of trustees
doing business with the district with no affidavits on
file, the school board minutes showing Kenneth
Swick voting for the depository agreement when he
was a representative of both the depository and the
school district, discrepancies with Dr. Johnson’s
employee contracts, large amount of checks written
for cash and other questionable expenses, and credit
card statements showing lavish trips, jewelry, alcohol
and other questionable purchases.

We did approach several board members and asked
them to step in and ask questions.  We reminded
them they could access information more easily than
we could.

When we asked for the credit card statements, Dr.
Johnson told us they had been stolen.  We reported
this to the local sheriff who in turn called in the Texas
Rangers.  We met with Ranger Huggins at Sheriff
Yezak’s office and at this time he told us it would be
best if we stopped our open records requests for the
time being.  He said he had subpoena power and
would subpoena the records he needed to
investigate.

We interviewed with the State Auditor, Harold Burns,
and gave him copies of our information we had
received through open records requests.  Once the
credit card statements surfaced, the school board
had no choice but to call for a special audit.  The
special audit confirmed our findings but appears to
investigate no further than the credit card statements
available at the time, a few of the checks written for
cash and Dr. Johnson’s salary being paid through
JR3 with no contract on file.

Before the special audit conducted by Hudson,
Anderson & Associates, which happened to be the
same auditing firm that had audited our school
district for the previous eight to ten years, I was
approached by two teachers in the school gym and
told I had “nothing but lies and rumors.”  One of the
teachers also informed me I was allowed to
volunteer at the school because she “backed” me.  
Considering her husband was President of the
school board at the time, I guess she felt she had the
right to make that statement.  A few days later and the
day before Dr. Johnson resigned, he sent a letter to
me stating my volunteer services were no longer
required at the school at the request of a few
teachers.  You must keep in mind this is a Pre-K
through 12 school so this letter had a powerful
impact on me.  I have been a volunteer in my children’
s schools and in youth ministry for over ten years.

Over the past three years we have had to endure
name calling, finger pointing, a school board meeting
called to specifically ridicule us for asking questions
in which they pointed to my husband and friend in the
audience and said we were pathetic and should be
ashamed of ourselves.  We’ve had trash thrown in
our yards during the night, our campaign signs
destroyed and thrown in Pat’s driveway, and driving to
church on Sunday morning and noticing foul
language written on the back of my car.

The day after Dr. Johnson’s resignation he was seen
by a witness leaving the school in the early morning
hours.  He and another district employee were each
driving a truck loaded with black bags in the back.  
What these bags contained and where they were
going is anyone’s guess.  As far as we know, this
witness has not been questioned.

There are many witnesses who have come to us and
shared information that we have passed along
believing someone would follow up on these leads.  
We were told documents were being shredded at the
school but no one stepped in.  Sandra Nolan, who
was also indicted, was allowed to continue to work at
the school until March 2004.  Once the new business
manager came to work, he had to rebuild our district’
s financial records because all the previous records
had been destroyed.

It was very difficult to get the TEA to listen to our
complaints.  Each of the local, state and federal
agencies we went to appeared to want to help but
always seem to pass the buck when it came to
following through.  The TEA said they did not have the
manpower, the sheriff did not have the manpower to
investigate, the District Attorney had a conflict of
interest and the special prosecutor only “needed
$100,000 to prosecute” and stated “Robertson
County doesn’t have the money to pay to investigate
this further”.  What kind of message are we
sending?  

I am tired of school board members being accused
of micromanaging when they ask for accountability.  I
am tired of parents, who demand accountability of
their school board trustees and school
administrators, being labeled as troublemakers.  
This happened in our school district because
somewhere along the way the board of trustees
forgot they were just that “trustees” and a
superintendent forgot he was a public servant.

I know this is not an isolated case.  I want people to
see I survived the ordeal of the last three years.  I am
extremely disappointed with an organization that
would allow teachers and administrators to lash out
at parents, who ask questions, or worse, take it out
on their children.  Anyone who participates in this
kind of behavior should be ashamed of themselves.  
Sending me a letter stating I could not volunteer at
the school hurt my children emotionally.

I understand that doing the right thing is hard and
there were plenty of times I wanted to turn back the
clock and not be that person.

Dr. Johnson was sentenced to five years in prison on
Monday, June 26, 2006.  I stood at the back and
listened with mixed emotions.  We had been told
repeatedly to prepare ourselves for him to receive
only probation.  My friend, Pat, and I and two people
from the local newspaper were the only people from
Bremond at the courthouse.  You begin to think no
one really cares.  I do care that Dr. Johnson will at
least serve 18 months of prison time.  I hope this
sends a message to all those public servants out
there or anyone else who thinks it is okay to misuse
public funds.

I have every intention of continuing my fight for our
access to public information.  This incident in our
school district is proof open records need to remain
as such and our access to them should not be
hindered.  I will continue to speak out against those
who refuse to do their jobs as board members.  I will
speak out against those who reprimand board
members or citizens who seek accountability.  

These problems affect all of us.  If you are not willing
to do the right thing yourself, please support those
who are willing to do so.

My message to all of our public servants and elected
officials is this, “If you have nothing to hide, then you
should have no problem letting me see our ‘public’
information.”
Bremond ISD

How we take back our children's education:
one person, one question, one school at a time.



Commentary

Edu-Conferences
____

BOOK EXCERPTS:

Education, Inc.

How To File a Public
Records Request

How To Organize

Lax Oversight

Success Stories,
Kindred Spirits
____

COMMENTARY
ARCHIVES
___

SPECIAL REPORT -
TEXAS LEGE:  TEA
POWER GRAB
____

About/In the News

AASA - American
Association of School
Administrators

ASA - Association of
School Administrators

CSD - Consolidated
School District

DOE - Department
of Education

ES - Elementary School

HS - High School

ISD -  Independent
School District

JHS - Junior High School

MS - Middle School

MSM - Mainstream media

NSBA - National School
Boards Association

NSPRA - National School
Public Relations Association

PS - Public School(s)

SBEC - State Board for
Educator Certification

SD - School District

Sup't - Superintendent

TAKS - Texas Assessment of
Knowledge & Skills

TASA - Texas Association of
School Administrators

TASB - Texas Association
of School Boards

TASBO - Texas Association
of  School Business Officials

TEA - Texas
Education Agency

TEKS - Texas Essential
Knowledge & Skills

USD - UnifiedUnited School
District
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QUOTES



Separatists in
India's north-eastern
state of Manipur
have
shot six male
teachers in the leg
for allegedly helping
students cheat in
exams.

Two women
teachers were
beaten with sticks
for the same offence,
the rebels of the
Kanglei Yana
Kan Lup group said.  
The teachers were
abducted from their
homes after an exam
on Thursday.  

The rebels said
the teachers
took up to 5,000
rupees ($110) for
helping students
cheat
and warned
of further
punishment if the
cheating continued.  

The Kanglei
Yana Kan Lup
(KYKL) is one of
many separatist
groups fighting
Indian administration
in Manipur.  

It said it
abducted the eight
teachers from their
homes in and around
the state capital,
Imphal, because of
reports they had
taken bribes.

--By Subir Bhaumik - BBC
ATTENTION EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS:
Every attempt possible has been made to verify all sources and information.   In the event you feel an error has been made, please contact us immediately.  Thank you.
Copyright 1999-2006 Peyton Wolcott
POP QUIZ:

How do you
yourself know for a
fact that your state
or local supe is
actually using the
funds entrusted to
them for the
correct purposes?

David v.
Goliath:

How
America's
Moms & Dads
are taking on

Education,
Inc.

PEYTON WOLCOTT


The question
is not how to
measure
excellence at
public schools
and education
agencies.

The question
is how to
measure
competence.

-- Dianna Pharr
CONTACT:
Peyton Wolcott
P.O. Box 9068
Horseshoe Bay, TX  78657
peyton@peytonwolcott.com
F o c u s i n g
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