Paonia resident Tom Mingen, who was elected to the school board last November, attended a special meeting Friday morning just long enough to deliver his letter of resignation:
It is with much regret that I am informing you of my resignation from the Board of Education as of May 25, 2012. As many of you know both my wife and I recently retired, however my wife has recently accepted a new position that will require her to travel a significant amount. Since accepting the new position as of May 1, 2012 she has been traveling a total of eight days. I retired with the intention of spending more time with my wife and at the current time, the only way that will occur is for me to travel with her. Because of the travel schedule, I do not believe I can fulfill the duties of a board member going forward. I have been torn about when would be the best time for my resignation to occur. I believe that with the appointment of Caryn and the board and staff getting together to plan the future of the district going forward it is the right time.
I can assure you that I feel strongly that you are on the right tract and direction for the board and the district. In looking back, upon retiring, I had no intention to be involved in any activities at least for a period of time. However I was approached by Mike McMillan to run for the board. After discussing the position with him, I agreed to have my name placed on the ballot. I felt that I could fulfill the intent of
giving something back to the community that had been so good to me. I ran for the board with the clear intention of helping the district continue to do an excellent job in educating our youth. I never understood that in being a board member I was never to question or disagree with anything that the superintendent wanted to accomplish. I can tell you that in my career I have worked with over 150 boards, and in no case was the board a rubber stamp of what the administrative person wanted to do.
Clearly for those that know me, I won't do anything unless I believe it is the right thing and in this case it caused Mike and I to disagree. I am truly sorry that Mike and the board were not able to work out our differences. I can honestly say in getting on the board, I never intended to change superintendents.
I do believe that the board took on some difficult issues over the past several months. It is unbelievable to me that the board gave the staff additional pay, added teachers and reduced administrative costs while balancing the budget, and not one citizen, teacher, parent, or taxpayer stood up and gave the board recognition that a good job had been done. Only those people showed up that told the board how we were wrong in replacing Mike, as well as everything else that one could think of to complain about. Sure it was a small number of people, but when no one else shows up it begins to make one wonder if that small group of citizens really do represent the majority of the citizens, parents, and taxpayers. I do believe that our school district does a good job in educating the youth of the county, but do believe that there needs to be change in the district. When no one is pushed then average is acceptable. I believe that the board in place now intends to push and to require and expect change to our district going forward. I sure don't need to tell you that change comes with pain but it is necessary to move our district forward.
In my career I worked with an organization that had over 20,000 employees. The school district has that organization beat hands down in gossiping, rumors running rampant, and people fearing for their jobs.
With Caryn Gibson at the helm over the next year, I believe that she can begin to reestablish trust and move the district forward. Clearly these problems have been with the district long before I became a board member. Only good leadership and time with heal these issues.
In reorganizing the distict office, I realize that some very good people were caught in the job downsizing.
I think we all agree that if we had all the money needed, we would never have done that reorganization. However, with the funds the district has today, it really boils down to either placing the dollars at the central office or in the classroom.
In looking back on the curriculum issue, I do believe that Connie Vincent has done an excellent job in starting a very difficult project. I do believe that it would have gone smoother if more teachers and parents had been involved up front in the process. Of course it is always easier for one to look back on an implementation and second guess it after the fact. I do believe in the curricutum and please continue to move forward with its implementation.
I want to wish you as board members the very best going forward. Boy, don't you sometimes wish you could tell those members of the public the whole background on the issues you are being criticized about? I do believe for you to move the district forward and to push the district to be the very best, more parents, citizens, and taxpayers need to get involved and play a role in supporting your efforts.
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