Your Views | Same Old Nonsense

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To the editor:

Well, here we go again with the Alexandria City Public School System. Even though we have a new superintendent and a new School Board, its the same old nonsense. Recently, two children were not returned home following the end of the school day. So what do our illustrious Superintendent Morton Sherman and School Board Chair Yvonne Folkerts and School Board members decide to do? Why, set up another task force to review already established policies regarding this matter and avoid taking any responsibility! Enforce the existing policies and move on and stop wasting time so you all can run for cover.

As reported in the Alexandria Times in an article (Schools Say Only Bad News for Fiscal Future, October 29 November 4) by Austin Danforth, Superintendent Morton Sherman presented a fiscal forecast to the Alexandria School Board depicting a budget gap that could range from $10.9 million to as high as $17.5 million. At the City Councils budget retreat meeting November 7, Sherman and his staff requested a $14 million increase from the taxpayers of Alexandria based on a projected student enrollment increase of about 300 – 400 students. 

Alexandria taxpayers already pay about $17,000 per student with a student enrollment of about 11,000.  Furthermore, Folkerts wants us taxpayers to continue to pay for outside overpaid consultants to help fix school programs and says we cannot say no to spending more money for these high priced consultants. I say, yes we can say no! Isnt this the reason Morton Sherman was hired as our new superintendent? He has a Ph.D., which I am assuming is a doctorate in education and is supposed to have the experience and expertise to know how to fix or improve school district programs, problems, high dropout and low attendance rates, technology issues, etc. 

Like most superintendents throughout the country, Superintendent Sherman is paid way too much money, with an excellent benefits package. The idea that we must continue to overpay superintendents as well as maintain central office staff or we wont be able to find replacements is a non-issue these days. People are glad to have jobs in this economy. I would suggest that all of the members of the School Board and the superintendent take one or two classes in basic business management / budgets at NOVA Community College and of course pay for these classes themselves. 

Its too easy to use the children as pawns to continue to ask for more money from Alexandria taxpayers for Alexandria schools when in fact the money is going for high price consultants or central office staff whose positions may have been eliminated and moved around to other mid-level positions wherein jobs have been created for them.

It is time for the Alexandria School Board and staff to take charge and do the job they were elected / hired to do along with Dr. Sherman, who continues to do PR promoting himself with all positives. Perfectionism is a set up for failure and we all know the Alexandria School district continues to have problems like the majority of other school districts. It is the responsibility of Dr. Sherman to utilize whatever expertise and experience he has and was hired to do to: Bring about some change or modify whatever programs are needed and begin to keep costs down. 

Everyone is facing difficult economic times today except the Alexandria School district, Board and Superintendent who seem to think that Alexandria taxpayers are now the Bank of America and Citigroup.  Perhaps it is time to revisit the idea of an all-appointed school board.

Annabelle Fisher
Alexandria

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