The Colville School Board had a meeting on November 12, 2014. The agenda states the purpose of the meeting as “Superintendent Selection Process”. I want to show the public how our school board really works, and this meeting is a perfect example. This is just a verbatim transcript. I will extrapolate important details and comments in another post.
Please accept my apologies for any mis-spellings, or complete blotch up jobs on anyone’s names. If you contact me, I will correct any errors.
Since this was an official school board meeting, you can get a copy of the digital recording of the meeting. To do this, you can put in a Public Records Request. See the post, How To Put In a Public Records Request to learn how to do that.
TRANSCRIPTS OF MEETING
Call to Order
Pledge of allegiance
1. Sid Green I’d like to thank everybody for coming tonight. Before we get started, I know there might be people in here who don’t know who the board is. My name is Sid Green, I’m the president of the board, Dr. Sandy Moore, Vice President, Krista Ohrtman, Sarah Newman, Dr. Rob Sumner.
2. So without further ado, I’m going to call on Krista to give us an update on the state of the schools.
3. Krista Ohrtman Thank you for coming, I’d like to echo that, it’s great to see so many faces. Turn me up if you need to, my voice is kind of small. There, hows that? Can any of you hear me way in the back? And if I make a face like this, it’s not because I’m upset, the lights are just bright.
4. So – how’s that? (Sandy Moore steps up to adjust the microphone). So I’ve been on the school board about 18 months. I’m probably still, I’m the second least experienced member of the board. One of the things I’ve noticed is that when there is bad news about the schools, or the work that the school board is trying to do, it goes like this (spreads arms dramatically apart) and spreads like crazy, which is ok. But when we have good news, it is a lot harder to get that word out to the folks. So right now I’m going to share with you sort of what the board has been working on the last few months and some of it is good news. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail, because we want to get your input tonight, not necessarily listen to us talk. But I want to share some information with you and if the comments that I share bring up questions or you’d like more details, please talk to me after, and if I don’t have the answers, I will help you get them.
5. So let’s see. One of the primary rolls of the board is to set and oversee the budget. Our budget process this year was different than the one I participated in a year ago. In that instead of talking about lots of details about which money is spending where, and what fund it’s coming from, and all of that. Our conversation is really more focused on what are we going to do with the money that we have. What are the goals that we have for the district, how can we make that happen with the resources that we’ve been given, how do we be responsible with the money, especially that the community has given us through the levy?
5. So some of the boards direction, and you’ll hopefully realize some of the irony in this, is we wanted to make sure there were lots of options for our students, so electives, vocational ed, all of those sorts of things, we wanted to keep our class sizes as low as possible. We wanted to grow our reserve, and wanted to make sure that we spent the levy money the way that we said we were going to spend it. So all of those things; keep classes low, give lots of elective offerings, grow the reserve, those all cost money, and we just have the same amount of money to spend.
7. So the budget process was good in that we were – by staying focused on what we want to do with the money, what we want to do for kids, we could make progress towards all of those goals instead of getting tied up in little details. So the process was clear. We had two public budget hearings instead of one this year:
July 21, 2014 Special School Board Meeting 5:30pm:
August 27, 2014 Special School Board Meeting 5:30pm:
8. And they were both accompanied by an informative presentation from our Interim Superintendent about how we would be spending the money to support out kids. So that was a positive process. So you guys can nod or don’t.
9. Let’s see, another important project that the board works on a lot is our policies and procedures. That project of updating the policies manual, which is, I’m not kidding, this big (gestures with hands) is going to take us a long time to get all the way through. But we are doing a few policies every month and making they are reflecting what’s responsible, and what’s prudent, and what’s going to help our kids learn to be safe. So that’s one of the projects that we are going to be working on.
10. Some notes about the district in general, State testing, and how we measure success of our kids is something that’s in flux right now, but we do know that Colville High School students are out performing the state on the SAT and Washington state is the fourth highest SAT scorer in the Nation. So Washington gets good SAT scores; Colville out performs the state average. So that’s something that we can be proud of.
11. We have a lot of offerings for our students in terms of additional things to help them feel excited about coming to school. Lots of activities, lots of electives. Those are really important because we want to educate the whole child, not just reading and math and science and all those things that we are accountable to, but we need to have ways for our kids to feel a part of a community and have another reason to get excited about coming to school. So we want to protect those offerings that we have for our kids.
12, Our class sizes, which is something that I feel strongly about. I would like them to be lower, always, and that’s not an easy thing to achieve. In the most recent collective bargaining agreement, that’s the contract we have with our teachers, we negotiated a lower class size, you know, our bench mark. Generally, the class sizes are coming down. There are still a few exceptions. We still have some work to do, but I’m happy about the direction that we’re headed in that way also.
13. Those are, what I would say, some of the main work that the board is doing. I also want to share some of the – there are five initiatives that our administration are working on right now and they’re all tied in together. You can imagine a circle like this (gestures with hands), so technology is a huge piece that we’re working on. Right Steven? (laughter) That impacts all these other things. So we have a new assessment model that we have to use to assess our students growth, which requires technology. The assessment model requires that our teachers are working with new curriculum, often, to meet the new standards, which we need to test using technology. And we also have a new teacher evaluation system, which is contingent on the standards, which is contingent on the assessment, which is contingent on the technology.
14. So all of these things, technology, assessment, curriculum, standards and teacher evaluation are all entwined. They are five huge areas that our staff are working really really hard to address all at the same time. And so I can’t say enough about the staff who work with our kids every day, and those who are taking on extra projects to try to bring those initiatives that we need to get us where we need to be, on top of the work that they are doing every day for our kids. So that’s a project – a little bit every day.
15. I think that is most of what I want to say. Again, if I said something that was wrong, or you disagree with, feel free to come up and [set your own voice?]. And if there are any details that you’d like more, talk to me after, and I’ll help you find them. And I want to invite everyone who’s here, and everyone who is not here, to join us for any school board meeting in the future. We want your feedback, we welcome it, and thank you again for being here.
16. Sandy Moore Ok, I’m way shorter than Krista. Can you hear me ok? (Adjusting microphone) I’m not getting up because she said anything wrong, actually, she did a great job, thank you very much Krista, for presenting that.
17. I’m only here, and I do promise we are really mostly here to hear from you, so we’ll get to you very very shortly. But I wanted to just take a brief moment to provide you with a little background and let you know what it is that we are trying to accomplish here tonight and why we invited you all here. (12:05)
18. So starting with background. The timing – oh and I’ll just say, usually I talk way too much, everyone can vouch for that. So what I did was I wrote my notes down and I promised I’d stick to my notes so I wouldn’t natter off for too long.
19. The timing of Superintendent Cashion’s decision to retire last May left the board with only a few short weeks to hire an interim superintendent. Because of this timing restraint, we made the very difficult choice to do a closed hiring process that didn’t involve the public or staff members. The board posted the job nationwide. We vetted six candidates, we interviewed the top three and we hired Pete Lewis as our interim superintendent.
20. Now, at that time, we made a public promise that we would fill the superintendent position permanently. We’d hire a professional to lead us in the full superintendent hiring process that would include participation by parents, staff and other community members. Now, we can still do the full search, just like we said we would. We want to honor the promise that we made back in June. We value public input and we truly want public participation as we make this very very important decision.
21. That said, we have a lot more information now than we did last May. The most important piece of new information that we have is that many people agree Mr. Lewis is doing an excellent job in our district. So before we launch into a costly and time consuming search process, we want to find out if that’s what you, our community, really wants us to do.
22. So to set the stage, I’m trying to line up some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a professional to help us conduct a full superintendent search. I’m going to start by giving the advantages:
– We would honor the promise we made to the public
– We could include members of the public and district staff in the hiring process.
– We might find a superintendent who is a better fit for our district than Mr. Lewis.
23. On the disadvantage side:
– A search could cost us up to $10,000, that would be district funds.
– A search could take – would definitely take considerable time for both staff and board members.
– A search would cause disruption to the district both during the search process itself, and if the new superintendent’s hired.
– Another disadvantage is we would most likely have to sign a three year contract with any permanent superintendent.
24. We’ve had four and a half months to watch Mr. Lewis work, but any new hire would be an unknown quantity. If he or she didn’t work out well in our district, we would still have to honor that three year contract.
25. – And finally, at our October board meeting, all five board members said they were very happy with Mr. Lewis’ performance. Lots of other staff members have said the same thing. And Mr. Lewis expressed his desire to stay here in Colville. If we conduct a full superintendent search, Mr. Lewis will realistically have to pursue other positions and we would run the risk that another district might lure him away and we would be left without him.
26. So tonight, this is what I want all of you to tell us:
– How do you think things are going in our district right now?
– What characteristics would you like to see in a superintendent?
– Do you think the advantages of doing a full superintendent search outweigh the disadvantages?
– If not, then what alternative process would you like to see us use to hire a superintendent?
27. So with that, I’m going to end my comments and open it up to the audience and I’ve got two very kind ASB leadership representatives who will wander around with wireless microphones. If you have a question or comment, just raise your hand, they’ll hand you a microphone and the rest of us will listen to your comments.
28. Sid Green Ok, we are going to open it up to you guys. These two nice young ladies down here, each will have a mike. I want you to keep your comments, if you will to three to five minutes because we have a lot of people, and let’s get everybody said. So, Rebecca. Gabby’s on this side, Rebecca’s over here. Gabby give it to Mr. Martin. When you stand up, stand up to talk and give us your full name. Hello?
29. Scott Martin Hello? Hi, my name is Scott Martin. I guess the first point is a point of order. Under the agenda it says Superintendent Selection Process.
30. Audience Member Hold the mike up please.
31. Scott Martin The agenda says Superintendent Selection Process as the item. I came here to discuss the process of hiring a superintendent, not whether or not we would do it. It sounds like you guys want us to give you permission to break a promise. I came here prepared to discuss the process, selecting – the superintendent selecting process. Is that what we are going to discuss or not?
32. Sandy Moore (Sounds like she says ‘right’, but she doesn’t have a mike and is difficult to hear)
33. Scott Martin Well, you’re asking the public input whether to keep Pete Lewis or not. That would be a non agenda item, so I don’t think that would be appropriate. That’s why it’s a point of order.
34. Sandy Moore We have to hire a permanent superintendent. Pete is on a one year contract. I’m sorry we didn’t make that clear.
35. Audience Member You made it very clear!
36. Scott Martin You made it very clear you wanted input on whether or not to keep Pete Lewis, but that’s not a “Superintendent Selection Process”.
37. Audience Crosstalk
38. Sandy Moore … the process that we go through (garbled) Pete’s contract to decide to hire a permanent superintendent. I’m happy to (garbled) …
39. Scott Martin Well, here’s the point, I came here prepared to discuss the process of hiring a superintendent. I did not come prepared to discuss whether or not we are going to do the process.
40. Sid Green So the point of order is you’re already arguing.
41. Audience laughter
42. Scott Martin The point of order is, are you going to follow the agenda item? Because if you have a discussion based on something other than an agenda item …
43. Sid Green You are here to decide whether we do a complete search for a superintendent or keep the one we’ve got.
44. Scott Martin That’s not on the agenda.
45. Sid Green You said that four times now, move on.
46. Audience laughter
47. Scott Martin I guess I’m done.
48. Sid Green Thank you. Anyone else?
49. Lorie Sandaine I’m Lorie Sandaine and I’m a (garbled) graduate. I’m also a daughter of a retired school administrator from Colville. I also have four children here in the school district, and I think more importantly I was one of the only community members on the levy committee this past spring.
50. I wanted to come tonight because I think that – I’ve heard really good things about Mr. Lewis. I’ve heard great things about the district and what you guys are doing and I really really like your objectives that you guys are working on. I’ve seen improvement over the last few years. As many of you know from the school board, I was a vocal person to many of the school board members at school board meetings when all that crap went down with Emmil.
51. Audience laughter
52. So, forgive me if you feel a little frustration still in my voice. You made a promise. I went and reached out to community members with that promise, to get them to pass our levy. We passed the levy so that to show as a sign we were giving the new board that we want this to work and we want to trust you again. And when I say you guys, not just you guys personally, but the district again.
53. I think you can do the search for us. I get that it’s $10,000, I get that it’s $10,000 that maybe could go someplace else, but that’s less than one percent of your payroll for the month of October. Less than one percent. I think that Pete Lewis is probably the right choice for this community, I think that he’s probably going to do a fantastic job based on what I’ve heard. I think that he deserves to earn that spot. With us, with the community, with the parents, with the business people who offer us programs and give money to help with basketball programs and baseball programs and drama.
54. When I was in ASB here at CHS, one of the things I learned is that people tend to support that which they help create. Let us help create that for you. We’ve been kind of shut out for a long time, it feels. We’ve been lied to. Yes you guys have done a better job of trying to remedy that. So I’m here to say, I think you need to include us in this decision. If Pete Lewis is the best person for the job, then he will be our superintendent. If he’s as great as people think he is, then he’ll be our superintendent. Let him earn that. Let us be a part of it.
55. Light applause
56. Eric Schweitzer Ok, my name is Eric Schweitzer and I live down there in Arden and I have one child in school. Anyway, I don’t really know Mr. Lewis that well, but what I’ve heard of him, he’s been doing a pretty good job. And if it’s going to cost $10,000 to do another search, I don’t see why as adults we can’t say ‘look, ok, they made a promise to go through this process’. That’s just more time, more energy and $10,000 to look for another one.
57. Is Mr. Lewis doing a good job? If that – if he is in fact doing a good job, to me, that’s earning that position. If he really cares about the kids, the area and the community, let him stay. Save us the money.
58. Vigorous applause
59. Max Harris Hi, I’m Max Harris, I have one daughter and I’m also a volunteer staff member. And where would the $10,000 come from? Would it come away from our students? And he’s already doing a good job, I’m with the gentleman that just spoke. Why don’t we ask him to stay? From the people I’ve talked to, students and staff, he’s showed up at school a lot more than our last superintendents have. So it’s my idea that we just hire him and get it over with.
60. Vigorous applause
61. Audience Member Yeah! Go Indians!
63. Dusty Stark I’m not sure where to start, I have a bunch of kids in a bunch of schools
64. Audience “We can’t hear you” – “A little louder” – “Speak up please”
65. Dusty Stark I feel like – I’ve been going to school board meetings for a few months now. I feel like our school district needs a serious look at how we’re preparing our kids for adult lives. I went to my kids conferences, my younger children’s conferences and they’re learning things that are not applicable to life these days.
66. I feel if we are going to hire a superintendent, whoever it may be, $10,000 is not a lot to make sure we get the right one. We need to find someone that’s going to move into the future with the future. I feel like – and maybe it’s this way all over the state – I don’t know because I don’t deal with many school issues.
67. Our technology that we teach the kids, especially in the lower levels – I mean, what they get at home is way more than they ever get in school. I feel like – I just don’t feel – and maybe this is the problem of the country as a whole. I just don’t feel that our students are prepared to be adults when they get out of school. I don’t feel like my fifth grader is prepared to be a sixth grader, I don’t feel like she’s going be at the end of the year. I didn’t feel like she was prepared to be a fifth grader at the end of fourth grade.
68. And that, along with safety, which you would know is a big issue with me. $10,000 in this day and age is not that much money, but we got to make sure whoever you find to do it is going to do it and they are prepared to make the hard decisions. Prepared to work with you guys, who also need to make the hard decisions so our students are safe and prepared to move on whether it’s grade to grade or into adulthood.
69. Sid Green Thank you
70. Light applause
71. Linda Lovitt My name is Linda Lovitt and I used to work with this district. I’ve been retired for quite a while and I don’t think I’ve ever heard as many compliments about a superintendent as I have heard about this one. And just sitting here listening to everyone, I mean, I can understand both sides of the situation. You know, to me, common sense says you have a great superintendent and you have one that relates to all the employees in the district as well as I hear Mr. Lewis does.
72. I don’t know him personally, I’m just going by hearsay, but what a find you already have. And he gets along with everybody, that’s what’s so neat. And he’s supportive and he’s a listener I hear. And he’s a problems solver, and that’s huge. And yes, I know it’s so hard. It is so hard to be in public education today. And when you have found a man who wants to live in Colville, and likes Colville, and he understands how to be a superintendent , and he understands the problems of this district.Why spend $10,000 to go with someone else?
73. Vigorous applause – whistle
74. Kevin Mahugh Thank you. Kevin Mahugh and I’m here mostly because I’ve been a parent for a student here in Colville. They’ve been through the whole system and I am extremely invested in the system. Great comments tonight.
75. I know what Lorie means when you talk about commitment to the community. There are huge commitments when you go support a levy. I also know that $10,000 is, from what I’ve heard, the very very cheapest that the district will end up spending. It could be 12, 15, 18 thousand dollars. I’ve been involved in administrative searches and interviews and the process before. It mounts up fast. It’ll be more money and it comes right up out of the coffers of the school district. It’s got to come from somewhere.
76. Mr. Lewis said he did enjoy Colville school district so far immensely. He’s hugely vested in it. As the lady just said, we’ve got a gentleman that is willing to stay in this community. I’ve heard him make that comment to some board members. I support him in the roles that I see him in. I also see the district administrators across the board work immensely hard to be transparent. Show the community that they are living up to their promises while meeting the work that they’re giving the board members each month on how they’re going to spend the money and how the levy’s going to go. And I’ve seen a board that’s held their thumb on him for wanting to know those answers.
77. Mr. Lewis probably will not be here if we do a board search, so it’s not a matter of waiting around to see who you get in the search and then taking the best of Mr. Lewis. Any good administrator, once the word is out, and he knows that the district is looking for a candidate. If you are a valued and good hard working employee, there’s going to be somebody else out there that’s going to offer a dollar more. And in today’s market, that’s all it takes is a dollar more to get an employee. And he will go and he will find another wonderful community. There’s many of them like Colville that have great teaching staffs and administrators to work in.
78. So I imagine I’m about at the end of my time, but don’t think he’s here if you do a search; he may, or he may not be. Keep that in mind. I think this is a huge step towards the transparency part of the boards committment to reach out to the people and let them know what – and has asked everybody here whether they should do a search. I think that goes a long ways on the boards part, so I appreciate the board for doing that today.
79. Vigorous applause
80. Sid Green Anyone else? I don’t see anyone.
81. Kory Martin Right here in the back. I’m Kory Martin, I used to be a student here, you know me from the son of Scott and Lynette who you know very well. My point is your spending $10,000 for a search right? If we were to do this, roughly, right?
82. Silence (no answer from the board).
83. Kory Martin My point is you spend $10,000, you do a search, you could find someone better. But you don’t know, so you probably should find out. The other thing is if Pete Lewis leaves while we are searching, while we have high hopes for him, he might not be the guy to keep in the first place.
84. The other thing is we are spending money on superintendents right? It could be him, it could be somebody else. We have that money allotted in the slots anyway, we just have to figure out who to pay. So why not search? There’s no harm in doing it other than Pete Lewis might leave, but if he might leave, he might not want to stay anyway. That’s my point.
85. I don’t know him. The only thing I know about him is hearsay, so I don’t know. You want to find a guy who wants to stay here and stay with you even through odds that might go against him. That’s the kind of guy you would want on the job. And that’s my two cents anyway.
86. Sid Green Thank you
87. Light applause
88. Sid Green Anybody else? Right here. Rebecca, Rebecca. Go back there. Rebecca. Go ahead.
89. Sarah Franko I’m Sarah Franko and I teach here at Fort Colville elementary, the third grade. And wow, I’m really nervous. It’s surprising
90. Audience Member Speak up please
91. Sarah Franko Oh. Anyway, having been teaching in our district for 11 years, I’ve seen us go through three superintendents and it (garbled) to me on negotiations committee this spring to see the fresh air of Pete Lewis actually standing at the white board expressing his goals of future plans for Colville in the next two to three years … (garbled). He had a vision for our district (garbled). And as a teacher (garbled).
92. Vigorous applause
93. Audience Member So I’m surprised I’m even speaking to this group of people. I am lucky, I think, to have gotten to meet Pete Lewis. I am the treasurer of the (garbled), and I’ve been there since 2011 and this is the first time that a superintendent reached out to us in order to see if there’s – If we can work together in order to make our kids more prepared coming into Kindergarten. I thought that was fantastic because he reached out to us. I had some concerns and talked to Rob Sumner. He got his number to him and it was almost immediate. I was really impressed with that. So hearing a lot of people saying they didn’t have first hand experience with him, I did, so I can tell you that he really impressed me and I’m hard to impress.
94. And I think that there could be a middle ground here. Either we do or we don’t. We need to let people voice their opinions, but why don’t we kind of go over some of the (garbled) of what people would like to see in our superintendent. And before we gates, the flood gates (garbled). See if he meets the community standards. Like if we could (garbled) him ourselves. And not just this one person, I don’t know if that’s a possibility. I just – I don’t see black and white, I see a grey answer here.
95. Light applause
96. Greg Dahlen Greg Dahlen, 12 year graduate Colville High School school district. I’ve got a son, currently a student. I was also a member of the levy board and first of all, we can do a lot more with that $10,000. $10,000 will supply an entire classroom full of computers, I would rather see it spent that way. I’d also rather see a better sound system in here too.
98. Greg Dahlen Basically, what we haven’t talked about is qualifications. Does the school board have a list of qualifications for a superintendent they’ve made up? Question.
99. Sandy Moore Yes we do. When we put out a search for an interim superintendent, we created a list of required and preferred qualifications (garbled).
100. Greg Dahlen Ok, does Mr. Lewis meet or exceed any of the qualifications?
101. Sandy Moore Exceeds most of them
102. Greg Dahlen Ok, is that from all the school board? Do you all agree on that?
103. Male voice without microphone (maybe Sid?) Absolutely
104. Greg Dahlen So you all agree that he either meets or exceeds the qualifications for superintendent. Correct?
105. Several voices Yes, yeah
106. Greg Dahlen Alright, well, over the last four years, there’s been continuous upheaval in our school district. That’s not good, not only for the district, but the community. And the community is tired of the upheaval, they want to see this taken care of. The – I’d appreciate a little more stability in the superintendent’s office and I’ve met Mr. Lewis. I’m very impressed. If we’ve got a gentleman here who either meets or exceeds our criteria, we’re very lucky and I’m asking the school board to retain Mr. Lewis.
107. Moderate applause
108. Audience Member (garbled) graduated from (garbled) school (garbled) teacher here, I’m a teacher in another district. I guess we’ve heard a lot of hearsay about Pete Lewis and how wonderful he is. And to hear that, really in this community, it’s pretty amazing. We haven’t heard a bad thing about him. At the same time, I really value a process. We’ve been burned before by not following a policy or a process of interviewing to find the best candidate. You know, so I’m kind of torn, and I’m sort of looking for like this bright beginning. Looking for some middle ground.
109. As I’ve said, so many of us, we’ve heard about him, but we’ve never met him. I wonder if some kind of middle ground would be – Is there an opportunity for the community to meet him and ask him some questions. I mean, because all we have is hearsay. And I want to believe and I want to save $10,000. You know, but again, a commitment was made to us that we would have a say and we haven’t. So I don’t know if that’s helpful, but that’s the way I feel.
110. Light applause
111. Sandy Moore He would have happily showed up tonight to answer questions, but he thought it might make people uncomfortable to say negative things about him, so we, as a board suggested that he not attend this meeting. Just as a general thing, you can pick up the phone and call Pete and ask him anything. He’ll pick up the phone and talk to you (garbled). He is a very comfortable person. But I love your idea (garbled and very difficult to hear because she has no mike)
112. Sid Green Ok.
113. Wes Matlock My name is Wes Matlock, I’ve lived here for a little over 60 years. I’ve paid taxes to this school for a little over 40. I’ve had all of my children graduate from this school. I’ve currently got grandchildren in this school district. I’m self employed, I do not get a dollar out of this school district, I am on the other side of that. I’m always paying in. But when I pay in and feel like I get something out of it, I’m very happy to pay in.
114. When things happen that I’m not so happy to see, I’m not in the middle of the fence, I have an opinion. And the opinion that I have with the money that we’ve spent on some of our last superintendents to go away is a very bitter pill for me to swallow. And I’m trying to get over that, and I think one of the ways to get over that is to do this right. And we have had the luxury of test driving this superintendent now for six months, or however long he’s been here, and I think that’s a great luxury.
115. I’ve been involved in several of these administrative searches before. I’d be very surprised if we get it done for $10,000 and the searches will be highly manipulated by either NEW ESD101 or the organizational professional organizational groups that sponsor those searches to get their own people in, that they – their own buddies, their own people in there (garbled). They are highly manipulated searches.
116. When you talk about the money we’re going to spend to do this search, I have very little confidence in the fact that we’re going to get the results out of it that we already have. You do not have to be lucky or privileged to meet this man and talk to him. He has been very open with bringing people in and talking to them and answering their questions. Talk to your staff members that you know, see what they have to tell you. I mean, that’s very easy to do. If anybody in here does not have any opinion on what Mr. Lewis is, I would say it’s your own fault. You need to be a little bit more involved with that.
117. As far as I’m concerned, the promise that the school board made was not – was a promise to provide us with quality leadership. And the fact that your not – that the communities not represented here holds no water with me at all. The representation that we have, the people that we vote for, right up there (points to school board) and they’re supposed to do their job. And if they’re doing their job and if they’re happy with what this superintendent is doing, then to me, that’s the major part of what we’re trying to do.
118. But whenever you talk about the money that we’re spending, as far as the budget, the percent of the budget, it may be a smaller percentage, but these budgets are highly dominated by non-discretionary spending funds that when you take 10 or 15 thousand dollars out of that, you have very little funds left for improving the sound system in this room, or hiring any technical support, or providing more computers, or anything else. So here again, I’m not on the middle fence here. I say retain Mr. Lewis and hold his feet to the fire to make sure that he does the job.
119. I’m damn sure we’re not paying somebody $300,000 to go away again because we don’t like their – what their performance is. So I think it’s upon you folks to set those standards and hold them accountable for whatever they do and quit asking the community to come up with more money for things that I feel are of very little use and we get very little out of. It’s my view to retain who we’ve got and I think the fact that he’s been here long as he has he can speak for himself, we don’t need to have me speak for him or anybody else. I think he’s done the job.
120. Moderate applause with cheers
121. Bill Pifer Hi, I’m Bill Pifer. I attend school board meetings on a regular basis. I started back when Ken Emmil was doing his thing, when the board was different. So I saw all that, and probably was in that group that started to make some waves as to what was going on. So to me, there is some revisionist history that’s going on here.
122. You got rid of Mr. Emmil and we brought in Mr. Cashion. And Mr. Cashion got the same kind of praises (right now) when he started out as Mr. Lewis got. I know Mr. Lewis, I’ve met him. I think he’s probably doing a great job. So when Michael was here for 18 months, then there were questions about how it was running, and I can assume in 18 months there’s going to be questions about Mr. Lewis. Whenever you’re in an administrative position you make decisions and that makes people upset or happy. One or the other and there’s never really quite the middle ground.
123. So when I came here, I didn’t know we were an either or. Either we retain Mr. Lewis or we go into a search. And yet, listening to this crowd it becomes very clear to me that that information was out there to other people somewhere along the line because there’s kind of a universal feeling here about how good Mr. Lewis is. I think he’s ok. I think he’s got a good start.
124. So to me, when we talk about process. Process is what makes things work. You talked about going through a search. I don’t see why we are in this either or and I’m surprised as I’m here that we’re in this either or. I’m kind of with this lady over here who talked about grey areas. This school district educated my son, and I have the disagree with Dusty a little bit, they did an excellent job.
125. Dusty (jokingly) How dare you.
127. Bill Pifer Well Dusty and I have been at a few meetings together, so we know we can do that. They did a great job, they did a great job, and so to me, the issue of maintaining that quality is getting the right person for the job. If there is a glow about Pete Lewis at this time, I’m happy. But the glow will always dim, and you told us that you would find us an interim superintendent. And you told us then you would go ahead with a long range plan. And I sat in those board meetings and heard you say that.
128. I come to this meeting and now its , there are negatives and there are positives and we got to figure out what we’re doing. I think it’s let the chips fall where they may. I think it is you go through the process. I think the fact that promise was made. I didn’t see it as a promise, I saw it as a process you chose for going through. So I’m not going to say it was your promise. But to me, I got the impression that that’s what we were going to do.
129. So when I came here and I heard this discussion, I was surprised. And so I leave it at that, but I compliment the school district on what it’s done. I compliment the school district on how it’s used it’s money. I supported the levy. I was involved in the levy process and helped pick that number. I stuck my neck back out and I told people about it. I continue to support that. I’ll continue to support you. But I will be a little chagrined if we turn around and move our interim superintendent into a full time superintendent position without having gone through some type of process. Some grey area maybe, but I don’t like the either or. Thank you.
130. Light applause
131. Sandy Moore (Speaking without a microphone again). I’d like to say (garbled) is hiring somebody (garbled) is do the positives outweigh the disadvantages and should we follow that process or do you have some other idea. Is there some other process that we could go through. I hear what you’re saying Bill, that’s what it sounds like (garbled) audience, but what I’m trying to layout was (garbled) any other ideas (garbled).
132. Bill Pifer I really don’t like to do a response, but the way you presented it, (is handed a mike and speaks into it) the way you presented it sounded very clearly to me as an either or.
133. Audience Member Yep
134. Bill Pifer So I didn’t get it necessarily from the audience in the beginning, I got it from you, but as I listened to the audience, I got the either or.
135. Sandy Moore (no mike) Sorry (garbled)
136. Leslie Waters I’m Leslie Waters (garbled) medical center and so in that job I’m in the business of finding new doctors, finding professionals and it’s not an easy thing finding good people. Especially good people who are willing to come to a small community and stay and put down roots. And I appreciate the fact that he was going to be an interim and may still remain an interim, but when you find someone, and you’ve had a chance to work with them and you discover that they might be just exactly what you’re looking for, it’s something you don’t want to let go of too easily. Because people – good people are really hard to find. So I would put in a plug for at least seriously considering keeping this person who seems to be just what we need.
137. Vigorous applause
138. Lynette Ritchie Lynette Ritchie, I’m elementary music teacher here and we’ve heard from a couple of staff members, but not many of us. And I got to meet Pete because my job was kind of in a limbo spot this year because of the levy coming in and so forth. The one thing that I appreciated when I first met Pete was the first thing he said is “what’s philosophically correct for the students.” And that has been consistent since I met him. And I hear you guys. You guys left the board – last board meeting early and that’s why you didn’t hear that this meeting was – that these guys are trying to honor what they said they were going to do.
139. But, what’s happened is, we have lucked out at this district. I have been in education for 25 plus years and very seldom found a superintendent that works the way Pete does, and he’s so professional. And on the other flip side, so personable. And if there is a way to make everyone happy and like they were talking about the grey areas. I know and I think (garbled) I know that he would probably have no problem whatsoever standing up at another meeting like this and taking questions. Because that’s the kind of man he is.
140. And like I said, in the music department, I’m always in limbo. $10,000? That would buy a lot of music stuff. That would buy a lot of technology stuff. We really need to think about that because that’s the low end.
141. And another thing I don’t think people are hearing is, we might not get to keep him. And it’s not his choice. The process of making that decision and going through the whole process and not knowing where he’ll be. Would any of us say, well maybe I’ll wait and maybe I’ll have a job and maybe I wouldn’t? I don’t think so. And we could lose him. So if there is a middle way we could do it and make everyone happy. I’m sure Pete would be willing to do it, and we need to think about it. Let’s make everyone happy.
142. Moderate applause
143. Lloyd Ward My name is Lloyd Ward and I’ve had a son in this district and grand children. Was on the levy committee and been very supportive of the school. Happened to vote for the levy. I was also associated as a staff member in the past.
144. My concern was the grey area and I would just ask the question, if you went through the hiring process, I haven’t heard it described how the community would be involved in that. Say you had a panel of superintendent potentials, would they question them? Is that possible for us to do? Has it been suggested of Mr. Lewis? And the grey area – grey area I think is very important because there are those that feel that your word needs to be kept. And so how do we address that?
145. I would think that the meeting where he comes to talk, and then some clarification on your part about what you would do if you went through that $10,000 process as it relates to people having input. Cause I think most of the decisions about that $10,000 process rests with you. So where would these folks – where would we be involved in that. I think that’s the gap we’re looking at here. And if Mr. Lewis can be transparent and be here and able to address those things that we would if it was a whole panel of potential superintendents, then at least you’ve done that part.
146. Light applause
147. Audience Member My name is Annie (not understood). Thank you for giving us an opportunity to weigh in on the hiring process, I appreciate that. And I also appreciate your willingness to – your concern for transparency and openness and your willingness to talk to the community.
148. When Mr. Lewis was hired as our (puts mike closer)- When Mr. Lewis was hired as our interim superintendent, we did go through a hiring process. That hiring process was clear and clean and he was chosen as the best candidate. Now we’ve had the opportunity to work with him for four months on a trial basis and he’s acquitted himself remarkably well. He’s made difficult decisions about the budget, he’s established a cooperative relationship with our teaching staff and he’s shown that he has a leadership style that’s compatible with our community.
149. To begin a search now for a new superintendent who would have to start from scratch, would be, in my opinion, a waste of time and energy and money that could be better used elsewhere in the district. Mr. Lewis has worked hard to understand the challenges that face us in our school and in our community. And we know, because we work with him that he has the ability to face these challenges with us. So I think it’s in the best interest of the school to retain him.
150. Moderate applause
151. Kory Martin Hi it’s me again. Sorry. I just want to make sure. Could you correct me if I’m wrong, but the $10,000 that we spend searching for the new superintendent, can we spend that money on say, music instruments? Can you tell me if we can or cannot?
152. Board (unheard)
153. Kory Martin The board.
154. Sandy Moore (no mike) Yes. We (asked) our money guru and he says yes.
155. Kory Martin Ok, cause I was under the impression that levy funds and specific funding from the school district can only be spent in certain areas, such as hiring money can only be spent hiring people. So if we have $10,000 to hire a person, we cannot spend that money buying equipment cause it’s only allotted for hiring people – hiring people. So that $10,000 can be spent in other places, I have your word on that?
156. Sandy Moore (no mike) (The answer was yes, but I can’t make out the words on the tape)
157. Kory Martin Alright, just wanted to make sure.
158. No applause
159. Lynette Martin Hello? Ok. I’ve been attending school board meetings for five years and all five of those years I’ve been asking them one thing. One thing. to be honest with us. Just be honest, just be open. Because being open is being honest with us.
160. And when Pete was hired, I believe that he was hired in secret and that the board wasn’t doing anything different than what they’d been done in the past. The school went into an executive session. Interviewed three candidates and did not tell us anything about those candidates, not their names, not any information about them. And then said Pete is the best. Well, we don’t know that he’s the best because we didn’t get any information.
161. And the school tried to tell us that they’re not allowed, it’s illegal for them to give out the information on superintendent candidates, which is not true. We talked to the Attorney General’s office and he said it’s at the school’s discretion. The school that Pete came from in Fairbanks had given out every applicant’s name, their information, every question that was asked at the interview, and all of the answers. And then the board sat there and said what they liked about every candidate. They didn’t tell – say what they didn’t like.
162. The -they had four months worth of public input and review for what the public wanted. We didn’t get that with this hiring. We don’t know anything about Pete. What about his past. Well, I can tell you about his past.
163. And I would like everybody here to hear that he was fired in Fairbanks for a total failure of leadership.
164. Audience Member Hearsay
165. Randy Cloke This is a public forum, you better be careful.
166. Lynette Martin He was allegedly
167. Audience Rumblings
168. Lynette Martin fired for a total failure of leadership, for the retention of an employee named Claude Fowlkes III who was a tutor at Hutchinson High School who was arrested in March and charged with six counts of abusing a student sexually in the school.
169. There were significant observations and allegations of grooming the students by this individual. Pete Lewis, or one of his employees allegedly transferred this student from the school where he was grooming students to another building and did not tell the principal that this student – that this tutor was having these problems. And that’s – after that happened is when the – that’s why Pete Lewis got fired, is because he mishandled that situation.
170. Tonight seems to be a vote for or against Mr. Lewis and I think that it was unfair of the school board to put down that this was a superintendent selection process in the newspaper, on the radio, on the flyers and in the agenda, and then come here and tell people that it’s for something different. I don’t think it was fair to the people that might have come to say yes I want you to do a search, because they think this is only about a selection pro – process.
171. I think that student safety should come first in a superintendent and in a school board. And when you have what I consider to be a closed meeting to hire a superintendent and you don’t tell us who the other applicants are – even through a public records request, it’s been denied to us – then you’re not being honest with us. I just want to say – I’ll just finish up with saying that I don’t care about the money for hiring Pete Lewis, I care about our kids and their safety and I think that should come first. Thank you.
172. Light applause
173. Unrecognized Voice Where we at?
174. Allen (not understood) Taxpayer, supporter of levies. I think I even voted for some of you folks.
176. Allen Too late. Damn the process, sorry. It’s end results oriented. You folks, I don’t know, maybe you didn’t paint yourself into a corner, but some times I wonder. But that’s beside the point. The bottom line is you’ve got somebody that has exhibited leadership skills, somebody that has received praise from everybody in the community that I’ve talked to. Some of the allegations made tonight are news to me, and I don’t believe some of that stuff either.
177. Bottom line is you’ve got somebody that looks like they’re doing a real good job. You’re going to go out and potentially find somebody that is not going to be anywhere near measuring up to Pete and start with an unknown quantity. You got somebody that works. You got somebody that does a hell of a job in the community that – from everybody that I’ve talked to. And whatever decision you make, whether there is a grey area you work in, that’s fine. Whatever decision you make will be reflected when y’ all come up for election again.
178. Moderate applause
179. Terry Lawson Can you hear me? So I wrote about three speeches for this. I’m Terry Lawson, born and raised in this community. I was actually a graduate of Colville High School, even lucky enough to be student body president here at this Colville High School. I was chairman of the school board when they built this high school. Modernization of Junior High, Hoffstetter. And it’s really interesting, and I guess as you get older, I enjoy coming to meetings where maybe we can agree to disagree. And you know, cause I read stuff – being on the school board for years, ESD board.
180. Listening to this lady speak over here as I look in public stuff, that family has cost us $11,000, July, August and September for legal fees in Colville School District for information they’ve requested. We’re talking about spending $10,000 for a superintendent search. When I – when we did a national search in the 90’s when I was on the board, we spent $10,000 then. We won’t get out of this for $20,000.
181. And in the past week in my practice of over 40 years, I’ve asked at least 50 people privately in my treatment rooms, tell me what you know about Mr. Lewis. The words come out. Totally professional. The teachers say, ‘been in my classroom’. His neighbor says he leaves at 6 o’clock in the morning. He doesn’t get home until 9 o’clock at night. He’s personally told me, being a superintendent is not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
182. So when we look at all this, I challenge the school board, you have one job according to law. Your job is to hire a superintendent, give them direction, get out of their way, hopefully they will follow your direction and we move on. I challenge all five of you to make that decision. When I was on the board, we made decisions, huge decisions everybody didn’t agree, but you know what, it all worked out in the end, and it all worked out very well. And I challenge every one of you to be able to make this tough decision and do what’s right because you have the right person here.
183. Vigorous applause and a whistle
184. Soft chatter and giggles
185. Clayton Allen Hello? That better? You need a new mike system buddy, it’s not working.
187. Clayton Allen First of all, the number $10,000, get it out of your head, it’s not even close to being real. It’s not even close, don’t even think it. It’s not. And Al you haven’t paid taxes in 50 years, so don’t sit there and say you are a tax payer.
189. Clayton Allen You put all your money in gambling.
190. Al Well that’s taxes.
192. Clayton Allen So a lot of people have been saying this and I’m going to elaborate. I don’t care how many of these meetings you guys have. I don’t care, you can have them weekly, nightly, it doesn’t matter. You’re still going to get the same crowd, you’re still going to get the same people with agenda’s. They’re here tonight. You’re going to get people that gonna support this thing one way or the other.
193. You people need to back it up here. Make a decision and get this done. Have a contract in his hand by the first of the year, and let’s move on. We’ve done this enough.
194. Audience member Yes.
195. Clayton Allen You did the thing. You did the politically correct. Ok Politically correct. Right?
196. Vigorous applause and a whistle
197. Clayton Allen (yelling) Alright! Ok! I’m proud of you. Now move the hell on, let’s get this done! We’ve done this enough. Get it!
198. Laughter, applause
199. Clayton Allen Get your butts in gear!
200. Continued applause and laughter
201. John Goldsmith Good evening, my name’s John Goldsmith and I had a son that was raised here and I’m very proud of. I worked at the school both as a coach and in discipline. I worked in juvenile for many many years and been working around youth.
202. And the issue is, is that whenever you hire somebody sight unseen, even though you’ve talked to them, you get fed what you want to hear. What really is happening here is we’ve had an opportunity to look at somebody and look at them extensively. We have elected a school board and we asked them to make a decision and I think it’s time for them to do that now. We’ve had a chance to preview this man. And just to go around for some absurd process. This is part of the process right here. You’ve come to the public. So I ask you to make a decision and go ahead and vote for Mr. Lewis.
203. Applause and a whistle
204. Sid Green Anybody else?
205. Kathy M. Slager My name is Kathy M. Slager and I’ve had a daughter – we’ve had a daughter here for twelve years. I do not like public speaking, but I will tonight.
207. Many of you in here – all of you care, and that’s why you’re here. On one end or the other of the spectrum. Publicly the middle’s not here tonight. And I agree with everything that’s been said tonight. I came in one way and I’ve been all over the board in how I feel. But I do agree that you all in front were charged with a mission and I got to believe that that’s your job. And if I don’t like it, I won’t vote for you next time. And we’ll let you know if we don’t like Pete Lewis.
208. But the Pete Lewis issue is separate. The honoring of process is separate. And I applaud the school board for making it public that they’re changing the process. And I think that’s why we’re here tonight was to hear about the process. You went public saying oops, we want to change this, and not just ignoring that. So I applaud you for that and I applaud everybody in this room tonight.
209. I had some more trust. Mostly we’ve been hearing about trust or the lack there of and these guys have been trying to dig us out of that. And that’s why we are all over the spectrum. Trust is low, and they’re trying to make the kumbaya’s of building that trust back, and here we are tonight. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the trust issue.
210. I wrote down my salient factors here and I think I hit most of these without my glasses on. I support going forward, saying oops, we’re changing our mind. I don’t like wasting money. I’ve been through 12 years here in Colville with – with kids and supporting kids in school here. And wasting $10,000, it may not be much in a month of salaries but it buys all kinds of things for everybody in this room has their own list. So I say quit wasting time. Don’t waste money. Say we made a mistake and move forward. And everybody work together, instead of working and trying to fracture each other apart. I know. Thank you.
211. Moderate applause
212. Don Robson Good evening, my name’s Don Robson and I’m also a regular attendee of school board meetings. I have been for – for probably just about 5 years, before most anybody on this board has been there. So I’ve heard a lot of what has gone on in meetings for several years.
213. What concerns me is the – well numerous things. Some of it is the process that Pete Lewis was hired. I do have concerns about it. I have concerns that the board hired someone that was just terminated from his previous position due to the results of an investigation that they performed. I’m concerned that the board, when trying to select this superintendent for our schools didn’t even contact the previous school board to get any information from them. I think, I believe I can’t help but feel that that’s negligence. To not contact a previous employer especially when he was terminated due to an investigation.
214. Director Sumner, you know when – when, right when he was hired, you provided a three page review sheet with some information about him. I determined that I – I – based on my research I found that a lot of it wasn’t necessarily true or accurate. I replied with a six page letter and to this date I still haven’t heard anything back.
215. I have had contact with the Fairbanks school board and they have a lot of information to provide. And I’m not sure if they were contacted, he would have been hired in the first place. We do have a history of problems with superintendents, starting – going as far back as Mr. Emmil. And then Mr. Cashion was hired as an interim superintendent. He was brought on as an interim superintendent and then put on as a superintendent.
216. When are we going to do the real process to find – to find the right one? I would rather spend $10,000 or even $20,000 than to have to spend $300,000 to get someone out of contract.
217. Audience Members Yep. Soft chuckle
218. Don Robson Right now – you know Pete Lewis – I don’t want to talk about Pete Lewis, he is a good guy. You know, I’ve had dealings with him. I’m dealing extensively with the district. But that said, he also was just terminated from a job and I know that if I was terminated from a job I would be putting my best foot forward in any position that I was in.
219. Audience Member That’s right
220. Don Robson You know, what is the long term results going to be. I don’t know, but I do think that we, that you owe it to the public to do a good search and to actually be transparent with that search.
221. I was there when you were doing the hiring process for Pete Lewis, and you are very adamant about not telling us who the other candidates even were. And like somebody brought up, many other school districts publish that information. You can go on to the Fairbanks school board web site and find, I don’t know, there’s about 40 pages of information when they hired Pete Lewis When will you be that transparent? That’s all. Thanks.
222. Light Applause
223. Sandy Moore (no mike) Fairbanks is in Alaska. Alaska is a different state than Washington. They have different types of rules than we do. We follow our types of rules, they follow theirs. Yes, we are perfectly aware of (garbled) arbitration. We also (garbled). But I can assure you I personally spent hours and hours researching with due diligence, called references (garbled) and I feel very very confident that (garbled). And all of you know people get fired for all sorts of reasons (garbled – missed a lot here, it’s extremely difficult to hear.) I feel very strong about (garbled) Pete Lewis. So believe me if you have any, any questions about his character (garbled)
224. Audience Member Can we see that information?
225. Sid Green Who has the mike? Go Gabby. Who has the mike?
227. Ann McMillan I never talk in public, so forgive me if I stutter. My name is Ann McMillan. My husband Scott and I are graduates from Colville high school. I have two high-schoolers here. I also have a daughter who graduated from Colville High School.
228. I just got to tell you hands down, you guys don’t realize that we have the best quality teachers and educators here. Most of them are master teachers. You know, I have been to a lot of these meetings. I was kind of surprised that we’re even having a meeting tonight to be honest. I kind of already thought we already had a superintendent. I thought that Mr. Lewis was our superintendent. Mr. Cashion I – was our interim superintendent. I thought our – that you guys – we voted you in and your job was to hire a superintendent and you did that.
229. So, you know, I’m like, ok. I’m sorry that – in our business if we had somebody there for six months and they were doing their job and they were doing a damn good job. I’ve only heard one complaint here tonight. We wouldn’t waste another 10, 20, 20 thousand dollars. We’d put that into our business. I say Colville School District needs to put that money into our kids, not into hiring somebody who’s already proved his worth. And, you know, we voted you guys in to do this job. So I support Mr. Lewis, I say we move on. Let you guys do your job. Quit wasting time. Quit wasting money.
230. I’m – I’m a taxpayer here, I’m sick of the waste. I’m sick of the government waste. So, that’s all I want to say.
231. Applause and a whistle
232. Scott Martin Hello, yeah, Scott Martin. Just a few points. I – I unlike my wife, I’m not going to sit there and come up with a bunch of negatives about Pete Lewis. I have a long list here, but I’m not going to bring it up. That’s not what this meeting was about. It was about the process. We’re getting this 10, 20 thousand dollar price tag thrown around. I’ll remind everybody here that three months prior to Ken Emmil getting the boot and being handed $290,000, the board voted unanimously that he was doing a very good job as a superintendent. Unanimously.
233. We are still paying for Ken Emmil’s mis-doing’s. We still owe the state $340,000. We paid him $290,000 to go away. We’re talking about trust in the public here. You guys did make a promise over and over again. Some of you personally to me. As soon as Pete Lewis was hired said, ‘Scott trust me, we will do a full nationwide search and the public will be involved. It’s $20,000. He’s been here 5 months, and yes, I even admit he’s done a good job, but there are issues. I won’t bring them up, but there are many issues involving him and things that are not being done.
234. One issue I will bring up. He’s met with the teachers union multiple times. He’s met with the secretaries union multiple times. He’s met with para educators. He’s met with nutritional specialists. He’s met with maintenance, custodian unions multiple times. As somebody pointed out, I as a public have not been involved in a public meeting with Pete Lewis. He hasn’t invited the public to give their input to him as to what’s going on. Maybe individually, but not as a public.
235. I think you did a dis-service by not allowing Pete here tonight, or suggesting he not be here. I think when you compare what this community went through with Ken Emmil – $290,000 just to go away, and we’re still paying for his mistakes. He broke the law. He had contracts that were illegal. And the board refused to listen to the public. The public was there, month after month after month telling the board Ken Emmil is doing a bad job. But the district, the board refused to listen.
236. Audience Laughter
237. Scott Martin So my point is at this point, please involve the public like you promised. There was a president one time that made a promise, ‘Read my lips, no new taxes’. Most people don’t even know what the tax was that he ended up passing and signing, but they remember he lied to the people. He went back on a promise. And that’s what, to this day, you can remember about him.
238. If you guys go back on your promise to this community, for the cost of 10, 20 thousand dollars, I think the trust of this community is worth that. If you’re sitting there saying oooohh $20,000 or the trust of the community, I would go with the trust of the community and spend the $20,000. Thank you
239. No applause
240. Sid Green Anybody else? Back there in the back row.
241. Kelly Martinez Good evening, my name is Kelly Martinez, I’m a third grade teacher at Fort Colville. (garbled) At the last board meeting, I was there and I was the first person to stand up and say, ‘Hey, you know, a lot of times last year, I heard you say we were going to have a process’. And then we had more of a discussion about it. And the board members, they talked about how ‘yes we did’, and then with the things that we’ve been seeing we think maybe we’re going to change how that process is going to look.
242. And I appreciate it as an educator because in our day it never goes the way you think it is when you walk through that classroom door. If it did we wouldn’t be serving our students the way we should. We change things every single day in our classroom. And our board members were courageous enough and they were smart enough, and they were transparent enough to say ‘hey, we think maybe we’re going to try this a different way, but we want to see what you guys think too’. They didn’t do that behind closed doors.
243. They’ve been talking about having this for a while now and so I as an educator can appreciate they were willing to make a mistake. Not even a mistake, they were willing to say , ‘Hey why don’t we do this instead because it might work better for our community’. And like I said, I can appreciate that as an educator. Because if I went through everything I have on my lesson plan, I wouldn’t be serving my kids. We’re constantly changing, and that’s ok and sometimes that’s what you have to do for the betterment of your community.
244. Sid Green Thank you
246. Sid Green Anybody else?
247. Chris Loggers My name is Chris Loggers and I have a daughter in this school district, I work part time as a track coach in the springtime. Been in the community for a quarter century; doesn’t make me a native.
248. So we have, it seems a dichotomy. We have a commitment that the board made to honor the community, the promise they made to go out and go full search. We have a large group of people that say let’s just keep him on. I live in a world of grey, so I don’t like either one of those because they don’t satisfy everybody, and granted you can’t satisfy everybody.
249. But looking for alternatives, and I’m not expecting anybody to discuss these alternatives a whole lot, but something that the – how do you honor both things? How do you get done what you need to which is, in my mind, keep Pete Lewis around for three years and how do you conduct a nationwide search – not necessarily at the same time? To honor the communities – your promise to the community.
250. Is it possible to – and with the people who are adamant about a nationwide search, would they be satisfied with saying we’re going to keep Pete on for three years. We’re going to offer him a contract and during that time, we are going to conduct a search to see whether there is somebody, or that is willing to come, or might be better. So that in three years you can offer it to Pete again, or you may have somebody else in place.
251. And I – I’m – most of the people here want to say let’s go forward, lets offer the job to Mr. Lewis, but how do we honor that small group that says we want to have that nationwide search?
252. Light applause
253. Kris McKellar Hi, I’m Kris McKellar. I’m also the CEA president, but I’m not speaking on behalf of the staff. The staff can speak to them – for themselves, contact school board members. But I’m here to tell you what I’ve seen in the first three months working with Pete. When Pete came on board, we were in the middle of a contract negotiation and it was not going well. So we froze our – our negotiations and then we met with Pete Lewis once he got here.
254. One of the very first things he asked, and I’ve been here 25 years, was ‘When do teachers get training? How do teachers get better at their craft? How do we service students to maximize their potential learning capabilities? How do we make sure that we’re following the new state initiatives on TPEP, Common Core, state standard? All of that is coming out in all directions in all times right now.’ Well, I about fell off my chair.
255. In twenty five years, and four superintendents before him. Not one superintendent has said, ‘the priority in this district is students.’ end of story. His presidence is students. What are we going to do for students, how can we get them to get better? What options can we give them? I’ve never heard that before. I did not hear that with Munsen, I did not hear that with Rick Cole, I did not hear that with Jack Adams, I did not hear that with Michael Cashion and or Ken Emmil. Not once.
256. Not only is it about educating the student in math and science and english. But what about music? How – one of the first questions he said, is ‘We got a half time music teacher, we promised a full time elementary music. We got to do something about that. Yes we do. We have to educate the whole student in a variety of activities. Pete Lewis has done, and continues to say the same things over and over. Everybody is waiting for the bottom to fall out of the basket, cause that is what’s happened in every superintendent before him.
257. But every superintendent has changed the story. Not one superintendent has said ‘What are we going to do to make you better? How are we going to get kids better? How are we going to get a higher passing rate. What do we need to do? Not one. Pete Lewis does that. There is a difference in this man. He understands budgets, he understands a process. He was hired as a one year interim, I get that, but he gave a three year plan. For a guy that is only doing one year? I think that’s kind of odd. Which means he must really care about Colville.
258. I think this guy needs our support and at the last meeting I said all the school board members need to come up with a set of qualifications. You need to decide if Pete Lewis meets those standards. If he meets those standards, I don’t care what was said before. Our legislators promise crap all the time. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t. They have to move forward when circumstances change. Our circumstance has changed. This guy wants to be here. This guy cares about school. He’s got a three year plan, and we are going to balance our budget at the end of the year in the black. Wow, that’s like a first for Colville in I don’t know how many years. That is unknown territory for us.
259. I don’t care what promises were made. I don’t care what was said. This guy is doing the job, but you have to look at those qualifications. I agree with what Ryke said earlier, if this guy is doing the job and he’s meeting the qualifications, good grief, we elected you to do the job. Do the job, give the guy the contract and lets move forward and look at a five year plan now and not a three year plan.
260. Applause and a whistle
261. Audience Member One more.
262. Kory Martin One quick question for the audience, actually. How many of you are staff of the school district? Alright, that’s quite a fair majority.
263. Audience Rumblings
264. Kory Martin I know, I just – personal opinion that it just seems a bit biased. That’s all I’m going to say for now. The other thing is – a lot of you are saying – like the lady who just spoke, Pete wrote a three year plan and a five year plan and lets sign the contract right now. The first thing that came to mind, personally, was a snake oil salesman. He wants you to buy it right now, and tells you how good it is later on. Ok, and you open it and it ends up being absolutely worthless.
265. To me, as a member of the public, I have no information on the superintendent. He’s apparently been to school board, talked to you, talked to the school, the personnel, talked to union workers, but he (garbled) when it comes to the public, and I have no information on him. Would we be able to be provided that information before you made a decision? Can we look at any of that before the public input actually matters?
266. Sandy Moore (no mike) I know personally, that Mr. Lewis (garbled) …
267. Sid Green Including his resume
268. Sandy Moore (garbled)
269. Sid Green (no mike) (garbled)
270. Note: Basically, what Sid and Sandy are saying is ‘you guys have that because (Kory’s father) Scott, put in a request for information and already have Pete Lewis’ resume and other paperwork.’
271. Kory Martin It just would be nice to have information available beforehand to everybody and not a specific person for any major decision – is made. Specifically one for a superintendent in which a school has been known to have bad eggs in, three times in a row apparently – maybe. Ken Emmil and Michael Cashion, so far.
272. Sid Green Thank you. Mike?
273. No applause
274. Mike Lariviere So I’m Mike Lariviere. I’ve got three things, number 1. I vowed 22 years ago never let McKellar get the last word.
276. Mike Lariviere That says something. 2. About two years ago I stood up and I – in a board meeting and I said it was time for Ken to go and I want you to know that I think he did some very good things for our district. Not everything he did was bad, it was time for him to go. So just because we have a superintendent doesn’t mean that we don’t also have a voice and the voice is ours. So I think this is the right person. I’ve met with him several times. I think he’s got kids at heart and I that no matter what, school board, you’re going to have people who complain about what you do. As you can see tonight, it is a very small minority. They are going to keep complaining, no matter what you do. Let them complain, let’s move on.
278. Brett Walker Hi, my name is Brett Walker. I live in the community, graduated from Colville High School and I just. I’ve listened to all the comments tonight. I agree with some, disagree with others. One of the things that I want to play out about the money – I play with budgets quite a lot at my work. And I know that $10,000 doesn’t seem like much when you are talking about government budgets and school board and things like that, but I can tell you that it is a lot of money. I’d rather see my money go towards some type of thing that’s going to benefit kids and that’s what we’re all here for tonight is for the kids.
279. The other thing is, is you said this is going to be an exhaustive process. It’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort and you have talked about the big huge list of revisions that you got – policy revisions that the school board needs to go through and to me, I’d rather see the money be spent on the kids. The school board’s time be spent on getting those policy revisions done correctly and move forward with Pete Lewis. He seems to have a very good support of the teachers and public. I’ve met him, seems like a great guy. I think we ought to let the board change the process and move forward.
281. Sid Green Ok, anybody else before I hand this over to Sandy?
282. Randy Cloke A couple of things. I’m kind of in a precarious situation, whether I speak or not speak. Why is that? Because I work directly with Mr. Lewis, I am the Director of Student Services. He’s my boss. Therefore I feel like I have to speak because this is somebody that I have to choose to work for. I don’t have to work here, I choose to work here. And I choose to work for Mr. Lewis. Why? Because he’s a great guy? No. Is he a great guy? Absolutely. Is that why I choose to work for him? No.
283. I choose to work for somebody that I think that has to have vision. That’s your task and your task alone. It is clearly spelled out. It is your first and paramount duty as a school board is to hire a superintendent. We give you feedback, you make the choice. And in life, sometimes you have to make the tough choices and stand by them. Simply do it. Why?
284. I want to work for somebody that has a vision. A leader that will work closely with the school board, the board of trustees, develop goals, objectives, set the tone, chart the course of our school district. Mr. Lewis does that. Your job then is to evaluate whether or not those are achieved. And you to that by yearly evaluations of him, as your duty.
285. I want to work with somebody that can keep my job, because it’s not, do we have a job or not every year because we are in a budget mess. Those of you that want to know Mr. Lewis, I can answer things directly. He is a financial wizard. I don’t want him as an accountant, I want him as a school district wizard that understands the nuances of a school district.
286. I’ve sat at board meetings when this man is negotiating with the west coast director of the school bus and he knows these people. I’ve watched this man sit and he understands he’s going to have the conversation and weigh in on head lice. He understands instructional leadership. Not running a business folks, a school district is a business, but that’s not (garbled). We’re in the business of educating kids. It’s about children, and this man understands that.
287. He understands when we’re talking about do we have in this district. Do we have a progress monitoring system in place? Do we assess our children, not because the state says so. That way our teachers can make the best informed instructions they can because they have in their classrooms assessment systems so they can understand educational helic. They can understand that those – in a classroom we assess children, and then we instruct, and then we remediate, and then we instruct again, and then we assess to see … He’s having these, he breaks these down as a scientist would to a molecular level. He knows this stuff.
288. What you can read, or what people say, that’s – you know here nor there. This man understands education and he understands it on both sides. Ask Mr. McCurdy, he’ll (garbled) there. He’s been in his position for how many years, and when we’re e sitting there and we’re learning from this man while he’s teaching and instructing and leading all at the same time. That’s the man I want to work for. If he’s not, I don’t want him. I don’t want him. Cause he’s my boss, and if he doesn’t have a vision, if he can’t lead, I don’t want to work for that guy.
289. Many people in this community. Mr. Goldsmith articulated so well, we have so many of our children go off to serve in our country. I don’t want to be in a foxhole with a guy who’s not going to take me to the direction I want to go. I don’t want to bunker down with somebody that’s not going to lead me in the direction I want to go. Why? I’m not going to articulate Mr. Lewis’ vision, I want to articulate mine.
290. I have seven beautiful children, and we trust them to the most precious place we can, to our schools. And we want them to be safe, and we want them to be educated. Kids come to my wrestling room, I want them to come in, I want them to lead. Not only is it champion wrestling, but it’s outstanding young men. As I did as a classroom teacher. That’s my vision. And if Mr. Lewis doesn’t share that, I don’t want to work for him, but he does.
291. You’re asking and you want to know these things. I’m telling you first hand, and how do I know that? I promise you, drive by tonight, his car will still be at the district office. I know that because we leave there 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock. Not because he has a – because he wants to make sure it’s done right. He said, ‘Randy, we have two charges in this district, and we’re going to do two things right now, lets make a promise right now to each other. If we do it, lets do it right.’
292. I’m going to hitch my wagon to that star. I’m not going to follow someone that wants to take me off the edge of the earth. I don’t want to follow somebody that somebody says has done this, this this. Ok? We want to do things because it’s right, and I promise you – he’s not here tonight, but I work with that guy and if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t do it. I love what I do. I get to do the greatest job in the world everyday. We get to work with young children.
293. I’m not in a classroom directly, but now I can be the head coach of so many different other areas to help those teachers make sure they have the skills they do. That is Mr. Lewis’ paramount job as an instructional leader in the district.
294. We are blessed that he knows finances. We are blessed that he understands the budget of – of – of a building. He understands plant and facility. Todd – Todd our director of our building – he sits and he has these conversations, not just talking about putting in a new chiller here – he’s having in depth conversations about all these individual pieces. He sees the whole thing. Mr. Pete Lewis is a systems guy and I wish you had the opportunity that I am afforded everyday on every little minute decision and detail. The knowledge that he has.
295. I challenge the board, go find somebody better. Try it. Please, cause what’ that going to do? That’s going to make my boss a better person. I don’t think you can. Ok? I’m not saying they’re not out there. This is Colville. She articulated very well. Blessed to know a couple of doctors personally. People that – you’re courting and trying to get them to come to this community. Ok?
296. (garbled) I tell him all of a sudden ‘Pete, you’re a five A school guy. Really, Pete, are you going to stay here? I want to know cause it matters to me. You’re a five A school guy. I mean, you could (garbled) straight. You know? His last school had over 57 schools alone in it. Ok? Those people are different tax brackets.’ He said, ‘Randy, this is my home. This is my home.’
297. You’re absolutely right, three year, five year decision. Not once has he ever said … Ask him where he’s at in the morning, he gets there 7am. Why? Cause he’s going to be out meeting people in the community. Calling. Calling.
298. Don’t – don’t let people here steer you one way or direction. Make a decision for yourself. For yourself. By not doing that … We live in a society (garbled) that wants to do that. Ok? No, I challenge you to do that. Like we challenge our students to be free thinkers and think for themselves. I want to work for someone that encourages that. And that’s the challenge to you as a board. Not what we stand here and say. It is your job. Make no – no – any inferences about it. You were elected to do a job and that is your task.
299. Take our input, but the end of the day, you are the ones that have to say that. And it is a very arduous task because your job affects how many employers. We are the largest employer in the school – in – in the community. We impact thousands and thousands of children a year. Deal with half of that then as parents or not more. You have a very very arduous task, but it’s yours to do.
300. We elected you to guide us. Please do that.
302. Sid Green (no mike) Ok, anybody else? Alright, I’m going to turn it over (garbled) to Sandy and then we’ll adjourn.
303. Sandy Moore I’d just like to say a huge thank you to each an every one of you for coming tonight. I know it’s hard to come out especially on a cold night to leave your nice warm home and come to a sometimes contentious meeting, but I appreciate hearing from every one of you. Even the negative, the positive and everything in between. There were some people who could not make it here tonight and they took the time to contact me with their input. And I promised I would share it, so that’s what I’m going to do right now. A few things.
304. – Kevin Knight, principal of the Colville High School, he said, Sandy, sorry I’ll miss the meeting. I believe that Pete Lewis is doing a solid job and that our district would be moving backwards if it went through a drawn out superintendent search.
305. – Missy Bennett, long time coach and teacher at Colville High School. I appreciate your attempts to hire the best person for our district. I have to say I’m really impressed with my dealings with Pete. He seems like a hard worker which I value greatly. He is also an outside presence which I think we have needed for a long time. It seems like he is dedicated to improving education in our schools which I think is an admirable goal. Thank you for passing my support for Mr. Lewis along to the powers that be.
306. – Karen Watkins, Sandy, I won’t be able to make the meeting. I wanted you to know that I’m really well pleased with the way Pete Lewis is handling the superintendent job. I’ve worked in the district for about 16 years now under about four or five superintendents, and as the president of PSE local chapter of our union, we have never had a superintendent invite us to a school board meeting, let alone offer to come and present at our chapter meeting. I like the way his (garbled) works for negotiations. Also when there’s a problem that involves, he comes right to the school to discuss things and work out a solution. He has a very good handle on the way things have happened before and how they should happened. And my vote would be to keep Pete Lewis.
307. – A new teacher, Alison Thompson, I’m a new teacher to our district. I was hired in July to teach 5th grade. I have 11 years of teaching experience and have three kids in the district to myself. A first grader, fourth grader, sixth grader. I’ve had very positive interactions with Pete Lewis and respect the leadership, organization and focus he has brought to the district so far. He knows me by name. He has been in our building many times so far this school year. He values aligning our curriculum as an elementary school and has provided opportunities to talk and share information across the district. I think spending time and money on a superintendent search at this point may undo the work that has been done and take the focus, both financially and educationally away from our students. As a parent and a district employee, I fully support the hiring of Pete Lewis. Thanks for asking for input.
308. Sandy Moore’s comments I got some other comments, but many of them were from people who were here, people who asked me not to share them. I also got some phone calls, but all the things that I heard from people, I never once heard a negative. So the way I see it, (chuckles) we’re suffering from our own great good fortune in that we lucked out in a very quick hiring process, and found a superintendent who is really really good. And so now we’re struggling with what we should do with our great good fortune. So thank you all very much for coming tonight and helping us guide in our decision.
309. Sid Green Ok, we’re going to take a (unheard) and November 24th at the regular school board meeting we’ll have an action item and we will decide then. I really appreciate everybody coming and I really appreciate everybody telling us exactly what you think. Whether we agree with you or not, we appreciate you doing it. I need a motion to adjourn.
310. It’s been moved and seconded, all those in favor say aye. Motion carries five zero, we are adjourned.