Judge dismisses three from Pouncey lawsuit

February 1, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge has dismissed two Department of Education attorneys and the former interim state schools superintendent from a lawsuit filed last year by Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey alleging a conspiracy to deny him the superintendent’s job.

Judge Roman Shaul, in a two-page order, released the department’s chief legal counsel, Juliana Dean, fellow ALSDE attorney Susan Crowther and former interim superintendent Philip Cleveland, saying Pouncey’s lawsuit “fails to allege facts that demonstrate these individual defendants were the source of any information that was disseminated to the public and/or that these individuals made any comments about the plaintiff that was not protected.”

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Senator Dial’s Joint Legislative Committee sends report to the State Bar Association

July 26, 2017

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

An internal Alabama State Department of Education report will now head to the Alabama State Bar Association following a Joint Legislative Committee meeting.

The committee, headed by State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) and Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), met Tuesday to review new materials in a report by ALSDE Attorney Michael Meyer regarding the state superintendent selection process last year.

Meyer’s report implicates ALSDE General Counsel Juliana Dean, Interim State Superintendent Phillip Cleveland, Board Member Mary Scott Hunter and two other staff attorneys in a scheme to undermine the candidacy of State Superintendent Candidate Dr. Craig Pouncey.
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ALSDE not turning over key evidence in Meyer’s investigation

July 12, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A deposition, which serves as the basis of the final report that details efforts to smear Dr. Craig Pouncey and deny him a fair chance at being selected State Superintendent of the Department of Education, is being withheld by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

Over ten days ago, The Alabama Political Reporter (APR), under the Alabama Open Records Act, requested the sworn deposition of ALSDE’s Chief Information Security Officer, David Pope.
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No one is safe: Lawyer who uncovered Pouncey smear is now a target of similar campaign

June 29, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a scheme to derail the candidacy of Dr. Craig Pouncey for the job of State Superintendent, now threatens to crush the man tasked with investigating the smear campaign.

Apparently, corruption is written into the DNA of the Department of Education. Every year, hundreds of millions of federal and state tax dollars pour into Alabama’s education system, but the State remains near or at the bottom of the heap by every legitimate metric.
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Source: Sentance doubts Meyer report, unhappy with general counsel

June 27, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Top State Department of Education officials didn’t agree with a recent report finding a conspiracy to smear a Superintendent candidate, leading superintendent Michael Sentance to seek a review of that report, a source told APR.

That source said Sentance was not alone in wanting a review of a report produced by ALSDE attorney Michael Meyer. In fact, the person said, a majority of people who heard the report suggested that the evidence presented didn’t fit the conclusion that five people, including a former interim superintendent, a state school board member and three staff attorneys, conspired to ruin Craig Pouncey’s candidacy.
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A sad day for education in Alabama

June 22, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The dumbest conspiracy in the recent history of Alabama’s Department of Education took center stage on Wednesday during a heated, dumpster fire of a State Board of Education meeting.

With board members routinely raising their voices to speak over each other, backhanding insults and tossing about serious allegations of fraud and malfeasance, a department attorney outlined what he deemed a “tawdry scheme” to undermine the superintendent candidacy of a longtime State Educator.
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Hunter proclaims innocence after report found she conspired against Pouncey

June 22, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Board of Education Representative Mary Scott Hunter proclaimed her innocence on Wednesday after a report found that she had colluded with four others to discredit State Superintendent Candidate Dr. Craig Pouncey.

Other conspirators include Interim State Superintendent Dr. Philip Cleveland, two attorneys in the Alabama State Education Department, and General Counsel Juliana Dean.

Hunter called the report a “coordinated scheme” that was “cooked up” by some of her colleagues at a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.
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The irony of righteous indignation

December 16, 2016

Education Matters
By Larry Lee

When State Superintendent of Education Mike Sentance told the State School Board Dec. 8, that the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education had determined that the State’s high school graduation rate was inaccurate, reaction was swift and true to form.

Members of the Legislature who consistently oppose public education were quick to tell media that there should be consequences for deceiving the public. (Would this include the 22 senators and 51 house members who voted for the Alabama Accountability Act in 2013 and told the public that this was all about “helping poor kids stuck in failing schools by their zip codes?”)
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Doing it for the kids

November 14, 2016

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

“I did not know the rules.”

These words won’t leave my head. Round and round, “I did not know the rules.” The reply given by state school board member Mary Scott Hunter to State Senator Gerald Dial when asked in a Nov. 10 committee meeting if she knew the Ethics Committee does not investigate anonymous complaints.
The words hung over the room like an anvil.
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Political Deceit Laid Bare

November 11, 2016

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The conversation in room 727 of the Alabama State House on Thursday afternoon had turned into something halfway between comedy and unchecked disbelief.

Standing before a Senate committee chaired by Sens. Gerald Dial and Quinton Ross, Hugh Evans, the longtime General Counsel for Alabama’s Ethics Commission, was attempting to explain why he and the Commission decided to publicly announce an investigation based solely on an anonymous complaint.
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