Many times, when we vote for an individual to fill a public office, we only have a snapshot of information to guide us as we decide what is best for our community and our children. The majority of us may not really have had the opportunity to work with or have their profession scrutinized or influenced by the individuals who are asking you to vote for them. On the other hand, some of us have, and do, interact with the members who are seeking re-election to the Oakdale Joint Unified School District School Board. One such individual sent out a flyer that found its way to my mailbox. As an educator in our community, I felt compelled to respond to some of the statements that appeared on this politician’s flyer.
First, and foremost, the exemplary state test scores achieved by your children are directly related to the quality education your children receive from the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s teaching and support staff, as well as the assistance you, as parents, provide to your children. Student achievement comes from dedicated teachers and parents, not members of the school board. As stated in this individual’s flyer, the district has been able to retain our dedicated teachers and avoid layoffs; however, neither this individual, nor the school board, can take credit for this accomplishment. The coordinated efforts of this community’s district office, teachers and classified staff are the reason that we have a fiscally sound district. For several years, the employees of this district have accepted pay cuts, no cost of living raises, and furlough days to save jobs, and provide the quality education to which this community is accustomed. Yet, while we are trying to make do with less, and still provide a meaningful education for your children, this individual boasts about a significant surplus of district funds, a sum far in excesses of the state’s requirement for a district this size.
During the last election, the citizens of Oakdale voted to chart a different course and elected another member of the community to this individual’s position; however, when a pillar of our community, who was a seated board member, passed away, the board reinstated the individual the community chose not to elect. There were others who were interested in the position; however, the board members never allowed them the opportunity to apply, so their qualifications were never truly considered.
When this appointed board member talks about the $30 million that was spent to build new facilities and the beautiful sports complex that we now enjoy, please remember that it was your tax dollars, developer fees, and private donations that paid for these improvements.
I live in this community, teach in this community, and support this community, and like the majority of teachers in this community, I want change. I want a school board that is sensitive to the needs of the teacher, the student, and the parents. I want a school board that comes to the school, rolls up their sleeves, and gets in touch with teaching and learning. I also want a school board that is sensitive to the needs of all the members of this community. It is for these reasons that I ask you to join Oakdale’s teachers, school nurses, and counselors in supporting Synthia Jones and Tina Shatswell for the Oakdale Joint Unified School Board.
Terrance J. Trowbridge, Sr.