Letter to the Editor
Another school year has come to an end and summer school is near its end. The board and the citizens have learned several things of benefit to all during the past year. There are still the issues left over from this year that involves previous board meetings, last elections, budget, and planning for the future of ALL students that should not be forgotten or pushed aside. We are still paying huge salaries to individuals employed by the district who couldn't even vote in the election. These individuals have received huge increases in salaries for part time work and are now being paid more than some teachers who are working full time. While our teachers have received a raise, and are receiving help in paying for hearth care coverage, efforts should be made each year to bring teacher salaries to more competitive levels. The school buildings and the land around each as well as the other lands that the district owns, has need to be reviewed for improved use and possible disposal.
All of the business that is allowed by law to be public should be made public and included in the regular school board meeting minutes. The public should have a say in any major arrangements and purchases planned by the board. No changes to the physical aspects of the district should be "under the table" or be done in advance, silently, so that the public has no choice but accept it. (case and point: the Habilitation Center) The total finances of the district, true salaries, stipends, milage, gas, must be made public. These are areas that effect not just the schools, but the entire city and we, as tax payers, can no longer be complacent and totally trust those we vote to represent out best interests at all times. Education to the facts is the key to supporting those elected officials who are trying to do their best to make the best decisions they can. That is our job.
It is good to keep the board aware that there is a public out there that cares and is watching how their tax dollars are being spent for their public schools. There is a public who cares about what is happening inside and outside our schools and want schools to be safe, protected environments.
During the public meeting held before the last election, a statement was made during the presentation by the school district that, if the bond issue did not pass, there was always next year. I, for one, do not want to rehash what we have already said we do not want. The board should listen to what the citizens have said and strive to adjust their plans accordingly. They should think about listening to the concerns of citizens in regard to the Core Curriculum and the teaching to the test that some feel must be done to continue to receive federal funding. Not all school districts support this.
Although we need better physical facilities for education, we need our students to be able to read, write well, and perform math without calculators. They need to understand the scientific nature, matter of nature, and be able to apply this knowledge to daily living. Our teachers are trying to do all of that, teach to the test, and live themselves. It is our job to help them.
Some of you who are reading this are aware of the citizens committee that was organized last year to suggest improvements and changes that they felt could improve the district. This committee is a cross section of citizens with varying concerns who met and formulated a list of four issues that were presented formally to the board last fall. The time and place of regular board meetings are now being posted in public places. While the issue of bus routes was thought to be resolved, the issue of busses in total has not. The condition of the school buildings continues to be an issue. Our committee continues to keep abreast of issues that are critical to student success. We examine the functional aspects of the schools in general and bring them to the attention of the board as we can, in hopes that our tax dollars are being spent wisely. If you want to know more about this committee or desire to add your expertise to help make this district the best in the state, you can call 660-886-6916 or 660-815-3442 for more information.
Thank you for reading this letter.