It’s a textbook case on the power of transparency. When it came to light that some students in Sartell schools had apparently been instructed not to show their parents the racial equity survey undertaken by the district, all hell broke loose. A simmering backlash burst out into the open, locally and nationally, thanks to extensive media coverage on outlets from Fox News to the St. Cloud Times.

The audit came under fire after a Sartell family alleged on “Fox and Friends” their student had been told to hide an equity survey from their parents.

Superintendent Jeffery Ridlehoover has maintained that teachers were not instructed to tell students to hide survey questions from their parents, however he acknowledged community members concerned about Equity Alliance’s methodology when analyzing the survey data and their refusal to give the survey questions to the district.

So, the Sartell-St. Stephen School District administrators still have questions of their own that Equity Alliance Minnesota has not provided answers to. As a result, the central Minnesota school district wants at least some of the up to $80,000 in taxpayer funding squandered on the so-called equity project back.

“This board as well as members of the community have struggled to make sense of the equity audit presented,” Ridlehoover said during the special board meeting. “The frustration that has ensued has only compounded… by the inability for Equity Alliance of Minnesota to provide answers to this board and residents of the school community in a timely manner.”    

“These frustrations have clearly boiled over,” Ridlehoover said.

This week, before a room of outraged parents, school board members voted unanimously to fire the controversial group.

All six board members — Jeremy Snoberger, Jason Nies, Amanda Byrd, Patricia Meling, Patrick Marushin and Matt Moehrle — agreed with the recommendation to separate from Equity Alliance.

Byrd said during the meeting that she previously had concerns about the audit. She said the district had a unfavorable contract with Equity Alliance.

“We got scammed by an organization that failed to do their work properly, legally, and ethically and made promises that they didn’t keep,” Byrd said during the meeting. “

Yet as of this writing, the question remains. What is Equity Alliance Minnesota hiding from the Sartell school board and parents? Why hasn’t the organization publicly shared its materials with the community paying for the so-called audit?