Independent School District #200 Board Director Mike Reis has been sharing with local media concerning internal district correspondence. The overarching theme of the various emails is that “the rules are not being applied equally” per Director Reis, for all board members. This includes expenses, ethics violations, information requests, getting agenda items added for discussion, transparency, access to legal council, board member and district conflict of interest, requesting the addition of the 300 policy series and superintendent review. Director Reis also claims that the “Teacher’s Union [is] trying to avoid FOIA requests by sending [correspondence] to private emails”.
to private emails”.
In the emails, Director Reis claims that Superintendent Robert McDowell and Director of Human Resources Cathy Moen have taken part in “illegal activities”. Moen is currently the contact for information requests coming to the district. Additionally, several players in the current ISD #200 administration were previously employed by the Stillwater School District ISD #834 and worked as colleagues including Superintendent McDowell, Moen, and Director of Teaching & Learning Rachel Larson. A community member of ISD #200 has shared with KDWA that Larson has, on more than one occasion, inaccurately communicated with parents when it comes to the books that are available to students and the books that are being used in curriculum.
KDWA reached out to Stillwater ISD #834 for perspective on the working history of the preciously mentioned administrators. In 2020, Robert McDowell was working as the Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent Denise Pontrelli. Shortly before Pontrelli was removed from her position by a vote of the school board, McDowell took his current position at ISD #200 as Superintendent. According to the source, lack of transparency, intimidation, elevated administrative costs, blocking of access to legal council, unequal treatment of staff and elected officials as well as attempts to silence dissenting voices were common in the district while McDowell and Moen were employed by ISD #834. The source also echos the sentiment that the teacher’s union was allowed to overstep its powers during that time. KDWA has reached out to Moen and McDowell for comment and have not received a response.