Summit School District (SSD) Board of Education (BoE) elections will be held this November. A small group of Summit County concerned citizens met in early June for important meetings with a national strategic trainer who has been successful in helping candidates win school board seats across Colorado and beyond. Because four positions will be open this year on the Summit school board, it is conceivable that these elections could result in a strong school board with a majority of members who put academics and student achievement above politics. We need your help to make these critical changes for our children.
A bit of local school board history:
The board of education hired another ideological superintendent this year, and the results have continued to be disastrous for all students. SSD’s Department of Education academic accreditation score was the lowest in history. The accreditation was temporarily lowered to “Improvement Plan” meaning SSD has to regularly submit a Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) to show how they will turn things around.
Unfortunately, the UIP that was submitted did not focus on academics. It focused on what SSD is calling the “Pathway to the Profile” where students will now be required to take several classes and a senior project showing they have attained attributes like being curious, courageous, and globally aware.
Hispanic students are falling even further behind under this board’s direction. Summit Daily reported that SSD’s Hispanic students perform in the bottom 2 percent of the state academically and the learning gap is widening. Hundreds of Hispanics signed a petition asking that gender theory not be taught in K-5 (4-11 year olds) after a Hispanic 4th grader was encouraged by a teacher to join an elementary LGBTQ club. He was told not to tell his parents. The board ignored these concerns.
At the end of last school year, SSD had an $11.8M budget reserve. They squandered all of this and are talking about hiring freezes, salary freezes, substantial cuts, and selling land next year to stay within mandated reserve levels. Most concerning was the award of $528K to a board member and his theater company to provide bilingual after-school theater lessons to Hispanic students. These are the same students who can’t read and write.
SSD is heading in the wrong direction academically, ideologically, and financially. It is imperative that things change. The only way to do it is to get common-sense, non-ideological, academically focused parents elected to the board. We’d like to see SSD get back to a focus on basic academics, transparency, and ethical fiscal management.
Please join the efforts of the School Board Leadership Team (SBLT), which was formed after the strategic training. The district captain is CJ Milmoe, and the interim campaign manager is Tess Scalise. Our most important and pressing need is for candidates. We also need many volunteers to support the candidates, write letters to the editor, help with a possible voter registration drive, and support other community awareness projects. Please contact Nancy Gunow, SBLT communications manager, at GunowN@aol.com, 248-568-6415, if you might consider running as a candidate, know someone who is interested, or offer to volunteer in any capacity for this most important endeavor.