Monday, August 30, 2010

What Price a Child?

I've heard through the grapevine that there are already several students who have let it be known that they won't be able to return to school this year due to the closing of the teen parent center. It is pathetic and immoral the way this district has redirected resources upward toward district administrators and away from students. How do you live with yourselves?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Double-Reverse Trick Play

Someone had asked earlier about the 142 hour reversal that appeared in the superintendent's vacation leave record. The document in question is reproduced below under "Paid Vacations."

I made some inquiries and this is what I was told:

I was first told that they would have to access the back-up documents in order to explain why 142 hours had been restored to his leave account. But no one could find any back-up documents.

I was then told that during the period in question several different individuals had been entering his leave and that they had mistakenly marked him as "absent" when he was out of the office but on district business. Other alleged mistakes were that on 7/2/07 they had indicated 56 hours taken instead of eight and on 12/21/07 they had indicated 80 hours taken instead of eight. I was told that the 142 hour reversal was to correct these various errors in record keeping.

I challenged that explanation to district staff. If you look at the entry for 7/2/07, for example, under "Remarks" it notes the dates 6/18-22 and 6/25 and 6/26. That's seven days and seven days x eight hours per day = 56 hours. That also corresponds to a trip to Europe taken by the superintendent according to several people's recollections. It also appears, based on the "Remarks," that the 80 hours on 12/21/07 was in fact a "pay-out" for ten days of unused vacation. After I shared my perception of the leave record, I was told that, yes, I was correct and that those two entries were not, in fact, mistakes. The question remains: If those two entries, totalling 136 hours, were not incorrect, why the 142 hour reversal? No one seems to know.

According to the leave record, the superintendent was given 432 hours of vacation leave for 2007-08. That is the equivalent of 54 days. Without the 142 hour reversal it's 36.25 days. According to his contract he receives 22 days of vacation, ten of which can be transferred to the following year. Assuming he had 10 days carried over from the previous year, that's only 32 days. So for 2007-08, he received anywhere from 4 to 22 extra days of vacation. He also received 9 days of sick leave/personal leave. Altogether he missed as much as three months of work.

Of course, the next year he supposedly only took 4.75 days of vacation for all of 2008-09. Perhaps he was making up for his time off the year before by working on Christmas Eve, over Spring Break and all the other days the schools are closed but that are not legal holidays. I find that as unbelievable as the explanations given for the 142 hour vacation reversal.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Report from Collective Bargaining

I spent a good part of the day yesterday observing a collective bargaining session between the district and the CEA (Central Education Association - the teachers' union). Not surprisingly most of the issues raised are related to our current budget crisis. The district has asked for a number of things that would reduce costs including a shorter school year and changes in the notification requirements leading up to lay-offs. The district is reluctant to reach settlement until after the next economic forecast even though the teachers have indicated their willingness to give ground on all of the money issues. There are a number of critical issues that have the potential to affect children and families if not resolved soon. Since these are all issues under active negotiation I will reserve further comment until settlement is reached.

For his part, the superintendent arrived late, left early, and said nothing while he was there.


There is a place in our public life for patriotic rituals such as the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem. In the absence of well-functioning democratic institutions, however, the words lose much of their meaning.

To truly foster patriotism, the Board should:

1. Investigate the reasons for the vote of no confidence.

2. Require the superintendent to pay back any improper reimbursements.

3. Require the superintendent to submit monthly expense and leave reports to the Board.

4. Get control of the budget. Find out what is in it and question every expenditure to insure that it is in the best interest of our students.

5. Pay attention to student performance. Don't take the superintendent's word for it when he says everything is going well. It is not in his interest to admit otherwise.

6. Have an outside, independent audit of all bond expenditures. Account for every penny and be prepared to justify every expense. Find out just how much was shifted to this year's operating budget.

7. Talk to your constituents. Find out what they think about our schools. Respond to their concerns. You work for them. Your first loyalty should be to the people of this district, not the superintendent.

That's the kind of patriotism that makes me want to sing the praises of our democracy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shifting Bond Expenditures to General Fund Obligations

There are two examples I know of in which expenditures that were to be paid out of bond proceeds have been shifted to the district's operating budget.

The first is the purchase of the Central Vision Clinic property to make room for the new auditorium. The purchase was to be paid for with bond funds but a portion of that cost is now found on p. 162 of the 2010-11 budget as item 610 "Redemption of Principal" ($200,000) and item 621 "Regular Interest" ($7,178).

The other is the resurfacing of the track. Members of the community turf group (in which I participated) were told by the bond manager that resurfacing of the track was never in the bond plans, that is was part of a "wish list," and that it would only be completed if there was money left over at the end of the bond. This meant that the cost of installing the turf would also need to include the resurfacing since the track would be damaged during turf installation. I've gone back and checked, however, and in the "2008 Bond Scope of Work" that was adopted by a formal vote of the Board on April 6,2009, it clearly states that "The track will be resurfaced." (See p. 2 from that document reproduced above). It does not state that the track will be resurfaced only if funds are available.

On p. 162 of the 2010-11 budget is item 530 "Improvements Other Than Buildings" in the amount of $1,230,985. Part of that is approximately $92,000 to resurface the track (the estimated cost quoted to the turf group). [As a side note: The turf itself cost $360,000, $100,000 of which was donated by community members. Installing turf allowed the district to eliminate the construction of new practice fields planned as part of the bond at a cost of $1.3 million.]

I don't know what else originally included in the bond has found its way into the district's operating budget but I suspect there is more. I do know that just the items I've listed above total nearly $300,000 or the equivalent of 4.25 teachers. Shifting bond expenses to our general budget is costing us teachers for the coming school year.

Given the savings realized by building during an economic slump (estimated to be several million dollars), the district should have had plenty of money to complete all of the elements promised in the bond. Instead, they have shifted some of those costs into this year's operating budget. This does not strike me as good bond management. Yet the bond manager has been rehired for next year with a new job title and a 12.5% raise. And we are laying off teachers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some Questions for My Readers

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the following issues:

1. What do you regard as Central 13J's strengths? What do you think works well in terms of our programs and administrative processes?

2. What do you regard as our most significant weaknesses? What would you change if you could?

3. If you could create the perfect school system, what would it look like? What would be its most important features? What would be the relationship(s) between district administration, teachers, support staff, parents, and other community members?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 18th Work Session

Well, I made it through the work session! It was not always easy as I had been instructed beforehand that I was not to participate. It was hard to remain silent at times. Most of the Board members were cordial, the superintendent less so but that was to be expected.

The facilitator began by asking individual Board members to reflect back to a Board meeting or moment that they felt had been positive. There were two central themes that emerged from that discussion: 1) Board members appreciate hearing from students and staff about the good things happening in our schools and 2) Board members appreciate lively discussion and working collaboratively to address issues - several mentioned the process of working through the new administrative rules for the film policy and the artificial turf decisions as cases in point.

They then began brainstorming ways to make these positive situations more frequent. One suggestion, with which they all agreed, was to have regular celebrations/recognitions of staff, students, and school activities at Board meetings. Most of the discussion focused on ways to restructure the meetings themselves. The superintendent suggested restructuring the public input portion of the meetings by calling the meetings to order and then immediately sending Board members out into the audience to listen to public comments. They would then have an expedited business agenda followed by a work session in which they could discuss the issues or concerns raised by members of the public. This would allow the public to feel that their concerns had been heard and were being considered.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the potential restructuring. On the one hand, it seemed that Board members do have a genuine desire for more positive interactions with the public and that they would like to know what we have to say. On the other hand, some of the comments, particularly by the superintendent, made it clear that one "benefit" of this new system would be to keep the public away from the microphone and deny anyone the opportunity for what the superintendent characterized as "political grandstanding." (While he was no doubt thinking primarily about people like me, it inevitably includes, unfortunately, all those kids with their heartfelt pleas to save P.E. and music.)

The facilitator strongly suggested that, if the Board changes the meeting format, a brief survey be handed out periodically to see what members of the audience thought about the new process. I think that is a terrific suggestion and would like to see it expanded to every Board meeting and to allow input regarding the entire meeting. I also think they need to set up a procedure that would allow the public to ask questions or make very brief comments during the business portion of the meeting since the public does not know what is going to be discussed ahead of time. Only Board members get to vote on these issues, all the more reason to hear what their constituents have to say first.

Another issue that came up was the issue of being surprised by new questions at meetings. The superintendent does not like being caught off guard by questions that Board members have not shared with him beforehand. Board members also pointed out, though, that they don't always think of particular questions ahead of time and that it is important for the public to hear both the questions and the responses. I would have liked to hear a parallel request from the Board to the superintendent. They are not always informed ahead of time and even in the best of circumstances only get the Board packet, with all of the accompanying information, the weekend before the Monday meeting. It's very difficult to read all of it, reflect on it, and ask the right questions under those circumstances. One recent case in point concerns the superintendent's new contract. Most Board members had not seen it in advance of the meeting. I also think more information needs to be made available to the public. The packet of information distributed to the public generally lacks the detail and documentation given to the Board. This discourages public participation and increases public antagonism.

There was some discussion about how Board members could suggest items for discussion at meetings. Although the superintendent is supposed to work with the chair to create each month's agenda, in practice it is under the control of the superintendent. Board members expressed some frustration in getting their concerns on the agenda and the feeling that it was a "top-down" process (although they are at the top of the organizational chart they clearly feel that they are below the superintendent). The policy calls for them to use "Robert's Rules" during Board meetings to suggest items for future meetings. The superintendent then determines whether that request is appropriate. The sad reality is that it is very difficult for Board members to raise issues that the superintendent does not want to discuss. It can happen but they will need to be very tenacious. A case in point: When Karen Ross was still on the Board, she moved to place on a future agenda a discussion of eliminating the zones used for Board elections. This came from a suggestion by a member of the public that had been reiterated several times in various meetings. Karen's motion was seconded and approved and so "Election from Zones" became an "Item for Information/Action at a Future Meeting." It never made it onto an actual agenda and has since been dropped altogether. In my opinion, if a Board member, through the appropriate procedures, has requested an item for future discussion, it needs to appear on the agenda as soon as possible, generally at the next meeting.

The superintendent spent some time reiterating the policy governance (first time I ever heard him call it that!) model and the division of responsibilities between the Board and the superintendent. The Board is to: set a district vision, adopt a mission statement, create district goals, adopt policies, and appropriate funds. The superintendent is to: create an action plan, adopt administrative regulations, hire staff, authorize expenditures, organize staff, oversee curriculum and instruction. The Board is in charge of establishing the end results; the superintendent is in charge of means (methods) for achieving those ends. It was said repeatedly, "This is our policy." But policy is up to the Board and they can change their policies at any time. It may require a renegotiation of the superintendent's contract but it is up to the BOARD, not the superintendent, to determine what their relationship will be. I would really like to see the Board research and evaluate alternative models of governance. Don't just say "Well, that's our policy" as if it is written in stone - it's not! Carefully consider alternatives. If the Board does decide to stick with the policy governance model, it is absolutely imperative that they use the whole thing. One danger of policy governance is that the very people legally responsible for the district end up "out of the loop" and quite ignorant of how things are really going. The solution, built into the model itself, is on-going detailed oversight. We don't have that. Right now we have only half a model. It's kind of like putting only half the wheels on an automobile - it will be unbalanced and it won't get you where you need to go.

They also spent some time establishing goals for the coming year and making plans for an annual Board self-evaluation. They did not discuss any changes to the superintendent's evaluation.

I did come away from the work session with the sense that the Board would really like to improve their relationship with the community. They want a larger role and they want more honest communication. They are discussing concrete ways to make that happen and to evaluate the results of their efforts. If you have suggestions, now would be a good time to contact them. Let's give them the lively conversation they desire!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Comparisons to Similar Districts

You may think I am spending too much time discussing Central's declining test scores. One the one hand, test scores are but one measure of student achievement and it is easy to place too much emphasis on them. On the other hand, it is really all we have that allows us to compare student achievement over time and between schools and school districts. So how does Central compare to other districts of similar size and with a similar demographic profile?

The figures given are the percentage change in the number of students meeting or exceeding the state benchmarks from 2005-2006 to 2008-2009. The data can be found on the Oregon Department of Education website.

Central - declined 6%
Cascade - increased 5%
Sweet Home - declined 4%
Dallas - increased 3%
Philomath - increased 3%
North Santiam - increased 5%
Lincoln County - declined 1%
Scappoose - increased 3%
North Marion - declined 1%

Central - declined 12%
Cascade - increased 2%
Sweet Home - declined 5%
Dallas - declined 2%
Philomath - declined 7%
North Santiam - increased 1%
Lincoln County - declined 2%
Scappoose - increased 1%
North Marion - no change

Of all these districts, Central has the lowest percentage of students passing the state tests and the largest drop in both reading and math. These other districts are struggling with the same economic issues and budget problems. Why are they doing better at meeting those challenges?

There are many variables that affect student achievement some of which have nothing to do with schools (family income, parental education, poverty levels, access to health care, the economy, etc.) The schools can only control what happens at school. Teachers, for example, have no control over whether students come to school, do their homework, get adequate sleep or nutrition, have supportive parents, and so on. Teachers can fail students who refuse to do their school work but they can't force them to learn. It is unfair to measure student achievement simply by their performance on standardized tests; it is even more unfair to measure a teacher's performance simply by the test scores of their students.

Nonetheless, test scores can function as the "canary in the coal mine" of education. By that measure, we are in real trouble here in Central 13J.

Throughout my time on the Board, we were told that the superintendent was "turning things around" and leading us out of "AYP hell." There was new curriculum, new programs of staff development, and more emphasis on "teaching teachers how to teach." None of which seems to be working.

I've written before about the superintendent's apparently low opinion of our community and teachers (see "The Local Yokels" below). One way of spinning the current mess is to place the blame on the "passive resistance of whiny teachers" to the well-researched, scientific reforms attempted by the superintendent. Or it could be that the reforms themselves that were unnecessary and counterproductive. I have to admit there seems to be a kind of faddishness that reigns in public education. Every few years, a new fool-proof pedagogy comes along only to be abandoned a few years later in favor of the next fad. There is no magic formula. We need well-trained teachers who are empowered to teach. Every teacher should be encouraged to identify their own strengths and to make the most of them. Trying to force everyone into the same mold never works because education is not like an assembly line.

One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. The leadership of this district has failed. District teachers and classified staff are deeply unhappy; test scores are falling. How long will the insanity continue?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Duties of the Board

A curious thing happens when one reads the policies adopted by the Central School Board and compares them to the legal references handily provided at the end of each policy. One quickly realizes that THEY DON'T MATCH! As I discussed in my earlier post, the Board has been advised by its legal counsel to adopt the policies recommended by the OSBA "as is" since the policies have gone through a long process of development and vetting by OSBA policy experts and legal staff. Board members rarely think to ask whether the policies and the details contained therein are in fact required by or consistent with Oregon Revised Statute. Yet it is those statutes that create and empower school boards and specify their authority and responsibilities.

The first two pages reproduced above are cut and pasted from the Oregon Revised Statutes that establish school boards as legal entities. According to the statutes, school boards are responsible for the transaction of all district business and for educating
the children of the district. According to law, the Board "may" hire a superintendent while according to the adopted policy titled "Superintendent-Clerk" it "shall." What is optional in the law becomes a requirement in the OSBA policy. Moreover, if one looks at the policy "Qualifications and Duties of the Superintendent" (which can be found on the 13J website) the duties of the superintendent are actually ones that according to Oregon Administrative Rules are the duties of the district, i.e., the Board. The OSBA has essentially convinced school boards to give away their authority and prerogatives through policy and contracts with superintendents.

There are many, many other examples where the policies do not align with the legal references and administrative rules cited. If we look at "Policy Development" (reproduced above), about half-way down it says that "The formulation of and adoption of policies, recorded in writing, will constitute the basic method by which the Board will exercise its leadership in the operation of the school system." This is obviously a very circumscribed version of transacting "all the business of the district." At the bottom
of that policy are the legal references ORS 332.107 and ORS 332.505. The text of those statutes is part of my cut and paste review of statute above and NOWHERE in the statutes cited is any mention of policy formulation as the basic method of Board governance.

So where do these interpretations, that become enshrined in policy, originate? What accounts for these discrepancies? I think a lot of it is the result of the rather dim view that educational bureaucrats "educrats" have of school boards generally. They see boards as archaic vestiges of an earlier era in American education; as inexperienced and unknowledgable collections of bored housewives and retired people. School boards are regarded as a necessary evil that cannot be allowed to interfere in the work of the educational professionals. Given this view of school boards generally, it is not surprising then that the main goal becomes to box school boards in, to allow them only a narrowly defined role, and to limit the damage they might do if they became truly involved in the business of the district. It is part of what has become known as the "policy governance" model in which there is rigid divide between governance and management . [There are many good articles on the policy governance model that can be found on the web if anyone is interested in reading more.]

The OSBA has been busily promoting this model without ever being up-front about it. I've never even heard them mention "policy governance" although reading about the model and comparing it to the policies espoused by the OSBA makes it pretty clear where they are coming from. While this is but one model, they have told school boards that this is the way it MUST be, even though it is not required by statute. The one thing that is missing from the OSBA model, which is a central part of policy governance as it was originally developed (and trademarked!), is rigorous oversight. In true policy governance, boards spend a great deal of time scrutinizing budgets and reports and ensuring that the goals of the organization are being met and that relevant laws and polices are adhered to. In our district, however, any attempt by Board members to engage in this type of scrutiny is regarded as unlawful "meddling" in the management of the district. This hybrid model of governance, foisted on us by the OSBA and embraced by the superintendent, goes a long way, in my opinion, to explaining why communication is so poor, why questions by Board members are met with stone-walling, why Board members often seem clueless as to what is really happening in our district. The Central School Board has only been taught one-half of the model, and no alternatives to it, with predictably negative results.

This Wednesday, August 18th, the Central School Board will be meeting for its annual work session. At this work session Board members will be setting the goals for the district for the coming year and discussing the Board's role and evaluation processes. It is a public meeting although members of the public are not allowed to participate. I will be attending and invite others of you to do so with me. It is a good opportunity to see them at work in a less formal setting. It will also give you a chance to judge for yourself the accuracy of my assessments. The work session will be held at Traci Hamilton's home; it begins at 8:30 and goes til early afternoon. As a courtesy to Traci, it would probably be a good idea to let her know if you plan to attend and to bring your own refreshments and seating.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Fairly early in my tenure as a board member, I began hearing complaints from district staff about the superintendent. I listened to those complaints and, in a attempt to assess their validity, asked questions of other staff. This alarmed and upset the superintendent who suggested inviting the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) to host a series of work sessions for the Board to help us clarify our roles. I initially welcomed this as I saw it as an opportunity for us to talk through some issues. It quickly became clear, however, that we were there to listen and to get our "marching orders" from the OSBA.

The OSBA is a professional organization to which local school districts pay dues. As members of the OSBA, the districts receive advice on policy changes, legal issues, running successful bond campaigns, hiring and evaluating superintendents, and so on. The OSBA has become an immensely powerful organization, an organization that interprets the law for member districts and essentially writes all policies to be adopted by local school boards. We were, in fact, told by our own attorney that we would be foolish to make any changes whatsoever to the policies sent to us by OSBA for adoption - even down to level of punctuation! So we have a situation in which a private, voluntary organization has become the de facto governing body for school districts throughout Oregon.

By law, the Central School Board is responsible for all operations within the district. Its only direct employee is the superintendent who is charged with running the day-to-day operations of the district. With the exception of a narrow range of issues that can be handled in executive session, the Board must, as an elected public body, make its decisions in meetings that are open to the public.

According to the OSBA, the Board's main responsibility is to set policy (although those are written by the OSBA) and to establish the general goals for the district (although in practice those are set by the superintendent). The Board should then step back and allow the superintendent to meet those goals as he is the one with the education, knowledge, skills, and general expertise to do so. The Board should refrain from any attempts to micro-manage district operations which would create chaos and dysfunction.

Since the superintendent is the Board's only direct employee, we were told by our OSBA consultant that all communication with district staff should be through him. We were told that is improper for Board members to talk with staff about issues within our district including the performance of the superintendent (unless the Board as a whole asked for that information). We were told that any discussion with other Board members outside of actual Board meetings was a violation of the "sunshine" (public meeting) laws. We were, incredibly, told that we should never solicit the opinions of our neighbors about the operation of our schools as that constituted "gathering information outside of a public meeting." The only complaints the Board should ever hear were those that had made their way up the "chain of command" and were, as a final step, being appealed to the Board. The ONLY person Board members were to talk to outside of Board meetings was the superintendent. And, while we could listen to comments from members of the public at Board meetings, we should refrain from engaging in dialog with them.

The OSBA performs many valuable services for its members but its interpretations of law and educational policy are not always correct or helpful. Some of their advice flies in the face of basic common sense. I am particularly outraged by the suggestion that district staff do not have the right to express their opinions to their own elected representatives. No one gives up their basic rights of citizenship simply because they are public employees. In my opinion, the OSBA bears some responsibility for the mess in which our district finds itself.

The Board is the entity that is legally responsible for everything that happens in our district. Board members are elected by the public and are supposed to represent the public. How can they do so when the only information that Board members receive comes through the superintendent? Board members are often the "last to know" about any problems or unintended consequences of the decisions they make (and they only find out when someone violates the official policies). If you want them to know what you think about issues within our district you must CONTACT THEM as they have been convinced that it is improper for them to ask you. They all have email addresses through the district that can be found on the district website. Take the time to let them know what you think - they do, after all, work for us!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Test Scores

Each year the students in our district take the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) tests. The data is reported for each grade level by district and individual school. "Passing" the test means that the student met or exceed the state benchmark, i.e., the standard set by the state that defines what the student should know by that point in their education. The data I have used for this analysis can be accessed on-line at the Oregon Department of Education website.

The first two charts show the percentage of students by grade level in the Central Schools who met or exceeded the state standard in 2005-2006, the year the current superintendent assumed the leadership of our district, and 2008-2009, the last year for which data is available. For both Reading and Math, the percentage of students passing the test declined in every grade level tested with the exception of 10th graders. (Note: You can click on each image to enlarge it for easier reading.)

The next two charts show the percentages meeting or exceeding the standard for all four years. Given the variability from one year to the next, it will be interesting to see how this year's data (2009-2010) will stack up. The general trend over the fours years, however, has clearly been a downward one.

The Oregon Department of Education tinkers with the test from time to time which may make year to year comparisons difficult even when the "cut scores" (the scores needed to meet the standard) remain the same. To compensate for that potential problem, I also calculated Central's passing rate as a percentage of the state average. I wanted to know what percentage of Central's students met or exceeded the standard compared to other Oregon students in the same grade level. This is one way of assessing whether our students, and by extension our schools, are doing better or worse than average. In these calculations the state average became the standard against which Central's results could be compared. So, for example, in '05-'06, 90.1% of Central's 3rd-graders met or exceeded the state benchmark in Reading, compared to 87.1% of all Oregon 3rd-graders. This means that our 3rd-graders were performing at 103% of the state average. That same year, 47.7% of our 10th graders met or exceeded in Reading compared to 55.0% for the state. So our 10th graders were performing at 86.7% of the state average. [100% is average; over 100% is above average; below 100% is below average.] The last two charts show those calculations for 2005 through 2009.

The "reforms" instituted by the superintendent have failed to increase student achievement. Brand new buildings are great but it's what happens inside
of them that is most important.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


When the current superintendent assumed the helm of our district for the 2005-2006 school year seventy-five percent of our students met or exceeded the state benchmarks in Reading and seventy-four met or exceeded in Math. For the 2008-2009 school year (the latest for which the data is available) those numbers had fallen to sixty-nine percent in Reading and sixty-two percent in Math.

Reading - fell from 75% to 69%
Math - fell from 74% to 62%

During this same time period, the amount spent on administrative salaries climbed by 34%.

Administration is not a substitute for teaching. If we want our kids to be successful we need to re-set our priorities. The most important employees in our district are the teachers and staff who interact directly with students. Our budgets should reflect that but they don't.

When teachers and classified staff tell the Board there are problems with the leadership of this district, as they did with their vote of no confidence last year, their concerns should be investigated. Instead, the Board treated them as naughty children and announced immediately and with no further discussion that they would support the superintendent 100%. They could have acted to fix the problem but chose not to, preferring instead to demonstrate their unswerving loyalty to their employee, no questions asked. The message that sent to our teachers and classified staff created irreparable damage to the educational environment that our kids participate in everyday.

It's harming our children and it must change.