An act of defiance?

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Parent is concerned about local education

By Joseph B. Stevens
Guest columnist

As I listened to the Marion County School Superintendent's defiant tone on the radio this morning, he sounded like a person that is threatened by the incoming school board, and he also sounded like he was challenging the new school board to bring facts to the table about what is happening in Marion County schools. So, let's lay some facts on the table:
• In Mr. Smith's contract it requires him to live in Marion County. At this point Mr. Smith or his family has not moved to Marion County. As far as the community has been informed there is no timeline as to when this will occur.
• Marion County instituted a great program last year called "Campus
Parent Portal." For those of you unfamiliar with this system, it allows parents to review how your child is doing in his or her classes online so you can keep up with their progress during the trimester and not have to wait for their report card or parent teacher conferences to see how your child is doing in a particular class. The problem is, not all teachers feel the need to upload the grades on this website in a timely manner. In the last trimester, my child had two classes where the website was not updated until a week after the trimester was complete. If the school system is going to offer this tool to parents that will allow us to assist in the education of our children, then the school system should keep up their end of the bargain.
• There are several classes in the high school that students do not even have enough books or computer work stations to insure proper education. Where is the plan from the superintendent and the school board to alleviate these shortcomings?
Marion County School students and their parents should demand better from our educators and administration. I have never lived in a community where there was so much drama over deciding on a basketball coach, or the firing and rehiring of a baseball coach for having morals and principles to stand up for what he believed in. If there is any "drama" that needs to occur within our school system then it should be directed toward the issue of our children not having the necessary tools they need for a proper education.
Just in case this point has been lost, we, the taxpayers of Marion County pay your salary. I strongly suggest that Mr. Smith keeps his defiance to a minimum and start showing us that he deserves the job by actions and not words. I suggest that the entire board and administration take a lesson from those people that "used to work" in our federal government that lost their way and thought they were invincible. The people of Marion County will be taking their community back, and the school board election was just the first step. Democrat, Republican, or Independent, during these tough times we need to be fiscally responsible and diligent on making sure we are getting what we are paying for, which is an education for our children. Not to boost the egos of our elected or hired officials.
To the school board and the school system in general, we pay you to insure that our children are educated so they can function in the real world. We do not pay you to make sure our teams win sporting events. We have charged you with the responsibility to make sure that together with the parents in this county, you make education the first priority, everything else is secondary.
We understand that our school receives funds from the state athletic association if our teams make it further in to the state playoff systems. However, if the administration and school board sees these funds as a driving force for financing our school system, then it is time to do what the rest of the country is doing and look for ways to supply the basics like books and computers and other educational material with the monies that we have. Not the monies that we might earn if we win a game or two.
To the parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, and anyone else who pay taxes in Marion County, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, during these times we all need to be informed as to what is happening within our school system. Ask to see where your money is being spent and whether or not your child is being properly educated. I urge you to write or e-mail your school board representative or the site based council for your school if you have any concerns, if you see, or hear of any issues that involve the education of our children, demand answers from the people that have volunteered or have been deemed responsible for our children's education. Do not assume that any issue you hear about is being taken care of or being discussed by the board or the administration. It is time that they report back to the people who fund their existence in our school system.
Editor's note: Joseph B. Stevens is a resident of Lebanon.