Letter to the Editor: And the board of education wonders why people do not attend their meetings!

May 8, 2009
by Katri Backman-Koster

Dear Editor,

I went to the May 5th Board of Education meeting to hear more about the rumored changes to the “new” Greeley schedule. I applaud the administration for evaluating the schedule and realizing that changes need to be made.  The schedule, in its current format, is not working. I can think of several reasons why that is and on Tuesday evening several parents offered their views on the topic. When they did, however, it was clear that there is something else that is not working and needs to be changed: the Board of Education meetings.

My understanding had been that the members of the Board of Education are elected representatives of our community and entrusted to make decisions on behalf of the community as a whole on issues relating to our children’s education.  Furthermore, I had thought that the Board of Education meetings were an opportunity for the members of the community to ask questions, voice opinions and perhaps even offer suggestions. 

In reality, the format of the meetings is such that only the bravest among us will have the courage to walk up to the podium, speak into the microphone and address the Board as if they were the Supreme Court. To ask a question is at best intimidating and at worst mortifying. And that is before the Chairman of the Board rolls his eyes, cuts you off mid-sentence or tears into you in an experience similar to facing the lions at a Roman amphitheater.  If it sounds like an exaggeration, ask around and see how people view the prospect of speaking up at the meetings.

Leaders and politicians from the President on down have realized the value of Town Hall-type meetings. They listen to the people and answer their questions.  We, as a community, should be able to ask our questions, share our opinions and give our input – if we so desire. We do not tolerate bullying in our schools and we should certainly not tolerate it at community meetings.

Katri Backman-Koster

To view all articles and letters to the editor on the high school schedule change, see “From the Archives: Greeley Schedule Change Letters-to-the-Editor and Articles, Newest to Oldest.”