Letter to the editor – Doug Whipple

To the editor-

After visiting the Panorama 6-12 building this last week, I have changed my mind on a future new school here in Greene County.

Panorama has the ability to share teachers and administrators between junior high and high school.  The superintendent, principal, full time  court liaison, guidance counselor, and full- time athletic director are located in the same office. Communication with all of these positions in one building seems very effective. 

I was glad to see a full-time AD and full-time Court Liaison (a position our district does not want to replace.

Questions I have are:

  1. Why did the school board not raise more questions about our budget and investigate what we can cut? The most recent board work session went from 5:15 to 5:50 pm and then everyone sat around for 40 minutes waiting for the regular board meeting to start.  This valuable time could have been organized and utilized by our district leader!  At the end of the meeting we are still $250,000+ in the red with little direction on what to do. That leads to my next point.
  2. As elected officials our school board members need to do some work on their own.  I feel they should be getting out more into the school buildings and talking to teachers/administrators about their concerns and suggestions.
  3. Could we share teachers with another school district (to get sharing money from the state) instead of cutting teachers? Are we utilizing our operational sharing to its full potential to also receive money from the state?  I hear from many people that a future positive bond vote is going to require some major district changes.
  4. I am hard pressed to believe that as a 3A school, our superintendent has time to help run another school district!
  5. Can we use the money from the casino towards technology and negotiate the use of the bus barn at the fairgrounds?  In the past we have been leaders in technology, and we seem to be falling behind in this area.  Where would this bus barn go?
  6. I understand that we have many student athletes, and academics must come first, but sports is a huge part of kids staying in school and learning life lessons.  When we hire teachers are we looking for those that also have coaching experience?  We currently have 7 unfilled coaching positions within the district!  What are we doing to retain the coaches we do have?

I feel as parents and community members we need to stand up and fight for a better place where our kids spend nine months each year.  We are settling for mediocrity in all we do.

We, as parents, need to attend more school board meetings, talk with our school board members, and then let them know our expectations.

Just talking to others in the community is not getting the job done.

The school board represents us.  We elect them, so let your voice be heard.  It is time for some tough leadership decisions to be made and now!

Doug Whipple, Jefferson

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