Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Despite board member & community concerns, Board approves 4K

Color us surprised.

The school board in its infinite wisdom that their opinions count more than the public that elected them, rushed to approve (6-1) the kindergarten program for 4 yr olds this fall.

Only board member Jill Camber-Davidson had the chutzpah to voice her concerns and then punctuate them with a "NO" vote.

As has become status quo for relative new-comers Terry Shimek and Al Slane, they both expressed concerns and even suggested some potential conditions for moving forward. But in the end, they did what they always do: vote yes. Neither of them made any attempt to pursue an amendment to the motion to address concerns that voiced by Camber-Davidson, community residents, a child-care center owner and even themselves.

Gentlemen, you both had some great comments and ideas that would go a long way towards "selling" this program to the community. But you have to do more than step up into the pocket. You actually have to throw a pass. You did nothing. You get "A"s for your concerns and suggested improvements, but your final grade is "F" for not following through and doing something about it in the form of an amended motion.

It's this constant smarmy "I have some concerns..." opening statement only to be followed by a "Yes" vote that drives the community crazy. We wonder if they have even the foggiest notion of how silly (not to mention insincere) they sound. They ought to be thankful that they are running unopposed for re-election in April.

If you're going to express concerns about an issue up for vote, then at least grow the anatomical parts necessary to stand up and make an amendment to the motion at hand...or, better yet...simply vote "No". Instead, we have a board full of meek, district-manipulated puppets.

Then there's the other 4 ( Stackhouse, Whalen, McCourt, and Diedrich) who simply want to bow to whatever the district puts forward. Perhaps they're just working on their legacies. Word has it that Stackhouse had been telling people potentially interested in running for the board that 2009 is a great year to run because you could be part of the board that got 4K going in Sun Prairie. How prophetic! Hmmmm...kinda makes you stop and think, doesn't it? If the rumors are accurate, and Stackhouse was encouraging certain individuals to run, could it be that da Prez has some interest in seeing one (or more) of the 3 board members up for re-election unseated? Hmmmm. Stay tuned, Sun Prairie!

Thankfully, Jill Camber-Davidson was bold enough to step out from the flock and speak not just her piece, but also to voice concerns shared by many community members. The district admittedly does not have all the answers. In fact, Dr. Culver even said, "We haven't even discussed transportation issues." Gee...and you don't think transportation will, be an expense??? You can't put a bunch of tiny 4 year olds on a bus with kids up to 12 years old, can you? With all the hijinx reported on the buses, that's not a good plan, is it?

Gingerbread House childcare owner Wes Korenic--who would be a patrner with the district on this venture-- also expressed valid concerns from the perspective of childcare center owners. She di the research by actually contacting centers that were running 4K programs in other districts. Wes very likely did more research on this topic than most of our elected school board members.

Jill Camber-Davidson was the lone school board member to tell the district with her vote that the "SP4K" proposal simply wasn't fleshed out enough to warrant approval at this point. Finally, signs of life from a board member that they listen to logic and reasoning and they will not vote "Yes" simply to show a unified front.

Board members: voting in opposition to a program or policy does not mean you are anti-education. What you have to realize is that your vote has to represent the wishes of the entire community--NOT just district administration or your own personal opinions. Sure there is some community support for a 4K program. But there was some community support for two high schools, too. Unfortunately, that position was not shared by the majority of the community---which is why the idea was rejected by voters.. And if there are more questions than answers, then perhaps it's time to either table the decision or vote "No". At the very least a vote to move forward and continue to resolve questions, but with no guarantee of implementation in the fall of 2009 was in order.

Oh...and board members...those of you that refuse to return phone calls from residents whose opinions you disagree with--and you KNOW who you are: shame on you. were elected to represent AND LISTEN TO all the community. If you dislike that which comes with the job, then perhaps you oughta step down.