(And How can you fix it?)
By Scott Martin
When stories break about government spending $500 on hammers or $750 on toilet seats, people get furious. When the government spends millions of dollars to prop up Solyndra or corporate bank bailouts, people feel that their hard earned tax dollars are being wasted. They feel cheated, conned, and exploited and it always seems like there is nothing you, as a citizen, can do about it. After all, those things happen in some other state or at some government level that the average citizen could never possibly get involved in.
Well our local Colville School district just spent $20 Million last year to, “Educate” our kids. I have received a preliminary report from the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) whose job is to report Washington State Schools, “Smarter Balanced” test results.
Are you ready…?
42% of all students tested in the Colville School District failed to meet the basic Literacy standard. That is only a 58% pass rate in Literacy. That was the good news.
The bad news… 55% of all students failed the basic Math test. That’s right over half of all students taking the test at the Colville School District are failing to meet their state math standard. Just a 45% pass rate! This is a clear FAIL for the Colville School District Report Card.
Here are the test results from the report.
- Grade 3 – 52% Pass
- Grade 4 – 65% Pass
- Grade 5 – 55% Pass
- Grade 6 – 53% Pass
- Grade 7 – 51% Pass
- Grade 8 – 67% Pass
- Grade 10 – 75% Pass
- Grade 11 – 13% Pass
- Grade 3 – 55% Pass
- Grade 4 – 59% Pass
- Grade 5 – 39% Pass
- Grade 6 – 44% Pass
- Grade 7 – 40% Pass
- Grade 8 – 59% Pass
- Grade 10 – 26% Pass
- Grade 11 – 42% Pass
My wife and I were the only members of the public that attended the “Special Board Meeting” held June 22nd at 3:00, in which the public was not allowed to talk. At that meeting this WCAP test document was presented to Colville School Administrators. After briefly looking at these horrendous test results the new highly paid Curriculum director Sherry Clark informed the board that these numbers were, “not that bad” to which the board all nodded in agreement. I was thinking are you kidding me? Are you reading the same numbers?!
When asked what could be done to improve these scores one administrator suggested that, get this, “the reason district test scores were low was because parents did not educate their kids well enough before they enter school at the Kindergarten level”.
That’s right, it’s not the Colville School’s fault it’s yours!
The most talked about “solution” at that meeting was, “the students are not getting enough sleep”. Yep, the parents fault again!
Not once was the thought brought up of the Colville School’s failing to actually educate properly, or how they might change the system that clearly is NOT working. That was it. Discussion over. Keep in mind there was more than a $1 Million worth of administration at that meeting and five Board members, and this was the best they could do.
What Can You Do?
1) Ask for a copy of the “Colville School District improvement Plan”, and ask to be part of the Improvement Plan process. This is a plan that MUST be developed, “With participation and meaningful input by building staff, STUDENTS, PARENTS, and COMMUNITY MEMBERS”
Here is a link from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI): http://www.k12.wa.us/StudentAndSchoolSuccess/SIPGuide/SIPGuide.pdf
Quoted from OSPI Web Page:
“The Washington State Board of Education in WAC 180-16-220 requires that each school district receiving state basic education funds MUST develop a school improvement plan or process based on a self-review of the school’s program for the purpose of annual building approval by the district. The self-review required by the state shall include active participation and meaningful input by building staff, students, parents, and community members.”
2) Ask for your own copy of test results. Ask for the “Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) report for Colville School District for the year of 2015/2016. This data will not be made public for some time, if at all, so if you don’t ask for it, you may never see it.
3) Come to the next Colville School Board meeting July 27 6:00pm in the Aster Elementary school building where the Board will adopt the 2016/17 $20 Million budget. (Additional meetings may happen so keep checking) Ask them what they plan to do different this year to correct the failures of last year.
Colville web page: for notice of all board meetings: http://www.colsd.org/
Colville’s, “Boarddocs” page for the Agenda of upcoming meetings: http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public
4) Ask for a copy of the upcoming 2016/17 budget.
5) Talk with the Superintendent and school board directors.
- Superintendent Pete Lewis – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Board President Sid Green – email@example.com
- Board Vice President Sandy Moore – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Board Director Rob Sumner – email@example.com
- Board Director Krista Ohrtman – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Board Director Sarah Newman – email@example.com
I know this post applies specifically to the Colville School District, however, every school district budget in Washington state is required by law to be presented over the next couple of months. Don’t let your school waste your tax dollars. Contact them. Get involved in your children’s future.
Upcoming Future posts:
- What laws and policies Colville School District is NOT following and why.
- How Colville School Board has passed over 35 text books and reading materials without any recommendation by the Districts “Instructional Materials Committee” as required by law including the new “Gender Identity” health Curriculum.
Please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Colville School District LIED!!!!!!!
Transgender Policy in Full Effect NOW!
The school board said they would table the transgender policy until the Nondiscrimination Task Force came to a conclusion. That was a complete lie!
It was brought to our attention during the Nondiscrimination Task Force that there is already a transgender individual using the bathroom of the opposite genitalia at the Colville Junior High School.
Make no mistake. The proposed transgender policy 3211p that the board claimed to table is currently in full force and effect in the Colville School District.
What can we do now?
1. Board meeting tonight 6:00pm
Aster Elementary building, 217 S. Hofstetter, Colville
Come voice your concerns again because apparently they weren’t listening to you the first time!
2. Protect your children. Contact every school that any of your children attend. Demand that your children be allowed to use the faculty bathrooms starting immediately. Make sure that you state that the only bathroom you want your children to use is the private faculty bathrooms, and that they be allowed complete privacy during the usage. I would also suggest that you put it in writing so that there is no question as to what it is you are requesting.
If any child has an accident at school, is reprimanded for being late for a class because of bathroom usage, or misses any part of their education because of this, then the district is discriminating against or denying your child’s education, personal safety and/or medical needs.
3. Fill out a privacy form for every one of your children and hand it in to the school district immediately. Linked here. After you get to the page, click on “US (Non California) Students” to download the document.
When we fill out the privacy form, then the school is legally liable for any incidents that happen to our children on school property.
4. We as a community can boycott every community school bathroom. Whenever you go to a school district function, insist that you use the faculty bathroom. Line up at the bathroom even if you don’t have to go and make a scene every time you go in to the school district. Any sporting event needs to have the faculty bathroom available for use for every member of the public at all times. They cannot deny it to us.
We are sorry to announce that the parents meeting scheduled for February 3, 2016 from 6 to 8pm in the Colville High School cafeteria has been cancelled.
Please accept our apologies.
One thing I have learned in dealing with this school district in the last six years is this:
- If they say something, you better get it in writing.
- If they put it in writing, you better read every word of it, because chances are their lawyer wrote it.
- If they make it public, you better get your own lawyer to look at it.
Trust me. I’ve seen this district twist every word of what is written to achieve their own goals, so I am going to point out some very important details.
Take a look at the letter accompanying the “Non-discrimination Task Force” Application LinkHere.
1. THE STATEMENT REFERS TO A “Task Force” NOT A “Committee“.
This is a crucial detail. Keep in mind during the November board meeting “Committee” was referenced 19 times, “Task Force” was referenced Zero times. In fact, this statement even says, “a committee should be formed”.
A task force is organized to deal with a specialized task within a short time period. When the stated task is completed, the task force is disbanded.
A committee is usually appointed for a larger general function, and usually for a longer period of time with broader objectives.
What this means is this task force will only deal with a very specific detail and a narrowly defined goal. Once the task force makes their recommendation, they will be disbanded and cannot be consulted for any future policy or procedure changes – related or not.
2. WHAT IS THE “SPECIFIC TASK”?
According to the letter, “The Task Force will review state and federal law, Office of Civil Rights and Department of Education guidelines, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) material and other relevant information.”
– Note the Task Force will NOT:
- Review public comments already made
- Accept petitions in opposition to the policy
- Seek further public input of any kind
- Consider district correspondence (phone calls, email, or letters)
- Review outside opposing legal references
- Review court challenges and victories to existing laws.
Every one of the above bullets would fall outside the stated “Task”.
– Next, the additional stated task is, “The Task Force will review existing and proposed district policy, as well as the procedures that support these policies, and will offer recommendations to the Board of Directors for potential policy changes and adoption“.
– This Task Force will ONLY be allowed to recommend:
- “POLICY changes”
- For “ADOPTION“
It will NOT be allowed to recommend:
- Changes to any PROCEDURE
- REJECTION of any policy or procedure
Remember the policy was only three sentences while the Procedure was five pages of conflicting, convoluted statements and definitions forcing students of opposite gender to share showers. I think this proves the board wants to pass the policy so they can change the procedure at will and without future community input.
3. WHO WILL BE ON THIS COMMITTEE? Continue reading
There’s a little more to the story than meets the eye. We have found out that East Valley School District in Spokane already has the Transgender Policy approved. It seems to have been slipped through without parental notice.
The odd part about it, is that the East Valley Policy and the proposed Colville Policy are word for word the same. If you ask me, it looks as if someone is coordinating this. It also appears that they are trying to slip it in behind parents backs. At least in Colville, there was no public notice that I am aware of to inform the parents or public about this policy.
Here is the link for the East Valley Policy: Continue reading
The New policy shown on the School Board Web Page to be voted on this Wednesday gives more information. There are two new items shown on the procedure, and I will list them and show the information that I have found on them for you, but before I do that, I’d like to make a note that our School Board has not provided any information that shows there is any law that requires them to enact this policy and procedure in our district. Typically a procedure includes laws that require the procedure, but this policy does not include any reference to any state or federal laws. It could be that the new information provided is the board’s way of trying to show that this is “normal” or possibly “what other places are doing” so that we will think it’s ok for our district.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact Scott or Lynette Martin at email@example.com We will do everything we can to help our community.
Here is the first piece of information that has changed on the Transgender Procedure:
The data in blue is new. I went to the link and this is what I found:
I downloaded the document and this is the information I found that was pertinent to the procedure:
This information can be found on page 20 or 21 of the document.
Here is the second change on the Transgender Procedure:
Once again, the text in blue is the change.
I went to the link, but there was no information I could find, so I emailed the office and received this data. I was not given a link, only the information. I will share the entire email with you here:
Thank you to every Veteran and to every Veteran’s family
The January 28, 2015 meeting agenda can be viewed here:
Clicking on the little blue document icons will open up information related those subjects.
4.01 Board Recognition
January is School Board Recognition month. Mr. Lewis arranged for cake and drinks for everyone at the meeting and gave a thank you to the board.
Madison Fitzsimmons was welcomed as the ASB Student School Board Representative for this year. She will sit in on all board meetings for the rest of the year.
4.02 Public Comments
Parent Scott Martin commented on the decision made by the school district on January 5th when a portion of the district received heavy snow, but the bus schedule was not delayed. He admonished the board for not calling the Steven’s County Public Works Department to check for road conditions before making the decision to run the buses on schedule without a two hour delay. He felt it caused a safety hazard for the buses and for families. He asked the board to contact Public Works to check road conditions in the future.
Director Sid Green said only one bus was late to school that day. When Mr. Martin asked how many students missed school, Mr. Green told him he could not ask any questions.
Mr. Martin also asked about the school district improvement plan for 2014-2015. The board did not give a response.
Personal Note: My daughter informed me that there were several buses late to school because several of her friends were late, and they rode different buses.
5.01 Art History Trip
The board approved a trip for the Art History Class to Italy to be taken April 1, 2015.
5.02 High School Interact Club Trip to Ecuador
The board approved a trip for the Interact Club to Ecuador. There is an open invitation for anyone who would like to tag along on the trip. They are currently actively fund raising for the trip.
5.03 Policy 1400
School board approved changing the regular school board meetings to start at 6pm instead of 6:30pm.
5.04 POLICIES FIRST READING Continue reading
Colville Mayor Deborah Rarrick has passed on.
The news has broken our hearts.
Our prayers are with the Rarrick family.
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. Continue reading
There is some question as to how our interim superintendent was hired. I have been a part of a parent group that has attended school board meetings for five years. After Superintendent Ken Emmil left the district, the board promised a full and open superintendent search.
Typically a full search takes three months and includes the public in the selection process. Colville’s process from posting the position to hiring Mr. Lewis took less than three weeks, or to be exact, 19 days.
Here is the timeline of the hiring including some items that could be considered either shady or down right illegal:
April 7, 2014 Pete Lewis was put on paid leave in Fairbanks, Alaska.
May 15, 2014 Michael Cashion writes resignation letter
May 16, 2014 Michael Dunn from ESD 101 sends Sid Green Pete Lewis’ resume and contact information.
May 16, 2014 Sid Green responds to Michael Dunn saying he went online and read all the information about Pete Lewis.
– Is it proper to research an applicant for a job position before all the applicants have applied?
May 21, 2014 Colville posts a job opening for superintendent stating applications being accepted until June 5th.
– The board is the only entity that can authorize the school to put up the job opening for superintendent. There was no board meeting authorizing this. Where did the administration office get it’s authorization? Was the school board (or an individual school board director) acting outside of their legal protocol?
– At this date, the board has not even accepted Michael Cashion’s resignation.
May 28, 2014 School Board accepts Michael Cashion’s resignation in legal school board meeting.
May 28, 2014 In email correspondence (received through a public records request) Michael Dunn ESD 101 asks Sid Green if he can interview Pete on June 6th
– Sid Green responds he will set it up for June 9th
– Michael Dunn says “Thanks for doing this as quickly as you can”
May 30, 2014 Michael Cashion writes letter to Michael Dunn stating he spoke with Pete Lewis about hiring employees.
– The board has not interviewed any applicants for this position. It is highly irregular for an employee to be discussing any aspect of business with ANY applicants.
June 9, 2014 Colville School Board Meeting to Evaluate the qualifications of one or more applicants for public employment in an executive session.
– The agenda item says “applicants for public employment”, they didn’t even have the decency to let us know they were interviewing superintendent candidates. Why? Usually, it is advertised to the community, so that everyone who wants to be there can come, but we didn’t even know it was for the superintendent position until after we were in the meeting. Was the board trying to keep it from the public?
– We were told by the Teachers Union President who the applicants were, so the teachers knew it was a superintendent interview and who the applicants were, but the public did not. Why?
– The meeting opened, the board announced “We are going into executive session for about three hours to interview three candidates” and then left the room.
– We sat there for three hours waiting for them to come out of their session and when it was over, they told us that Pete Lewis scored best on their worksheet.
– The board has refused to release all the names of the other applicants even to this day.
– The board held all interviews behind closed doors.
– The board held all conversations about all applicants behind closed doors.
– The public has no idea how they came to their decision.
June 9, 2014 Pete Lewis was fired from his position in Fairbanks (see below links for very informative details)
June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was officially hired in Colville as Interim Superintendent
– Pete Lewis was hired 2 days after he was officially fired from Fairbanks. Does anyone else think this is odd?
While this is a web page for parents of Colville school children to learn the truth about our school system, it should be noted that I am not a huge fan of public education. I am a fan of education, just not education that involves forced learning systems on captive residents or extraordinary amounts of money.
I am self taught in many things, so I hold these types of individuals in high esteem. I am a high school drop out. It wasn’t that I didn’t like school, I loved it as an escape from other things in life, but when I encountered bully teachers, school had to go so that I could keep some of my sanity.
I then found a job and tried a short college stint where I found my husband. Shortly after our marriage we started our own business on what could loosely be termed a shoestring budget and found that every aspect of that business was our own responsibility. Long before we even knew the word Autodidact existed, we were teaching ourselves things like accounting, photography, sales, merchandizing, printing, web page design, customer service, customer complaints, shipping, maintenance and repair, international sales and service, purchasing, product design and development, invoice design and implementation and file management, among many other things.
Oh and did you know that starting a business with your spouse is one of the leading causes of divorce? So we had to learn marriage management because we were together 24 hours a day. The good news is that if you survive, you will actually strengthen your marriage. So next time you hear about a small business, try to think about how much those individuals actually accomplish in a days work.
Students are now struggling with the highest college costs in the history of our country and, might I say of the world. But the good news is that in today’s information age, it is so much easier to find ways to self teach than it was a mere generation ago (I learned the old fashioned way). It’s much less expensive for Autodidacts than it is for a college student. It’s also a lot easier because you don’t have to take an overabundance of classes, so you spend more time learning what you need.
The purpose of this post is to give people hope. Those who don’t have the first hope of affording a college education can take comfort in knowing that there are other ways to live the life you want. Don’t be fooled, you don’t always need college to get to where you want to be. I know a person in their mid 50’s who is still paying on their college tuition. A high paid college education isn’t always a good thing. A college tuition costs as much as a new home. A new home takes 30 years to pay off. Do we really want our children burdened with two mortgage payments … or no education … or no home?
Of course, we all want a doctor to have a proper education, so this post is obviously not speaking to those individuals who need a higher education, but there are many types of work out there that can be self taught. In many ways a self taught individual is a much more effective worker because they are motivated to learn, they engross themselves in every aspect of their interest, and pay attention in class. Theyaren’t learning just to pass the test, they are interested in gaining real knowledge. In the end their work reflects self pride and shows a polished implementation.
It’s true that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, so don’t be afraid to flub a bit. Take Thomas Edison for example, who is famous for his failures and his perseverance as well as his success. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. The only people who fail are those who stop trying. It’s inevitable that those who keep on with what they are doing will accomplish more and more. You can’t really unlearn – or become worse at what you are doing. The natural flow of life is that the more you work at something, the better you will become at it. Besides, you should be enjoying the process while you’re at it.
And for those of us older folks, don’t give up on your dreams either, keep learning things that interest you and expand your horizons. It may be too late to be a football star, but it’s never too late to enjoy some portion of what you love. Find an aspect of the thing you enjoy and then learn all you can about it! And don’t think you have to stick to one thing, if you have several interests, then I bet you’ll take pleasure in learning more about all of them.
So here we go in the spirit of celebrating all types of education is a list some famous and not so famous, though interesting, Autodidacts.
Abraham Lincoln, lawyer, U.S. president. Finished one year of formal schooling, self-taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone on his own to become a lawyer. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-100-entrepreneurs-who-made-millions-without-a-college-degree-2011-1#ixzz3IaLqN3su
Albert Einstein, physicist. Yes: the man whose name now equates to “genius”; who published more than 300 scientific papers; the man behind E=MC2; the man who came up with the theory of relativity; and the man who won a Nobel prize—was in fact a high school dropout. He attempted to get into university, but initially failed the entrance exams. Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/01/20/10-poorly-educated-but-incredibly-successful-people/
John Glenn became a war hero and one of the most famous astronauts in history, despite being a college dropout. Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/01/20/10-poorly-educated-but-incredibly-successful-people/
Frank Lloyd Wright, the most influential architect of the twentieth century. Never attended high school. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-100-entrepreneurs-who-made-millions-without-a-college-degree-2011-1#ixzz3IaYCjATF
Parents are the ones who want to see the grades of their children and their schools, but schools aren’t always so happy to provide them. School districts are forced to show the grades because of the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. If you talk to many people in the school district, you will find they despise this act because it forces them to share their student grades. As a matter of fact, most of Washington state educators feels the same way.
Obama created the “Race to the Top” program in 2009 which was designed to help improve education K-12 by throwing money at the schools. This program had stipulations, however, in that schools had to have teacher evaluations based in part on student standardized testing. You can read about the “Race to the Top” here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_to_the_Top
I only plan to focus on teacher evaluations based on student standardized testing because my focus in this post is on student grades. In Washington state, the teachers union fought hard against being evaluated based on student test scores. They didn’t think it was fair to have the test scores for students they teach to be a part of their evaluation.
The feds would provide a waiver of the No Child Left Behind act to states that would comply with Race to the Top requirements, but because the Washington state teachers union felt so strongly against this one aspect of the Race to the Top, the Washington politicians caved to the teachers and voted down a Senate Bill 5246 which would have complied with federal regulations. You can read about that here: http://www.theolympian.com/2014/02/27/3006737_democrats-bet-wrong-in-gamble.html?rh=1
Once Washington refused to do teacher evaluations based on student standardized test scores, they lost the funding from Race to the Top and were reverted back to the No Child Left Behind law.
Washington Becomes First State To Return To No Child Left Behind
“Washington’s request … [for a waiver] was approved based on Washington’s commitments to carry out certain actions in support of key education reforms … Washington was not able to keep all of its commitments,” Duncan wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. “Washington’s flexibility will end with the 2013-2014 school year.”
No Child Left Behind is the George W. Bush law that mandates standardized testing for students in reading and math, and spelled out consequences, such as school restructuring, based on those scores. Under NCLB, persistently failing schools had to set aside 20 percent of a funding stream to pay for tutoring. But with a waiver from the federal government, that money could be used for other purposes.
Thursday’s move will make Washington subject again to the law’s broad sanctions. Instead of using the federal government’s more nuanced system for identifying underperforming schools, the state will have to use the NCLB accountability system called “Adequate Yearly Progress,” a blunt measure based on standardized test scores. According to NCLB, to make AYP in 2014, all students are expected to be proficient in English and math — meaning that next year, it’s possible that every school in the state could be labeled as underperforming.
In addition to returning to the cruder NCLB system, Washington districts will likely lose the freedom to spend $38 million to $44 million previously set aside for mandatory tutoring. That loss is likely to make it harder to budget for the next school year.
It could be because the Colville school district dislikes showing their student grades, or they just hate the No Child Left Behind law so much that they have applied to have the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 reinstated in our schools. You can read about it here:
Or you can find it in the September 24, 2014 school board meeting agenda item number 5.04 on Board Docs: http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public#
Seriously? Is going back to a 1965 law an attempt to hide student grades from the public? No matter what the reasoning, I find this odd behavior. So in the interest of letting parents know the grades of our students, I have typed them up from the OSPI website (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) and have listed them below:
“As a participant in Colville High School sports, you are required to purchase an ASB card from the main office for $20.00. If you have not purchased your card by Friday, April 12th, you will not be allowed to participate in your sport. If you have any questions please see Kelly Carr.”
This notice to students was a violation of the law. The law on ASB cards is very clear:
“The board of directors of any common school district may establish and collect a fee from students and nonstudents as a condition to their attendance at any optional noncredit extracurricular event of the district which is of a cultural, social, recreational, or athletic nature: PROVIDED, That in so establishing such fee or fees, the district shall adopt regulations for waiving and reducing such fees in the cases of those students whose families, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees and may likewise waive or reduce such fees for nonstudents of the age of sixty-five or over who, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees”.
Let me accent a few points in this law:
“may establish and collect a fee … at any optional noncredit extracurricular event”
Point one very simply means that the school CANNOT collect a fee at an event where any students are required to attend for a class that provides a credit.Threatening to kick a student out of a class for not paying a fee is flat out illegal.
– In Colville, sports used to apply for a PE credit.
– If the band is required to attend football games as part of their grade it means that the school cannot legally require people to pay a fee at the gate. They can, however, collect voluntary fees.
PROVIDED, That … the district shall adopt regulations for waiving AND reducing such fees in the cases of those students whose families, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees.
Point two establishes that the school district is required to have a regulation that reduces and waives the fee entirely for low income members of the community.
We sent a copy of this law to the school district and we were told they would look into it. Next thing we know, two things happened.
- Students could no longer use high school sports as a PE credit.
- ASB fees were raised. Below is the chart the school board approved in their June 26, 2013 meeting agenda item 5.12 on BoardDocs http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public):
On February 7, 2013 two fifth grade students planned to carry out a plot to kill classmates at the Fort Colville Elementary school. Luckily, a fourth grade student saw one of these boys with a knife and reported it to an adult averting the disaster. The school district called the police and the parents of the intended victims, but the rest of the school district remained uninformed for at least 4 more hours.
I found that many parents learned about the incident through the noon report on KCRK-FM 92.1. The school district did send out a recorded message on the school messenger system several hours later.
Why didn’t the school inform every parent immediately? My personal theory is because they wanted to make sure they kept the kids in school until they received a full day’s pay for them before they notified the parents. I believe students needed to be in school until 12:30 for the school to be paid a full day.
Were all the people in charge of making the decision to postpone notifying the parents in agreement? The superintendent, all principals and all school board directors. Any principal has the authority to make the decision on their own.
Did our administrators put their budget before the safety of our children? It’s easier to see the totality of this if we
put it in more simplistic terms. What if your kitchen had a small fire in it at 8 o’clock in the morning, but the babysitter chose not to tell you until you arrived home in the evening? Even if the disaster was averted, you should have been notified. Am I wrong?
Did the school also make an effort to withhold the details from the public? Most of the relevant information we received was from the media – and much of it was days or weeks later. Would you like to hear from the radio station on your lunch hour that there was an incident at your home hours earlier? And then days later, you find out important details about how it started, again from the media? If the situation is wrong for a babysitter and one child, then it is exponentially wrong for a school district with thousands of children. I believe the school district should have been up front and open with us.
What happened after the incident? They had a “Safety Forum” on February 13, 2013 at the Colville High School Auditorium. This would appear to be open, honest and pro-active in their duties for keeping our children safe, but let’s look at the details to find out. Continue reading
THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED
“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”
This is a list of votes from the safety forum sorted highest to lowest. My main goal is to provide the raw data so people can come to their own conclusions.
Vote/Listing Number/List Definition
35 9.1 Strengthen character education
30 18.4 No armed teachers
25 7.1 Rachel’s Challenge*
22 9.8 Let school staff who are interested carry a firearm
19 9.2 No armed teachers or volunteers
19 18.1 Metal detectors
17 2.4 Increased mental health
16 8.3 Quicker response to smaller issues to avoid “BIG” ones
16 14.4 Be real with kids about what to look for, what to do, dangers, consequences
13 5.5 Administrators – enforce policies and procedures. Hold families, students and staff/district accountable. 0 tolerance
11 15.5 Rachel’s challenge
THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED
“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”
In order for me to give an honest view point of the Safety Forum held February 13, 2013, I need to show you the charts the community created through a brainstorming session. People listed items they thought were important safety items. After a certain amount of time, the brainstorming session closed and every participant was given several dots to use to place their votes. You can see the dots on the charts.
I am including the photo’s and a listing beneath each one because some of them are difficult to read. Each photo is numbered and named with a word or two from the top of the chart to help with discussion specifics. I have listed the votes for each item on the left and I have numbered each item so that it can also be recognized in a discussion. In some cases I have included two photo’s to help you see the text on the charts.
0 1.1 Communication – website – more info
0 1.2 Reality from kidding “I’ll kill him”
1 1.3 Government agencies already being paid doing security
0 1.4 Law enforcement familiar with all schools floor plans in stevens county
4 1.5 Why were specific kids targeted?
1 1.6 Fort Colville – No open house, no come see the school meet the teachers – no security to enter even the incident
2 1.7 All teachers on same level of communication to students across the district in each school.
1 1.8 Mental/social health concerns Continue reading