I read with interest the article in the Sept. 26 Prior Lake American regarding school board communication protocol and policy, the letter of Oct. 10 from Joe Mannelly and an article from the Feb. 1, 2020 paper.
If a parent, staff member or resident contacts a board member with a concern, it will go to the board chair, superintendent and director of communications and the response will then come from the board not the individual board member originally contacted.
The district says the policies are to facilitate constructive resolution of problems and that the protocols are about trust and transparency. There have been trust and transparency issues with this district for some time when reporting to the general public as well as between the board and superintendent as when the superintendent made the decision to hire Dr. Sharroky Hollie on her own with no input from the board members.
I myself have experienced these trust and transparency issues with the district on several occasions.
It sounds like they are silencing individual thought and censoring what we obtain. This creates the impression of a police state where they will filter what information goes to the public so that it suits their agenda.
We elect the board. They spend our tax dollars. We have the right to accurate, honest data and to hear their individual opinions so we can obtain all sides of an issue. Without it, we've lost the right to free speech.
To compound the situation, we had three candidates advertising and campaigning together with the support of a teacher's group. It seems likely there will be no individual opinions from them if they should be elected.
On Oct. 3, the district reported the approval of a tax levy of 3.89%, which they said on Aug. 15 would generate annual revenue ranging from $2.5 to $4.5 million. Records I've received from the district indicate we've paid nearly $6 million ($5,892,295.92) since July 2013 for tech equipment. On April 13, 2019, they reported purchasing 800 MacBook Air computers for $917,616 for the teachers even though we had only 600 teachers at the time. They report 15,298 tech units purchased from July 2013 to July 2019 not including the MacBook Air for less than 8,900 students. Now they want $2.5 to $4.5 million for more tech equipment. In addition, in the Oct. 17 paper the district reported $2,866,302 in coronavirus funds. Those funds will be distributed to several different areas with $537,419 going for technology.
We taxpayers were not given the option to vote on the tax levy. But those expenditures will come from our taxes. When will we have input on what they do with our money?