Overmanwarrior's Wisdom

Official Site of Rich Hoffman. Connecting the dots in a complicated world.

Lakota’s Laura Kursman the Horse Trainer: The payoff for a “neck injury?”

with 12 comments

One of the best things I received for Christmas is some help in bringing to light the expensive faults of public education and the unions that drive that waste. The unions in public education not only control the teachers, but they have also gained control of the publicly elected administrations, because, the unions go a long way to getting those school board members elected not directly, but through the marketing machine of perception, it is the PTA moms, teachers who live in the district, and the outreach of the superintendent that gets people like Julie Shafer elected to school board over people like Mark Etterling. The superintendents in these public schools often behave as though they are CEO’s of a corporation, but in fact are simply union stooges that lay down at the feet of the powerful unions because honestly, it is the unions who make the pay scale of superintendent so lucrative, and most superintendents are former teachers and therefore union members. The money scam that goes on in public schools infuriates thousands and thousands of people, but few people have stepped forward to voice their anger at this open looting of the public treasury, until recently.

Right before Christmas I received a scathing letter from an angry resident who is breaking the silence of why Laura Kursman, the former PR director at the Lakota School District was paid $90,000 to leave her position. That was one Christmas present; the other was from my good friend Darryl Parks of 700 WLW when a West Chester resident named Jerry called in and reported his disgust at the tremendous waste of money going on at Lakota. It was a great pleasure to listen to the broadcast below from Darryl’s show hearing someone else discuss this waste that goes on right out in the open. Click the video below to listen:

Jerry is right regarding the Laura Kursman incident. Fresh on the heels of another failed levy, because people are catching on that there are millions upon millions of dollars wasted in a school like Lakota, the district using our tax money to pay Laura Kursman off with a payout of 90K to be distributed in three payments, and it is that kind of thing that makes people not want to support school levies. The residents of Lakota already pay $1,140 per $100,000 of home evaluation and they don’t feel they should have to pay more than that to support a school. Yet Lakota time and time again just like all forms of government never gets enough. When the school runs into a financial dilemma they simply ask for more taxes. But for those of us who live in the district and actually understand how much money it takes to make things work, the waste is easy to see, $165,000 paid to a double dipping superintendent who refuses to force the union into wage reductions, like a CEO would. A $43,000 fee to find that superintendent over the summer. And just a few months later Lakota is paying their PR director $90,000 to leave. The Lakota School Board tosses tens of thousands of dollars around like its candy, and then they wonder why the public won’t pass another school levy.

Well, my other Christmas present came on Christmas Eve as a matter of fact from a very upset resident of Lakota who had some light to shed on the whole Laura Kursman incident which is bad in either one of two ways. First, Laura was paid such a large sum of money because Lakota did like the results of the failed levies and blamed Laura for them and wanted to hire a new PR director for upcoming tax increase attempts. Or second, which looks to be the case after reading the letter below, Laura had lost her edge, was caught in a rift with the school board over the upcoming school levy attempt and claimed she could not perform her task because of a “neck” injuryand left her job on a leave of absence.


  Lakota has an obligation to protect the tax payers from employees who might make such claims as Laura did against it.  If Laura had a legitimate injury sustained at the school that’s one thing, but if I have received statements like what you have read above, wouldn’t those be relevant in a court of law and taken on depositions on behalf of Lakota in defending itself and the tax payers in a court case?    And worse than that Steven Mathews at the Pulse Journal has been doing some really good reporting over this story and has delivered what we know so far about the case, but in over a week of trying to get the story straight Lakota has been dragging its feet with his records requests…………………Why?

It appears that Lakota paid Laura too quickly and if the issue was a neck injury Lakota should have taken her to court to protect the tax money sent to the district instead of jumping at the first sign of trouble from attorneys’ like Freking and Betz LLC, which are standard in any business. It sounds like Laura’s other employer could have provided testimony to dispute Laura’s claim of a debilitating neck injury. So why wasn’t this done? Didn’t Lakota worry that once other employees at the school learned about the payout to Laura that other employees would start having “neck injuries” also looking for some extra money to settle out of court and stuff in their pockets?

Well I hate to bring it up again, but this reflects back to a letter I presented here involving Lakota and this same cast of characters from August of 2011 through October 2011. Right before Laura sustained the alleged “neck injury,” there was a sex case involving a family and a teacher at one of the high schools that the family graciously did not sue over, they simply took their child out of the school after trying repeatedly to get someone at Lakota to take responsibility for the actions of one of its teachers and the principal who helped perpetuate the problem. You can review that story here:


Sorry Lakota it is obvious that you guys don’t know what you are doing. The more I find out about the inner workings of your daily business, the more irresponsible you seem to be exhibiting. And to your credit, it’s not all your fault. This permeates all public schools that are run by unions where nobody is really in charge and the culture is to always ask for more money to solve problems. But in personal injury lawsuits you can’t just pay out on a settlement because you don’t like the employee or are unhappy with them and hope you can use the payoff as leverage to remove the employee from your payroll. That $90,000 dollars you spent was not your money; it was taken from many properties and businesses in the West Chester and Liberty Twp area to educate students, not to pay off the threat from a law firm. Now you’ve sent a dangerous message to 2000 other employees who may be prone to do the same thing, and there are now hundreds of attorneys’ that know Lakota will cave into pressure before fighting a threat, so you can expect more of these personal injury cases, you can bet on it.

And Lakota, when a newspaper asks for a record request, give it to them. When you drag your feet so you can “control” the story, you just stir up an already outraged public. It is not your job to control the newspapers, and lean on the reporters there because they don’t cover your activities the way you want them to. And in the case of Laura Kursman someone in human resources needs to review their hiring practices because it sounds like Laura had some issues if what I am being sent from people who know her is to be believed. People with such emotional problems and work ethics are the types I have been saying are not worth more than 65K per year and she was being paid $79,517 per year!

Because of these reasons and many, many more that are less defined by actually hard testimony as shown, the Lakota Administration could do a lot more with less. The tax on our properties should not be $1,140 per $100,000, it should be less! Its payouts, mistakes, bad hires, and paying too much for too many employees that will destroy a multi-million dollar budget. 90K wasted here, 50K wasted there, cover-ups, cloak and dagger reporting, and fuzzy math only make the hole deeper. Education would be a lot cheaper if the school didn’t attempt to cover-up the actions of a lot of really troubled employees, and yes there’s more than just a couple. Oh, and don’t worry about Lakota continuing to be a good school. It is not employees like Laura Kursman, or Superintendent Mantia that make Lakota great, and it’s certainly not the leadership of Joan Powell on the school board. It’s the people themselves who send their kids to the school. Every employee in Lakota could be replaced and Lakota would still succeed. The community is not great because of the school but because of the homeowners and business people who make up the community. And higher taxes are not an option because those people need to continue to be a part of this community. All Lakota needs to do in order to run their school with less, is to stop playing games, and they will learn that the budget will balance out nicely. It is not the task of the community to find ways to pay for all this nonsense going on behind the scenes. It’s Lakota’s task to reflect the community values, and that starts with protecting the money we send to the school through our hard earned taxes as if every dollar meant something.



Rich Hoffman

12 Responses

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  1. I thought mantua wanted to “treat the schools as a business”. Are you kidding me? Anyone who would vote for any levy after reading this is nuts. This is disgusting:(. What can we do?


    December 26, 2011 at 12:16 am

    • Call them what they are when we see the obvious. All these people are taking advanage of a system that we fund, and they don’t respect the taxpayers. Employees who go after the school system with a law suit only hurts the tax payers who fund the school. And the school didn’t care to fight the neck injury because they wanted to get rid of that employee is the way it looks. So they just paid the 90K because it’s not their money anyway, so they have no value for it!


      December 26, 2011 at 1:56 am

  2. I wonder what she “had”on them….if she was working a physically demanding job, while claiming a neck injury, isnt that illegal? Im surprised a respected firm like freking and betz woud take such a flimsy case….unless she had sone major”dirt” on them….glad others as furious about this as I am….


    December 26, 2011 at 2:27 am

  3. Nice job by Rich on Doc’s show today. There truly is no excuse for school districts to be using the property taxes for the salaries of Public Relations employees. This woman, Kursman, was making almost $80,000 per year. Add to that the cost of her luxurious benefits. What was her job description? How much time did she actually spend on the job?

    I’m sure that Ms. Mantia was hired (as is every superintendent) to perform public relations. The district pays for Mantia to attend luncheons, dinners and for memberships in all of the local “clubs.” Why? To perform public relations and obtain the support of the “movers and shakers” in the district. She was hired to pass levies. The district needs the support of the local politicians and business community. Her job is to promote the district’s needs and how their support benefits them. The job of every superintendent is to pass levies. That’s it!

    There are highly paid Curriculum Directors, Human Resorces, Treasurer etc. Principals/unions run the school buildings. The superintendent is only a figurehead. All superintendents start out as teachers. They are all former union members. They really have zero sympathy for the taxpayers. Their main loyalty is to the union members. The students are an afterthought.

    The gal that got credit for getting the last levy that passed in Lakota moved on to Mason as a highly paid Public Relations Director. A former writer for the Western Star moved on to the same job at Little Miami. I also saw her at a Kings School Board meeting where she had programed their visuals. The Assistant Superintendent tried to take credit for that job. The only problem was that she had to get Lisa’s help to work the computer system. Pretty funny!!!

    If a school system is bragging about their “Excellence With Distinction” designation, why would they need a separate person fielding questions from the media and the public. Excellent results should be adequate publicity. How the students act in public also reflect the schools and their homelife. From what I hear, not too many people actually bother to check and see what is happening in the schools or with their tax money. They listen to the begging and pleading for more and more money. Their process is much like the Mafia – extortion tactics. If you don’t pay up the kids will suffer. The parents will be inconvenienced. All of these tactics come straight from the LEA-OEA-NEA.


    December 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm

  4. [...] It is disturbing to hear from advocates of the OSBA, the Ohio School Board Association, that because of declining funding, schools may have to give up well-known extracurriculars such as music and art in the future. Well, this is just preposterous. The funding for public school is not the problem; it’s the financial expectations of the schools themselves that’s the problem. And when it comes to the OSBA, when 1/3 of all of Ohio schools were looking for money in the last November election, and none of those schools have a long-term plan for balancing their budget in the future, it is the fault of the OSBA for not helping their school boards adjust to the changing times. This is because the OSBA is simply an extension of the organized labor position and exists purely to keep that branch of the education institution intact. So rather than adjust to the changing conditions in education, they are advising school boards ever… [...]

  5. The extortion tactics are ridiculous–wasnt it overman who pointed out in one blog that a lakota principal actually told a parent who complained about the lack of busing”you should have voted for the levy?”.
    It was big news last week that Little Miami restored busing–they really had no choice.
    people who dont vote for the levy are accused of not “caring about the community”. Ridiculous.
    Its the system who is harming our kids..they are the ones who care more about their salaries and are happy to continue to take things away from them until we give them more. I dont see it ever ending!


    December 29, 2011 at 2:33 am

    • It has to end, because it’s too expensive, ineffective and is teaching our youth the wrong philosophy leaving them unprepared for adult life. It has to be reborn as something else. There is no other choice. The game is up.


      December 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  6. Usually these payoffs do have a reason that is unknown to the public. Remember, Ms. Kursman is a P.R. person and can use what she knows any way she pleases. I have no doubt that there are many who know just how many hours she put in at her Lakota desk. I bet she hardly ever showed up at the “office.” She probably was allowed to work from home. There are many other secretaries and such that could testify just how much time she actually spent “on the job.” Kursman was hired to pass levies. So, the position is defined as a P.R. position for the district. This is so that they don’t get in trouble with the state for using school funds to pass labor union levies. If someone would request her file, her contract, her W-2 statements and all of the information in her file, you might get a bigger picture. It would be nice to have an attorney depose the co-workers. Some of them might not be inclined to lie under oath. I know of many administrators that ran their side business’ from their school offices. Ms. Kursman “worked” for the district and still ran her private consulting business. At least that is what her web site says.


    December 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm

  7. [...] payout from the Lakota School District to their public relations director Laura Kursman of $90,000. Since the announcement of this payout Lakota has been mysteriously quiet about the situation even as…. This has led to an enormous amount of speculation and I have personally received several [...]

  8. [...] There has been a lot of speculation about the $90,000 payout to the former PR director at Lakota. The reason is that in the wake of all the discussion Lakota as a district has uttered about not having enough money to deal with which necessitates a tax levy, then when it is learned that $90,000 was paid to a former employee who didn’t directly contribute to any educational activities such as a PR position that was already paid $79,000 per year, the way Lakota spends it’s money must be examined.  And much of the reason that the former PR director left her job is revealed in the information below and is just another example of an administration starting with the school board that is inept in its dealings with employees by attempting to strong-arm people both within the school system and outside into doing what they what they politically desire.  And when such actions are taken and  mistakes are made because a line was crossed, then payoffs that total $90,000 must be made to correct the error.   That’s why the school system has been reluctant to report what happened between Joan Powell and Laura Kursman why it cost the district so much money. [...]

  9. [...] The facts the school systems don’t want the public to focus on are why they end up in financial tr…. So people like Darryl and I have went to the trouble to say no to additional tax levies, and demand a fix to the funding structure in Ohio by denying additional funds to our local schools so that we can starve this beast of public education that never seems to get enough, has too high of impression of what it does socially, acts politically against our communities and our families, and is not producing the best of its kind in the world. NO, EDUCTION IS NOT WORTH INFINATE AMOUNTS OF MONEY! It has a value, and we are declaring what that value is when we turn down a levy. [...]

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