Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Everett Education Association sends out misleading info on their non-endorsed candidates

Go to my campaign website to read what happened and how I responded. This is why we desperately need to change the faces on the school board. Apparently, things are so comfortable for the union that they'll walk outside the edges of honesty in their communications with members.  Not everyone is buying what they are selling and shortly after they sent out this email, I started receiving it from teacher friends in the district.  


Everett School Board Candidate Introduction

The Everett Herald published their story about the 4 candidates in two races for the Everett School Board. You can read the article HERE.

Of course, the only way we'll get any real change is to elect the candidates the Union and the Administration fear the most, Kim and Rod.  If you want to help, let us know.  

It's time to bring some fresh faces into the Board Room and stop the dysfunction of the last few years so the board can concentrate on the work they are assigned to do and not their petty personality conflicts.  They need to stop wasting time trying to contain one member through policy changes and meaningless censures and start doing the work the people elected them to do - making sure our schools are the best in the state!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Abusing the Consent Agenda: when a Tool becomes a Weapon




When Director Jessica Olson joined the Everett School Board in 2009, the rest of the school board quickly determined that the public had not elected just another “Rubber Stamp”.  She asked questions and demanded transparency - qualities the public elected her for because the current Board had just suffered through one of the most humiliating episodes ever seen when they approved the secret recording of a teacher in her classroom.  It was so bad that the Superintendent ended up resigning over it.  The public was ready for someone who intended to represent their interests.  

The rest of the board didn't like Jessica’s constant demands that they be as transparent as possible.  She asked a lot of questions - too many for their liking and demanded video recordings of meetings.  

For example, the “Consent Agenda” is the part of the meeting where everything that the majority of the board doesn’t feel needs to be discussed is put and it’s all approved with one single vote - it's generally for recurring and routine items.  It can become a vehicle for abuse and, as one School Board community activist in Florida says, "It's a way to hide sins". 

Traditionally in this district, a Director may submit a request to the board president to pull an item from the Consent Agenda with 3 days notice, but the board president can deny the request - which he seems to do almost all the time when Director Olson makes one.

A second chance to pull an item for discussion was to request it be pulled just before voting.  That had been the policy for many years - until Director Olson started using it.  The reaction of the board was to use their majority to silence her by changing two policies (SEE ABOVE PHOTOS) that had not been changed since 2001. Now, every request to pull an item from the consent agenda for DISCUSSION must have the “second” of another Director.  Guess what happens when she makes a request?  You can hear crickets....  It seems that more and more items are now finding their way onto the Consent Agenda. Not every expenditure or policy change needs lengthy discussion, but when I see something that needs to be questioned, it should be easy to question it. These people are supposed to represent the public and the public wants to be sure it's money is being spent appropriately and in a manner that helps students do their best.  Yet, they consider the Consent Agenda an easy way to shove anything through.  They also consider it their legally required "Audit". So, their strategy is to just say, "Yes".  That sets up a nice little situation for some pretty serious abuse.  (Remember what happened in Seattle?) 


This is an opportunity to turn the tide of pettiness and lack of accountability. I would work to change these policies back.  And, should Rod Reynolds and myself get elected to create a NEW MAJORITY, we would not use policy changes to silence those we disagree with.  We’re more mature than that. Nor would we use the Consent Agenda to approve items that really don't belong on it. But, this board has perfected the art of hiding anything they don't want to discuss on it.  Then, they allow the public to make comments only AFTER they have put their rubber stamp on it rendering any plea for discussion completely useless.  

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” - Patrick Henry, “Virginia Convention Speech,” 1788

Friday, September 13, 2013

A "Community Discussion" aka a College Level Crash Course in the Delphi Technique....

I don't like the term "Delphi Technique".  It makes it sound like I'm watching for the Black Helicopters while wearing a tinfoil hat.  However, I didn't make the term up and the district would probably vigorously deny they use the technique, but I've read a lot about it and have learned to spot it a mile away.  They can deny all they want to, but they embrace this particular form of public manipulation with a love I can't describe.  But then, most government agencies do.  It's a way to pretend to get public input on projects so when the public complains later, you remind them that they held "public discussions" about it earlier.  I've heard that time and time again about the administration building.  

I could write a book on why last night's "Do We Need Another High School in the Everett School District" community meeting was such a sham and the public was totally duped.  It was pathetic at how smugly they swept everyone right into a corner and sad how many people just smiled and went along "for the kids". 

Nearly the first statement out of Mike Gunn’s mouth was “Trust the process”. Too bad I didn't see red flags pop up on the top of everyone’s heads.  They should have.  Then we were told that Pam Posey was an “expert in this process”.  Yes, she is.  I think the next statement should have been “sit back, put on your seat belts and prepare to be duped.”

There were about 35 people in the room.  I guess about 50 registered so it wasn't a bad turnout.  Each of our name tags had a table number on it.  I happened to end up at a table with another ESBP member.  Some tables weren't fully populated so my friend and the person at her table also got put at ours.  Two of the tables were each given one of three possibilities.

  1. Remodel Jackson and Cascade to add capacity (cheapest option)
  2. Turn Gateway into a small high school and build another middle school (next cheapest option but they claimed would take the longest – so obviously they didn't like that one)
  3. Build a new small high school and a new elementary school side-by-side ($85 million for just the high school alone)

Our table was given scenario 3 and we were told we had to “defend that scenario to the group” later.  So, right off the bat we were essentially told this was not a discussion, but a defense of something that we may or may not like.  Pam Posey said it was to “Get people to take a position they wouldn't normally choose.”  I looked for red flags again and saw none, unfortunately. 

During the discussion, anything negative about that scenario was smacked down.  Unfortunately, one mother of a Kindergartner at our table latched on to that “nothing negative” attitude with a vengeance.  I finally told her that downsides MUST be discussed if this is going to be a real conversation. The district even gave us some “suggested benefits” like the fact that the new high school would have, are you ready for it, AN ARTIFICIAL TURF FIELD!!! Wow…. In 10 years we might have a high school with an artificial TURF FIELD!!!   I think that was the start of my migraine. 

After nailing down some warm fuzzy comments about why we should build an $85 million small high school we’ll probably quickly outgrow (it WOULD be structured to add more classrooms later) at the extreme southern end of our district, we combined with the table next to us for sharing time.  At that point, our facilitator wrote all our happy thoughts on a big white easel pad. Again, every negative was turned to a positive, but by that time, the “positivity” was practically a blizzard in the room. 

A presenter was chosen (a Jackson counselor who was in our group jumped up and volunteered and lead off with a point that nobody really made – he called it our “NUMBER ONE point” – which wasn't true).  Then each group presented our “defense” of our scenario.  I LOVED the group doing Scenario 1.  They had two presenters and one of them happened to be a very tenacious girl from Jackson.  She didn’t always speak positively about the other options and I liked it.  There was no way they were going to shut her down.  She liked the idea of a big high school with greater varieties of activities and classes.  In defending her opinion, she took some swipes at the other options.  I smiled….

Our group presented our ideas last.  The number one point which sounded to me like a “plant” was that “Dollars spent today are cheaper than dollars spent 20 years from now”.  That was merely a re-phrasing of the “construction costs are cheaper now than they will be in the future” that they used to build Club Ed.  That was HIS point, not the group’s point and it’s not completely a true statement. 

When each presentation was over, Pam Posey very CLEARLY said, “Are there QUESTIONS OF CLARIFICATION?  QUESTIONS OF CLARIFICATION????” (“Clarification” is totally Delphi Technique).  That was the only “discussion” allowed.  My friend asked a question of one of the groups and started to make a statement and Pam said, “QUESTIONS OF CLARIFICATION!!!!” to her and I replied kind of loudly, “LET HER TALK!”.  But, most people were just “cowed” into doing what they were told (their plan was going nicely).

After the three presentations, we were asked to go stand by the one we liked the most. Then, those who wanted to got to “defend” why they changed positions.  At one point some people started to chat amongst themselves and Pam said loudly from the middle of the room, “THIS IS A COMMUNITY DISCUSSION!!!”  In other words, “NO private discussion was allowed.”  Heaven forbid people should talk amongst themselves and come to their own conclusion.  My friend and I kept talking….

A lot of people never picked a scenario, FYI.  I just went and stood by the expansion because it was the cheapest.  They want to ask for a quarter of a billion dollars and that is ridiculous. 

One question I had that I don’t think Mike Gunn wanted to answer or didn't really know was, in their THREE expert opinions about growth, did anyone take into account that technology changes so quickly that we simply don’t know what high school COULD look like in 10 years?  Ten years ago we didn't have all the online opportunities we do now.  We might have kids watching lectures from Jackson at home while they get ready for work.  Schedules might be so flexible that the high school may have classes from 6 am to 6 pm to accommodate different tracks of kids.  From what I hear, Mukilteo is expecting their elementary crunch to work itself out by the time those kids get to high school due to the changing nature of what high school COULD be.  I also asked about the possibility of a charter opening and acting as a pressure valve.  I may or may not have seen him have a mini stroke when I said “Charter School” – LOL  But, it’s a valid question that I DO NOT believe anyone has talked about because they are extremely anti-Charter.  Approving a STEM or ARTS Charter High School would probably relieve the over-crowding without having to build an $85 million high school building.  I believe Charter Schools have to find their own space.

I am not denying that we currently have some over-crowding going on which could lead to the same in the future.  But, I'm extremely distrustful of the current administration after what they did to the public with the new administration building.  It's a trust and integrity issue.  They are merely setting a stage to elicit our sympathetic vote for a QUARTER BILLION DOLLAR bond vote next February.  It will be the most amount they have ever asked for and cost us all approximately an additional $200/year on our property taxes. However, and most importantly, according to their own bond language, nothing we want could happen and they can change the list at any time with a vote of the school board, if they deem, say, a multi-story parking garage at the new administration building "more necessary" than a new elementary school.  You think they'd NEVER do that?  Well, you'd think they'd never let kids have sub-standard facilities in exchange for new offices for them, but they did.   



So, there you have it.  My friend and I walked out pretty disgusted with the process.  It was nearly a pure exhibition of the Delphi Technique and now the district can parade around the fact that they got “public input”.   I don’t know how you can be so dishonest with people and sleep at night.  The public isn’t giving any input that isn't given to them first.

BTW - the cost of that Administration Building could have pretty much built a new elementary school... think about that while your 5th grader is sitting in a class of 35 kids.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Adults get a shiny new building while kids are breaking legs

Check out the latest news on my campaign site.  If this doesn't make you mad and get you to vote for CHANGE, then nothing will.  

CLICK HERE to view a short video and read the story.  If you really want to get steamed, click the links at the end of the story and read and watch what THIS school board did to the taxpayers and students in this district.  

The Everett School Board President, Jeff Russell, popped a cork at the President of the Bruin Community Parents for "assigning motive" for what they did.  But, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.  Building a new district office while continuing to let kids slide around and hurt themselves on outdated fields doesn't exactly say, "We put the kids first".  

We can only surmise they aren't interested in providing Everett students with top notch facilities that will attract families to the district.  They seem to think that a nice, new district office building will somehow do that.  I've never heard a single parent choose a school district to buy a house in based on what the district office looked like.  

If you REALLY want to change this and make sure the next time you vote to give the district money that your vote will be respected, then vote Kim Guymon for position 2 and Rod Reynolds for position 1 in November.  Our priorities are in the right place.  We're less interested in impressing the community and more interested in making sure the kids have what they need.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Knowledge is Power.....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Welcome to our new blogger

Rod Reynolds, Candidate for Everett School Director, position 1, will be joining me as a blogger here.  We will each sign our posts so you will know who wrote what.  

You can "like" Rod's Facebook page HERE.  He's still working on it as I am on my own since neither of us has a primary in August.  We are preparing for the general election in November.  

Rod is a master at analysis.  He's seems to know exactly what RCW (state law statute) applies in any given situation.  Sometimes I'm amazed at how quickly he comes up with an answer!

Look for him to start posting in the coming days.  

Teachers Love Tech

Kids today are "Digital Natives" - they can't imagine life before computers or the internet.  We need to make sure the classroom is keeping up with them. 

When was the last time someone said, "I'll go to the library and look that up in the Encyclopedia"?  

~Kim

Please Include Attribution to OnlineUniversities.com With This Graphic What do we Know Infographic

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

UPDATED: The Great Transportation Fix....

*UPDATE:  4/2013 I drove by Cascade last week right at the time school was getting out.  There isn't one, or two, but THREE crossing guards at the intersection presented in the graphic below.  One on each corner of Bruin Blvd and one across Casino Road. They are stopping car and foot traffic when necessary and getting the buses out.  

I don't believe that solutions are always complicated and expensive.  But, that's how government entities operate - get a committee of trusted "experts" who stand to make a buck from their solution and then have them use copious amounts of money studying the issue only to come back with a complicated solution that will cost copious amounts of money to fix.  

Common sense isn't so common anymore.  I'm glad the district took our suggestion


Recently, the Everett School District got parents all worked up over the possibility that school start and end times might have to be changed to accommodate bus schedules.  Apparently, without much documentation (available to the public, anyway), they determined that traffic at some of the schools was costing an additional $165,000 in bus costs because they had to run extra buses to make up for traffic jams at the schools in order to keep everything on schedule.

So, their idea was to meddle with school start/end times to allow more time to get buses around.  This resulted in a bit of a public outcry over their plan to start some elementary schools later and let them out later.  This would have resulted in elementary walkers getting home in some areas well after the 4:18 sunset in December.  Then, it morphed into THREE potential time changes of various configurations across ALL the schools and a confusing survey parents had to wade through.  The results were exactly as I predicted - parents would choose the "selfish" option and "no change" would still be the winner.  I marveled that parents with kids in elementary school said starting high school earlier but leaving elementary school the same was a good choice.  Do they not realize they will have to pay that piper in a few years?  But, at the end, the biggest winner was leaving times as they were.  

However, a side discussion was started by The Herald over whether or not starting high school so early in the first place was a good idea.  I think that's something to talk about over time since research shows it's best for students.  

I went to dinner with a friend last Friday who had attended a meeting about the schedule changes at Forest View Elementary.  She was amazed that the district admitted that they THINK it will save them $163,000 (but they didn't really know) and that the problems with traffic were really only at Cascade and Jackson high schools.  Her question was, why then were they going to mess up everyone's schedule for problems at two high schools?  

I am well aware of what happens at Cascade. And, the solution is so easy.  In fact, it's already being done at Seattle Hill Elementary near me in the Snohomish district because I get caught in that traffic all the time.  

Put a crossing guard on Bruin Boulevard - end of story.  Yes, I know that crossing guards aren't cool when you're in high school.  Let's call it a "Traffic Control Technician" then.  But, slap an orange vest on a $16/hour part-time employee and get those buses out of their lot and on to Casino Road.  



Here's my diagram of the set-up at Cascade.  That corner of Bruin and Casino is tricky.  The eastern corner sticks out farther than the western one and a cross-walk connects the two at an angle.  Of course, when school lets out, that crosswalk is just a stream of kids walking home.  So, the buses come out of their own pick-up area on to Bruin Blvd and have to stop for all those kids.  Now, we know that pedestrians have the right-of-way so that stream can be endless and without gaps for quite a while.  Once there IS a gap, the bus must creep forward and stop AGAIN for cars coming out of the school and heading east on Casino.  The buses can't see traffic coming from their left until they make that second stop due to the nature of that corner and a house sitting on it.  So, it's a double stop - once for students and once for traffic.  

Place a Traffic Control Technician on the corner to stop traffic.  The one at Seattle Hill stands in the middle of the street in her orange vest and alternately lets traffic in the street flow while letting cars out of the parking lot.  That job is, per the district employment site, $16/hour for 1.5 hours a day and 191 days a year (not sure why since school is in session only 180).  That's less than $5,000 to fix half of the $165,000 expense of extra buses.  

You could take it a step further and get the city of Everett involved.  That blind corner needs a traffic light and crosswalk sign.  It is really pretty dangerous.  You really can't see well to your left and if there is a car parked on the street, it's even worse.  You must stop almost at the outside edge of the crosswalk to see anything.  I believe that stopping in a crosswalk is illegal.  But, how else do you do it?  So, go to the city and ask for a study of that corner and perhaps a light or three-way stop for safety.  That fix doesn't cost the district anything.  

Like I said, I haven't experienced what the issue is at Jackson, but I suspect another well-placed "Traffic Control Technician" would also take care of it.  That would be less than $10,000 in cost to fix the problem the district thinks is costing it $165,000.  

I believe sometimes the answers are far more simple than they are made out to be.  Re-arranging school start and end times for a small issue at two high schools was like using dynamite to get rid of a weed in the yard.  

But, the issue of workplace rules and district policies may be the real driver here.  Sometimes the simple solution is prohibited because the complex answer is more profitable for those involved in the situation.  

If you haven't already heard, though, there will be no time changes at any schools next year.  The issue will be revisited the following year, though.  I am glad that is the outcome because when you schedule a child, you schedule a whole family and changing, especially at the elementary level, was going to be problematic for a lot of families.  But, it appears to me that we didn't really even have to consider it in the first place. 

And, if they REALLY need that money to keep those extra buses running, let's look to the amount of money allocated to the School Board in the budget.  It's currently $606,000 but it's been closer to $1 million in past years.  That is ridiculous.  Board members get paid a token amount per meeting (like barely out of the teens).  It seems to just be a slush fund of sorts for administration (dinners, legal fees, travel, etc).  When you compare us to surrounding and comparable districts, we are spending a lot more per student to support the school board. If you removed $163,000 from that budget, it would put Everett into the middle of the pack and more in line with what other districts allocate to their boards. 



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm running for the Everett School Board!













Media Release

Contact:
KimGuymon
E-Mail: GuymonForEverettSchools@gmail.com

May 15, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Kim Guymon, Founder of Everett School BoardProject, runs for the Everett School Board Position 2

(Everett, WA)  What started out almost two years ago as a social media effort focused on creating change has now turned into a run for public office. After a series of issues that propelled the Everett School District and the Board of Directors to the front page of many regional newspapers for all the wrong reasons, Kim Guymon founded the Everett School Board Project, an online advocacy group of now 200+ people in the Everett area.   

The Everett School Board Project’s Facebook page and its companion blog has been part therapy, part sounding board, and part district news source for Kim, but though using social media to connect with the public is foreign to many, it is not for Kim Guymon, who spent almost 10 years leading an online community of retailers as a consultant in the photo industry.  But after working to create discussion and awareness around leadership priorities and challenges with the current Everett School Board, Kim has decided that more direct involvement is needed to help create needed change, and has filed to run for the #2 on the Everett School Board.

“When I started the Everett SchoolBoard Project, I didn’t do it with an eye to getting on the school board,” says newly minted Board candidate, Kim Guymon.  “I started it because I knew that there had to be other parents out there who were frustrated and needed a place to talk with each other. Those with concerns were often made to feel like the ‘lone wolf’ with the implication that no one else has ever spoken out – which is rarely true.  After two years of talking, listening and influencing, I decided it was time to get more even involved.”   

Kim doesn’t have the background that has come to be associated with many typical school board candidates.  Kim reports that  “Some people have expressed concern that school board members, as with other public officials, seem to often come from a tightly connected network of community organizations, where it appears that people run to improve their resume and to play the ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’ game.  That’s just not the world I come from, and certainly not the way I operate.”  Instead, Kim has spent much of the last 16 years raising her family.  This Fall she will have two sons, a junior and a freshman, in Everett public high schools, and like many other parents, much of her time and energy has been spent supporting her children’s education and school activities.  As with most parents, she has volunteered in the classroom, donated supplies, and attended fundraisers, concerts and sporting events.  She is currently a student herself through an online program at Brigham Young University and plans to graduate from BYU the same year her oldest son graduates from Cascade High School.  “One of my most important qualifications for this position is that I can relate to the concerns that students, families, and teachers have.  I understand the need to prioritize time and resources and to focus on where you can make the greatest impact”, she says. 

As a member of the Everett School Board, Kim plans to focus on 6 core principles:
 
  • Lead with the students, teachers and families of the districts always in mind
  • Set prudent financial management priorities that are student-focused
  • Communicate with the public in the spirit of transparency and respect
  • Respect the teachers who work tirelessly to prepare our students for success
  • Seek innovative educational solutions that engage and excite our 21st century students
  • Help create a positive educational environment that pushes Everett Schools to the top of the list

“I believe that School Board Directors are elected by the public to represent the interests of the public,” Guymon says.  “I think too many school board directors forget where they came from, and start prioritizing the interests of the administration and other groups that don’t always have a direct connection to students and learning.  I want to be part of an effort to refocus on the students, families and teachers of the district and make sure their needs are met and their efforts supported.”

Further information on Kim Guymon’s campaign for Everett School Board Position #2 will be found at www.kimguymon.com. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One of these things is not like the others....



Remember this Sesame Street Game?




Well, we're going to play it on this blog today.  Afterall, it IS educational. Look carefully at the top photo and tell me which one of those things are NOT like the others.  I'll wait










Okay, ready?  If you guessed that ALL THE OTHER SCHOOL BOARD SEATS are for a 4 year term and EVERETT School Board seats are for a SIX year term, then YOU WIN!

The question is, "Why?"   We are one of just THREE districts in the whole state who operate on 6 year terms.  I believe Spokane and Tacoma are the other two.  When Director Jessica Olson proposed a discussion regarding it (because the school board may change it with a vote, from what I understand), she was shot down and told that they NEEDED the term so they could really get up and going and have continuity.  Really?  Why do WE need six?  Are we not as bright?  Are we special?  Are we afraid of giving up our power and having to answer to the voters more often?  

Picture this - if you were elected to the school board the same Fall your child started Kindergarten, you wouldn't have to be accountable to the voters until they were in 5th grade.  If you were re-elected, you wouldn't have to face the voters again until they were Juniors in High School.  So, two terms on the Everett School Board spans nearly the entire school life of a child.  If you were elected the year your child was born and served just THREE terms, you would be on the board from birth to adulthood.  That. Is. Nuts.  

Conversely, under a 4 year plan, you would have to face the voters and be accountable THREE times in that same "school lifetime" time period and FOUR times in the "Birth to Adulthood" scenario.  That would give more people a chance to serve and more people the chance to change the face of the board and make more board members accountable for their actions.  

What does state law say about this?  School board elections must be held in odd-numbered (off) years and elections must be staggered, meaning you can only have a few up for re-election at a time.  That's it.  That's all it says about the issue of "how long".  

So, this Fall, Everett will have the opportunity to elect two new members of the school board.  According to the current schedule, in 2015, two more seats will be up for re-election and then in 2017, the member we elected in 2011 would be up.  But, you could simply add the 2011 member to the 2015 ballot and have THREE up for re-election.  It's really very simple.  She would have served 4 years at that point and the other two would have served 6 but will then start the 4 year cycle.  Then, the two elected this Fall would be up for re-election in 2017. It's really not that complicated, nor is it that disruptive to do.  

But, alas, what practically every other school board in the state manages to do in FOUR years, we need SIX to do.  Gotta keep hold of those seats as long as possible....  Facing the voters and being accountable is messy and unpleasant stuff (and makes the Superintendent NERVOUS).  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

RECALL!!!

Rodman Reynolds, who has been very active in our group and was a candidate for school board a couple of years ago, has filed a recall petition against all 5 members of the Everett School Board.  

The Board has violated state law by not having an auditing committee to over-see the finances of the district.  

You can read the recall petitions HERE.  We are discussing it at our Facebook group HERE.  

The irony of this situation is that the Superintendent (Gary Cohn) has a finance background.  The Board president is a Pastor of a large Lutheran Church in Everett and is required by their governing body to have an auditing committee to oversee their finances.  The Board Vice President is a CPA and one of the other members runs a community Housing program which I am SURE has some sort of independent oversight of their finances.  It begs to be asked.... why is this idea lost on them?  I guess it's like so many others - they would rather fight against doing the right thing than actually do the right thing.  

The immediate response was to call an emergency meeting to find out if the ESD is going to pay the legal fees of the directors to protect them in their disregard for the law.   I assume the district's message to the public will be, "This man is taking precious resources out of the classroom to sue us."  No, this man is trying to make sure this district acts in accordance to the law.  

Rodman has filed a recall petition against the board president before that was denied.  But, I have a feeling this one will stick.  The Everett School Board is not above the law.  In fact, I checked with at least one other district about having an auditing committee and their response was, "Of course we do.  We legally have to have one."

On another note, the district also has decided to pretend like they haven't already decided to start elementary school 20 minutes later next year.  That means a 9:35 start and that kids will be walking home at nearly dusk at the other end since it will also end 20 minutes later.  In typical fashion, no actual parent seems to have been talked to regarding the change.  The "official" response received by one of my complaining friends was, "we also are touching base with child care providers, youth activity organizations, pediatricians, dentists -- those businesses and organizations whose schedules are impacted by school schedules."  HUH?  Apparently, they have no interest in touching base with the actual families who are impacted by this decision.  I know a lot of moms who already find it nearly impossible to get to work on time as it is.  A later start time means that money the district says they will save by doing this ($162,000 - which is about what the Superintendent makes), will merely be handed down to the families who may now have to pay for morning care for their small children.  

Just once in my lifetime would I like to see the Everett School District send out an email survey to parents.  My sister-in-law works at a district in Utah and she said that they REGULARLY send out email surveys to parents on changes like this.  But, again, that "right thing" concept seems to be lost on this group.  They would rather pretend that the shoulder slaps and friendly handshakes they get at Rotary is all the approval they need for any decision they make.   Talking to the public just gets messy....