• Tag Archives Roger Campbell
  • No One Wants to Talk to GOAC in Person This Week About GEAR UP

    The Government Operations and Audit Committee has asked numerous principals in the GEAR UP scandal to come answer questions at its October 5–6 meeting. A few are providing written answers, but those responses indicate none will show their faces before the committee Thursday or Friday in Sioux Falls.

    GOAC asked former Mid-Central Educational Cooperative chairs Pam Haukaas and Lloyd Persson to come explain their board’s oversight of the GEAR UP grants, including answering simple questions like, “Who appointed the GEAR UP Advisory Board?” and whether Mid-Central’s director, business manager, or auditor ever presented annual audit reports to the board. On September 22, Sioux City attorney Ryland Deinert replied for Persson and Haukaas and said that, due to pending litigation, no one from Mid-Central’s board will answer any GOAC questions, in writing or in person.

    GOAC asked Rick Melmer, the former Education Secretary who steered GEAR UP to his hometown coop and made good money consulting for Mid-Central, to come explain his role in the GEAR UP grants and provide a timeline of his work for Mid-Central. Melmer wrote back on September 24 that he won’t visit GOAC in person, but he did provide written answers. Melmer said the state applied for the first GEAR UP grant in 2005 to bolster the summer honors program at School of Mines for American Indian high school students. Melmer says he was not involved in applying for second GEAR UP grant in 2011, but Mid-Central director Dan Guericke brought him aboard in 2012. Melmer details the contract work that I reported back in 2015:

    Dan Guericke, director of Mid-Central Educational Cooperative (MCEC), asked me to be involved during the 2012–13 year to provide technical assistance on issues related to GEAR UP and the other programs (i.e. College Access Challenge Grant) that focused on the academic needs of Native American students. This assistance included regular correspondence with the director on questions or issues that may arise related to the grant and the discussion and formation of an Advisory Board that would assist in the coordination of programs designed to improve educational opportunities for Native students. In 2013–14 I began a two-year employment with MCEC and worked on three contracts. The largest contract was with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) which involved work on the Cross-State Learning Collaborative Project. A second contract was with the Board of Regents in South Dakota (SDBOR). That contract involved working with the statewide teacher residency program and a leadership development program designed for K-12 building principals. The third contract was with GEAR UP where I chaired an Advisory Board that met monthly. The primary objective of the Board was to coordinate programs that were designed to assist Native American Students. The programs included the College Access Challenge Grant, Jump Start, TRIO and the Bridge programs. I coordinated the planning, materials and presenters for each meeting and communicated with the Task Force members about agenda items. The GEAR UP contract generated less than 15% of my total income with MCEC [Rick Melmer to GOAC, 2017.09.24].

    GOAC directed the same requests to Rick Melmer’s pal and fellow Mid-Central consultant Keith Moore. On September 25, Moore declined to attend GOAC’s meeting but writes that he was appointed GEAR UP project director in fall/winter 2005, then consulted for Mid-Central from August 2012 to September 2015 and performed these duties:

    • Attend and chair all meetings of the grant advisory council.
    • Attend conferences as requested.
    • Assist with the hiring of key project personnel.
    • Assist the Project Directors with evaluating grant proposals and grant activities.
    • Utilize professional and political contacts to benefit the grant.
    • Draw on past positions and experiences to assist with the successful implementation of the grant.
    • Assist the Project Director in all day to day grant activities as assigned [Keith Moore to GOAC, 2017.09.25].

    GOAC asked former Office of Indian Education director LuAnn Werdel, whose emails and statements caused a stir at the August GOAC hearing, to come expand on what she’s revealed so far. On September 28, Werdel replied that she can’t attend because she’s caring for her stroke-stricken husband. Werdel mentions work she did for Oceti Sakowin Educational Consortium (one of the non-profits corporate shells created by Mid-Central business manager Scott Westerhuis that handled, or maybe laundered, GEAR UP money) implementing a middle-school component of GEAR UP that gave $10,000 to 32 middle schools each to conduct career/college prep programs. Missing her opportunity to offer her firsthand knowledge, Werdel defers questions about conflicts of interest to what Representative Elizabeth May says she has heard.

    GOAC sent similar questions to Roger Campbell, who succeeded Werdel at the Department of Education and who made headlines with his own batch of 2012 e-mails released by the DOE for GOAC’s August hearing. If Campbell has replied, GOAC hasn’t posted that document yet.

    GOAC also asked Education Secretary Melody Schopp to appear again. On September 28, her attorney, Paul Bachand, wrote that Secretary Schopp and the Department of Education are done appearing before GOAC on this matter… but he provides one more document dump that warrants attention in a separate post.

    So in seven requests for testimony, GOAC so far has published six refusals to testify in person, four written responses, and two refusals to provide any information. That response rate calls into question the authority our Legislature has to get the information it wants and needs about corruption in state government.

  • Tapio Urges Us to Listen to Werdel-Nelson Recordings—Yes, Let’s!

    In his summary of the follow-up documents Education Secretary Melody Schopp provided to the Government Operations and Audit Committee this week pertaining to the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal, attorney Paul Bachand makes a strong effort to portray former Indian Education director and attempted GEAR UP whistleblower LuAnn Werdel as unreliable, her successor Roger Campbell as responsible, and Secretary Schopp as a sterling defender of truth:

    The email exchanges provided with this correspondence support the prior submission and statements by Dr. Schopp related to the increased oversight of GEAR UP and Mid Central. These emails must be understood in their context. That is why the emails from LuAnn Werdel were provided. Ms. Werdel’s lashing out can only be understood in the context of her contemporaneous apologies and assertions regarding Dan Guericke and Stacy Phelps. To be blunt, the personnel issues surrounding Ms. Werdel had considerable impact on her credibility.

    In contrast, Mr. Campbell was considered a credible source, and as I believe you will see through the attached documentation, had the support of the Department in attempting to ensure that the 2011 GEAR UP grant got off the ground on the right foot.

    …Finally, if you go back and review Dr. Schopp’s July 24 GOAC presentation, you will see that the timelines for increased monitoring and oversight line up with the concerns raised by Mr. Campbell. Fortunately for Dr. Schopp, it is easy to keep your story straight when you are telling the truth [Paul Bachand on behalf of Melody Schopp, letter to GOAC, 2017.08.28].

    I have my own issues with the usability of Werdel’s documented January 10, 2011, warning about corruption in GEAR UP, given her January 11, 2011, e-mail apologies for those statements. We can debate the extent to which her immediate backing off from her January 2011 whistleblowing may be understood in the context of her fear of further retaliation from a well-connected Education Secretary who had already demanded her resignation.

    However, it is… problematic to say that, as we try to evaluate the credibility of the Department of Education’s claims about GEAR UP, we must accept as a standard for the credibility of all witnesses the Department of Education’s opinion of those witnesses’ credibility.

    Senator Neal Tapio seems unswayed by the Department of Education’s effort to paint LuAnn Werdel as unreliable. He sends out an e-mail to state officials and the press urging us all to listen to the recordings of Werdel’s July 25 and July 26 phone calls with Senator Stace Nelson. I reported on the content of those calls Wednesday. If you like, take Senator Tapio’s advice and listen to the calls yourself:

    July 25, 2017:

    July 26, 2017:

    As we hear in the second call, Senator Nelson took Werdel’s story and her concerns about retaliation seriously enough that he e-mailed the Attorney General the night of the first call to say he was concerned about her safety.

    Senator Tapio has listened to those recordings along with all the other information presented to him and other members of GOAC. He now asks GOAC to “suspend any contact with Ms. Werdel until a later time” and offers this positive assessment of her reliability as a whistleblower and witness:

    While Ms. Werdel’s initial criticism of the GearUP program was considered less credible by State employees and by the Legislative Audit staff, I consider her brave attempts to expose the corruption of the GearUP program to be commendable and worthy of the greatest respect. It was her willingness to sound the alarm, and hers alone, that accurately predicted future events.

    I’ve never met Ms. Werdel, but I know her type. People willing to stand up for what they believe, and fight for it, is who we need in government. I consider her to be a whistleblower and we should take precautions to protect her reputation, respect her privacy and consider concerns for her safety. Additionally, I believe there are federal whistleblower protections that we must legally respect.

    The people surrounding the creation, implementation, execution and oversight of this grant should be the focus of our attention [Sen. Neal Tapio, e-mail received by Dakota Free Press, 2017.08.31].

    Context is important for understanding the emails from Roger Campbell to Secretary Schopp in 2012. Context is also important in understanding Werdel’s e-mails in 2011. Both Senator Tapio and Senator Nelson have decided to view Werdel’s January 11 “apologies” in the context of what Werdel learned, did, and said about GEAR UP, Secretary Schopp’s January 10 request for Werdel’s resignation, and Werdel’s fears of further career-related retribution. You may add to your context by listening to Werdel yourself and making up your own mind.

  • April 2012 Mid-Central Documents, Campbell E-Mail Show Mid-Central Arrogance

    In her initial written response to the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee on the Department of Education’s role in the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal, Education Secretary Melody Schopp referred to a “heated” meeting between her office and Mid-Central principals in April 2012. Secretary Schopp’s follow-up submission to GOAC gives us a few more details about that strange meeting that show Mid-Central officials bucking hard against even the hint that the state might engage in oversight that would could have impinged on the scam that business manager Scott Westerhuis was orchestrating with all that federal grant money.

    We don’t learn what heated personal recriminations were exchanged at that April 10, 2012, meeting in Pierre; Schopp’s state attorney Paul Bachand simply writes that it was “a contentious meeting with unfair allegations being leveled at Mr. Campbell by Mr. Phelps and Mr. Westerhuis.” Bachand says Roger Campbell, the DOE’s director of Indian education, “was vigorous in response to these allegations” and refuted Mid-Central’s claims. “Frankly,” writes Bachand to GOAC, “Mr. Campbell exercised considerable restraint in dealing with Mid Central.”

    Considerable restraint in dealing with Mid-Central—yeah, that was kind of DOE’s problem all along with stopping the mishandling of federal grants, wasn’t it?

    Schopp and Bachand submit to GOAC documents that Mid-Central prepared in anticipation of the April 10, 2012, meeting. One document is an agenda and a list of desired outcomes for the meeting:

    Mid-Central agenda for meeting w DOE 20120410
    Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, agenda for meeting with Education Secretary Melody Schopp and Indian Education director Roger Campbell, 2012.04.10, in Schopp/Bachand Exhibit 1 to GOAC, 2017.08.28. 

    Now just the fact that local educational cooperative Mid-Central thinks it gets to set the agenda for a meeting with the state Department of Education shows a misunderstanding of who’s in charge. The fuzzy admin-speak of the desired outcomes also suggests a certain arrogance from below: how does the subordinate local entity get to “define relationship” and “expectations… in regard to project leadership” for the state agency that makes the locals’ access to the big federal grants possible?

    Mid-Central accompanied this agenda with a list of thirteen concerns about the GEAR UP and College Access grants. The copy submitted by Schopp to GOAC includes handwritten notes that attorney Bachand says he believes came from Campbell:

    Mid-Central to DOE, 2012.04.10
    Mid-Central to DOE, 2012.04.10
    Mid-Central to DOE, 2012.04.10

    Again, Schopp doesn’t tell us what she or Campbell said to Mid-Central about these concerns at their April 10, 2012, meeting, but on April 23, 2012, Campbell did prepare for Schopp a written summary of his responses to these thirteen points:

    Campbell to Schopp, 2012.04.23
    Campbell to Schopp, 2012.04.23

    Note that Mid-Central’s first concern is GEAR UP project director Campbell was referring to them as a “contractor” instead of a partner. Evidently Westerhuis and his gang didn’t like any implication that they had to answer to someone higher up. Campbell sets them straight with this amusingly gentle Animal Farmian response: “We’re all partners but SD DOE is the lead partner.” In other words, DOE is the boss.

    In points #3 and #4, Mid-Central makes the startling claim that it poured $950,000 of its own money into GEAR UP and College Access while waiting months for the Department of Education to get off its duff and sign the grant contracts. First of all, Campbell responds that Mid-Central was plenty slow in getting paperwork back to Pierre. But more importantly, Mid-Central appears to be demonstrating that the federal grant dollars were Mid-Central’s to spend before they even had those dollars or the authorization to spend them and that it could somehow bind Pierre’s hands by acting unilaterally.

    Call me authoritarian, but from a management perspective, if I see contractors behaving with such arrogance, I drop them from the project and get new contractors on whom I can rely to follow my directives and keep my office out of hot water.

    Adding to the red flags that should have warranted dropping Mid-Central in 2012 is Campbell’s statement in his point #5 that Mid-Central, Stacy Phelps’s AIII, and consultant/grant-writer/evaluator Brinda Kuhn prepared a response to the “Program Officer” that contained “inaccuracies about the actual progress of the project.” That’s not just Mid-Central fudging the finances; that’s Mid-Central and friends providing unreliable information about the actual outcomes of GEAR UP.

    These documents from Schopp show that in April 2012, the Department of Education knew that Mid-Central and the people it had engaged to run GEAR UP were expressing an arrogant misunderstanding of the proper state oversight of the program, spending money without full authorization, and submitting bad information about how it was using that money. These red flag are all grounds for dismissing a contractor and putting the project in more honest, reliable hands. Yet the Department of Education kept Mid-Central and friends on the job for more than three more years.

    Schopp’s attorney Bachand claims this follow-up submission shows that “the Department took appropriate actions to increase its monitoring and oversight.” The April 2012 documents actually show that Secretary Schopp and the Department failed to take the most appropriate action warranted by the evidence available at that time: drop Mid-Central and AIII before their arrogance leads to even bigger problems for the state.

  • Campbell August 2012 Document Reveals August 2012 Knowledge of Total Mess at Mid-Central

    After reading Education Secretary Melody Schopp’s lawyer-approved written responses to the Government Operations and Audit Committee’s questions about the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal, I wrote that we needed to hear from former Office of Indian Education director Roger Campbell to elaborate on some of Schopp’s responses.

    Son of a gun—Secretary Schopp obliged and then some! Contrary to her state-provided counsel Paul Bachand’s advice, Secretary Schopp dumped a bunch of documents from Campbell and the Department into GOAC’s lap relating to how Campbell and Schopp acted on concerns about financial misconduct at Mid-Central in 2012:

    These are long documents, worth multiple posts. For the moment, let’s read an e-mail from then-OIE director Campbell to Secretary Schopp in which he provides background of the GEAR UP program and a summary of his concerns about poor oversight of the federal grant:

    What do we learn here?

    1. [bottom p.1] Campbell says that from 2005 through 2011, the first GEAR UP grant period, Mid-Central ran GEAR UP with “almost complete autonomy”—i.e., with almost no oversight from the Melmer/Oster/Schopp Department of Education.
    2. [bottom p.1–top p.2] When Campbell “initially took the position” of OIE director (and that was March 2011), “a number of challenges had been communicated to [Campbell] from the DOE about Gear Up and a more recent grant, College Access Challenge.” He wrote of a “history” of “questions about accountability” in GEAR UP. If Campbell is using his verb tense accurately, he is saying that he walked into OIE knowing about a number of problems with GEAR UP that had been going on long enough to be called a “history”.
    3. [p. 2 parag. 3] Campbell approached Mid-Central and AIII (American Indian Institute for Innovation, Stacy Phelps’s outfit) twice in 2011 to talk about “changes to fiscal reporting due to some of the concerns” raised about GEAR UP. This document does not say what results those two conversations produced.
    4. [p. 2 parags 3–4] Campbell said a Mid-Central contractor took two months to respond to his request for a list of employees and grant allocation for each and that the list produced didn’t match the original budget. Campbell cites other delays in providing information, multiple instance of poorly defined job/grant responsibilities, payment of employees from both grants “at amounts inconsistent with SD DOE standards,” unauthorized and unnecessary grant expenses, conflicts of interest, questionable travel expenses inconsistent with expected policies. Campbell’s arguably most damning sentences read, “Prior to the new Gear Up grant none of the accountability measures that I am instituting had been followed. We have also communicated to the feds through the annual performance report that there were certain activities that had taken place but in fact they had not.
    5. [p. 2 parag 6]: Campbell said GEAR UP had never been audited in its seven years of operation at that time.
    6. [p.2 parag 7]: Campbell said the GEAR UP Project Directors up to that point (and if I’m reading it right, that means past OIE directors, including Keith Moore) had made “little effort… to provide oversight” of GEAR UP. Absent such oversight, Mid-Central had entered “incorrect” agreements with its partners or “not follow[ed] proper grant administration.”
    7. [p. 3 parag 1] Campbell said “It is the responsibility of the DOE to ensure the oversight and integrity of the grant and its initiatives….” For you folks who think all the blame for the GEAR UP scandal lies in the doorstep of the coop office in Platte, read that again: “It is the responsibility of the DOE to ensure the oversight and integrity of the grant and its initiatives….

    In that one document, Roger Campbell makes clear that we weren’t talking about forgetting to carry the two on a couple lines of the Mid-Central ledger. We’re talking Charlie doing the Foxtrot, a local cooperative making bad contracts, paying people for who-knows-what, blowing travel money, causing bogus info to be sent to the feds, and ignoring policies and grant requirements left and right while nobody in Pierre was watching.

    If that’s what Campbell saw, and if that’s what the Department of Education knew in August 2012 when Campbell wrote this e-mail or March 2011 when Campbell took the OIE job, it is shocking that the Department of Education would allow the malfeasants at Mid-Central to keep playing with millions of Uncle Sam’s dollars.

    Stay tuned for more from the Campbell files….

  • Former Indian Education Director Campbell Could Elaborate on Schopp GEAR UP Response

    On her first day as Secretary of Education, Melody Schopp asked the director of the Office of Indian Education, LuAnn Werdel, to resign. Werdel unloaded with statements questioning the integrity of those managing the GEAR UP and College Access grants, then backed off from her criticisms the next day. The e-mails made public by the Government Operations and Audit Committee as part of Secretary Schopp’s written response to committee questions thus wakens the case for blaming Secretary Schopp for not acting on the concerns expressed by Werdel in January 2011.

    The timeline for serious concerns about misconduct at Mid-Central thus defaults back to 2012, which Schopp has previously admitted is when her department began tracking “incompetence” in Mid-Central’s financial record-keeping and offering the cooperative “technical support.”

    It apparently took the person Schopp chose to replace Werdel, Roger Campbell, to draw Schopp’s attention to GEAR UP:

    I hired Mr. Campbell in March 2011. The GEAR UP contract with mid Central was signed in March 2012, and GEAR UP became one of the Mr. Campbell’s responsibilities. Mr. Campbell first expressed concerns in spring 2012, one of which was that the business manager was also CFO for AIII.

    At the July 24, 2017, GOAC meeting, I referred to the fact that SD DOE staff had concerns going back to 2012, and I described the increased monitoring activities regarding GEAR UP in response to those concerns [Education Secretary Melody Schopp to GOAC, 2017.08.22, Response #38, pp. 5–6].

    Schopp refers with a surprising lack of detail to a heated meeting involving her, Campbell, other DOE staff, and principals at Mid-Central:

    I specifically recall one in-person meeting with Mr. Guericke, Mr. Westerhuis, Mr. Phelps, myself and SD DOE staff, including Mr. Campbell, which was very heated and included what I considered to be personal attacks on both sides. This back and forth was not only unproductive, but also odd, because Mr. Phelps had suggested Mr. Campbell as a potential candidate for the Indian Education Director position. I likewise felt this was negatively impacting the grant’s purpose [Schopp, 2017.08.22, p. 6].

    Schopp doesn’t put a time on this alarming meeting, but it must have taken place before March 10, 2013, the effective date of Campbell’s resignation from the OIE given in the resignation included in Schopp’s GOAC response. More importantly, Schopp gives no details about who said what. She vaguely mentions emotion and personal attacks but says nothing specific about what facts or policy matters might have provoked such outbursts. She explicitly ties nothing from that undated meeting to her otherwise meticulously timelined account of remedial actions her department began taking to check Mid-Central’s deficiencies in 2012 and 2013.

    Instead, in the next breath, she turns to Campbell’s resignation, says he did good work, and suggests Campbell saw no illegal activity at Mid-Central, so why should she?

    I believe Mr. Campbell had the department’s interests in mind, and his suggestions led to increased oversight and accountability for Mid Central. I have attached a copy of Mr. Campbell’s resignation letter, which does not reference any purported illegal activity [Schopp, 2017.08.22, p. 6].

    Notice that even as she talks him up, Schopp sets Campbell up as a possible firewall/fall guy between her and Mid-Central misconduct. Campbell was recommended for the job by Stacy Phelps, one of the GEAR UP principals now under indictment. GEAR UP was Mr. Campbell’s responsibility. When Campbell gave up that responsibility two years later, Campbell didn’t mention any illegal activity. If Pierre needs a back-up fall guy beyond Phelps, Guericke, and Hubers, Campbell may be the next in line.

    Of course, Campbell’s resignation letter is far from a detailed exit-interview document detailing all that of the institutional knowledge he feels he must pass on to his successor. After stating his intent to leave and addressing pay and leave details, he writes the following general epistle of gratitude and hope:

    It has been my privilege and honor to serve the department as the Director of the Office of Indian Education. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to help improve the educational outcomes of tribal students across the state. I feel that the department has a good foundation with the inclusion of department-wide strategies to address the achievement gap that exists between native and non-native students. It is my hope that the Department of Education will maintain this direction that identifies proven educational delivery that is data driven as well as inclusive of all entities, both public and tribal.

    Again I thank you for this opportunity and I wish the department and its hard working staff all the best as they move forward with your initiatives [Roger Campbell, letter to Melody Schopp, 2013.02.28, included in Schopp to GOAC, Appendix H, 2017.08.22].

    If Schopp can cite this single letter as evidence that she never heard anything about illegal activities at Mid-Central, we could cite this fuzzy prose as a subtle signal that DOE was all talk (“good foundation”) and no action (“opportunity to help improve” is not the same as “improve”) and that it needs a reminder of the principles it should be following (“data driven” and “inclusive of all entities, both public and tribal”).

    And notice that last pronoun: “your initiatives.” GEAR UP, other Indian education programs—they belong to you, Melody. At least that’s another way we could fit Campbell’s letter into the context of what we know and what we’re trying to learn about GEAR UP and Mid-Central.

    But let’s not speculate and over-interpolate our suspicions. Let’s get the facts straight from the horse’s mouth. Given what Schopp presents above, the next person GOAC invites to speak should be Roger Campbell. He has denied past press requests for comment, but the evidence and statements we have now appear to make him the most reliable witness we can ask about who knew what when about GEAR UP and Mid-Central. GOAC should now call Roger Campbell forward to answer the following questions:

    1. When did you first develop concerns about Mid-Central’s management of GEAR UP?
    2. What were those concerns?
    3. When did you share those concerns with other Department of Education staff?
    4. When did you share those concerns with Secretary Schopp?
    5. How did Secretary Schopp respond to your concerns about GEAR UP?
    6. Do you recall the “heated” meeting that Secretary Schopp describes involving herself, you, other DOE staff, and GEAR UP principals?
    7. If so, when and where did that “heated” meeting take place?
    8. Who was present for that “heated” meeting?
    9. Which if any of your concerns about GEAR UP were raised at that “heated” meeting?
    10. Who said what at that “heated” meeting?
    11. What if any specific statements at that meeting would you characterize as “heated”?
    12. What if anything do you feel prompted those “heated” statements?
    13. Did you share Secretary Schopp’s stated opinion that the “heated” meeting was “unproductive” and “odd”?
    14. Did the statements of Phelps, Guericke, and Westerhuis at this “heated” meeting heighten your concerns about the management of GEAR UP?
    15. What if any new opinions or actions did that “heated” meeting prompt you to adopt with respect to GEAR UP?
    16. While we’re at it, how did your wife Corrie Ann Campbell end up working as a facilitator for Mid-Central?

  • Former GEAR UP Director’s Wife Cashed in on Mid-Central Job, Trip to San Francisco

    A commenter notices that the FY2011 GEAR UP grant award that renewed South Dakota’s multi-million dollar grant to help American Indian kids prepare for college listed Roger Campbell as the state’s GEAR UP director and contact.

    Roger Campbell was Daugaard’s first head of the Office of Indian Education, from March 9, 2011, until March 10, 2013. Education Secretary Melody Schopp decided at some point that he couldn’t direct OIE and GEAR UP, since OIE has no staff (and why is that, Governor Daugaard?). But when GEAR UP was renewed, there Campbell was at the top of the grant program.

    Roger Campbell is married to Corrie Ann Campbell. Corrie Ann Campbell worked as a facilitator for Mid-Central Educational Cooperative. In July 2011, Mid-Central sent Corrie Ann Campbell to the national GEAR UP conference in San Francisco.

    So the state’s top Indian education official directed a grant that funneled millions of dollars to his wife’s employer, which sent his wife on a nice trip to San Francisco. Shall we throw another conflict-of-interest flag?

    To learn more about possible conflicts of interest, attend the December meetings of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative. MCEC hosts a bonus meeting Monday, December 7, 2015, at HQ in Platte at 10:00 a.m., followed by its regular meeting Thursday, December 17, 2015, again in Platte at 10 a.m. No agenda for either meeting has been posted to MCEC’s website as of this morning’s writing.