On May 19 a former Walla Walla School Board member wrote a letter in which he suggested I am “a bully” who uses “unsupported and undocumented babblings” in my letters to the U-B concerning school board decisions and activities. He also said, “Never once did Vernon participate in an honest conversation about any fact or issue.” The writer neglected to give examples of inaccurate facts I have used.
My first thought was don’t respond to such a letter. My second thought was so many inaccuracies in these statements needed correction.
I always try to be factual in my writing. Some of the sources I get information from are the U-B, various board members, superintendents and occasionally state law (Washington State Statute 28A.335.120).
I get additional information from the District’s Focus on Education publication. I state some personal conclusions and suggestions. “Unsupported and undocumented babblings?” You decide.
I have participated in what I considered to be interesting and “honest conversations” with both the current and the former superintendents in their offices. I have also corresponded in writing with our current superintendent.
I don’t know any current Board members and, as of now, I don’t have plans to attend any Board meetings. My main purpose for writing letters to the paper is to help keep the public informed on how our $66.66 million Walla Walla School District budget is being spent. What part is wasted and what part is shortchanged on a regular basis.
A question and part of the answer from the latest Focus on Education publication:
Question: What does the district do to ensure its schools and grounds are well maintained?
Part of the answer: The district spends approximately 6 percent, or nearly $4 million, of its General Fund budget annually to support district maintenance and grounds efforts.
You will notice the maintenance and grounds efforts costs were lumped together. This continues the district’s long refusal to tell us what it actually spends on maintenance.
The district says approximately 6 percent of the General Fund budget equals nearly $4 million annually for maintenance and grounds efforts. My old math tells me that for 6 percent to equal $4 million, the total budget would have to be approximately $66.66 million annually.
I will say it again. With a budget that large we need an independent annual audit.