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Guest Column: Parents of School District 205 must hold Sheffield accountable

February 23, 2011

By Bradley D. Maynard

I’ve e-mailed rrstar with this and will send it to Dr. Sheffield after I send it to you. I have worked in the district for over a decade and am currently watching a district afraid to speak out. This letter is my way of venting my frustrations over the current situation that I feel has smothered the creativity of our current educators.

Wake up, Rockford!

While I understand, and cautiously respect Dr. Sheffield, I am concerned that her bosses, the parents and voters of Rockford, have remained silent while she quickly dismantles this district. Understandably, she is on the defense with all the accusations about her flying about, but that doesn’t mean she can have free rein to make drastic decisions that affect our children–the very children she claims she has in our best interests.

With her latest “behind doors” decisions concerning athletics and the closure of schools, I question if her knee-jerk solutions are the true answer to the financial woes facing all of us, her bosses. (Remember, we elected those responsible for hiring her.) I, personally, see no forward thinking on her part. Next year’s deficit, according to her, is already at an estimated $7 million. What private committees will she be holding in the coming months to cure that inevitability?

She claims that she is for a “World Class Education,” but every action she’s taken up to this point during her tenure has pointed to a direction less than that of her mission statement. How is eliminating higher-level courses, though the board sees otherwise since they will approve classroom cuts if seats aren’t filled, helping to produce students capable of competing in today’s workplaces?

While she has challenged us to bring ideas to the table for her consideration to cut the budget shortfall, I have nothing substantial to suggest. However, I have to question her as to what brought us to this circumstance. How much money was spent in purchasing and initiating a new curriculum that even the board was made aware of last minute? What was the added cost of having, what I believe to be, an unnecessary cabinet of officers? Moving the Parent Resource Center?

Moving the district’s Facilities Department? $41 million for a contract with a private security firm? I could go on and on with what we all should view as wasteful spending when, by her words, children come first, but it’s pointless when those proposals have already been approved by our elected board.

We are on a sinking ship, Rockford, and our children will be the victims. At this point, we need to be our children’s lifeboats and take the lead in rescuing our school system. Contact your school board members. Contact the superintendent. Be their boss and demand better!

Bradley D. Maynard has been a resident of Rockford for more than 15 years.

From the Feb. 23-March 1, 2011, issue

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