Another Fox Puff Piece in Leader Ignores Scandals

9 Mar

You may recall about a year ago when the Leader wrote a story on the retirement of Fox C-6 acting superintendent Tim Crutchley. While the story reviewed his career at Fox, it totally omitted any mention of the Dianne Critchlow years and all the scandals, during which Crutchley was the right hand man. Well, the same reporter, Kim Robertson, has struck again.

This time, the puff piece in the March 3 edition profiled assistant superintendent Lorenzo Rizzi, who is leaving for another district. Rizzi has been assistant superintendent since 2006, a few years into Critchlow’s reign of terror. One of the highlights Rizzi pointed to was his work on the opening of the Bridges alternative school. Well, guess who ran that for a time? Critchlow’s husband Jamie, who was fired by the district. But still, the article says nothing about those years.

The only intimation that anything controversial happened at Fox was when Rizzi boasted that Fox students’ ACT scores have increased “even in our most trying times.” But what these trying times were was not elaborated upon. Now, Rizzi was not as close to Critchlow as Crutchley was, but it would still have been appropriate to ask him “what did you know and when did you know it” about all the scandals. The Post-Dispatch noted some big expenditures by Rizzi on his district credit card, too:

Lorenzo Rizzi, assistant superintendent, used his card five times between July 20, 2013, and Jan. 31 this year, for a total of $988. That includes a $739.50 bill on Jan. 28 at Pomodoro’s, an Arnold pasta and sandwich restaurant that also does catering. It includes three other restaurants and a $36 charge at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Rizzi had an explanation, though:

Rizzi also wanted to stress that he had done nothing wrong. He said a $739 charge at Pomodoro’s was for about 115 staff members to award Fox High School teachers for having the highest attendance rate in the district.

He also other charges at Bellacino’s and 54th Street Grill and Bar were for staff meetings and professional development.

But again, no questions from the Leader on this. I know that Fox wants to forget about all this, but we cannot move on until those involved have been examined and dealt with or separated from the district. It does not help for the Leader to sweep the story under the rug. The next step in trying to deal with the scandals is the report from the state auditor. The school board discussed the auditor’s report in closed session at its March 1 meeting, but I understand that the public presentation won’t take place until April (conveniently after the April 5 school board election, most likely, where incumbents Dan Kroupa and Steve Holloway will be on the ballot).

Hopefully the presentation will be accompanied by certain individuals being perp-walked before the news cameras in handcuffs. But we’ll have to wait and find out.

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  1. In Defense of My Editorial Decision | Jefferson County Penknife - March 14, 2016

    […] sweeping it all under the rug only prevents reckoning, and thus prevents closure and reform (the Leader has helped with the […]

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