Ferndale Patch welcomes letters to the editor.
The following was submitted by Ferndale Board of Education Trustee Darcey McLaughlin.
As a School Board member, I am offended by the charges from the newly formed group CLEAR that tough questions have not been asked or answered by the current board regarding our district. This is simply not true. Through its committees, the board has always carefully considered and debated the district’s important issues while our meetings have been facilitated effectively, and cooperatively. CLEAR also accuses our district of being non-transparent when in reality all questions posed to the board or administration have been answered promptly and completely. Documents exist to prove the district’s attempts to clarify issues, yet CLEAR continues to make divisive comments.
Our Superintendent has found an innovative approach to offsetting funds taken away for years by the State in a long-standing consulting agreement between our district and Michigan Future, Inc. Because this is a political year, after almost four years of this contracts life and revenue to date of $800,000 for our district, the CLEAR group and its candidates and one current Board member have inferred that for lack of time sheets, our Superintendent and his immediate staff do not put in a full work week or that conflicts of interest may exist. To suggest these things are ridiculous. Our Superintendent and FPS administrative, teaching, and support staffs are some of the hardest working individuals you will ever meet. They put in countless hours on behalf of our district and students.
I have firsthand knowledge that our Superintendent works 60 or more hours per week for our district and that his private consulting work is in addition to those hours. Other administrative staff members are in our buildings well into the evenings week after week. I know this because I am often at the evening meetings with them. CLEAR members, however, have only just begun to attend board-related meetings.
Our Superintendent should be commended for finding alternative sources of revenue to add to our district and allow us to continue to be a full service district. For six of the last ten years, our district received either NO increase or an actual reduction in State Aid yet we are still serving nearly the same number of students in a full service district! Under his guidance and his qualified teams, pupil test scores have risen. Ferndale High School was recently named a Reward School by improving academically at a rate greater than 95% of all Michigan public schools. FPS is on the right track and making great progress.
As a lifelong resident, volunteer and board member - I am offended by CLEAR’s
accusations of our district, our administration and our staff. Unfortunately, the
November election may be divisive for the community. Much work needs to be done, and publicly accusing our administrators and Board during a political season only damages the reputation of the district. I hope voters will wade through the rhetoric. The future of continued improvement of our schools is at stake. Visit www.ferndalecbe.org for more information.