NEWS BLOG
LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland - September 1, 2012

On June 11, 2012 the Thompson R2-J School District Board decided to terminate Superintendent Ronald
Cabrera's contract a year early while paying him $200,000 upon his departure to "buy-out" the last year
of his multi-year employment contract (
see our story).  By the end of June his official status as an
employee of the Thomspon R2-J School District had ended.

While still employed by the School District, Cabrera dined out regularly using his School employee credit
card which some say contributed to his dismissal.  The fact he is still inviting people to dine with him at
the school's expense using the same employee credit card has some on the Board of Education (BOE)
fuming.

What Board President Sharon Olson and remaining senior staff apparently failed to do was recover the
former Superintendent's employee credit card which shows charges, according to R2-J accounting
records, well into July of 2012.  Cabrera has provided "consulting" work following his dismissal by
attending a conference at the Beaver Run Resort and apparently inviting BOE President Sharon Olson
and others to dine with him still using the same employee credit card.

In addition, Cabrera attended the CASE (Colorado Association of School Executives) conference in
Breckenridge using the title, "education consultant"  in late July; nearly a month after no longer being
employed by Thompson School District.  The conference, CASE Leadership Development Diversity
Council, was organized for the benefit of minority senior school executives.  According to an official of the
Thompson School District, Cabrera does not have a consulting contract with the district so his use of
their credit card to attend the conference came as a shock to the BOE.  The BOE budget report also
documents a $3,000 sponsorship by Cadrera of the same conference but we will need more time to
confirm this allegation.

LovelandPolitics reached out to School Board members to see if they were aware of the additional
spending and whether they authorized it.  BOE member Bob Kerrigan responded by indicating he had
not authorized the additional spending or use of a school credit card by the former Superintendent but
indicated all the BOE approves are budgets instead of individual charges.

Kerrigan stated,

"It is truly troubling when you see this type of spending behavior and disregard for public resources,
when he knows he is no longer an employee of the district.  The BOE of education is working very hard
to put mechanisms in place to better control  spending by senior staff."

Mobile Phone Expenses - President Misleads Constituents and Colleagues

In addition, the Loveland Reporter-Herald ran a story July 26, 2012 regarding a request by one School
Board Member, Denise Montagu, to have her personal mobile phone expenses reimbursed for the time
she is using it for school business.  
The article stated,

"The potential cost is unclear until the estimates are gathered. Board president Sharon Olson, for
example, said she does not own a cellphone and lives a short distance from the district offices.  'I
don't have a cellphone, so I have no idea how much the cost is and how much they've had to use it
above and beyond,' she said."

Contrary to what was reported,  LovelandPolitics has learned Olson indeed had a mobile phone paid for
by the School District at the time she made these comments.  To add insult to injury, a number of her
colleagues claim they were not aware she had the mobile device so were unable to contact her on that
phone regarding school business. (you can see the "
Olson cell phone monthly charge" in the BOE 11/12
school budget link in the column to right of this story).

When a budget line item surfaced showing Olson was using an R2-J supplied mobile phone, she
promptly surrendered her mobile device to the District and informed her stunned colleagues she wasn't
going to use it anymore.  By this time, Denise Montagu had been roundly criticized by public comments
in the RH Line for simply asking in a public and open forum about whether she could be reimbursed for
costs she incurred using her personal phone for school business.

BOA President Sharon Olson appeared to be a beacon of fiscal restraint and responsibility when
pretending not to have a mobile phone as reported by the Loveland Reporter-Herald.  

Fact Check:

Technically, Olson could argue that since the school bought mobile phone (likely in her purse during the
meeting) was being paid entirely by the School District that her comments she didn't have any idea what
the cost is for a mobile phone were accurate since the District already paid her entire mobile phone bill.

September 24, 2012 Addition

Below are the actual mobile phone records obtained from the School District for the time Olson claimed
she didn't have a mobile phone either personal or otherwise.  It is likely the calls to Texas and elsewhere
were not school business.

Olson Phone Bills

1.  Letter regaridng Olson's sudden cancellation of the school paid mobile phone

2.  Olson Mobile Phone Bill - May to June 2012

3.  Olson Mobile Phone Bill - June to July 2012

4.  Olson Mobile Phone Bill - July to August 2012
Ronald Cabrera, Still Using R2-J Credit Card
Board President Phone Charges An Issue
Background


Thompson School District
Press Release

June 21, 2012 - Board terminates
Superintendent’s contract In a move to
take the Thompson School District in a
different direction, the Board of  Education
voted Wednesday night to terminate
Superintendent Ron Cabrera’s contract.

Dr. Cabrera will leave his position on June
30, 2012. The board will select an interim
superintendent no later than September
2012 and begin a superintendent search
in January for a replacement to start in
July 2013.

Cabrera agreed to return for July 2012 to
complete tasks and projects to ease the
transition for the interim superintendent.

“This is not a termination for cause,” said
Sharon Olson, president of the BOE.  “An
option that the board has when they want
to change direction is to buy out one year
of the contract.”

She added that only one of the current
board members was seated on the board
that hired Dr. Cabrera. “When you have
such a dramatic change of the board
composition, it changes our goals and
vision,” Olson said.

The terms of the settlement agreement
included $200,005 to be paid in two
installments in August 2012 and January
2013. Cabrera has been superintendent
since July 2008.

Board of Education President Sharon
Olson said that while the Board will not
have regular meetings during July, it will
convene openly to discuss the processes
for seeking temporary leadership, an
interim superintendent and a
superintendent as well as a
replacement for Lola Johnson’s board
position in District A.

“We are in the process of talking to
executive staff about someone who will
step in to fill in as superintendent for July
and August,” Olson said.

Meanwhile, the search will
begin for an interim superintendent. “We
would like to have that filled by
September,” she added.  She said the
BOE will seek someone from within the
state who possibly recently retired. A
national search will likely begin in January
with a projected decision
on the new superintendent by March.
Estimated timeline:

 June 25-28: Name senior leadership
member to lead district during July and
August (Deputy Superintendent Judy
Skupa, Assistant Superintendent Mike
Jones or Chief Financial Officer Steve
Towne) Melissa Adams Assistant
Directorwww.thompsonschools.org

 July: Search begins for board member
replacement

 July-August: Process determined for
interim superintendent search

 August: Start BOE meetings with a full
board

 September: Name interim superintendent

 January: Start process for national
superintendent search

 March: Name a superintendent to start
July 2013


What does R2-J mean?

The “R” indicates that this is the
“reorganized” second district, not the
original school district #2.

The “J”  indicates that the district is
“jointly” located in more than one county:
Larimer, Weld and Boulder.

Expenses charged on Ron Cabrera
R2-J Credit Card After Dismissal
"ron-pcard"

Hotel Charges -

7/27/2012    Beaver Run Resort      $330

Cabrera accomodations 2 nights at
CASE conference

Food Charges -

7/13/2012     $11.36
Mimi's Cafe - Cabrera brunch meeting
with Frank Davila

7/17/2012    $22.14
Perkins - Cabrera breakfast meeting with
Sharon Olson

7/18/2012    $38.47
Willie G's - Cabrera lunch meeting with
Dean Rebecca Cantor

7/24/2012    $106.79
Blue River Bistro - Cabrera dinner with
Judy Skupa and Patrick Mount

7/25/2012    $5.00
Cabrera soda with Santiago Grado

7/26/2012    $17.89
Cabrera dinner at CASE

Aug. 2, 2012 "Supt. Consulting"
CASE - V002081                $3,000
(believed to be a contribution by Cabrera
to the CASE conference - need
additional research to determine)


Information Above Taken From The
Following School Documents:

BOE Operating Budget 12-13

BOE Operating Budget 11-12 (1)

BOE Operating Budget (actuals)