Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bob Dunning: And more on that costly report …


From page A2 | February 20, 2014 | 24 Comments

A BLANK CHECK … no one seems to know how much the Davis Joint Unified School District was willing to pay for the volleyball investigation that resulted in a 72-page top-secret report that will never see the light of day … had the bill been for $50,000 instead of $22,000 would the district even have raised an eyebrow? … was there an upper limit of any kind we were willing to spend to get at the “facts” of one parent complaining about one coach? … do we really have that kind of money to burn? …

Of all the many issues this case has raised, the blatant waste of public dollars ultimately may be the most outrageous part of this sorry story … was this a $22,000 report to study the effect of free student lunches on student performance, or to study the serious issue of concussions in sports, or to assess the value of a four-year high school versus a three-year high school? … or anything at all that serves the common good? …

My advice to the district before it spends this kind of money again is to be certain that this is a report dealing with an important issue and that the report will immediately be made available to the general public … to spend $22,000 on a narrowly focused investigation that basically involves a pissing match between two or three individuals, is a complete waste of precious public resources … the fact that the report will remain under lock and key and never be made available to the general public makes that waste even more egregious …

EVEN MORE DOLLARS AND CENTS … we all realize, of course, that the $22,000 figure is just the tip of a very large iceberg, given that it does not take into account the many hours dedicated to this case by the district’s salaried staff …

CONFIDENTIALITY BE DAMNED … far too often we see public officials and administrators able to hide behind such terms as “personnel matter” and “confidentiality” to keep questionable or explosive items from public view … for my money, once the person whose “personnel” issue is being discussed waives confidentiality, public officials no longer have the right to withhold relevant information …

We saw this a few years back in the case of Davis High girls basketball coach Jeff Christian, who was fired mid-season, but was never given a reason for his dismissal — publicly or privately — despite his willingness to have all information concerning his case made public … and we’re seeing it again now … a little transparency would go a long way in the current case …

DISPUTE RESOLUTION I-A … here’s how you deal with the next “coach did not play my kid” scenario … the superintendent of schools pulls the complaining parents, the coach, the student-athlete and any other relevant parties into a well-lit room with all members of the press and public invited … everyone has their say and then the superintendent makes a decision … the coach stays or the coach goes … the student-athlete is cut or the student-athlete is back on the team … and that’s final … no need to hire an outside attorney and no need to spend $22,000 of the taxpayers’ money … play ball …

THE READERS ALWAYS WRITE … Peter at writes to say “I think it would be helpful if Dr. and Mrs. Peterson and coach Crawford took a few hours to read and think about the book “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Perhaps the superintendent should assign this book as mandatory reading and give them a quiz to see if they can apply the principles to real-life situations they may encounter in their service to the district’s students. If they can’t play nice and work together in the best interests of the students, they would be doing their part to undermine passage of the next school parcel tax.” …

True indeed … in fact, if the current means of dispute resolution continues, we’re going to need a parcel tax just to pay our legal bills …

EVEN MORE READERS WRITING … my friend B.J. speaks for many in this town when he says “This volleyball stuff is out of control. The district should release the findings of the investigation and at the same time bring the coach back. They should be doing what is best for the kids, not the parents or board members.” … on you Devils, on you Devils …

— Reach Bob Dunning at


Discussion | 24 comments

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  • February 20, 2014 - 7:51 am

    I'd like to thank Rob Peterson for sharing this confidential information with the Enterprise or we'd still know very little.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 8:25 am

    Yould like to thank Rob Peterson for violating confidentiality? The coach can't even respond as she's been threatened with legal action by DJUSD. So yeah great job Mr Peterson for promoting you one sided agenda when you knew the coach couldn't reply.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 8:45 am

    Irony escapes again!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 8:54 am

    Is it possible for both sides to sign a waiver of confidentiality so the public would have access to the report?

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    With the summary letter given to The Enterprise and others, the attorney-client privilege on that is gone. It may also be that the attorney-client privilege on the 72-page report was breached due to this summary letter and discussions. Brighter minds than mine have said this is worthy of exploration. With this, one wonders if both parties agreed to waive confidentiality, if we could get a peak at what our $22,000 bought, and whether we have a renegade Bobby Knight on our hands... or an overzealous Bored Member.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 9:04 am

    You would like to thank Rob Peterson? For what? How did it make your life better, since you know that Coach Crawford "more likely than not retaliated against Peterson's daughter"? Would you like to cover some if $22,000 that was spent to get this "valuable" information? It was a huge waste of public resources and you know it. So stop trying to justify Peterson's action on this matter!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 9:13 am

    The Davis School Board and the Petersons have failed this city miserably.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 9:43 am

    Let's not forget the "preponderance of evidence". There are many failures in this situation. The first being that if the principal and AD were aware of the findings, they were irresponsible in signing her VSA. They may not have agreed with it but there was a legal finding to support the claim of retaliation. Their responsibility is to protect the students, the union already protects the teachers.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 10:14 am

    The DJUSD district office pulled Crawford from her coaching position once the investigation concluded with a finding that she probably didn't take a student for the volleyball team because of retaliation. Crawford was deemed innocent until evidence came up otherwise. That's why the AD and DHS principal signed off on assigning her to coach volleyball.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 5:28 pm

    The site admin and AD did not know of the findings nor did they know of the possibility that district level admin would pull the VSA.

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 20, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Considering the full price of an IPAD air at $499, 44 units could have been purchased to outfit a couple of classrooms with individual, hands-on opportunities. Apple is known to support educational purchases with deep discounts so it might be that this sum of money could have purchased up to 70 units. Rather than this, attorneys are given these dollars for their inconclusive findings. Now that the funds have been spent, there is still an athletic opportunity that is suffering because of the continued attempts of a member of the Board of Trustees to demonstrate her oppositional feelings about a successful coach. Get this behind us. Get the coaching position settled. Censure the board member for continuing to bring personal issues to the forefront because of her board membership. This makes one wonder if the replacement of the coach was her primary reason for running for her position.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 10:35 am

    I thought the investigation concluded in December? Why did this drag on until now?

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    Nancy Peterson had to pick her replacement coach, and she wanted to delay the release of the report so Coach Crawford had no way of salvaging her season in time.

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  • DHS Parent AlumniFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    I am tired of hearing about the lawyer's finding's...give me a break, there was no proof that the coach retaliated against the player. The words the "lawyer" used were "more likely than not" when did that become "proof" the coach retaliated. I think the "ivy league parents" need to get a grip and stop this madness! Don't comment that I am not leaving my name who would? Just goes to prove that if you have "status" you think you can get away with anything!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 12:54 pm

    I believe this saga now involves at least 5 core people, and others may have suffered. We've got the Peterson's (3), Coach Crawford, and former Coach and Blue Devil alum Leigh Whitmire Choate. New information featured on the iseeDavis website shows page 1 of the DHS summary letter to Dr. Rob Peterson. It notes that "willful malice" and "retaliation and intimidation" were being considered. Not one to be muffled, Dr. Peterson charges two-time Coach of the Year and widely respected Coach Julie Crawford last summer with being "incompetent". (I wish I were so 'incompetent'.) On a local blog, Leigh Whitmire Choate alleges a similar attack from Nancy Peterson which appears to add up to a hostile working environment for herself and a freshman coach. Former Coach Choate claims to have filed a complaint against Nancy Peterson, which was investigated by ... attorney Sperry! It sounds like it was much smaller in scale than the Peterson Place investigation. These new revelations have to spur additional questions. It sounds like Ms. Choate felt bullied and unsafe coming forward. These revelations make me wonder if there are more employees in this same boat. P.S. Nancy Peterson tells the citizens of Davis to calm down!

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  • Napoleon Pig IVFebruary 20, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    Once again, a couple of key points being overlooked, comrades. First of all, it is critically important that the powerful elite who serve us so well have various excuses for keeping the Truth hidden from the minions. Otherwise, the continuation of their power, and the all the benefits that trickle down to the rest of us, will be in peril. Secondly, we must at all costs preserve the illusion that lawyers are somehow imbued with greater capacity for ethical behavior, possess highly refined analytical skills, and engage in much greater insightful judgement than the rest of us. These hard-working servants of elitist power consume merely tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money per task, funds that would otherwise be unwisely used to raise the educational level of the broader population. Were we to reduce the flow of cash into their pockets, we would run the risk of harming the cause of marginal regimes and other parasites everywhere. Settle down and get back to work!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:12 pm

    I'd like to know what the Coach Choate - Nancy Peterson investigation cost. That should be publicly available, and easy to find since attorney Sperry also conducted that "investigation". Another $22,000? Or was her complaint swept under the rug for a far lesser sum because she doesn't have a PhD from the Columbia?

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    The Petersons demonstrate that you can have loads of formal education and initials after your name and still not be very smart!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    You need to calm down.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 9:03 pm

    You need to face reality.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 10:08 pm

    You are funny!

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Keep voting yes on those school parcel taxes so the school district has more money to spend wisely on $22,000 investigations. The lawyers thank you for it.

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  • February 20, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Let's see, the latest Measure E school parcel tax was $204. I feel so good knowing that I paid for about an hour of a lawyer's time with my property tax. I hope he enjoys spending my money.

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  • Sharon KnoxFebruary 20, 2014 - 4:17 pm

    In addition to the volleyball investigations, there's also the consultant we're having to pay for following the outcry that resulted from the School Board's attempt to move 9th graders to DHS and close a junior high. This board should not be allowed to have any closed meetings. They can't be trusted. We need to fire Nancy Peterson and put a reporter in her seat. Transparency now.

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