No status quo

Dear Editor:

“The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo,” Disney CEO Bob Iger maintains. Consider that Mr. Iger’s company owns Mickey Mouse and Luke Skywalker, some high-status status quo.

The saddest status quo I know locally is the school board. For the past few years, the board has complimented itself lavishly while test scores and financial reserves have fallen sharply and student/teacher ratios have soared.

Class sizes of nearly 30 at the elementary school and test scores at the 22nd percentile in the third and fourth grades are the new status quo. Who can vote for that? Or the board members and candidates who ignore and excuse it?

Our schools have lost 370 students since 2005; some to the recession to be sure, but many have returned to home schooling, subscribed to online academies, applied to charter schools in Durango or left with their families for excellent schools elsewhere.

This loss of $2.5 million each year in direct state funding is crippling our classrooms.

Board candidates Brooks Lindner and Bruce Dryburgh are not a team or a tandem, but two independent, accomplished men. Lindner is the most well-rounded candidate we’ve seen. A talented teacher in the elementary and high schools, creator of a private school and developer and marketer of a national foreign language curriculum.

In addition to his legal and business bona fides, Dryburgh has both dogged commonsense and unusual patience. Many of us opposed both the Dry Gulch fiasco and the megacampus fantasy, and then stopped there. For Bruce, the end of the destructive schemes was the beginning, as he worked harder to create smaller, constructive plans for both PAWSD and the school district.

I suspect we will witness more debate between Mr. Dryburgh and Mr. Lindner during their first few meetings than we’ve heard amongst the entire board during years of crippling conformity.

Votes for Lindner and Dryburgh are votes for the possibility of real reform.

Who knows? Maybe we will begin, at the first meeting after the election, a nationwide search for a superintendent with a track record of creating superb schools.

Perhaps, after a term of Dryburgh and Lindner, the center of online learning in our community won’t be at the shopping center.

Could more than 50 percent of the total budget be spent on classroom instruction?

Might the math budget exceed the sports budget at the high school someday?

Any chance that sports budget won’t be 1,300 percent of the total non-sports extracurricular budget?

Could more than 1/3 of 1 percent of the general fund be dedicated to gifted and talented education, and more than 1/2 of 1 percent invested in vocational education?

Any chance principals will be authorized to dismiss incompetent teachers and reward superb teachers with substantial raises that begin to recognize their true value to our kids and our community?

Not without your vote.

Vote against the status quo by casting your ballots for Brooks Lindner and Bruce Dryburgh for the Archuleta 50 JT School Board.

Glenn Walsh

This story was posted on October 17, 2013.