Vail Valley Voices: Schools spend funds well
OK folks, let’s try to see the bigger picture here and not get bogged down in the minutia. Oh, and to answer the accusations that the district is misusing monies, not true!(1) That maybe some of those restaurant charges might be associated with the 62 teachers who over the past 12 months, after working all day, gave up their evenings and summer to rewrite the rigorous curriculum for per-school through the 12th grade in the four core subjects. Oh, so for all their effort and volunteer hours they were rewarded with a pizza dinner. Did you know that Eagle County Schools has been recognized statewide and nationally for their rigorous curriculum and that most likely the 350 sections will be published and that a monetary value will come from those workbook sales. Enough to pay for the pizza those teachers ate. (2) Or maybe it has to do with giving dinner to the Board of Education the days they come for board meetings that start at 3 p.m. with a work session, then go into executive session and then start the regular meeting at 6 p.m. that usually goes until 10. This includes staff that is required to stay the whole time after working a full day at the administration office. This takes place at least twice a month. Oh and by the way, the board members take home a zero paycheck. I know these folks give anywhere from 40-60 hours a month in volunteer time attending meetings, sub-committee meetings, statewide school board conferences, training and attending school events. So, darn that school district for buying them a meal. If you don’t believe me, volunteer for a committee formed at the district office level. (3) Or maybe it was for time spent by employees attending conferences for professional development, which in turn helps our students to become higher achieving learners. That’s why one of our high school principals attended a conference at a Hard Rock Hotel, where the conference was being held. They don’t choose these places. The conference is there, probably because that hotels marketing department offered the best room and meal deal. Not because our school district is misusing your tax dollars. (4) Or that our top administrative staff spent time down in Denver meeting with the Colorado Legacy Foundation and the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation so we as a district could be the recipient of a $300,000 grant. Our school district spends a lot of time finding other monies to fund this district because our state continues to cut the budget. Help us help our schools.(5) Maybe it has to do with the purchase card used at the Brown Palace, where Mitch Forsberg was honored as Elementary School Principal of the Year in the state of Colorado. But then the mountain pass was closed and he couldn’t return to the Vail Valley, so he stayed an extra night at the event hotel, which offered the event guests a special rate. (6) I saw where someone said the school district was spending monies on a fancy New York trip for a teacher. I believe they are referring to the trip that the winner of The Public Education Foundation of Eagle County gave to a lucky raffle winner-teacher and her friend at the teacher recognition awards and dinner event “Evening of Stars.” I know because I fundraised for that event myself and booked the trip personally. Ouch, someone in our community does something nice and it comes back to hurt. So folks let’s not nit pick about these items you’re seeing on a website the opposition says you should go look at. Of course you see expenses, but that is only half the picture. There’s more to every one of these expenses, and in many cases a reimbursement or an important community building meeting. As a former school board member who never used my cash card but may have been bought a lunch or two over my 17 years as a volunteer in this school district, I can honestly say that there is no conspiracy and no hiding of inappropriate spending of funds in Eagle County School District. I wouldn’t be heading up this campaign if there were. When people spew lies and accusations, they are no different than a thief. They rob us, the reader, of the truth and facts. Next time you want an answer to a question, don’t write a letter about ECS. Call me first, or better yet, call someone at the district office who can give you the plain simple truth, the facts. Once you understand the whole picture, it is really a pretty good-looking school district we have here in Eagle County. We should be proud of what we have, and the administrators, teachers and support staff we have running this organization.I am a parent of three children. Two have graduated and my third is a junior. I not heading this 3B campaign up for their benefit. I’m doing it for our community and for all those children in the system and yet to come. A strong school district is the foundation to a strong economy and community. We need to stand together as community if we hope to come through this recession ready to be a leader and thrive. Please join me in voting yes on 3B and yes to us as a community.Louise Funk, of Eagle-Vail, is the head of the Yes on 3B campaign.