Letter: District needs change on school board
Initially, I was encouraged that the D200 school board election has shined a light on the problems in the district and with the current school board. Candidates have come forward to propose focusing on improved student performance, better financial management, more transparency and improved dialogue with and participation by, the district's parents.
Unfortunately, this resulted in political diatribes and false characterizations of those candidates as radical or extreme. This should be a nonpartisan election and those concerned parents who are running and care deeply about the quality of the education of their children should expect other candidates to promote their platform, not resort to false "ad hominem" attacks.
Further, school board members and others supporting them have claimed that they have been "doing a great job" when this is clearly not the case for the following reasons.
• More than half of the students are not performing at grade level in reading, math and science and this has been on a serious decline for a decade. Student performance and improvement plans are seldom discussed at board meetings.
• During the last failed referendum a few years ago, it was uncovered that the district had been grossly underfunding annual maintenance, safety and security projects. Only this last year has annual funding reached an adequate level. More recently however, it's been disclosed that there are still tens of millions of dollars required for what the district characterizes as "critical" such projects.
• For many months, concerned parents came to school board meetings to object to certain content that they viewed as inappropriate in libraries and classrooms and pleaded for restricted access to these materials for their children, but the district took minimal action to address their concerns. In one example, numerous parents objected to a recent book addition to school libraries, but the board considered and approved the book in closed door meetings, in violation of school policy, such that it took a FOIA request to disclose the transcript.
The Daily Herald ignored these issues in its superficial analysis of the D200 board candidates. The parents and students in District 200 deserve candidates who will address these issues.