Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Erickson to finish career as part-time official

January 12, 2009, 11:34 p.m.

Updated: January 13, 2009, 6:13 p.m.

The Tonganoxie School District’s superintendent will not return to his post when his contract ends in June, but will remain with the district until retirement in 2010.

By a 7-0 vote at Monday’s board meeting, the board approved the measure not to renew Superintendent Richard Erickson’s contract. However, the board did approve Erickson being transferred to a new part-time position — special projects manager — which will begin after his current contract expires and will conclude June 30, 2010. In addition, the board approved Erickson’s retirement, which will be July 1, 2010.

His new role will carry an annual salary of $36,000. Erickson’s current salary is $106,250.

Asked what the new part-time position will entail, board president Diane Truesdell and vice president Leana Leslie said Erickson would report to his replacement and assist with special projects the new superintendent assigns.

In a written statement, Erickson said he was thankful to the supporters who wrote or made phone calls on his behalf during the past month. He said it was through their efforts that he would be allowed to finish his career in the district.

“A special thanks to the wonderful building administrators, educators and a number of great board members that I have had the opportunity to work with over the past 13 years,” Erickson also wrote. “My two children, and I believe all children in USD 464, have benefited from the great work of the above listed people.”

Roughly 50 people attended the meeting, with nearly 20 of them meeting individually with the board in executive session. Each had three minutes to express views.

When the board announced its decision, many people filed out of the Tonganoxie Middle School library, as some could be heard saying “shame on you” and “this is a sad day for Tonganoxie.”

Leavenworth County resident Joyce Williams said Erickson “knows what he’s doing” and is a good person, adding the decision was a “cop-out.”

In December, the board voted, 4-3, its intent not to renew Erickson’s contract.

Asked whether the decision was a compromise, Truesdell responded that it was unanimous.

Board members haven’t commented about Erickson since the initial vote took place in December, citing they wouldn’t discuss personnel matters.

Erickson came to Tonganoxie in 1996. Supporters have pointed out the district has improved during his tenure, and a $25.3 million school bond issue passed in 2004. In 2007, he also was the subject of a contract buyout of an assistant administrator and a tax filing error that cost taxpayers nearly $370,000. Erickson rectified the error by lowering the mill levy this year and figuring in interest.

Karlye Weatherford, who has worked with Erickson on various community projects, said the board was as much to blame for the tax error because it should have also evaluated the document or hired someone to also check it.

“Instead of pointing a finger, he took the blame,” Weatherford said.

She added that not renewing the contract “was a very bad choice” and she thought it put the district at a disadvantage in now finding a replacement in what she viewed a short amount of time.

She described Erickson as a “Godly man” and full of integrity.

The board met for nearly three hours total in executive session. During that time, the board met alone, with patrons individually, as well as with Erickson.

Alan Theno was among those who met with the board individually. Theno’s son successfully won a sexual harassment lawsuit against the school district in federal court. In 2005, he was awarded $440,000 total.

Theno said the board should vote not to renew Erickson’s contract, noting “the buck stops with him.”

He noted Erickson had done good things, such as his work with the bond issue, but said the bad outweighed the good. And, he said accountability would be important with the next hire.

John Morgan spoke to the board also. He supports Erickson and said he trusted Erickson’s leadership with children in the district.

“I think it’s time for some people to get past their personal issues and agendas,” Morgan said.

The list of patrons who spoke to the school board individually during executive session were: Mike Bogart, Debby Pestock, Larry Meadows, Dennis Bixby, Glenna Coldsmith, Leah Mullen, John Morgan, Mike Bronson, George Cooper, Frank Smith, Jeanne Smith, Mike Vernon, Earleta Morey, John Grasso, Alan Theno, Karlye Weatherford, Bill Weatherford, Diane Titterington and Randy Wager.

The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the TMS library to discuss its search for Erickson’s replacement.

In other business, the board:

• Heard about the accomplishments of Tonganoxie Middle School students. Erickson presented Tonganoxie Middle School principal Jill Dickerson with certificates for standard of excellence achievements. The school received a certificate for building level reading, eighth-grade reading, eighth-grade mathematics, seventh-grade reading and sixth-grade reading. Dickerson said she was thankful for the recognition and said “I want you all to know we have wonderful staff here and wonderful children.”

• Accepted the retirement of Gerald Nelson, bus driver.

• Heard from Keven Ward with Trane about the school’s energy audit. A special meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 at the Chieftain Room in Tonganoxie High School to discuss the investment grade audit and define the scope of the energy solutions project.

Comments

BWeatherford 5 years, 3 months ago

I am offended that the majority of the members of the school board have used their positions to carry out their own personal vendettas against a man like Dr. Erickson. Having been an educator I know how rare a superintendent who shows as much caring and compassion for the students and faculty is. Now, because of personal grudges, the district is without a superintendent. In their narrow view, the board has placed us in the predicament of finding a replacement for Dr. Erickson in just a few months. This was entirely unnecessary. Dr. Erickson had already stated his intent to retire at the end of the 2010 school year. The board would have done better to use that year to find and properly vet a new superintendent.
This decision was not based on anything other than a desire to take a good man down. The board refused to hear the majority of the citizens of this community and instead pandered to a angry minority. What they plan to do now, only they can say. I personally have lost a great deal of faith in their judgment. Now that they have sacrificed their favorite scapegoat, who will take the blame for every thing that goes wrong in this district?

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BillDeWitt 5 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Erikson was was a great professional during the years that I was fortunate enough to work for the Tonganoxie school district.

I had very little experience when he hired me for my first job, but he was incredibly supportive from day one up until I made the difficult decision to leave the district to work in the town of my residence. I credit a great deal of success that I have now as a teacher and coach to the patience, support on vision that Dr. Erikson provided for me when i was starting out.

Regardless of the reason for his change of position, I wanted to wish him well and thank him for the guidance he provided to myself and countless others during his tenure.

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katblu 5 years, 3 months ago

B weatherford, please define the words caring and compassion. If we look at the superintendent as an example this is what we see. A superintendent that hid a bullying problem from the school board that went on for 4 1/2 years. He ignored parents pleas for help. Did this caring and compassionate man take the witness stand and explain to the jury how he used his experience as an educator and show them how caring and compassionate he was. Did he fix the bullying and harassment problem that he knew about from the first week? NOPE If you read his deposition you would know there was no way he could explain his imcompetence away.
After losing the lawsuit and costing the insurance company $440.000 and embarrassing our schools did he stand up in a school board meeting and say We have to fix this. Our school will never be embarrassed like this again... NOPE 2 years after that embarrassment, parents were again at the school board complaining that kids were being pee’d on.. choked until they passed out, and one had ben-gay pushed up his a**. Even after that, did that caring and compassionate man stand up and say NO MORE and try to implement new rules and procedures to hold administrators accountable? NOPE! So what has the caring and compassionate man done... He has screamed at the district employees.. Screamed at a parent at a school board meeting. Screamed at an employee so bad that the police were called. That caring and compassionate act only cost the taxpayers $57,000. Is this your definition of a "good man"? Well the school board did refund the tax money that he over charged us, so some of the board members must be caring and compassionate. You think the taxpayers could afford another year of this caring and compassionate good man? The board did listen to the majority of the people. The majority want their tax money used to educate their children.. Not buy out his mistakes. Well Doc. if you get a few minutes look up the words caring, compassionate and incompetent and see which one fits.

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Bob_Busk 5 years, 3 months ago

Katblu, The bullying issue was the result of really bad parenting. Having lived in this community for over 50 years I can tell you that the family that bilked the district was the result of a father that is out of control. Living through his son and causing most of the problems as a result. He was a problem when he was young, he attempted to rectify it through his son. Almost criminal, too hard to prove. The $400,000 they took from us, the taxpayers, is akin to stealing in my opinion. He's been that way for 40(+) years.

Bill Weatherford is right on target. The board had a couple of people that settled a personal grudge. The board approved the buyout of Jamie Brun. I hate to imagine what Brun would have done had he/she joined the military. Brun got yelled at one time and had a hissy fit. Welcome to blue collar America. Brun showed us he should have been a hairdresser.

The four feminists should resign, Smith, Baragary, Leslie and Tate. If not, then they should be recalled.

Tonganoxie is so ashamed of our board it is hard to temper the remarks that should really be posted here. Alan Theno has no reason to run for the school board now, his proxy's have done his filthy work for him. I really don't know how smith, Leslie, Baragary and Tate can show their faces in town. Most of the people will look at them in disgust. I guess Alan Theno will clue them in on how to live with it.

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getagrip 5 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Busk, let me tell you first of all that I am not Alan Theno. Let me tell you second of all the my son was also bullied in school. Do you know how it was handled by this kind and compasionate individual, through shouting and pounding his fist on his desk. I did take the time to read the info on the Benson Law Firm website and am embarassed about the comments from our administration that are court documents. As for the Brun lawsuit, there is a difference between being yelled at and being threatened. I think the only part of the community that is outraged is the part of his church that showed up at the board meeting and have only heard one side of the story. You need to remember that there are always two sides.

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tongiegirl 5 years, 3 months ago

Mr. know it all Busk, how dare you write about something you dont have a clue about. Sounds like you have a personal problem with Mr Theno. I dont get why you call Leslie, Bargary, Smith and Tate feminist? I will shake their hands and pat them on the back and tell them job well done when I see them on the streets of tonganoxie. DID YOU TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE THE THENO CASE ON THE BENSON LAW FIRM WEBSIGT????

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BWeatherford 5 years, 3 months ago

I want to respond, not to attack anyone, or even defend myself.  The biggest problems with these blogs is that they so often deteriorate into angry rantings that accomplish nothing.  I said what I believe and I have no reason to take it back.  I won't hide behind a pseudonym.  I intentionally made it clear who I am and what I believe.  I realize others may not agree with me on my view of Dr. Erickson.  He has many critics and I have listened to many of them.  I have heard all sides of all the issues that are brought up in regard to Dr. Erickson's tenure in the district and I stand by my statement that he has conducted himself in an honorable way.  As far as my experience with Dr. Erickson, I have only seen him act with care and compassion.  He sat down with my wife and worked out arrangements concerning our son when she disagreed with him.  He has shown a love of children and I believe he wants the best for our school system.  I have heard others that say he can be hot tempered and has lost control in the past.  Having never witnessed that, I cannot really comment.  Perhaps that is the case.  I can only judge him from my experience.
To the Theno situation, I can only say that from what I have heard (the events happened prior to when we moved to town), there was a system wide failure, and while it is easy to place the blame on one man, many people who should have been held responsible have taken little or no blame.  I sympathize with the Thenos, having faced my share of middle school bullying.  Those were very tough years for me, and while I would never want to go back to that time, in many ways the experience helped me grow as a person.  I wish that the system hadn't failed.  It did.  The Thenos got their day in court and won.  Can this never be laid to rest?
I have no personal stake in this matter other than that I want the best for our schools.  If Dr. Erickson has failed in his role as an administrator, then why has the board refused to explain to us in what ways he has failed.  If he solely is responsible for students harassing and bullying other students then why was he not fired the year following the lawsuit?  If his failure was his run in with Jamie Brun (an incident in which the only side ever publicly stated was Mr. Brun's) then why was he given a contract for this year.  If his failure was in submitting the wrong mill levy figures, then once again, why was he not fired a year ago?  If there is something that has transpired in the last year that necessitated his immediate dismissal, then please let us know what it was.
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BWeatherford 5 years, 3 months ago

Whether people liked or disliked Dr. Erickson, I hope we would all be able to see injustice when it takes place. To fire a man without laying out a good case for doing so makes no sense. I wish every person reading this would ask themselves how they would react if it were their job that we were talking about.
Mr. Busk, please don't resort to name calling, it accomplishes nothing. I am very frustrated with this school board and I would love some explanation. It is a tough thankless job. I realize that. At the same time, unless the board can explain their actions, I still am left thinking that this is about letting a personal vendetta against a man get in the way of what is best for this district.

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katblu 5 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Weatherford. Please put aside your friendship for a moment with Dr. Erickson. There is a difference between Dr. Erickson your friend, and the superintendent of USD 464. Please go to bensonlaw.com, scroll down to the school bullying case. Click on it. read school districts post-trail motion denied. Then ask yourself, if this was my child and I went to the superintendent of USD 464 several times and asked for help and he did nothing. Would he be someone you would describe as a good person? Who should be held responsible for that mess? Who is in charge? It comes back to the same person. The superintendent of USD 464. Remember in every wreck it’s always asked, who was driving? Your right, there is a lot of blame to go around, but who was in charge? No it can not be laid to rest because it is used everyday. Law schools teach about bullying and use Tonganoxie as an example. The D.A.R.E program uses it when their showing a bad example. A mother in Lansing took a copy of the verdict to her daughters school and gave it to the principal and told him "if you don’t stop the bullying of my daughter this is going to be where your school ends up”. A bullying problem that went on for months was stopped that day. There are people all over the Untied States that have used this case to help their children. Why wasn't he held accountable the year the school lost the trial? Ask former school board members Dr. Dean, Bob Dehoff and Ron Moore. Also Darlyn Hansen who is still on the board. The good-old-boys did nothing Why. Ask them. This board has had enough of his failures and said enough. It should have happened a long time ago but some of the board members had the same problem your having. He is my friend. No, he’s an employee that sat and let a problem continue that he should have stopped. He let it get so far out of hand, it ended up in federal court, embarrassing our town and school. The good thing about the truth is. Its always the same, a year from now or 10 years from now, its still the truth. He didn't do his job and it took several years for him to be held accountable. If a doctor did something that hurt a patient and later it was discovered? Would you say lets move on or lets hold him accountable? Or would you call it a personal vendetta?
I’m sure Dr. Erickson is a good husband and father. I have heard he’s a good coach, the taxpayers are not paying him for those things. He’s being paid to run our school district. Not scream at people, belittle employees and allow problems to get so bad the district ends up losing a federal case.

I hope you don’t think I am attacking you. I’m not. You are a business man. You should know the difference between what’s business and personal. One more question. would you leave your wife alone with someone you have been told has a "hot temper and has lost control in the past? I wouldn't. I also wouldn't put him in charge of my kids either!

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Bob_Busk 5 years, 3 months ago

The Theno case was a sham. Again, the family was dysfuntional to begin with. The kid, as stated in the case was outside the norm, abnormal in behavior. The father blamed everyone but himself. The court documents cite that Dylan's behavior was not normal, it is a clear failure of nurturing and the responsibility is primarily upon the parent. It is easy to say the School District did it. But that's not the case, it was bad parenting. Anyone that has been in Tongie for 50 years certainly knows about Alan's "quirks".

Again, Baragary, Smith and Leslie should resign immediately. If Dr. Erickson brought shame to the district and was released then likewise the three shame ridden board members should follow the reasoning they've set forth and also spare the district, resign NOW!!

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TongieLifer 5 years, 3 months ago

Bob_Busk Wow! I am speechless. It sounds like you have a personal issue with that Theno family. That lawsuit was over almost 4 years ago, and yet here you are slandering that poor kids NAME AGAIN! Yes, he’s just a kid, let him move on with his life and stop dragging that kids name in the mud! How in the world do you know so much anyway? Are you related to them? Were you there when every issue happened? Were you the bully? Your blaming bad parenting, when in fact if you stop and think about it, if it was your child getting picked on, I bet you would do everything possible to get it stopped! I know I would! It is completely obvious that you are jealous of Alan and his “quirks”. Did he date your girlfriend in high school or something? Don't you think that family has been through enough! It seems like that all you’re bringing up is the Lawsuit, when in fact there were Many, Many issues that were a part of the boards decision. Sure, he can say, he has done good things for the district. But, he can ALSO say... there have been many errors that he has created and not handled appropriately. When a Grown adult has to call 911, because he himself is being bullied by the superintended.. Something is WRONG. Yes, the Lawsuit caught people’s attention, (thank god) But, that is only the tip of the iceberg. I can Not believe you can smugly sit there and call Names to the board members who voted against him! YOUR A GROWN ADULT who has lived in this town for OVER 50 YEARS, and here you are name calling because they didn’t do what poor little you wanted them to. Give me a break. Unless you’re a board member who has been to all the meetings and has been apprised of all situations. Maybe you should think before you speak. Didn’t your mother ever teach you "if you can't say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!" By the way, Why are you only picking on the Women members? The vote was 7 - 0! Do you have a personal vendetta? All I am saying is be nice.

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TongieLifer 5 years, 3 months ago

Getagrip
In regards to your previous comments about the lawsuits and a community that is outraged, all I want to say to you is A MEN! I completely agree with you! I could not of said it better myself! Thank you.

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kanfarmer 5 years, 3 months ago

Bob_Busk Your trying to tell everyone that a guy that works in a warehouse is smarter then a team of KSB lawyers and the schools insurance company’s $300.00 an hour lawyer? The lawsuit wasn't a sham. It was justice. Thank god someone was willing to stand up. I was at the basketball game at the middle school Monday night. I walked down to the school board meeting. I thought it was very strange that Dr. Erickson brought his family to a meeting where he was to be fired. I felt nothing but embarrassment for his wife. Would anyone you know take their wife and kids to work on a day you knew you were going to be fired? It was a pathetic ploy of a desperate man that knew he was losing his job.

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Ted_W 5 years, 3 months ago

I Haven't grown up in Tonganoxie, I've lived here for about 10 years. Over that period of time two of my daughters graduated from THS. One was a special needs student. Dr. Erickson was instrumental in getting my family the assistance we needed with the Leavenworth USD COOP. Without his help my family wouldn't be living in Tonganoxie today.

Over the years Dr. Erickson and I have had our disagreements, but I always appreciated his honesty. I don't know much about the Theno case but it seemed that the award of 440,000 was excessive. But again, not my reason for contributing to this discussion.

The current school board is not accessible. Shortly before this mess their emails were no longer available on the USD homepage. No phone numbers, no addresses, no emails, if you don't personally know them then there is no input. I sent a letter to the district offices addressed to "School Board" and requested a response via a simple email that my letter had been read...Nothing, no reply. (I could've sent it registered).

I spoke to Kathy Baragary several months ago, very cold and unapproachable. I have had dealings with the Leavenworth school district, primarily in the special needs program. The reputation of Kay Smith in the Leavenworth school district is not positive. This leads me to believe what Mr. Busk and Mr. Weatherford have written is accurate.

I have been seen by Dr. Weatherford once, he seemed like a very caring, very sincere person. I can't imagine he'd make up something or misrepresent Dr. Erickson. I would personally like to see Bill run for a school board seat. Likewise, I think the best thing for the community would be for some of the sitting board members to review why they are on the board and if staying on the board serves their interests or the community's. I believe an honest assessment would indicate that some of them resign as Mr. Busk has called for.

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ksu_tchr 5 years, 3 months ago

I am currently a senior at Kansas State University. I grew up in Tonganoxie and was a student in the Tonganoxie School District from my first day of Kindergarten all the way to high school graduation. First of all let me start by saying that I have no "personal vendetta" against Dr. Erickson or the school administration. I am simply a college student reading my hometown newspaper. I am proud to say that I am a THS graduate and a very successful college student thanks in part to THS. However, when I go into the College of Education here at K-State, I find myself ashamed to be a THS grad. There is a reason why. When it comes time to talk about classroom management or discipline, somehow my professors seem to tell a story that seems all to familiar to me. Dr. Erickson and the lawsuit that occurred is discussed quite frequently, and pointed out to us how not to handle a disciplinary situation. Professors and Deans of K-State think that it is ironic and immoral that a superintendent and all levels of administrators would not go out of his/her way for a student that is being bullied in anyway. You do not ignore ANY type of situation that bothers a student. As a teacher or administrator we are taught to be there for a student and offer support. All Dr. Erickson and administrators involved could have reprimanded those students being the bullies. It is a simple step that eliminates all problems. I guess Dr. Erickson must have skipped those lectures in class during his college career.

For those of you who are degrading the female board members should assess themselves. Why are they getting ridiculed for being strong, intelligent women standing up for what they believe in. And you all do know that "Tate" is a Mister. It also was 7-0 vote, so why not mock the others?Why just these select individuals? For those that are bashing Mrs. Smith, let me be the first to tell you that she is a well educated woman that stays current with education and all laws involved. She has became a mentor to me, and will always be my “go to person” when I need advice. Teachers strive to achieve what rapport she has in the classroom with her students and student‘s parents. I have seen her work like crazy for this school district, along with her students, and all some of you can do is belittle her! I think you should thank her and the other members that stood up for this school district and go beyond what they are called to do. In the end, we all should understand that the board more than likely had information that they cannot release to the public, which produced their vote. Maybe you all should keep that in mind and realize the board did everyone a favor.

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Bob_Busk 5 years, 3 months ago

Ted_W,

Apparently you have common sense. It is pretty simple to see the problem the board created. And Smith is a problem on the board. It is not illegal but it should be, members of the NEA should not be on school boards, it is a conflict of interest, it is unethical and common sense says its wrong.

As for Tate, I assumed he was a woman. I'm old fashioned, and an old man, and I just can't see an impartial male making an hysterical emotional decision like voting to release a superintendent during this fiscal crisis. Men use reason and logic to make decisions, women rely upon emotions. So I assumed Tate was a woman, apparently he just thinks like one. My appologies to Mr. Tate.

This is exactly why our founding fathers did not include women as voters. Look at our past, American socialism has run amok since the 19th Amendment was ratified. Had these women not been on the school board, there would have been a reasonable decision made.

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ksu_tchr 5 years, 3 months ago

I think it is ironic for Bob_Busk to comment on who has common sense, because apparently he has none. I also think it is interesting that he states "men use reason and logic to make decisions." So does that mean that you are calling Dr. Erickson a woman? As for the Smith issue...She is a professional when it comes to her job. God forbid we have a board member who fights for students rights, and notices when something needs changed.

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Bob_Busk 5 years, 3 months ago

ksu tchr, you have a lot to learn about tolerance. You personally attack me but I have done no such thing to you. I respect your right to have an opinion very much different than mine. You however have shown your closed mindedness by insulting me.

I guess this is the new left, tolerant when ideas are the same as theirs. The new America, national socialist liberalism. Ksu_tchr, I fought in a great war to rid us of your ilk, your enlightened hate is very dangerous and I see it creeping into our great nation. You'd have people silenced if they don't share your values and ideas. That is a very dangerous ideology.

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Ted_W 5 years, 3 months ago

Bob Busk, I don't share your ideas on sufferage, but you are correct in that we as a nation must accept the ideas and beliefs of others as long as they are not violent. I don't want to get drawn into an internet discussion that devolves into a gutter fight. I had to chuckle though about the young person ksu_tchr (I to am making an assumption that a student at KSU is young) writing about irony when the only real irony that clearly appeared to me was the irony that ksu_tchr was engaging in internet bullying by indicating that you, Bob_Busk had no common sense. I appologize in advance if ksu_tchr takes my comments as negative. As I previously said, these comment tools tend to be annonymous and lend to behavior that the writer would generally not make public had their identity been known. Bob Busk and Bill Weatherford have a lot of courage posting in the open. Bob, thanks for your service to our country and for sharing your opinion so boldly.

Respectfully and tollerantly,

Ted

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Ted_W 5 years, 3 months ago

Let me clarify, when I wrote we must accept their ideas and beliefs, I meant to say we must accept their right to express their ideas and beliefs.

Thanks,

Ted

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ksu_tchr 5 years, 3 months ago

If I have a lot to learn about tolerance what does that say about you when you degrade women like that? I think it sounds hypocritical to me. I respect your opinion but after reading some of your post, you do not sound so tolerant yourself. You did however attack my comments. I am a woman and the comments you made about women I find uncalled for. You attacked a school board member that does good for this district. You attacked a family that had to sit back and watch their son get bullied and could not do any thing about it. You rant about the Theno family and how bad of parents they were. I am only 2 years older than Dylan, and actually graduated with his sister. Mr. Theno is not what you labeled him as. I am just sticking up for those people you attacked. As for my closed mindedness, maybe you should reread some of your post and tell me a little about “closed mindedness.” And to Ted about me engaging in internet bullying…what is Bob Busk doing? I’m not the only one here at fault. Does it not bother you people that Tonganoxie is ridiculed in the educational world? It bothers me. Just yesterday I had a professor pull me into his office and ask about what I knew about this issue because I was wearing a Tonganoxie shirt (actually how I found out about this issue). He laughed at Dr. Erickson’s actions. It saddens me that my high school is used as a negative example.

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Bob_Busk 5 years, 3 months ago

ksu_tchr, Now you're "ranting" on about being a victim? Please, you weren't victimized on this discussion. I am very old and hold a belief that women should be elevated above the fray of politics. Women were created by God to have the traits that they do. That is my belief, it does not belittle you or any woman. It merely reflects Kansas values that have been passed by for something I feel is not better. We could argue all day about who said this or who said that and we'd be dumber for it. I speak from personal experience with the Theno family. I speak from decades of experience in Tonganoxie. I've known of the Smith family for years, she grew up here in Tonganoxie. I have a different opinion of her based upon my life and community experiences.

A professor ridiculed a small town, that won't be the first time. The school district has good scores, the community supports the district, by the results of the poll on this issue it is apparent the community is in disagreement with the board so what is your issue? The board made a mistake, they're human. But they should be accountable for their mistake, they should take responsibility for their mistake and either reconsider the superintendents contract and renew it or they should resign. If they don't resign then they should be recalled by the citizens of this communtiy.

Get over yourself. You're not the victim here, Dylan Theno isn't the victim, the victims are the citizens of the school district that have to endure the incompetence of a school board riddled with flawed personalities and vengful arrogance.

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katblu 5 years, 3 months ago

 ksu_tchr. You are so right. Our schools are used as a negative example, and its sad. As high as our taxes are, we should have top-notch schools and the best administrators.
 When you explained the superintendents actions to your professor, what was the first question your professor asked you. "I'm just guessing", but I'll bet he asked you why Erickson still had a job here.
I’m sure the school board has more information as to why they voted the way they did and I hope now, everyone can move on to a different subject.  
 I hope you continue with your education.  We need all of the educated young ladies we can get. You sound like a caring and compassionate person who would look out for the best interest of your students.  I hope when you graduate there is a place at U.S.D.464 for you.
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tshelton 5 years, 3 months ago

I've been reading this blog for several days, and the end result is, the Supt. is out. No matter what we say or what we do, it's a done deal. It's time to move on. Enough is Enough Thank You

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Dan_Hopkins 5 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Erickson has served this district over the past 12 years. There have been some mistakes and some problems but as a community we've worked through them. I have submitted letters to the editor of this newspaper on three occasions in support of our school board and superintendent. The school board serves the community and represents the community without receiving compensation. It is a selfless service that is often overlooked in the heated discussions of what is right or wrong.

I have four sons that have or are attending Tonganoxie schools. My older two graduated from THS and are attending college. Another is currently attending THS and my youngest is at TES. My children are Amerasian. Each has told me of incidents when other students have referred to them with an unflattering racial name. My wife and I have talked to our children about this and encouraged each to be proud of his heritage and cultural differences. Certainly this name calling is bullying but my children have enough self esteem to not let it bother them. Each has enough confidence to know that they’re unique individuals with a solid spiritual foundation, aware that we are all created equal in the eyes of God. The name calling has always stopped as other children see that it is pointless and untrue. I’m certain these were isolated incidents. Kids make mistakes, they learn from these mistakes and we must have patience with them to get through awkward phases.

As a community it is time to look to the future, learn from the past, and act wisely in the present. Dwelling on the past is not going to solve this issue or likely any issue. Bullying occurred, it was determined in a federal court that bullying occurred. We have new policies to address this issue and we should periodically assess these policies to insure that the same mistakes aren’t made again. This is a community where individuals are treated with dignity and respect. This community has always opened its arms to others and embraces diversity. We have some difficult times ahead of us as budgets must be cut and services reduced. The school board should focus its attention now on meeting the goals of educating and the responsibility to us taxpayers of spending our money wisely.

I'm Proud to be a Tonganoxie Resident, I'm Proud my children attend Tonganoxie Public Schools and I'm Proud of the Tonganoxie Schools. Lets continue to strive daily to make this community even better!

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aprildohle 5 years, 3 months ago

I have read through these comments and agree with TShelton, the board has made their decision, in my opinion, overdue - let's move on.

Everyone's focus should be on the education of the students in the district. These are challenging times for everyone, but once again, there are youth in our district whose education is being jeopardized.

Executive sessions serve a viable purpose but also can be a source of rumors and speculation. Patrons, please trust the elected school board and let this issue rest.

We are the parents of a dually-enrolled senior at THS that has been educated by Genesis Christian Academy and USD 464. Our daughter is in the third grade at Genesis Christian Academy. I could remain silent and let the youth in USD 464 be impacted by the distraction of this decision.

Consider this fact - 51% of Kansas' general fund is earmarked for public education. Governor Sebelius has proposed a budget to the legislature that if accepted would reflect a reduction of $142,000 for USD 464. This reduction does not include the loss of local dollars tied to the reduction in general state aid per pupil. (Source KSDE)

To date our son has received many full 4-year academic scholarship offerings ranging from in state universities and from the University of Pittsburgh - Honors College. He is waiting to hear from Harvard and Boston University before making his decision.

We appreciate the commitment and influence from the teachers. Patrons please thank them for their service. They are the dedicated servants, tasked with educating our youth. Clearly with a nation wide teacher shortage our teachers are dedicated to our youth as they certainly could choose to teach in other districts.

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