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Differing things being said about Frazee Schools

For the past few weeks there has been a lot of comments and opinions on what is happening in the Frazee School District. I would like to add my opinion to some of these issues.

There have been numerous comments about the audit and what it portrayed. Different views in different newspapers, letters to the editor and such. I sat in the meeting with Mr. Johnson and the first thing he told us was what he would be covering in his report. The report was a very detailed report of the audit and very shortly after he finished with us, he would then go to the school board and give them a brief summary of what the audit contained. I could see the report that Mr. Johnson was reading from and he had highlighted in yellow many paragraphs and he explained in detail just what each paragraph meant. Conclusion, figures were deleted that by law were supposed to be kept, information about finances were mis-stated, and we were not in any threat of going into SOD. So how can Tracy Zitzow be so convinced that there was nothing wrong with the information that was being given out by Stender and the school board members at the informational meetings? Of course the fact that Tracy's mother was one of the people responsible for assembling these facts and figures may have played a roll in the view that Tracy took.

At the meeting conducted by the FEA I finally heard the teachers side of the current contract negotiation. If what I heard is true, and I think it is, then I am quite shocked at the attitude of the school board negation's committee. Commitments were made two years ago that if the teachers took a freeze there would be considerations made for the now impending contract. I don't care if it was a hard freeze or soft freeze or what, commitments were made and now the board doesn't want to stand by what they said. I realize there is no money, the state isn't going to come up with any money, and we the taxpayers are at the end of our rope so to speak. So what can we do? Maybe just a little plain open negotiations would work! I certainly think it would work better than back stabbing, throwing fear into the teachers, or being less than truthful with the people. What ever happened to old-fashioned transparency on all sides of the issue, teachers, school board, and the citizen-taxpayer? It seems that everything has to be done behind closed doors never out in the open where someone or some group may have to be accountable for what they say or do. Is that so wrong to be open? The school board seems to want to do everything out of the public eye. They will often quote a statute number as to why they do things behind closed doors or why they won't take action on certain things but when I go and read the statute the actual meaning is far different from that the board would want you to believe. Why the secrecy, why the smoke and mirrors?

In November, you the voters will be able to go to the polls and cast your vote for four school board candidates. You had better be thinking real hard about what you want your school district to be in the future. I am of the opinion that there are already people out there who are positioning themselves for a run at one of the open seats. As a citizen you had better be aware of what anyone might promise that they will do and you should concentrate on what you believe they might do. Across the country in the past few months we have heard much about the Tea Party movement and the impact that they are having on both the National and State wide scenes. Maybe it is time we organize our own Tea Party in District 23. -- Oscar Birkeland, Frazee