South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
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- More A&E
Are you satisfied?
SoVaNow.com / July 23, 2014
Parents, grandparents, and taxpayers of Mecklenburg County. Are you satisfied with the quality of education that your children are receiving under the current administration? If so, there is no reason to read this letter. However, everyone in the county may be interested in the following facts. There are 133 public school districts in the state of Virginia. In June 2010, Dr. Jim Thornton took over the leadership of our schools as our superintendent. At that time, Mecklenburg County public schools ranked in the top 14 of all Virginia public schools. Fast forward to July 2014, Mecklenburg County Public Schools now rank in the bottom 5 in the state. What’s wrong? Perhaps our current superintendent is not leading our schools in the proper manner. If our school statistics are improving under Dr. Thornton’s leadership, then why has the “Superintendent’s Annual Report” not been updated and posted to the http://www.mcpsweb.org website since 2012? Isn’t that part of Dr. Thornton’s job to make sure this website is updated timely so the public can be informed? Why does Robert Puryear continue to sing Dr. Thornton’s praises for a job well done, but then never mentions any statistics to back up his statements? Probably because the statistics contradict his “facts.”
In our community, I often hear people say that they wish there were more job opportunities here in our area for our children. They wish their children didn’t have to leave in order to find good jobs. Please be aware. Mecklenburg County will NOT be able to entice new businesses to locate to this area as long as our schools continue to deteriorate. A strong school system is the backbone for economic development in any community. Industry wants to know if they can find a qualified workforce in the area in which they are locating. They are interested in what quality of students that they can expect to graduate from the local schools that may be interested in joining their workforce. They want to be able to draw people from other areas and keep them. In addition, when we do happen to attract businesses here, the workers, if they have school age children, choose to commute here during the week so their children will not have to go to our schools. People who move here will buy property here and will pay taxes here. A strong school system is necessary for these things to happen.
If you want things to change, then it is time to speak up and make your voice and presence known. Dr. Thorton’s current contract with Mecklenburg County will not expire until June 2016. So what is the big hurry to extend his contract NOW? Why does the date of the school board meeting to discuss this extension keep changing? Are these changing dates an effort to confuse the public or exclude/include certain school board members?
If you do NOT want this to happen, it is time for action. If you are tired of losing our best local teachers to other counties, then please contact your school board representative, or better yet, contact all of them immediately. It is their JOB to vote in the interest of the people they represent. Contact information for the board can be found at http://www.mcpsweb.org. Go to the school board circle at the top and then click MCPS School Board Group. Better yet, attend the next school board meeting on July 31, at 175 Mayfield Drive in Boydton (old Boydton Elementary school). Closed session begins at 6:00; the meeting will be opened to the public at 7:00. Please attend and be prepared to voice your opposition. Spread the word to your friends and family. There isn’t much time. Tell this school board that you do NOT agree with extending this contract. Tell them you are tired of losing our teachers. There is strength in numbers! Remember, it’s their job to represent the people’s wishes, not promote their own agendas.
Also, take note, IF this contract is extended and a decision is later made to relinquish Dr. Thornton of his duties, then the county will have to buy out yet another superintendent’s contract, which seems to be a habit. More years in the contract equals more taxpayer money to be paid out. So, if you don’t care that your hard earned taxpayer money could be spent to buy out another superintendent’s contract, do nothing. If you don’t care that your tax money is used to send Dr. Thornton and his administrators (not teachers) on paid retreats, the most recent being Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg at a cost of $8,000, then by all means do nothing. BUT, if you would rather have your money going towards improving the schools and educating the children, then by all means speak up NOW! Their future is currently in our hands and our future is in our children. Every child deserves the opportunity to receive a good education. Please take the time to help them now.
Mike and Edna Freeman