Letters to the Editor

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PUYALLUP: Confidence lost in school board

Letter by Tiffany N. Coleman, Puyallup on May 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm with 15 Comments »
May 20, 2011 2:07 pm

The Puyallup School District is losing a great man, Rogers High School Principal Scott Brittain.

At the last school board meeting, a march happened, posters were held and speakers spoke in hopes that the district would hear out the Rogers students, faculty, parents and alumni before  the deciding vote to accept Brittain’s resignation.

Many people have claimed that the audience was immature and misguided; that was not the case. When the news showed the loud audience that booed and yelled the board out of the room, that was because the school board announced that it would be accepting his resignation although it had not voted yet.

So put yourself in those students’ shoes and imagine how they felt when they found out only moments after speaking on behalf of him that it made no difference.

While the board did not consider the words and tears of many, the many considered the board’s words. I with the support of many in Puyallup, will vote this fall and ask that voters don’t vote for the three current board members who are up for re-election.

Puyallup School Superintendent Tony Apostle has said that “the level of confidence the community has for the board is so high.” But not anymore due to its lack of confidence in the opinions of those who attend schools in the district. Sadly, I am disappointed in the district I was once proud of.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. bsmarter says:

    Unfortunately being a “great man” is not the same as being a great school administrator. I also have many questions about how this situation was handled, but as an educator I’ve seen this before. Brian’s supporters are a vocal minority of students and parents that might be considered “privileged”. I’d be more sympathetic to his cause if he had been teaching a zero hour remedial math or reading course to help students graduate.

  2. Erudite says:

    Unfortunately most community members do not realize that a demonstration at a school board meeting does not change decisions that have already been made behind closed doors downtown. The school board simply conducts a vote to make it legal.

    The fact that this school board repeatedly ignores public outcry, community comment, and student and parental concerns would make you wonder what goes through Apostles head when he makes comments like the one mentioned in the letter.

    Apostle also ignored a request from the Rogers HS senior class to not attend their graduation ceremony, instead he would rather turn that event into a spectacle and ruin what should otherwise be great day for those seniors.

    Nice job Dr. do it my way or else.

  3. cclngthr says:

    bsmarter,
    The underlying issues, as I see it as a teacher are what Brittain did was not what the board, and superintendent want as an administrator.

    The question remains: Is the decision in the best interest of the school district, or is it in the best interest of the students? Was his attendance at the field trips unjustified by the board because he was too friendly with students or was the board’s intent was to restrict him to his office?

    The answer to his teaching is obvious. The union contract prevents him from teaching at any time. Eliminate that union contract item, he could teach. You should know that as an educator. Unions restrict duties to only union members.

  4. enotrams says:

    This is about community confidence in an elected school board, or in Puyallup’s case a school board made up of appointees who are friendly to the current administration and act as a rubberstamp for whatever gets presented to them. (If you don’t think so, then just try to prove otherwise and provide some real examples)

    Attempting to downplay community members who come forward to voice a lack of faith and trust in the school board and this superintendent as a vocal minority is disingenuous and misleading. (sure, if it was a handful of people maybe, but 500 really? perhaps someone knows the last time 500 people showed up at a school board meeting to express a ‘high level of confidence’ in the puyallup school board? or maybe someone will organize that for the next meeting?)

    While there still may be an uniformed majority of community members in Puyallup, the increasing number of residents and the frequency at which they show up at these meetings to voice their displeasure with the school board and the district leadership is newsworthy.

    This sorry incident is the latest in a long line of incidents that reflect the ineptitude of the school district leadership and it’s hand picked board of directors. This is a school board that is out of touch with the community and a superintendent that doesn’t care about community input. How can this kind of community sentiment be anything but harmful when leaders refuse to listen and take appropriate action?

    The contempt the superintendent has shown for the Rogers High School seniors is beyond description. Obviously he cares more about himself, otherwise he would have some respect for our students when they have the courage to speak out.

  5. puyallupmutt says:

    I just hope the level of anger is still elevated in November when the public has the opportunity to unelect Apostle’s groupies. I think just 3 are up for election. I also hope that the word gets out who are the incumbents and it is made very clear to the masses and not just vote for name recognition like they normally do.
    Or we could end up dealing with another frustrating dynasty (like the Brouiletts).

  6. cclngthr says:

    enotrams,
    Part of the issue is whether the popular principal can raise test scores, which is an indication of their ability to do the job. While Brittain may do that job well, other popular principals may not.

  7. harleyrider1 says:

    Does Puyuallup elect this school board?

    Either complain, blog, or vote. Since the first two didn’t work, I suugest voters mark their ballots to reflect the direction they want.

    If this board remains intact after elections, then it’s what you wanted.

  8. enotrams says:

    Don’t confuse educating children with the Puyallup School District test score training plan, these are two very different things.

    Sadly, PSD constantly blathers on about it’s test scores; meanwhile 25% of students fail to graduate each and every year (a statistic that has not changed with their test score improvement)

    Ironically, RHS students and the community are suddenly getting a big dose of education in what poor leadership looks like, how not to run a school district, and what happens when community members become apathetic about running for local elected offices.

  9. As with all things school related, you need to give them more money.

    I’ll let you figure out exactly what that means.

  10. Do the right thing and most likely you will lose. There are perhaps
    10 million Americans who can do the right thing and perhaps
    200 million that stand firmly in the way. It’s gotten worse in the past
    30 years.

  11. dmacljn says:

    I have been a part of this community and the PSD for 40 years. Although the physical turn out to the board meetings on the average may be low, don’t mistake this as to tax payers , parents of the PSD not paying attention. We the people of the PSD carry the big stick. If the PSD and Tony Apostle do not want to listen to the public that control and pay their salaries, then the only way they will listen is by THE VOTE and the communities involvement.
    Board members come and go as well as school Superintendant’s. Tony Apostle has been gifted a BLOATED salary ($ 40k raise to total $240k + auto allowance of $1,000 per month) by PSD board members in fear of losing this top administrator. Hogwash, I promise you that if Apostle is gone tomorrow that we find someone very capable to handle those duties at alot less cost to the taxpayer. VOTE,VOTE,VOTE, VOTE

  12. cclngthr says:

    dmacljn,
    Maybe it is time to do away with the appointed by the board superintendent. Have that official an elected one. Same with the board, on a annual basis.

    I think the criteria for both the board and superintendent should be the same as the rest of the staff. If they don’t perform to standard, they are automatically terminated.

  13. e8party8 says:

    As Mark Twain once said-

    God made idiots for practice, then He made school boards.

  14. How about Puyallup replace Tony The Pony with Scott Brittain as the new Supe?

  15. ColtonsDad says:

    The writer of this article stated that she is now disappointed with the Puyallup District that she used to be so proud of all because of the resignation of Mr. Brittan. Funny that for years this same district has been abusing special education students and using them as “slave” labor for their own benefit and that is acceptable and something to be proud of?

    Society is all mixed up; I guess if you are not immediately affected by something like this it is easy to turn a blind or ignorant eye. This district has had more lawsuits filed against it than any other in the state and is on the hot seat more than any other.

    Nothing will change until Apostle is ousted. He will hand pick every board member that will fall in line with his thinking. Until he is gone you will not see change or another levy or bond that will pass.

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