Letter to the editor:
Majority not represented in board’s decision
To the editor:
I appreciate the commitment of the school board members who serve in a thankless position, but I am extremely disappointed in the board’s latest decision. We elect members to REPRESENT us. The vote not to renew Dr. Erickson’s contract does not represent the district majority.
Since the announcement of the 4 to 3 intent not to renew his contract, those who deeply care about this school district phoned, wrote letters, signed petitions and appeared in person to tell the board their opinions. It could easily be seen the majority of patrons attending the Jan. 12 board meeting fully supported Dr. Erickson and the renewal of his contract. Instead, the board unanimously voted not to renew his contract, created a temporary part-time position and accepted his retirement in 2010. The compromise thankfully allows retirement but, so does a one-year contract renewal.
In a time of financial restraint and state aid cuts, why create a temporary job spending more money? Was it an attempt to appease the majority or the board members’ conscience? It makes more sense economically, is the decent thing and the desire of the majority of patrons to renew Dr. Erickson’s superintendent contract. This allows the board time to seek a highly qualified candidate to replace him (although a better superintendent won’t be found), allows him to retire, and will save the district money. For 13 years he has proven that he is fully capable of doing the job. While other districts are dropping programs (sports, music) his financial leadership has allowed us to maintain ours. He doesn’t waste money. You won’t find a more passionate, dedicated, qualified individual of integrity. How many highly qualified candidates will be interested in applying when they see the lack of support and loyalty the board gives its superintendent?
The board should reexamine if its decision was done with the best interest of USD 464 in mind or if it was a result of personal issues and agendas. If they are honest with themselves I think they will find they made a mistake that should be immediately corrected with the renewal of Dr. Erickson’s superintendent contract.