Concerning the SISD bond election, my wife and I voted yes, knowing our taxes would have increased by about $20 per month.
My family relocated here after separating from the Army. We chose Stephenville because it is a place where values still exist and people care about one another. This is evident in the schools as well. I have never heard a teacher demean a student. I have eaten lunch with my daughter many times and did not hear a teacher giving “time hacks” and yelling at children, but here is the real issue: If I would have heard it, it would have been my responsibility to address the issue. I would have talked to the teacher in question or taken it to the principle. Believe it or not, parents have responsibilities in their child’s school. It is not a hands-off institution where kids can be dropped off and forgotten. It takes teamwork involving the school district at every level along with the parents to make a school work.
As for nutrition, food cost money. The better the food, the more it costs. The state allots certain commodities to our schools for lunches. It would be foolish and irresponsible to throw out the food allotted by the state. The issue with school lunches does not originate with SISD.
As for basing the decision of whether someone can adequately manage $34 million on a letter seems a little extreme to me but I will address it. I have received one of these letters as well. Turns out that my child had the information and forgot to tell me. Now, let’s assume that at any given time there are 100-200 children that owe for school lunches. Over half of the children forget to inform their parents. That is a lot of money that is owed to the school. Granted, some of the children might just owe ten cents, but there are others who owe more than, say, two dollars. Multiply that by 100 or 150 and I think that the benefit outweighs the cost in this situation. And let’s discuss the option of going online to deposit money into our child’s account. Is it easier? And for whom exactly? How about the 69 percent of the American population that has home computer and Internet access, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
I am not even going to address the issue of PTO fundraisers. The things that the PTO does for our schools are incalculable and anyone who doubts this should go to a meeting and listen to what the fundraising goes to. PTO funding helps with what the state cannot or will not help with. On this issue, my children have never sold the most during a fundraiser and not once did they feel worthless about it! If that were the case, there are deeper issues that need to be addressed by me. This goes along with the little “gift shops” that are set up in school. Is this really an issue? Are children leaving school deflated because they cannot buy a penguin eraser? If this is the case, do not let your child go to a friend’s house that has an XBOX 360 if your child does not.
I am also not going to address athletics because there was nothing in the bond in question regarding athletics. I will say this however: athletics teach children things that cannot be learned in a classroom. Go to a game on Friday and watch how our team conducts itself. Children learn values from athletics. They learn that hard work pays off and that everything does not revolve around them. It does not have to be football; it is there in all sports.
When I walked the halls during my child’s open house, in addition to inquiring about my child’s teacher, I absolutely looked to see if the same tiles were in place and the cafeteria was in the same spot. You have no idea how important something as simple as maintenance is. It tells a story about the organization and its employees, work ethic and pride.
Both of my children have forgotten homework assignments. I have never received a “nasty-gram” note in their folder. In fact, I specifically remember a page in their notebook that detailed what homework was due on what day. My children know what is due and when, and if they forget, it is on them; no one else is to blame.
Now let’s address the hiring practices of SISD. The state of Texas sets the minimum salary schedule of teachers at just over $27,000 a year. This is for a teacher with zero years of experience. For every year of experience, an additional 600 dollars per year will be paid. That means that a teacher with 20-plus years will make a little over $44,000. This is coming from the Texas Attorney General’s website. Being a school teacher is not about making money. It never has been. It is about making a difference in children’s lives and contributing to society as a whole.
People who are or want to be school teachers know that they will not get rich doing the job. They do it because they love it and believe that they are making a difference. But you cannot address the hiring practices of school districts without addressing the fact that teachers are some of the most underpaid employees in the workforce, and this fact effects hiring. To blame the SISD hiring practices is irresponsible and ignorant.
The bottom line is this: Do not hide the problems that you have with your children’s school in a letter to the editor disguised as a bond issue. The issues that you have are in no way related to the bond that was voted on. Take some responsibilities for the things you mentioned and don't blame the issues you have on the school or the bond. It is obvious that one has nothing to do with the other.
Loren Stroebel, Jr.