Thursday, April 20, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Concerned citizens:
Dear Editor,

I represented a group of Concerned Citizens at the “mock” session of the Board of Trustees of the Holly Springs Independent School District on March 8. The trustees were conspicuously absent from the hearing of the testimonies given by the persons who were terminated from their services based on an anonymous note to the superintendent of the Holly Springs Independent School District.

The note alleged that some irregularities in testing at the primary school in Holly Springs should be noted. An investigation indicated that a teacher used seven or eight math items from a previous year’s test to acquaint the second-grade children with types of items they could expect on the upcoming test.

The principal and seven teachers were terminated by the school board’s attorney. The terminated teachers admitted no wrongdoing in handling the security of the tests. They were told that the termination was approved by the board of trustees of the district. In a meeting with the board, we were informed that the board had not approved this massive termination of teachers who were not a threat to the learning of students or their safety.

The board of trustees was not required to listen to the testimonies of the persons involved in the hearings. They choose not to hear the testimonies (only one trustee attended the sessions). The trustees, who serve as the jury and judge in this case, have an obligation to hear testimonies before rendering a decision. They met   briefly in an open meeting to the public and recessed to executive session where the taxpayers and parents could not hear the reasoning for their action.

Many of  us who read the report of the hearing officer’s report and sat through the hearings, were startled at the conclusion of rrustees on the termination cases. The board took 11  months to review the case. It permitted its board’s attorney to “stack the deck” by assigning the employed  Hearing Officer to guide the board in its decision. It should be noted that the one board member who attended the “hearings” voted not to support the action of the superintendent. We should have expected the board to be more sensitive to the  superintendent than the welfare of the students who suffered from the arbitrary termination of seasoned teachers and a qualified principal.

As concerned citizens we hope board members will  review  their role as educational leaders rather than as disciplinarians of students and teachers. The people need to know about all things that affect the welfare of children and how they can help as partners in improving the learning environment of the children of our community. Executive and secret session should be rare, if at all.

As citizens, we are concerned about the procrastination of publishing guidelines for securing   critical  leadership  for the Holly Springs Independent School System.

Dr. W.A. McMillan
Holly Springs

Thanks for helping:
Dear Editor,

The Cayce Volunteer Fire Department wants to say a big thanks to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson and crew for the delicious food at our recent fish fry. We had a great turn-out.

Also a big thanks to each who purchased tickets and to those who brought all the desserts.

We thank each who gave recently during our bucket drop and really appreciate everyone for the support that is given to this department.

Ruth VanLandingham

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