The total cost to print and distribute the “Setting the Record Straight” mailer, sent by board president Rodney Alexander to families within the Proviso High Schools District 209 community, was $13,013. This information was requested through the Freedom of Information Act by the Review and supplied by the district.
That amount includes $245 for the USPS permit, $7,817 for printing, and $4,950 for postage.
The mailer arrived at people’s homes last month and was widely discussed on Facebook. Additionally, several public comments during D209 meetings were made, most in opposition of the use of taxpayer dollars to fund what some people called a campaign against a board member.
In the mailer, Alexander accuses board member Claudia Medina of having “revealed herself to be someone who hates Black men in leadership,” and attempts to debunk what he calls “lie, after lie, after lie, after lie.”
Alleged lies Medina is accused of in the document are claims that Supt. James Henderson’s previous school district is bankrupt, claims that she isn’t receiving information from the district and thus needs to request it via FOIA, and calling attention to previous news articles that show Henderson in a bad light.
“KEEP TALKING Medina – GOD has the last word! YOU don’t understand whose we are – We [Alexander and Henderson] are not only highly qualified for this work but are anointed for a time such as this to lead this work,” reads one part of the document.
The document also accuses the Forest Park Review, specifically Maria Maxham its editor, of being a mouthpiece for Medina. Medina and Maxham, says Alexander, “continue to double-down on their lies, as if it’s going to make the lies true.”
The document further accuses the Mississippi State Auditor of participating in “a smear campaign against Dr. Henderson’s name for not utilizing a particular legal firm” after the state entity released an audit they said showed “widespread problems” and issued a press release regarding such.
Spokesperson Logan Reeves from the Mississippi State Auditor’s office said in response, “The audit report is a public record and only contains statements of fact rather than opinion. Our agency is a professional office, and we have neither time nor interest to engage with this ridiculous claim.”
Alexander made it clear during the May 11 school board meeting that he won’t hesitate to send a similar mailing in the future.
“You’re not going to be able to tell untruths about our dollars and our hard-working administrators and teachers. Not anymore,” Alexander said. “We’re going to counter, and we’re going to counter with taxpayer dollars because you guys deserve to know the truth.”