Both of my children have been served by the Delta County Joint School District. I consider myself to have been a very involved parent throughout their education.
However, I never voted in a school board election, allowing those who "knew more" to make the informed decision for me. Last school year, when the new board began the "change of direction" for the district and fired the superintendent, I began to attend the school board meetings. There were instances when I was astounded by some of the statements made by some board members. It was obvious that some were there with their own personal agenda to pursue, not improving the overall education of the children or accepting input from the community. In my opinion, the amount of money they wasted in trying to find a new superintendent and a new business manager left the district floundering for months, and we're still feeling those effects. After the "bodies had washed up on the beach," they came to their senses, but the damage had already been done.
Through all of that turmoil, there was one sane voice in the room and that was Tammy Smith's. She was the one lone board member who, in my opinion, had an inkling of what a school board does and should do. She fought hard against those who came in to "slash and burn" the district. There were times at those meetings when she spoke out against the other board members, and she always got the support of the public in attendance. Tammy fought against the tide on several important issues and she supported the new curriculum designed by our local teachers and staff.
During some meetings, it was obvious that virtually ANYONE can get elected to a school board — put up a few signs and fake it. I always thought they would be bright, upstanding members and leaders of the community, but in my view there are some real characters on the present board who have no business being there. When they speak, you can hear the crickets chirping. If THEY can get elected, heck I could run!
I now know how important my vote is. I have read some of the statements put forth by the various candidates, such as knowledge of the Constitution will fix everything (Mason) and "preschool kids should be at home, we're not their babysitters (Coats). Mike Mason's number one priority is local control. New members of the last school board had the same agenda; unfortunately, they did not understand how federal and state dollars are attached to specific programs and expenditures. If you take their money, you have to play by their rules. All of the money doesn't go into the "pot" with the school board determining where it is to be spent. We can't afford to NOT take the money, so we have to work within those constraints and use that money wisely. Tammy understands this.
This time I WILL vote, and I will vote for Tammy Smith.