Sutherland for Schools blog
It's come to this. Earlier this month our board held a workshop on our goals which was excellent; we came together on three major goals which, if followed, will make our district better. We all agreed, and the list will be presented at the Jan. 13 meeting.
You may have heard two board members express concern over reports of bullying at the board meeting. This is a tough area for board members. When grievances are filed, the situation becomes a legal process. It is designed to work with employees and children on one side "of the table" and management and board on the other side.
In response to my open records request, the district reports it has spent $410,700 in legal fees for the Palazzolo defense.
By the way, staff has begun marking everything they send out as confidential. Open records responses are, by definition, not confidential.
What is, and is not, confidential is controlled by state law and board policy, not by staff. Staff does not tell board members what they can and cannot share. Our attorneys should know this.
One parent has become so irritated about the SCA nonsense that he is resorting to public shaming by posting an error on his facebook page. You can join in!
The December 9 agenda and board book are now available. A major issue is to vote on $1.2 million for outside legal fees. This is in addition to our legal staff.
Readers, I've received some complaints about broken desks and chairs. Mr. Cavazos sent a list of deliveries which is at the "data" tab on our website.
I received this email privately from an elementary teacher. One of the good things our district does is to provide the lessons the district tells teachers to use. The problem is that someone has to prepare the lessons, and the district has already reportedly gotten into trouble with a publisher for using copyrighted material without permission. So now, we are requiring teachers to "teach to the test" but are then asking the teachers to find the particular lessons. (This means the teachers would have to plagiarize rather than the district . . . ) In my opinion, this is another reason why the centralized control doesn't work well: it is too complicated to run effectively.
Still no passages available, like we were told we have to use every Friday, at waiver day, Nov. 10. I brought this to my administration's attention before Thanksgiving break.
It is amazing what our teachers are teaching about these days. Last night my 3 grandchildren shared stories of their joy at different things they are learning--music, business, science. So much is new since I was in high school (beginning with DNA--the 5th grader talked about the way a virus enters a cell . . .)
I am thankful for all you teachers who take charge of the education of our children. So often we forget how much studying was involved.
It is incredibly important that the board have someone who keeps their eyes on our tax dollars and who is not afraid to speak uncomfortable truths when necessary. This, and issues with our curriculum, is why I will run again.
Readers may recall that the district responded to our request to improve the availability of subs. They increased the salary by a small amount and also established pyramid substitutes, who work every day, get paid better, and can get health benefits. The goal was to reduce the lack of availability to 5% of the teacher requests.
In response to at least one request, here are five senior staff who, according to Dr. Linares, do not live in the district. This is required by policy which was adopted by our board. Because it has not been followed in recent years, I believe staff should be given a period of time in which to re-locate.
The Nov 17 Bond Citizens Oversight Committee meeting featured a lively discussion about the need for artificial turf. Parent and COC member Jennifer Frank and I spoke on the need for local option on the turf which I believe the board approved subject to campus wishes. Thanks to chairman Isaac Manning for permitting this conversation.