I am running for Sparta’s Board of Education with Kurt Morris and Niamh Grano. Please follow our Facebook page. We are #3, #4, and #5 on the ballot.
I give thought to every vote I make. A Board of Education member has the right to vote no. There is a steep learning curve with this unpaid volunteer position. I have served on the Sparta Board of Education for more than three years and have taken the votes I have made seriously. The longer I have done it, the more informed I am, and, therefore, the more informed my votes have become.
A few noteworthy matters that I voted against include:
- I voted against spending $500 a month for ten months to have The Sparta Independent run a story about the district. The Sparta district should not have to pay ANY money to have the only local hardcopy newspaper cover district news. This clearly blurs the lines of a free press. It cannot be an objective article if the district is paying for it. What happens when we stop paying for The Sparta Independent to cover the district? Will they just stop covering the district altogether? When those paid stories run, the Sparta Independent does not indicate anywhere that the story is “paid content” which is recommended by the FCC. This $5,000 expense is not a lot in the grand scheme of our overall budget, but it speaks volumes to the lack of transparency. The next time you are reading The Sparta Independent and the article is about the district, just know it may have been bought and paid for by the district;
- I voted against spending $3,000 to fund a new logo. First, I liked the sense of history and continuity our previous logo gave the district and the community. Secondly, if a new logo was in fact needed, I did not see why we had to pay for it at all. I thought one of our very talented students could have designed it;
- I was the sole vote against changing spring break to the last week in April so that, according to the superintendent, “it was cheaper for families to travel.” First, as a BOE member, it is out of my scope to focus on reducing travel expenses for families in the district. Secondly, the week it was proposed to be moved to was the week immediately before AP exams for our SHS students. This is a critical week of teacher review. In my opinion, the proposed change was clearly not made in the best interest of the students. Ultimately, due to an overwhelmingly adverse reaction from the community, the calendar was changed back so that spring break was moved to the week after Easter as it has been for years.
A “NO” vote should not be met with contempt and derision. I welcome differing opinions, experiences, and perspectives. That is how I can learn what others are thinking and expand my own mindset. I particularly appreciate other board members who are highly engaged and devoted to Sparta’s Board of Education. They inspire me to enhance my knowledge of our policy and state laws even further.
I am running with Kurt Morris and Niamh Grano. Please follow our Facebook page. We are #3, #4, and #5 on the ballot.
The above views are my own and do not reflect the views of the Sparta Board of Education.