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School board recall is about priorities

In about two weeks, the county elections division will start sending out ballots for the Forest Grove School Board recall election.

In about two weeks, the county elections division will start sending out ballots for the Forest Grove School Board recall election.

We have learned there are still many folks who do not fully understand the reasons we spent the last three months gathering signatures to initiate this special election.

It is mostly about priorities. Some would like the community to believe that the recall is all about closing Gales Creek Elementary School, but that is far from the truth.

The fact is, closing Gales Creek sparked many of us to pay closer attention to the questionable choices made by the board. The disparities between the board's priorities and the community's priorities were made clear during the Summit on Education when none of the community's priorities were considered.

We believe that when there is a budget cut, the community's priority is to first cut from the areas that least effect education. Over the course of the last year, the board's votes completely disregarded the priorities of the community and teachers, and instead embraced the agenda of the superintendent whom they hired and are responsible to direct.

Examples of Anna Tavera-Weller and Terry Howell's priorities include:

• Voting in support of a budget submitted by the superintendent that, if not addressed, will result in another $3.2 million shortfall in the next biennium.

• Voting to spend over $500,000 on an unproven book adoption program while they eliminated librarians, the FFA class and numerous AP classes.

• Voting to keep eight high school football coaches for just 100 boys, while removing all of the world languages except for Spanish.

• Voting to chop over 80 teachers and instructional assistants while awarding pay raises to all but one of the administrators.

Aside from the effects the controversial cuts continue to have on our kids, we are most troubled by the precarious spot the teachers find themselves in.

While knocking on doors, we met with many teachers. Most were supportive of the recall, yet refused to sign the petitions because of fear of repercussions from the administration.

These teachers are valued members of our community. Many have kids and grandkids in the district. They all maintain a vested interest in our public education system, yet lack a voice in their own community because they fear for the jobs that keep food on their tables.

This is likely going to be one of the most important elections to effect educational quality in our district for years to come. I encourage each of you to learn as much as you can about the issues before you vote. The News- Times has done a commendable job of remaining balanced throughout the process. If you would like to learn more, you can search for and read all of their archived articles online.