Steamboat Springs Education Association: Informed, not reformed
Roger Good said perception is reality. We say deception is unethical. Good’s letter is inaccurate and insulting, and this community deserves better.
Regardless of Good’s denials, the so-called reformers are attempting to gain a foothold in Steamboat. Reformers want to privatize education though voucher tax-credits to private schools, control curriculum and demonize teachers, and Good is part of that effort.
He was seen at the “Salsa Summit” meeting with reformer board members from Jefferson County, Douglas County and Thompson Valley. He arranged for our school board to leave a Colorado Association of School Boards conference to attend CoCatalyst, a reformer organization. And he is publicly advocating for the reformer candidates in this election.
Good claims that his opposition to CASB is financial rather than political. More deception. Last spring he suggested hiring attorneys to replace CASB, and when pressed by teachers, Good named attorneys Brad Miller and Dustin Sparks — both of whom were hired by Jefferson County and Thompson Valley reformer school boards.
Before hiring Miller and Sparks, Jefferson County spent an average $41,000 on legal fees. After hiring them for the 2014-15 school year, the district spent $95,000 for legal services. Thompson Valley district spent $45,000 using that firm for only nine months.
In contrast, our district spent a total of $10,624 on CASB services for the entire 2013-14 school year. Financial concerns are clearly not a reason to leave CASB and hire reformer attorneys.
In his letter to the editor, Good claimed that “a careful examination will show that perception is not an accurate view of reality.” A careful examination of this situation shows that a political agenda is clearly present.
The local teachers’ union he disparages is a professional association made up of your students’ teachers. A majority of local teachers choose to be part of SSEA because of the many positive contributions it makes to our community and schools, including maintaining high professional standards and promoting workplace safety and fair compensation for all district employees, ensuring the best possible education for our students.
Yet Roger Good, as president of the school board, has a clear agenda to undermine the association, similar to what happened in the reformer districts. Despite his implication, when we negotiate for salaries and benefits, we negotiate for all district staff. And despite Good’s attempts to take credit for any compensation increases, we arrive at those numbers and vote on them as a committee comprised of teachers, administrators, classified staff and one board member.
Finally, it is insulting to this community that Good continues to deceive us about his intentions in this election. As a seated board member, it is inappropriate and unethical for him to weigh in on this election and try to influence its outcome.
He and others are portraying the local teachers who voluntarily contributed to a small donor committee as being operated by “out of town organizations with catchy names.” That is patently untrue and deceptive. The campaign donations are from local teachers to local candidates.
Conversely, the reformer agenda that he and others are so clearly set on, is very much supported by outside interests, such as the Leadership Program of the Rockies, which is funded by the State Policy Network, which is in turn funded by Americans for Prosperity (an arm of the Koch Brothers), and which said on its website that it “has set an example for how engaged citizens can have a(n) impact on local, state, and national agendas.” Outside interests at work.
The very real perception that our school board president does not support our local teachers is counterproductive and damaging. This community demands and deserves better — be informed, not reformed.
Steamboat Springs Education Association
Steamboat Springs, CO
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Sherry Burlingame never imagined herself as a chief of police.