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Community’s values being trampled

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I have been approached by several residents of School District 30 and asked why I have chosen to confront our local school board and administration on a variety of issues over the course of the past several years. Some of these people feel that the issues I have raised have damaged and split the community, and in reality are not that significant. I would like to address that question in this letter.

I have spent all of my life in the Ronan community and was blessed with the opportunity to teach and coach in the Ronan school system for 30-plus years. I raised my family here, and my five children all graduated from Ronan High School. Until the past several years, I was always comfortable knowing that I could speak with any board member or superintendent about anything without any fear that I might suffer job-related consequences (retaliation) for what I might have said. That is no longer the climate in our district. So far, issues that I have brought to the board have cost me my head cross country coaching position, one assistant coaching position and will probably cost me an assistant coaching position in the boys’ basketball program. Problems or disagreements, whether minor or serious, with some board members are viewed as “attacks” on them personally, or on some other member of the district, and retaliation for the “attacks” is viewed as the best method of dealing with the offender. 

The community of Ronan has always been a place that has valued integrity and fair play when confronted with contentious issues. In my opinion, those values are no longer reflected by the actions taken by some current board members and superintendent, and I am saddened by that. I realize that we cannot go back to the “good old days,” but I do hope that at some point our school system can recover some of the values that have lately been trampled on.

Gale Decker


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