Monday, July 28, 2014

Please resign

6/7/2013

As a patron of the West Franklin school district, I was happy to see that the recent bond issue failed. I felt the Williamsburg and Appanoose campuses should remain open and felt that the whole bond package was too aggressive. More than 1,300 of my fellow patrons agreed. This was the fourth time that the folks of the West Franklin school district said they did not want to close schools and move students to one campus in Pomona. Many of us breathed a sigh of relief and hoped the nastiness and hurt generated from this would be put aside, and that we could explore ideas and initiatives that kept schools open, kept jobs and made some much needed improvements to all campuses.   

Then the June 2013 board package was posted. The superintendent noted that he was asked to give cost estimates for 10 modular units (two classrooms a piece) to be placeD at the Pomona campus if the bond issue failed. The cost is about $1 million for these modular units. Why would  the now “lame duck” West Franklin school board even consider this when the recent bond issue failed by a whopping margin and the majority of the people in the district said “no” to closing schools and moving students to Pomona?   

As a patron of the West Franklin school district, I was happy to see that the recent bond issue failed. I felt the Williamsburg and Appanoose campuses should remain open and felt that the whole bond package was too aggressive. More than 1,300 of my fellow patrons agreed. This was the fourth time that the folks of the West Franklin school district said they did not want to close schools and move students to one campus in Pomona. Many of us breathed a sigh of relief and hoped the nastiness and hurt generated from this would be put aside, and that we could explore ideas and initiatives that kept schools open, kept jobs and made some much needed improvements to all campuses.   

Then the June 2013 board package was posted. The superintendent noted that he was asked to give cost estimates for 10 modular units (two classrooms a piece) to be placeD at the Pomona campus if the bond issue failed. The cost is about $1 million for these modular units. Why would  the now “lame duck” West Franklin school board even consider this when the recent bond issue failed by a whopping margin and the majority of the people in the district said “no” to closing schools and moving students to Pomona?   

This is really not looking like a democracy here anymore. This has become an obsession of a superintendent who is not listening to his patrons, the very people who pay his salary (of which he is once retired and now “double dipping”) and who have to live with his decisions. It is a huge sore that continues to fester because the superintendent won’t let it go and won’t listen to the people.  

Now, in retaliation, because the bond issue did not pass, children potentially will be taken from the much safer environments and communities of Williamsburg and Appanoose to be taught in modular units? Modular units that are hot in the spring and summer and cold in the winter? Modular units that if there was a tornado, would crumble like a straw house? Modular units that would be a logistical nightmare to clean and maintain? Instead of upgrading the buildings and making some more modest improvements to the school, the community of Pomona would have a glorified trailer park instead of a school.

Why are we being treated this way? We, the patrons of West Franklin, voted as we saw fit. We are now being retaliated against for voting the way that we wanted. What part of “no” does our superintendent not understand? What part of “no” does the now “lame duck” school board not understand? We need to move on and quit with the talk about closing schools and moving to a central location. It is becoming a sickness, an obsession, and it is clouding the judgment of our superintendent.  

Please, Mr. Superintendent, please listen to your patrons ... or please resign. If you had an ounce of integrity, you would resign. Your continued push to close schools and move children to one campus has caused much pain and has cost much time and money. You are not a good fit with this district. Your so-called vision is actually “tunnel vision.” The relationship that you have with your patrons is broken and irreparable. Please resign and move on so that we can start anew at West Franklin. We need to heal, and we cannot do this with you at the head of our district. We want to go in a different direction than you are willing to take us. We need a leader who will bring us together, not continue to tear us apart. Please resign, if not for the patrons, do it for the children of the district.

— Lori A. Hamilton,

Williamsburg

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