Jobeth Haydon-Tupa: School board meeting
February 14, 2015
To the editor:
I was among those who attended Thursday's school board budget meeting. After four hours of listening to MCSD staff members, one thing became blatantly obvious; the meeting to "discuss" the district's current budget crisis was not for that purpose at all. I watched educator after educator stand and implore our school board to draft an initiative to bring a mill levy increase before the taxpayers. I continued to wait patiently for the school board and Brent Curtice, to delve into the reasoning why we found ourselves in this current predicament, but alas, as it turns out, it was all just an elaborate rouse.
The public school system has drastically changed. No longer are schools just for academics, but in many cases, the staff is charged with parenting, disciplining, advocating for, doctoring, clothing and feeding many students. As our society has drastically changed, so too has the role of a school teacher. I spend countless hours volunteering in my children's elementary school. I can tell you right now, there are not enough adults in the classroom, and at the elementary level this is paramount. With class sizes getting larger, paraprofessional teaching assistance being cut, and parental involvement dropping, our children are not getting a sufficient amount of one on one time, and therefore, oftentimes can lack the full understanding of the concepts in which they are being taught. This is not the fault of the teaching staff, as much as it is our own, for not ensuring that the money that our school district is allocated, is going to the most important place: the classroom.
Education is the cornerstone of everything one will do in their lifetime. As I listened to the phrase "trim the fat" repeatedly, it occurred to me, when you are referring to teachers, classes, and equipment as "fat," perhaps we have forgotten what the purpose of public education really is. The "fat" that they are referring to, can most easily be found in any extracurricular activity. If you have to eliminate a teaching position, but you are still paying a sports coach, then clearly education is not this district's priority. If you would sooner spend money maintaining a terminal pool situation, and eliminate teaching positions, then education is not this district's priority.
I want to fund a better education for the kids of Moffat County. I want our teachers and students alike to have the latest in available resources, and have the financial ability to give the students the best educational experience possible. I am just not willing to do so, until this district starts making education its priority. Classes are essential, qualified staff is essential, education is essential. A commitment to academic excellence is essential. If you cannot afford to keep educators educating, causing a district wide ripple effect, then it only makes sense that the schools need to go back to schooling first and foremost. I mean, I did attend the Moffat County School District public board meeting last night, didn't I?
I support all of the educators in Moffat County.
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