To say the last five years in our school district have been tough is an understatement. I have seen a pattern of dishonesty and lack of accountability. We all try to teach our children to be good people--to be honest, caring, and accountable. If they do something wrong, we teach them to admit it, do better and not blame others for their own mistakes. Unfortunately, we have not seen good examples of this by some in leadership. The 2015 bond referendum was one of the most dishonest examples of local government I've ever seen. Voters were enticed to support a bond supporting every school in every community in the district. As soon as voters approved it, a new superintendent and majority of former board members turned around closing schools, and devastating neighborhoods. That's only one example. We've seen an $8 million bus garage project, which gambled taxpayer dollars on a risky commercial real estate venture. Amazingly, when voters ask for smaller class sizes, we're always told there isn't enough money. The former superintendent and one board member concealed information from the full board propelling this expensive project forward. We don't elect seven board members to have only one making decisions for the rest. The former superintendent also signed a contract paying our former bus company millions when buses weren't running. The full board never authorized that contract. Now we see former board members blaming our current district problems on new board members, instead of taking responsibility for the poor decisions they made.
As a taxpayer and parent in School District 834, I fully support Sarah Stivland and Mike Ptacek for putting words like accountability into action. The changes they have made have stopped the financial bleeding, and have put us back on a constructive path where we can address future needs.
Dawn Beavers, Tim Brewington and Bill Gilles have my support for their strong agreement that accountability matters. Honesty and integrity in leadership matters. If those things are in place, there is nothing our district can’t accomplish for the betterment of each and every student.
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