Letters to the Editor – May 13, 2016
Hattier asks residents to be informed
I did indeed have a most pleasant lunch with Mr. [Lloyd] Elling, sharing various ideas and information about the IRSD. Much information is available on the website and through our very open meetings. I made Mr. Elling aware of this.
I did indeed intend to vote against any referendum, this year. But as happens, when the incoming numbers of students are as high as they are, when the classrooms won’t be available in a short timeframe, any delay we have in expanding will hurt all of our kids. We cannot cram 30-35 kids in a classroom and expect a good outcome. I felt ultimately that the extra spaces and teachers have to be added. A year’s delay does no one any good.
The pure fact of the matter is that, of our 2,200 extra students since 2008, 87 percent are Hispanic. That makes the bulk of this, due to that influence. I can carry those numbers back even further if asked to do so, with similar percentages. That leaves about 13 percent for total non-Hispanic growth. By definition, that leaves the “dominant” growth in that one group. Like it or not.
If only half of those Hispanic students come to us not speaking English and needing extra help, which they do, it places a large load on any district that happens to have this issue. This is easily verifiable on the DOE website. We are forced to keep these ethnic-oriented records by the feds and by the state. The numbers are what they are.
The referendum policy in our state is a lot different than many other states. We need State approval for any money matter, not just buildings. We first have to get approval for any referendum under a Certificate of Necessity. This takes months to years to get approved.
Then the State allows us to ask the public. The State’s money only follows if we can get local support. And, by law, we can only ask twice in a one-year period. If both fail, we get to wait till the next year. And the year starts with the first referendum. Not fiscal or calendar.
It is also interesting to note that a fairly high percentage of recent referenda in other districts have failed. I cannot comment on why that is, but they rarely, if ever, pass all of the time. To suggest that all or even an overwhelming majority of referenda pass is not taking the reality into account.
The question of election sites is a good one for which I do not have an answer. That really needs to be addressed to and by the Department of Elections. We have no control over that. I am opposed to mail-in voting or e-mail voting because of the high chance of fraud. We as citizens are asked to vote and be part of the process, so take the time and come out and actually vote.
We do not mail information letters to every resident of the district. The cost of doing so is simply prohibitive. Compared to the large money that another local district spent, we have been fairly frugal. The TV and radio programs are to specifically address the issues that are raised by other editorials. These informational segments also let the public know about some of our successes in educating today’s youth.
In regards to athletic fields, I can find no record that Dr. Bunting said that. In case I missed something, I would appreciate that information source being forwarded to me. Some form of outdoor fields and activities are usually attached. I don’t see how this constitutes appealing to a voting bloc. The schools being built are elementary and middle school. Not your usual hotbed of athletic activity.
Senate Bill 165 is the bill that would have allowed for mail-in ballots. It would have also limited referenda to one time per year, on the date of the election. There are years in this district where there are no elections and that would have limited anything timely happening. This bill deserved to not pass.
For all residents of this area, the committee meetings are open to all. They are listed on the websites. Please come and join us in helping to make the best decisions about our kids and their educational futures.
Donald G Hattier
IRSD Board of Education