Answers to Higley Board Member Whitener’s Questions: “How do we compete? How do we keep up with growth”?

By Rebecca Jarmin
Precinct Committeeman LD12

Over the past several months I have been hearing negative comments about charter schools from some members of the Higley School Board and their Superintendent, Dr. Denise Birdwell.  Dr. Birdwell has stated that charter schools are “an illegal use of public funds.”  She and some other board members think the best way to compete and keep up with the demands of a growing community is to spend more of the taxpayers’ money and build more schools.

The board meeting of July 9, 2013 was no different. Board President Denise Standage called member Jake Hoffman “un-American" for not wanting a special election asking for a bond, ignoring the cost of this special election.  Mr. Hoffman suggested that the District Bond issue had already been asked and answered by the taxpayers in last November’s Election. 

Board member Venessa Whitener then defiantly asked Mr. Hoffman how he thinks the district is to compete with other districts or keep up with community growth, if they do not ask for bonds from the tax payers to keep building?

Mr. Hoffman responded stating simply that, rather than continually expanding the budget by asking for more money, perhaps the district should “tighten its belt.”  

A district sycophant and PAC member for the Bond Election also spoke to the Board saying that there was a need to stop these charter schools from taking the District’s money.

Well, if they are public funds then the public should be allowed to spend those dollars, or send them anywhere they choose.

These tax and spenders are obviously upset about the new Legacy Charter School, which is being built directly adjacent to the District Office.  It looks awesome, by the way.  Also, a Benjamin Franklin charter high school (which also looks great) is being built within the Higley District boundaries. The Ben Franklin school has been the target of many disparaging comments, particularly from board member Venessa Whitener.

These board members do not appreciate the close proximity to their tax base.  Possibly because they are losing many district families to these schools.

They don’t understand why those schools are being built and what makes them so successful.

I have the answer.  As well as being fiscally responsible, these charter schools create an atmosphere of learning by emphasizing and teaching real constitutional values and moral character.  This is the atmosphere that parents want for their children, not just a place for all day babysitting.

The children in these charter schools are not subjected to immodestly dressed females, pornography displayed on any student’s devices, or foul language.  Charter schools have a dress code, and they enforce it. They have a code of conduct, and they enforce it.  They set a high standard and expect students to step up to the standard. They don’t lower the standard out of fear of   “hurting someone’s feelings." 

These charter schools teach virtue and unalienable rights and natural law: God’s law.  They do not teach to the state tests. Yet, their students excel.

None of these values and standards are emphasized in the HIgley public schools.

So my answer to you, Board member Whitener, if you want to compete, is, Higley Schools need to “rise to the occasion.”  Improve the schools we already have.  Stop trying to attract parents with shiny new toys. 

Start enforcing your dress code.  Start enforcing your Code of Conduct.  Start teaching the children and youth their unalienable rights, and teach that their rights stop where they start infringing upon someone else’s rights.

Throwing more money at a broken system doesn’t work.  Building edifices to education that we cannot pay for and leaving the bill to the next generation, is not the answer.

Or, you could do nothing.  Leave things as they are.  Keep spending other people’s money like there is no tomorrow and continue things as usual.

Then you need not worry about growth, the charter schools will have that covered for you.

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