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:
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:
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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
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
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.
• 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.
City of Fairfield 50th Anniversary Committee
Crayons to Computers
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
Unified Health Solutions
Wind & Withers
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: