Letters to the Editor, May 24, 2012

What I would be ‘for’

Dear Editor,
In answering the Old Coffee Drinker’s question from last week, about “what are you for?” The thought of the beauty pageant contestant who could only answer “world peace” came to mind.
Being “for” a government that works within its constitutionally limitations or at least knows them would be a start. We obliviously don’t have that now and haven’t for some time. This would remove the idea that the involvement of government is the answer to every problem this nation faces.
We see this in everything from the perceived problem of Bonaparte Creek to J. P. Morgan Bank sneezing and soiling itself at the same time over losing $2-6 billion last quarter with the risky investment in Europe. Doesn’t it seem odd that our leader was quick to step up to the teleprompter and call for more banking reform laws and threaten another “needed” bailout at taxpayer expense, this is like Greece standing up and saying we have the fiscal wisdom and resources to get the financial world back on track.
I would be “for” an electorate that knows that it can’t make itself rich by voting for politicians who are willing to take something from someone else so that they can have something they couldn’t get on their own.
I would be “for” a congress that eliminated unconstitutional laws and all the government bureaucracies that go along with them.
I am “for” a congress that is willing to live by the laws they force on us, which would mean no golden parachute retirement or health care plans for them at taxpayer expense.
I would be for a money system that is bound to gold or silver so that it isn’t manipulated or printed at will.
I would be for the requirement of one running for president that he or she find their real birth certificate so that we might know who is and isn’t eligible for the office.
I would be for a group of private citizens who would work as oversight to the projects that the government spends money on so that the amount of wasted dollars could be accounted for. This would include money for elected officials who see the need to go somewhere or do something at taxpayer expense, things like junkets to China, Japan or Brazil or the vacation that is made into a business trip to hide the fact that it was really a vacation.
I would be for a government that stopped talking about “bullying” in schools when bullying, bias intimidation and evasion of privacy are the prime impetus that government uses to do the things it does.
Steve Lorz

Not helping student education

Dear Editor,
Does the Oroville School District really have to lay off classified staff if the district has to restore the three days unilaterally cut from everyone’s work year? How is this going to be good for the students? How many more staff members will we lose at the hands of this administration’s person?
If you do the math, the salaries for all people in the union of 2010/2011, compared to this year’s, the district saved about $65,394.66 from total salaries, just this year! Is that how much those three days cost the district? No, the math shows that those three days and all the hours cut from para educators schedules, only add up to about $19,342.50. This means the district should have enough money to pay for all the days and hours cut. The math also shows that if the days and hours cut do get restored, the district will still save about $46,000 on classified salaries and, have enough to hire three additional para educators for the kids and give about a 2-2.5% salary increase to everyone. This salary increase should only cost about $13,000-$15,000 and leave enough to hire two para educators without causing the district any financial issues, as the district only expected around 600 students this year but actually got 641 students. The math show that the school got about $220,000 extra in their budget and this money could be used for anything. In my opinion hiring these extra para educators and giving this salary raise would greatly benefit our students education, which is what really matters.
You can verify this information by looking into a few of our websites. The salary figures were supplied by the district business manager and the district revenue figures came from the district reports made to the “Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions” or OSPI. After checking it out, in my opinion the Oroville School District can settle this simple and easy and have plenty of money to hire extra help in the classrooms to better educate our students, replace the missing text books in the classes at all grade levels, fix heaters in the elementary school, give the bus drivers the same pay they get for doing their normal routes on these sports trips, for goodness sakes, they bring our kids home safely every time, the deserve it, hire a counselor for the students, as these are some pretty stressful times for those students preparing for college, moving away for college and trying to figure out what their college goals are.
The Oroville School District could of tried, or made an effort, to negotiate and settle this out of good faith but, the administration’s person I have been talking about the last couple for weeks, cut these salaries without trying to settle or negotiate at all. I don’t understand why, as this would still leave plenty of money for the school district and allow them to hire added help in the classrooms, which would benefit the students education tremendously.
Someone needs to file an “Unfair Labor Practice” complaint against this administration’s person for cutting salaries without trying to settle this matter rather then just cutting the salaries without any other options offered. In my opinion, another reason to let this administration person go.
If you think about all the things in this letter, these decisions this administration’s person is making and how they are making them, overall are not helping our students education.
In my opinion, we really need to look into this administration person’s other decisions made within the school, from date of employment to the present, in a full on investigative manner.
Thank you kindly,
Mendy Combs-Boge

Victims of ‘chickening out’

Dear Editor,
Seven years ago I saw a strong community stand up and answer their duty as citizens of the district that are supposed to be acting in the best interest of the children and oppose the consideration of an individual that evidence showed was “not a good fit” only to have the very people elected and sworn in to represent those very citizens and the best interest of the children hire him anyway.
Since that time we have seen that same board, the same administration weasel their way into keeping their seats through various underhanded tactics and not only keep the controversial people who have now proven their unworthiness but promote them.
Over the past six years I have watched the community struggle with the school board, the administration, teachers being “contracted” into submission, watched the bus drivers dwindle down to the point where are borrowing from Tonasket, and watch families do anything within their means to get them into Tonasket, including “changing addresses” rather than send them to the one they are paying for (including several business owners and school staff), all due to a select few with some serious ethical and moral issues.
I know a lot of people have attempted to straighten out their individual situations and many of you and your families have experienced the retaliation on you a
nd yours that ultimately stops whatever corrective action you are attempting. The wheels of “the process” turn slowly and when your child is faced with this type of hostility it takes too long and you are literally weighing the “possible state action” against what your child is facing on a daily basis. And I know it doesn’t stop there, heaven forbid you have any other family members where they can reach or a business you are afraid of having affected. So how do you correct the grievous situation?
The simple fact is you start where the trouble began, the board. Has everyone forgotten who the board members are supposed to represent?
You are their boss. These individuals pled for your vote , they promised to do a job – be your voice and to act in the best interest of the children. The individual warming the chair for your district and the one warming the “at large” position is supposed to be there representing you and the best interest of the children. Are they doing that? When is the last time your district voice acted in the best interest of the children of your district?
Some of the recently elected have been listening to the people in their district, they have been acting on behalf of the people in their district. They and their families have put themselves out there in the best interest of everyone’s child and are dealing with the repercussions of being that voice. Where is your support for them?
The fact that many of you and your children have experienced or witnesses the blatant retaliation, the current administrative insubordination and seen the current board try to resolve issues, and still, knowing there is power in numbers, you have done nothing. How does that make you any better than the unethical souls that created this mess?
I recently talked to several citizens from District 3 who are genuinely remorseful about seeing Mr. Barker and Mrs. Rice resign and who are praying that Mr. Nutt does not follow suit but I’m also astonished at their response to this. One of them actually said, “I can’t believe they are chickening out.” When asked if these people had talked to the two board members that actually live in their district they replied that they had never met Ms. Wise and Mr. (Rocky) DeVon is “Quick’s buddy” so what good would it do them?
The only thing I can say to that is you are their boss. The board members are not there to make a personal decision based on friendships they are there to be your districts voice in the best interest of the children. So if your district voice is wishy washy or a blatant conflict of interest, who’s fault is that? If your district will not stand up and make that voice do their job, who do you really have to blame for the way you’re represented.
If you stand up and your district voice still won’t do their job, find one that will or be the informed voice of your district but don’t continue to ridicule and judge others and their families because that makes you no better than the insubordinates that got the district into this situation in the first place.
And one last piece to this puzzle; one of the most absurd truths in this tragedy is that many business owners won’t step forward for fear of loss of business and many community members won’t step forward for fear of rejection from those very people.
The reality is, at this level the school is a business and business is not going well. It is imperative that some key community members step in, people who understand business at this level, and help support the transition of this board and the community members that are terrified of the retaliation through loss of job or quality of life.
If only both parties would step through that thin veil of fear and meet issues head on, our community’s children will no longer be victims of everyone “chickening out.”
Rosa McCoy

Barker did what he promised

Dear Gary,
First of all I would like to thank Phil Barker for stepping up and doing what he promised he would do, be an active, conscientious and informed board member.
I want to send my heartfelt condolences to his family for the repercussions they have felt for being a part of this honest man’s support group and am very truly sorry that the community has been content to hide behind your family and would not step up and publicly voice their support as they should have.
Finally, I want to thank the community of Tonasket for taking on the scholastic and financial burden over the last several years of supporting not only my children but the multitude of other children from the Oroville district, including those children of families employed by the Oroville district and active in it’s associated organizations, since our community won’t step up and do their job.
John Snider

A never ending drama

Dear Gary,
As a Tonasket resident, I am disgusted with Oroville’s inability to get off their duff and get their business straight. Your district’s problems have read like a never ending drama or one of the nauseating TV show for years. You get rid of the major problems when you got new people in and still you do nothing.
I commend Mr. Barker for trying to right the many wrongs that has send many of your students our way and am appalled at the lack of support he is receiving.
I am very proud of our community and school, by our actions we have demonstrated what happens when you put children and their education first. That’s why many in your district go through the expenses of transporting their children to our front door and I have to say I have had no problem seeing our local district help your children while your community is supposed to be working on the issues but enough is enough.
If you would just go onto the state superintendent website and see the enrollment numbers over the years, especially since Quick got hired, you will get an eye opener, these numbers don’t lie folks, but do you even care? There’s more to it than your previous superintendent implied as he only spoke of variances, what about people who moved down here or even just used a friend or family members address?
In these tough economic times we are all tightening the belt and while I know the majority of the funding comes from federal/state levels, may of us can’t help but ask ourselves, how much farther could our district dollar stretch if we weren’t taking on extras?
Now with that in mind, shouldn’t you ask yourself what’s really happening to the taxes you are paying in to your district? What could these people be doing with the fuel money that they are spending in just the daily transport alone? How did we turn into a district wide charity case? How about the other things like why are we having to cancel extra curricular activities because no one wants to be a bus driver in our district? Why did your board president have to sign to keep your teachers contracted and why wouldn’t the superintendent do as instructed and work with the teachers? Here’s one, why does a Tonasket resident know more about what’s going on in my district than I do?
First and foremost our community does believe in the education of our children (and obviously yours), and I don’t speak for everyone in our community or our school but I will say this, a tremendous amount of the community has mumbled about it sympathetically and grumbled quietly, many think about it and some just bury their had in the sand; I’m just the one saying it publicly. So I would say we have a similar “communication” problem but ours errors on the side of the children.
Think on that.
Simone Br