I have been a part-time resident and full-time taxpayer in the Pine River area for 12 years. I take an interest in the Pine River and Backus communities. My friends live here, and I read the local paper. A lot of questions regarding the Pine River-Backus School Board and the superintendent come to mind as I read the Journal and talk to people.
The biggest one is — where’s the common sense?
Everyone in the district knows the school’s test scores have dropped a lot. The superintendent gives all kinds of reasons why this is OK. They mostly have to do with the idea that Pine River-Backus is a poor district and people shouldn’t be surprised that test scores are low.
Haven’t the schools here had good test scores in the past? Poor does not mean stupid! Common sense would say there are other reasons why the test scores have dropped.
The school board did show some common sense when they changed the superintendent’s decision to ban an outstanding teacher from substitute teaching, and they showed some more when they decided, at the last board meeting, not to vote on the superintendent’s contract. But what is sensible of having the three newest school board members — two who were appointed by the superintendent and board, not elected by the voters — negotiating the superintendent’s contract? Is there voter support to do this? I don’t think so.
Before the school board approves a new contract the superintendent needs to show up with a solid plan to improve test scores (not just promises) and when the plan shows good results, then they could think about renewing her contract. That’s common sense.
Lakeville and Backus