Public Testimony from Erica Rooney

Dear Board Members & Superintendent

 

Dr. Jeff Rose, Superintendent

LeeAnn Larsen, Chair

Karen Cunningham

Tom Quillin

Mary Vanderweele

Sarah Smith

Jeff Hicks

Linda Degman

 

As a follow-up to my June 6 letter to the Board, I wish to address several of the issues, and ask that the Board respond to all of the people who are asking questions.

 

Who is to blame?

At the last Board meeting on June 4, it was implied that we parents can change things in Salem.  Ultimately, that may be true, and I vote in favor of education every time.  However, at the local level you do have choices on how to spend the District money.  As elected representatives please spend those dollars the way the constituency wants.  Many others tonight will reiterate how we think the moneys should be spent. 


Innovations over Preservation?

Why is the District approving new positions in intervention and Technology instruction instead of preserving the existing teachers we have?  You don’t have to do this.  Where is the advocacy and demand from parents for these things?  It wasn’t in the community listening sessions.

 

Not every school needs “collaboration” sessions.  Parents and students overwhelmingly voted against a very similar program in 2010 and you can expect an even larger outcry about the tradeoffs this time around.

 

This district already has spread itself too thin with too many “special programs” aimed to reach those kids outside of the 85th percentile or both margins of the bell curve.  Why not do something to preserve the programs for the vast majority of the population. Such as preserving music, classroom sizes and librarians.

 

Flawed Community Involvement Process

Although I was not at every single meeting this past Fall and Spring, I did review a number of the budget committee meeting minutes.  Time and time again there was clearly state frustration that the community involvement process was simply not sufficient.  When you are proposing to cut over 10 % of the budget, and 10% of the current staff, why wasn’t the community made fully aware of this at an earlier stage.  Our HS principal just sent out an email about the site-specific impacts last week!  The message about the gravity of impacts was NEVER made clear until the 11th hour.

 

What is the priority in times of Crisis?

The priority in times of crisis should be to preserve what is good, and avoid “extras”.  Intervention, new on-line course, may be nice to have in the future, but they are not worth the cost to classroom sizes and elimination of key educational programs like music.  To be personal, my children will gain nothing from these programs, and they will lose their sense of community with the huge impact to music programs.  I’ve  been to the OMEA Honors Productions five times for my children.  They are achievers in this world.  Intervention will not help them in the least.

 

Disappointment wasn’t your only option

Through all the emails, information, letters, meeting minutes, it appears you had options.  As daunting as it may seem, you ALWAYS have the option to open dialogue with the Unions – both sides can agree to do so at ANY time.  Why won’t you make a commitment to do so?  These are dire times that take heroic efforts – that’s what you have been elected to do – Be heroes for the children of the Beaverton School District.

 

Sincerely

Erica Rooney

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