Overmanwarrior's Wisdom

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

Why do Public Schools Need a PR director: THEY SHOULD BE ILLEGAL

with 11 comments

Why does any school system need a Public Relations Director? That was the question Doc Thompson and I discussed on 700 WLW December 27, 2011 on the heels of a mysterious 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 they are trying to show fiscal responsibility after their third levy defeat. This has led to an enormous amount of speculation and I have personally received several emails explaining to  me the details of the payout, which are unofficial, but are all the public has to go on since neither Kursman nor Lakota Schools have offered any clarification on the matter. Listen to that broadcast by clicking on the video below:

The answer to the question as to why a school system would need a PR director was summed up nicely by that last caller. There isn’t any reason other than to secure more tax money from the public. That is the ONLY reason and the caller was absolutely right that forcing tax payers to fund a 69K to 90K per year PR position that is designed to work against the public should be illegal. Funding a school is all about teaching children, not securing funds for labor contracts, which is what is happening. The PR director has the task of cleaning up any messes that the employees of the district find themselves in so the target message of “schools are for the kids,” can be maintained. A public relations position at a school is a 100% non result staffing occupancy. It does nothing to help a child learn anything since creating a public image for a school is not part of the education process. It only serves the union controlled aspects of the district. It does not serve the community that funds the school.

To provide facts validating the truth of those statements lets examine Laura Kursman a little more deeply, since she is the PR director who spawned this examination. What you will see below are her credentials that are taken directly off her website. This is how she, and ironically her husband have marketed themselves to the school district and why she was hired. You can confirm everything said below by looking at their website with this link:

http://www.kursmancommunications.com/

To make it easy for you to examine these passages I have reproduced aspects of the website here for examination where I will provide some initial commentary for context. The first statement provided is the mission statement for Laura and her husband’s professional endeavors named Kursman Communications. Notice their emphasis on “influencing the attitudes and behaviors of voters.” Do you think a school district should hire people like this to influence your community to vote for what they want you to? Should your tax money be used against you like this? Read for yourself:

_______________________________________

We conduct business in a world where reputation, image and perception equal reality. You may have designed and built the best mousetrap, but it is your ability to persuade your audience that you have the best product, to influence attitudes and behaviors, that will determine the growth and success of your business or organization.

How do you communicate with your potential investors, employees, clients, consumers and/or voters? Do you distribute print materials, newsletters and brochures? Do you market electronically through email, marketing and the internet? Do you make speeches and multimedia presentations, conduct events or solicit media coverage?

We can help you reach your organizational goals by affordably placing the power of professional communications within your reach.

__________________________________________________

 

The next section is the bio of Laura herself. Nothing against the woman, but she is entirely too liberal for my liking. Prior to her work at Lakota Laura worked for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office and the Department of Environmental Protection.   Now I understand that the Governor was Mitt Romney, but I consider him a liberal just to put things in perspective.  Her work as a representative to the 1998 Middle East Peace Process through a Quebec Labrador Foundation Environmental Education and Communication Fellowship are activities that are too far to the left for my liking.

______________________________________________

Laura Kursman, Advisor
laura@kursmancommunications.com

In addition to her advisory role with Kursman Communications, Laura is the Director of Communications for Montgomery County. She is responsible for developing and implementing a pro-active communications strategy, as well as public and media relations, levy campaigns, marketing, display development and crisis communications. Laura has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and has previously worked for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office and the Department of Environmental Protection.
An expert in marketing communications and image building, Laura is the recipient of seven national awards for logo installation, special projects and events, and has been a featured presenter at national conferences on media relations, logo installation and crisis communications.
Professional Highlight: Laura was a representative to the 1998 Middle East Peace Process through a Quebec Labrador Foundation Environmental Education and Communication fellowship.

__________________________________

Now, here is her husband Jeff and he is relevant because he has done work for Fairfield City Schools, the direct neighbor of Lakota.  Not since 2005, but he did and apparently Fairfield became frustrated that he didn’t push levies more than he did, so he left.  You might remember that Fairfield just recently dodged a major bullet where their school board members were taking payoffs from a private contributor to stack the school board in his favor. This prompted a FBI investigation that occurred in August of 2011, but by November of 2011 the situation was almost completely forgotten. That is the work of Public Relations directors, who spin facts around to the schools advantage. Fairfield passed their recent levy attempt by a very slight margin of less than 1%.   Jeff specifically addresses building bridges between unions and parent groups as one of his specific talents. How about that? Go ahead, read what your tax money is paying for:

_______________________________________________

Jeff Kursman, Principal
jeff@kursmancommunications.com


A graduate of Dartmouth College with Masters work at the University of California – San Diego, Jeff began his career as a speech and communications writer and community affairs specialist in the Governor’s and Cabinet Secretaries offices of Massachusetts, and is a veteran of more than a dozen political campaigns.
As Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications, Jeff supported Citigroup’s 2,200 employee expansion in Northern Kentucky, soliciting more than $28 Million in state and county economic incentives, as well as developing and executing all internal and external public relations strategies in Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio.
Working with the Partnership for Greater Cincinnati, he developed the pitch video and itinerary for the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue conference, helping to attract the high level trade conference of Fortune 500 CEOs to Cincinnati in 2000. Cincinnati’s bid was selected over 16 major US cities, including Atlanta, Boston & Washington, D.C.
As an independent consultant and an account manager for a regional public relations firm and a multi-national builder of customized back-end and on-line business tools, Jeff has consulted for a myriad of government institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses; from established Fortune 500 corporations to small “brick and mortar” businesses and dot.coms in various stages of development.
Jeff has developed and executed traditional and on-line public relations, marketing, government affairs and investor relations strategies for his employers and clientele.
In addition to his consulting, Jeff currently supports the Fairfield City School District, developing relationships between the District’s schools and its many constituencies. He is building bridges and forging partnerships with parent groups, unions, local governments, area businesses and the at-large community. He has recent rebuilt the District’s online presence, and ran the District’s first successful levy campaign in five years, insuring $12.5 Million for District infrastructure improvements.

Here are the specific tasks that Laura and Jeff specify on their website. Pay particular attention here to CRISES MANAGEMENT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS.

Services
• EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: Speech Writing, PowerPoint,
& Multimedia Presentations
• MEDIA RELATIONS
• CRISIS MANAGEMENT
• INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
• MARKETING COLLATERAL & NEWSLETTER DEVELOPMENT, WEBSITE DESIGN STRATEGY & CONTENT WRITING
• EVENT MANAGEMENT
• POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
• SPECIALTY AUDIENCES: Government Affairs & Investor Relations

And here are the organizations that they list they have done work for, take special note that Lakota is not listed here. So there are probably other local organizations that they have done work for which isn’t listed.

Organizations We’ve Worked With
American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter
Fairfield Rotary Club
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
MA – Dept. of Environmental Protection
MA – Dept. of Mental Health
MA – Executive Office of Public Safety, State Police, & 21 Public Safety Agencies
MA – Governor’s Office
MA – Metropolitan District Commission
MA – State Office of Affirmative Action
Agent Technologies, Inc.
Brighton Center
Citibank/Citigroup
City of Fairfield 50th Anniversary Committee
Crayons to Computers
Dayton Technologies
Fairfield City School District
Galerie Farms Quarter Horses
Journey Stone Creations
Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark County
Newport Housing Authority
Pope & Associates
Penny Ohlmann Neiman
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum
Rik Saylor Financial
Somatic Digital
Unified Health Solutions
Wind & Withers

Political and Issue Campaigns including: senatorial, gubernatorial, state treasurer, legislative and mayoral races, state conventions, educational and social service levies.

So that’s what a PR director does for a school and personally, I’m not impressed at all. Most of what they’ve listed is work I’ve done and I consider the work so irrelevant that I wouldn’t even put those tasks on a resume. And anyone who reads here knows that I can perform the tasks of a PR director more than adequately because I’ve done it for No Lakota Levy with great success. I can’t imagine charging people money to perform these tasks because the tasks are so easy, but the Kursman’s are making a very healthy living doing exactly that! They aren’t just receiving very healthy sums of money from Lakota, but several other sources as well, for doing nothing but convincing the public that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and that things are better than they are. In relation to their other incomes, Laura’s $90,000 pay out is just one source of income for providing a service that in my opinion does nothing to help society move forward, does nothing to solve any problems, creates nothing new. All a PR director does is manipulate facts. That’s all. I could never perform a job like that, where I was paid a lot of money to perform a nothing task.

My last interaction with Laura was in the lobby of the administration building at Lakota where the new levy attempt for the fall campaign was just announced. Channel 9 wanted me to provide comments from the No Lakota Levy standpoint out in the lobby so I left the meeting and went out to perform the interview.  As all the media of Cincinnati knows, when they put me on camera, they better be ready to hold the camera for a while, because my average interview time is a half hour. I can literally talk forever, so when the reporter asked me the lead question, I proceeded to speak for the next 20 minutes rattling off facts and figures without any pause.  I spoke until the reporter told me they had plenty of coverage for the 30 second spot they were looking for. I then proceeded to do the same thing for Channel 19, which went almost 30 additional minutes of interview time. When I arrived home later that night I gave comments to the Enquirer and the Pulse Journal and the next day I did live work on 700 WLW radio. Actually, I’ve done work like that on several occasions and in some cases I was even busier than that day in August.  So knowing what it takes to do the job of a Public Relations director, I can’t imagine charging someone for it, and I performed all those tasks without even breaking a sweat and prepared for my regular jobs that I actually do get paid for which are product driven. The PR work I’ve done on many occasions I never fathomed would pay such large quantities of money. It seems utterly insane to consider such a thing that PR work has any value, let alone the kind of salary these positions are commanding in schools, and the amount of payoff she received in tax money is unfathomable to me. Nothing about it makes any sense.

So there you have it. You have now seen what a high-profile PR director actually does, and you get a sense of how much money they make and how extensively they are used. And you now understand what their role is in a school district and you have some perspective in how difficult the job really is. So that begs the question again, why does Lakota or any other school district need a PR director of any kind? They don’t. PR directors are only needed to run point for the labor movement and their extensive contracts. The PR director is hired not to give a child a better education, but to protect the employees from their own foolish behavior. The labor contract protects those employees from the publicly elected school boards, but it is the PR director who turns bad behavior into good behavior through the spin machine of a PR director in how they present the material to a gullible public. The whole system is rigged against the tax payers and our children are used as pawns in a very large political game of sucking all the wealth of property owners in an open scam that has become public education.

SEE HOW THE NAKED COMMUNIST  AND IT’S 45 POINTS IS ATTACKING YOUR LIFE AT THIS LINK:

https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/agenda-grinding-america-down-and-the-naked-communist/

Rich Hoffman
http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

11 Responses

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  1. Warrior, your last sentence is quite profound and I hope people will listen. I also hope they will view and listen carefully to the “Naked Communist” video
    and memorize all 45 points. I have been studying and learning these points
    for over thirty years. People laughed and ridiculed what I had to say, but I
    kept on trying to open the eyes and ears of as many as would listen. Most people will not do any research. It is easier to let their babies trudge off to the government schools and “trust.” How many times I received the “trust speech,” from parents and school people. Why don’t you trust? At the time I had started with the finances to prove that those were being “manipulated.” Few wanted to expose the truth. Probably because they had a few perks themselves.

    When they introduced “I’m OK — You’re Ok” A practical guide to transactional analysis, I thought parents would be outraged. This philosophy was introduced by a teacher (that wrote a letter to editor in support of the levy) in the elementary schools of Lakota. Yes, transactional analysis and the book cover has a “peace sign” on the cover. Few know that the “peace sign” is a broken cross and is an anti- Christian symbol. This teacher tried to act very religious, but then, how could she be a believer when she was willing to use the intelligent children as guinea pigs in the districts trial run of a suposedly “gifted program.” Imagine the first sentence on the inside cover says, “Here is a fresh, sensible, increasingly popular approach to the problems that every human being, including the person in need of psychiatric help, faces every day in his relations with himself and others.”

    Imagine treating all of the selected gifted children as possible candidates for “psychiatric help.” These people are intrinsically evil. Don’t doubt it for a second. These untrained teachers practicing “transactional analysis” on our children. It should be a crime and they should be punished for their sins. I have no doubt that they will be one day.

    Then they hire these expensive Public Relation specialists that train the staff to put forth a public relations program that makes everything wonderful and special and that the schools are the center of the community. Perception and not reality is the foundation of their scheme. The perception that the schools are to trusted, that they only put forth truth and honesty. Remember perception can be deception.

    Sandra

    December 29, 2011 at 1:18 am

  2. Keep up the good fight, Rich. I read all of your posts and wish there were a Rich Hoffman in every school district in this country. God bless!

    Mary

    December 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  3. I agree with your post. PR people should not be hired in schools, school boards etc. When I attended “education camp” aka Westfall near Circleville, Oh, and if there needed to be a public statement, that responsibility fell on the shoulders of the “leaders” of the office, superintendent, principals etc. All these additional positions are a direct result of increased union involvement! Teachers need 3 assistant teachers a peice now, and the schools need a school psychiatrist on duty now, more employees = more paid dues! They just keep adding to the self serving voter rolls. Its a incestuous relationship between government, teachers, and school administrators!

    Robert E. Stage Jr.

    December 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    • You’re right, it’s all about union dues. It has nothing to do with the health of our youth. It’s all about money in the union pockets collected in dues from increases in employee members. It’s nothing less than that. Nice comment!

      overmanwarrior

      December 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      • Thanks Rich for the compliment on my comment. I have been able to read quite a bit of your recent posts, and I must say, all of your posts are well researched and written well. With many things, if people would just follow the money they will find these answers. These hypocritical politicians and school administrators are getting away with murder! If you and I would do the things that they do on a daily basis, we would be run put on trial and put in a prison. We’d have the book thrown at us and they’d lock is up and throw away the key!!

        Robert

        December 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  4. [...] To put things in perspective consider that with the current tax assessment on community properties a… For homes valued at $200,000 each which is more appropriate for home values in the Lakota District, it will take 39.4 homes to cover the cost of the $90,000 payout. That’s a lot of homes. [...]

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