My Turn: Board recall will hurt community
I have lived in the North Lake Tahoe/Truckee community for the past 50 years and am a graduate of Tahoe Truckee High School, class of 1966. During the past 30 years, I have been a huge advocate for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, its teachers, administrators, employees and most important of all, its students.
I have been involved with the passage of any number of bond measures to improve the facilities of our district.
I am proud to have been a founding board member and past-President of the Excellence in Education Foundation (who is currently housed rent free in a building my family owns).
I fought tirelessly to pass and renew Measure “S” (now Measure A) and sat on its Executive Board as the treasurer for many years. My daughters graduated from North Tahoe High School in 2000 and 2002.
Both went on to receive bachelor’s degrees at outstanding universities and one just graduated from law school last week.
No matter where you stand on school issues, recall of school board members will be a disaster for our community. It will pit neighbor against neighbor in heated emotional debates.
The scars that develop will take years to heal. The time and energy spent on the campaign by both sides will be destructive and counter-productive.
All parties would be far better served working together to solve the overwhelming school district problems of the day. In that vein I call for all parties to take a time out from this recall campaign.
I ask the school board rescind the changes they have proposed for the Lakeside schools for one year. During that year, I ask that we conduct a series of open meetings, held in neutral public settings, to explain the rational for the changes the school district proposes, frame the discussion and debate with employees, parents and community members all the issues the school district faces in these difficult times.
I ask that we go into these meetings with an open mind and listen to what all the participants have to say.
Hopefully, at its conclusion, we can build a strong consensus on the future direction of the school district. I ask that all sides conduct themselves in a civil and respectful fashion.
I have served on many community boards over the years and continue to be appalled and ashamed at the conduct I see at school district meetings.
The community should not tolerate this behavior and insist the education community always treat each other with dignity and respect.
I ask that a workshop, or series of workshops, be developed for all segments of the community to attend; teachers, administrators, parents, citizens, to fully explain school finance, particularly as it relates to our district.
That workshop must be totally transparent with respect to finances in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
This issue of finances and the mistrust related to it held by the school district community has for far too long been a lightning rod that has poisoned the education community.
Over and over again our students have been pawns while both sides shamelessly bargain in public.
It is time for the community to become educated on this subject.
A trust absolutely needs to be developed, with respect to finances, between the parties. We must insist that it too happens in the coming year.
I implore you to reject this recall petition that is circulating in our community. Rather, I suggest we insist that all parties work together to get the facts about these issues and emerge, a year from now, with a clear consensus for moving forward to make our school district stronger.
Our democratic system of periodic election of representatives is the best method to bring about change in school board philosophy and strategic direction.
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