May 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Stand Up Blue Valley misleads followers about misleading voters

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Sometimes, understanding what someone avoids saying is more telling than how they respond to an issue, which is certainly the case with Stand Up Blue Valley (SUBV).

A column I wrote last week about Stand Up Blue Valley misleading voters prompted them to respond on their Facebook page.  Their response predictably was loaded with false and misleading claims, but the most telling aspect is what they did not say about the contents of my column.

  • SUBV’s initial post falsely said, “The school board cannot increase the amount of money available to hire more teachers.” SUBV offered no rebuttal to the facts we provided to expose their deception.

 

  • SUBV’s desire for board members to take a ‘hands-off’ approach and “leave the experts to teach and administer” runs counter to state law and USD 229 board policy.

 

  • The Blue Valley school district does not permit board members to participate in the annual needs assessment of each attendance center, even though state law says the local school board “shall conduct” the assessments to identify barriers to students achieving proficiency in reading and math and the budgetary changes needed to overcome those barriers.

 

  • Student achievement is far below the state goal of having 75% of students being proficient. Preliminary state assessment results for 2023 are lower than in 2015, and the high school results are particularly alarming.  One in five high school students are below grade level in math, and less than half are proficient; English Language Results are not much better.

None of these issues are addressed in the SUBV response on Facebook.  They just tried to attack the messenger with deception.

SUBV deceives followers about lobbying and donations

SUBV is incensed that while on Pete Mundo’s radio show on KCMO, I said it doesn’t disclose its donors.  (Responding to Mundo’s inquiry, I also said they shouldn’t because every American has a constitutional right to privately exercise their free speech right.)

They used a standard dodge – say something true but not responsive to the issue – to give the appearance of indignantly refuting that it doesn’t disclose donor names.  (Again, I applaud their respect for their donors’ rights).

“Why would KPI’s Dave Trabert falsely claim on a radio show that Stand Up Blue Valley does not disclose our funding sources?  Trabert knows we file regular finance reports with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.”

Yes, they (and KPI) file annual reports with the Secretary of State, but those reports do not include donor names.

In another attack on the messenger, Stand Up Blue Valley takes exception to me saying it is a lobbying group, but hilariously admits that “Blue Valley parent volunteers testify in Topeka.”  There is nothing wrong with lobbying legislators and expressing an opinion on proposed legislation and more citizens should do so.  SUBV seems to think that doing so as a tiny part of my job constitutes nefarious activity but doesn’t disclose that the Blue Valley school district uses taxpayer money to hire a contract lobbyist to represent district officials and board members.

That’s it.  No refutation of the facts that matter to parents; just a weak attempt to discredit the messenger.

Stand Up Blue Valley’s history of deceiving people is sad, but the worst part is that they hide the truth about student achievement in USD 229 Blue Valley.  Some students certainly do well, but those that don’t will not get the help they need if parents are not told the truth about the achievement challenges in the district.

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