Oh, the irony
I find it ironic that one of the Sept. 12 School Board agenda items was to create a board newsletter so the public and parents can get to know board members. Also on the agenda, was an amendment to a bylaw to limit public comment. So the board wants parents to listen to them, but they don’t want to listen to parents. President Jansen revealed what she thinks of parents who disagree with her when she called a school district parent and a grandmother, a POS. Why would we support someone who not only doesn’t listen to parents concerns, but calls them names? The new board members have made it clear that they take their marching orders from those who do not have children in DCSD. If they did, they would stop focusing on political issues, and focus on what matters most, the students.
Headline was misleading
In the Sept. 12 Record-Courier the headline read “School Board Proposes Gag Order.”
This headline misled the public on the intentions of the School Board (meeting held September 12, 2023) as defined by chronically, hostile complainers who spoke against the Board majority and also Agenda Item #12 (Temporarily Suspend the Operation of Certain Bylaw and Policy Sections).
But perhaps the most egregious misunderstanding reported by the R-C was in regards to Bylaw 030 where the article stated “…includes a clause that requires ‘all statements, letters, opinions, recommendations and or District communications delivered to the public, the parents and/or guard-ians, or the student body, to first be presented to the Board for approval.’” The R-C removed the clause “prepared by the Superintendent or its Administration to be delivered to the public,…”. That is a far cry from “…if approved, prevent a coach from talking with a reporter about the game or a teacher from talking to a parent about their child without first going through the school board” as the R-C asserted.
The purpose was to suspend sections of Bylaws 050, 060, 070 and Board Policy 815 because there was concern that previously amended, adopted, or revised sections by prior School Boards did not meet Nevada State Statutes nor reflect the definition of the School Board being the legislative arm. Subsequent items on the agenda were to address these sections of the above mentioned bylaws.
The R-C is doing a disservice to the voters who decisively elected the current school board because they felt strongly there had to be change from the top. R-C readers expect fair and balanced reporting.
Mary Lou Gervie
Appalled by school board
I’m writing to the parents of school-age children, who attend schools in Douglas County. I am a lifelong advocate for the Douglas County School District and former school psychologist, teacher, counselor and administrator. I am appalled by the current actions of some of the board members (Burns, Jensen, Englekirk and Dicker-son). They recently signed a contract with attorney, Mr. Joey Gilbert to represent the school district without the full board having read the contract or agreeing to the terms of the contract. Furthermore, they did not include Superintendent Lewis in their decision. Mr. Gilbert’s law firm has billed the district thousands of dollars ($27,000) for the month of August that is outrageous considering some of his billable hours were for the work of his associate Karen Sears (at $375 per hour) to research NRS statues and board policies. New board polices that are moving away from time-tested policies and “best practices” that have served the district and your students for years. Now Jensen, Burns and Dickerson are seeking to take away Mr. Lewis’ ability to send messages to families. They are considering to mandate “all communication” (censorship) go through the board. They say it is OK because they will provide you with a newsletter after the fact in regard to what changes in board policy, etc. they have made without public input. In the history of Douglas County Schools there has never been such a subversive group of trustees that is so counter-productive to your child’s education. I make this statement because I have been employed and involved in the school district since 1976. We used to have board members whose agendas involved the benefit of student learning not their political agenda. They are more occupied with changing school policy to further their cause than addressing your child’s educational needs.
In closing, I would encourage all parents who have children enrolled in the Douglas County Schools to support their schools, teachers, administrators and the district’s superintendent. To quote Mr. Taormina’s (Letter to the Editor 9-20-23) perception on the role of the Superintendent, staff and role of the School Board: “ The expertise needed to provide education lies with the superintendent, the administration, the teacher and the feedback from parents and students. The board should provide guidance when needed based on standards for performance by the providers with feedback from parents, students, and developing trends.”
Not to promote their political agenda and status.
Remember parents, the money the board members are spending on attorney fees, etc. is excessive and is coming from your child’s educational coffers.
W H Robison
Proud of school board trustees
We are so proud of the newly elected school Board Trustees: Jansen, Burns and Dickerson who have formed a majority with Doug Englekirk in an effort to better the DCSD. Each, despite rude, constant, and counterproductive attacks from some of the losers in the last election, have kept their promise to the people who elected them by substantial margins. This is unusual, as many elected representatives abandon their principles soon after elective office is achieved. It is easier this way.
Not so with the above four. Some of the losers from the last election seem to have made it their life’s work to criticize, insult and obstruct. We are sorry for these people. They certainly didn’t learn their lack of manners from their mothers, so they must have picked it up from their own schooling, in which case this is one of the many reasons why, contrary to their shrill denials, our school system needs to take a hard, constructive look at itself. If we all could get along, imagine how far we could go to help the children.
We wish the new Board majority well and implore them to stay the productive course they are on.
Three cheers for Hales
At least three cheers for Sharla Hales from parents, students and residents. Sharla was one of the Douglas Schools “committee of 21” close to 3 decades ago. The results of that group effort passed a needed school bond, changed the superintendent, and resulted in improved academic performance in the county for decades. She was a big part of the group effort.
The current board leadership seems to be on the wrong track. They should invite Sharla to speak in depth at their next meeting — and listen for a change.