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Citizen Editorial

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School Board Policy Violations

In a rushed vote to close the swimming pool and repurpose the building on February 10, 2015 School Board meeting we witnessed the board violating numerous policies and procedures, citing an argument that this board does not follow its own policies and are attempting (February 24, 2015) to suspend or delete a policy that they have already violated.

The vote on February 10, 2015 to close and repurpose the pool violated policy #4355, which states " The Shelton School District is committed to supporting a quality Aquatics Program for the district, community and southern Mason County. The district will assume budget responsibilities, out of the General Fund budget of the school district, for utility costs, general maintenance, chemicals, a swimming instructor, swimming coaches as authorized, and an Aquatic Director."

The board also violated policy #1320, which prohibits the board from suspending policies in the manner in which they did, it states "A policy of the board will be subject to suspension by a majority vote of the members present, provided all board members have received notice of the meeting and the notice included a proposal to suspend the policy and an explanation of the purpose. If such proposal is not made in writing in advance of the meeting, a policy may be suspended only by a unanimous vote of all board members present. " Since there was no previous proposal to suspend the policy then it needed to be an unanimous vote, which it was not, it was 4-1, therefore in violation of this policy.

The Board also violated policy #1310 which states" When the board of directors is considering a district policy or amendment to policy that is not expressly or by implication authorized by state or federal law, but which will promote the education of kindergarten through twelfth grade students in public schools(the aquatics program is part of the curriculum offered to the k-12 students) ...the proposed policy will be described in any notice of the meetings at which the policy will be considered, if the notice is issued pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Ch. 42.30 RCW. The board of directors will provide an opportunity for public written and oral comment on such policies before adoption or amendment." None of which has been done.

The superintendent also violated this policy #1310 which states "The superintendent will develop such administrative procedures as are necessary to ensure consistent implementation of policies adopted by the board." There certainly was not any consistent implementation of board policy.

With this kind of disregard for the policies it becomes suspect that the Board has likely been violating other policies. How is the school board to be held accountable, how are we to accept a vote that is against their own policies, and how can we be assured that this will not continue in the future?

Laura Vance, Shelton WA
February 26, 2015

Pool Advisory Committee's Role

Having been the Chair of the pool committee I will not sit by and let the blame be placed on this committee as an excuse for closure of the swimming pool. As a committee we did exactly what the board tasked us with. We did more. We brought them pro’s and con’s for the options they required. We brought them timelines and expenses. We were complete in our charge from the Board.

I do believe from board member comments on February 24 that two board members believed that the Committee was given the permission to act for and in behalf of the School Board and the Shelton School District to negotiate a contract with city and county officials to move the operations costs of the pool out of district hands. I question if they even knew what the committee was asked to do.

Let me enlighten them and you.

This advisory group is charged with the task of:

  1. Given the constrained budget for the school district, the school board asks the committee to provide short-term and long-term recommendations.
  2. If the pool must be closed for safety reasons and/or lack of funding, in the short run how can the school district provide water safety training and swimming competition opportunities for the children of the Shelton School District?
  3. Looking toward the future, what can be done to raise money to refurbish the pool or to build a new community pool or YMCA?
  4. (Added later) Create a fundraising plan.

Board Members, were misinformed if they believed that the pool committee had the authority to operate in behalf of the school board.

They asked for options. They were given options, and they themselves chose not to act or give direction.

As for the charge from Ms Williams, February 24, about the committee requesting board members not being allowed in the pool committee meetings, for the first few meetings this was true. The committee felt it was in the best interest of everyone, due to hostilities, toward the pool, school administrators, district staff and the public at the time. We felt this was a conflict of interest and requested that they not attend the initial meetings. The board agreed to concede this point. It also needs to be brought to attention that a board member did, in fact, attend several pool committee meetings.

The district paid $20,000 for a report that they themselves don’t understand. If they were to take the time to consult with pool outside experts they would see that there is a way to keep this pool operational. Many of the items on the ORB report and not only unnecessary but are mere wishes for the creation of an elite facility.

Shelton does not need an elite facility. We will not be hosting Olympic Trials. What we need is a safe and functioning facility. This is within our reach.

After the February 10 vote, a board member was heard saying they just went along with everyone else. This is tragically unfortunate. I question if this member understood the details involved in the ORB report. There is a way to work together. There have been options presented.

We as a committee asked that we be made a permanent committee to work toward a solution. We shared our questions and concerns with the school board. We asked that our formal letter stating these concerns be entered into board meeting minutes. They were not. We were to present our findings in a regularly scheduled board meeting. We did not. At their request our presentation was moved to a Study session where no minutes or recordings were made. We received no further communication from the board. Our presentation was given May 29, 2014 with only a couple comments and even fewer questions presented to the Pool Committee.

Committee members brought a grant possibility to the board. This is the $250,000 capital grant that was submitted for consideration to the State in September 2014. Our commission expired and the committee was disbanded June 30, 2014. Fundraising was brought to a halt because by law all monies received for pool repairs need to be returned to the donor if the pool were to close and repairs not made. We were given no assurance or direction. We received no word from the Board regarding their intention prior to the February 10 vote for closure.

These are the facts. Ask any one of the 14 members of the Pool Advisory Committee.

Pool Supporters never asked for a $2.5 Million swimming pool. We want repairs and a plan to take the expense from the district hands. We have a plan. We would like an opportunity present our plan. They never asked. They only wanted to know their options.

Jacquie MacAlevy, Shelton, WA
February 16, 2015

Citizens' Priorities Are Skewed

 

If you attended the school board meeting on February 24, 2015, you saw the culture of cruelty that leads to youth and teenage suicide in action.

Follow my logic here.

On Tuesday, February 10, I attended a school board meeting that embarrassed me as a citizen.  The Shelton School Board voted on the projects to fund this summer from their critically low resources, including fixing leaky roofs and making the District compliant with the ADA.  After careful deliberation, and providing an in depth explanation of the financial situation of the District, the superintendent recommended that the aged out pool be closed.  The vote was 4-1 and passed.

I was embarrassed for the woman who stood and loudly told the board to expletive-off, I was embarrassed for the man who stood up and made loud comments, and I was embarrassed that among the pool supporters no one tried to reign in these pool supporters who epitomize for me the bully mentality.

On Wednesday, February 11, I attended another meeting, this one at Olympic Middle School.  This one not about a swimming pool, but to learn more about bullying, what the school is doing to try to curb bullying, and to try to wrap my brain around the fact that one of our school children, age 11, had suffered so much in our school's culture of cruelty that he took his own life.

Comparing and contrasting these two events has been on my mind a lot lately.  We still do not know the full story behind young Steven Carrillo's suicide; likely we never will.  But after meeting with the staff at Olympic Middle School, it is clear that the school is doing everything it possibly can, including reaching out to the citizens and seeking additional thoughts, ideas and solutions for how to deal with an impossibly difficult situation:  Bullying behavior, a culture of cruelty, and disrespect for authority.

Last night, after watching parents and students behave as badly as they possibly could in a public meeting, I am beginning to understand.  

This bullying is learned behavior, clear and simple.  It does not start at the school, it comes to school with the students, it comes from home.  To bully or not to bully is taught; to be cruel, or to not be cruel, is taught. Children learn by example.  The students and parents who attended the school board meeting last night came with an agenda of intimidation and disruption.  They achieved both of their objectives.  But at what cost?  

When the parents encourage the lack of civility, when not one mother or father stands up to try to reign in the disrespectful display of angry students, when the speakers re-plowed the same old ground and were met with applause, cheers and whistles, notwithstanding the board's request to hold their applause, we have anarchy.  

Our children were shown a very poor way to behave last night, and the adult pool supporters present are complicit in the bad behavoir for encouraging it and for sanctioning it.

What is the lesson to be learned by contrasting these events:  Out of control attendees of School Board meetings, and a community forums to address bullying?

In the first place, there are a lot more people concerned about the pool than about a child who ended his life because he had taken all he could take and could not imagine that it was going to get better.

That bears repearing:  There are a lot more people concerned about the closing of the pool, than about a child who ended his life.

I am saddened and disappointed that not one person in the audience could reign in the crowd; that not one parent or teacher (there were many self-identified teachers present) attempted to restore order and encourage the attendees to behave in a reasonable manner.

I am saddened and disappointed that the parents are teaching the children:
"If you do not like a decision, tell em to expletive-off, shout them down, intimidate them, act like bullies and we will get what we want."

The two-year old acting this way, I understand.  Parents and high school students acting this way, and believing it will benefit their cause and bring about the end they desire, has me completely baffled.

One thing I am sure of, however, is that the behavior at the school board meeting was ugly, intimidating, and show-cased what is terribly wrong in our schools and our community, leading me to connect the intimidating, bullying behavior I observed last night, with childhood suicide.  Sadly, one leads straight to the other.

Katherine A. Price, Shelton

February 25, 2015

 

Supporting Marshawn Lynch

"I'm smiling.  I just heard Marshawn Lynch state over and over again that he's showing up to respond to the news media only so he doesn't get more fines for not showing up in the past.  Apparently, he's been fined $100,000 already.  Personally, I'm very happy with Marshawn Lynch and I agree with his decisions.
 
I think the news media, in general, have become like vultures and have gotten away from their original roles in our society.  They used to report the facts, and just the facts.  They've taken their role in society in a new direction.  One, they report news with a focus on "social engineering".  They report only the facts they want to report, and use their knowledge of the power of words to present only certain facts to "brainwash" their readers to think the way they think they should think. Most news media reports are written with a  very liberal bias. Two, they only report facts that "sell".  Blood sells and other stuff is boring so it's not reported.  I could go on, but in general, I have lost respect of most news organizations and the reporters/editors who manage what is reported and how it's reported.  There's actually only one main news media which has both liberal and conservative guests to present opposing views.  And that one is building customers whereas, the older news organization are losing their audiences.  BTW, I don't include KMAS in my frustrations.  I'll take small town news over the national news in regards with what I'm complaining about in this article.
 
That said, I think Mr. Lynch is very suspicious of news reporters.  I am the same way.  The first time I was interviewed was when I managed the largest service station in Tacoma area.  It was during the first "energy crunch" as they ended up calling it.  The reporter wrote up only a part of what I said and wrote it up in such a way to make it sound completely different than what I had told her during the interview.  And she knew it.  But the newspaper had a pre-conceived idea of what they wanted to write, and just asked me questions to get some words that when used the way they wanted, supported their report.  You all know what I'm saying and may have also had the same experience personally.  Since the first experience, I'm like Mr. Lynch, I try not to give reporters any info, because they will only use my words the way they want to.
 
So "GO SEAHAWKS", and "GO MARSHAWN".  Please Marshawn earn your salary on the field, not from public speaking to feed the vultures.  Know your strengths and manage your limitations.  Tom Brady is skilled at giving reporters ONLY the words he wants to have reported.  As demonstrated with "De-flate Gate".  He may or may not be lying, but he's very skilled at interviews.
 
Larry Julius, Shelton, WA

January 28, 2015

Shelton Pool Asset To Community

Dear Editor,

The Shelton High School pool is a major asset to our community. It’s used daily by approximately 300 people including students and community members. We live in an area filled with water access and having the pool available helps with overall community health and safety. Plus, with the demise of the bowling alley and the closure of the skate park, it is one of the few facilities left to our youth for recreation and entertainment.
Last year, the Shelton school board seriously considered closing the high school pool due to repair needs, including pool resurfacing, maintenance room repairs, energy upgrades, and ADA accessibility upgrades. After much public outcry and some favorable news from the district’s insurance company, the board decided to keep the pool open through the end of the current school year. Their hope was the repairs could be (again) deferred to summer 2015, and a plan put into place for proper long term maintenance and upgrading. We are now at the point where action needs to be taken by the board to insure the most pressing maintenance can happen this summer. If the pit lid in the maintenance room and the pool resurfacing projects do not happen soon, there is a good chance we will be facing pool closure in just a few months.
If you feel the pool is an important community asset and needs to be kept open, I encourage you to contact the members of the school board and interim superintendent Art Jarvis and let them know. If we’re going to keep this valuable facility available to the students and the community, the board needs to make the pool a priority on the summer maintenance schedule instead of continuing to defer maintenance.

Sally Karr, Shelton, WA
January 15, 2015