<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>

To Mr. Mulcaire: ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’

Editor:

Is professionalism alive and well? Just attend a Mingus School Board meeting and watch Tom Mulcaire (community “icon” to quote the June 21 Verde Independent).

Two weeks ago you could have watched Tom Mulcaire slam his papers down and storm out of a meeting without finishing the board agenda because he didn’t get his way. His response: “I’m famous for not being very professional.”

At the June 21 meeting you could have watched him ask a local reporter to “step outside and settle this” because he didn’t want his picture taken. Let me see now, elected public official, public meeting, newspaper reporter? Last time I checked the First Amendment was alive and well, but to quote Tom Mulcaire, “I’m not educated.” I guess not! Ironically, Mingus is an educational institution.

Being unprepared, uninformed, ignorant of the law, and unprofessional, are not attributes of a good school board member. And, Tom Mulcaire, as far as not having your picture taken, as my mother used to say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

It’s time for you to get out.

Bill Rudolph

Clarkdale

Don’t shortchange importance of administration

Editor:

Dan Engler’s June 21 editorial concerning the bad news about Arizona’s education system addresses some serious issues, but unfortunately the only “solution” you propose seems to involve taking school administrators to task.

You imply that because Arizona ranks sixth in the nation for dollars spent on education administration, that “fact” somehow translates into “mismanaging the money we are supposed to be spending on students and teachers.”

I fail to see the connection. Like teachers and staff, with few exceptions school administrators put more time in their work than they ever get compensated for. One could argue that almost any private corporation with a comparable number of employees and responsibilities pays their management team as well or better than that paid by public education. It is possible that unification could reduce the number of jobs for school administrators, but the jury is still out on that issue, and there may be other non-financial negative impacts.

It seems to me that it is not the dollars spent on school administration that is the problem, it is the number of dollars spent per pupil. If Arizona were truly committed to “providing a strong education system for its children,” we would not be carping about overpaid administrators. If Arizona were truly committed to public education, we might be proud that we ranked sixth in the nation in per pupil spending, and sixth for dollars spent on public school teachers, support staff and administration.

Michael Durgain

Cottonwood

More money not the education solution

Editor:

Any education bill that will increase education money must consider how the money is spent. If half of the funds of the current education budget are being spent on school administration and not on students, programs, teachers and facilities you have a major financial drain that is top heavy.

Why not consider cutting the number of school districts in the state? There are 221 (or 228 depending on the office you call). In a state with only 15 counties, that is about 200 too many.

Imagine the extra cost of paying a school superintendent, their staff, providing an office, supplies, utilities and maybe a car. Multiply that times 221.

I’ll give you an example in Yavapai County. Yavapai County has 28 school districts. I called the county superintendent’s office to ask how many students were enrolled. They did not know. I was told I had to call each school. I then asked how many schools there were. They had to look it up and return my call. There are 48 public schools in Yavapai County: 31 are elementary, eight are middle schools and there are nine high schools. 48 schools divided by 28 school districts is a total of 1.7 schools per district. That’s less than 2 schools to form a district? Since I did not make 48 phone calls I don’t know the total number of students. I do know that one local school has 235 pupils and is a school district. Will you be surprised to learn that there are 19 vacancies on school boards in Yavapai County?

If you don’t tackle the main issues like where the money is spent, the problems remain. Adding more money to a skewed budget won’t help the students, the teachers or the schools. The legislators can fix the problems, but they obviously will not.

And then there is Jeff Groscoft’s solution to the poor state showing on the AIMS test. (He is the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives). Rather than learn from the results and study what other states are doing, we are supposed to ignore the test for 10 years. Will that help the students?

Perhaps the main question should be “does the legislature want to really help students, schools, teachers, or do they just want to bypass the problem and let the poor results continue while paying out more money to the incredible number of people who “supervise” the schools?

Phyllis Hazekamp

Camp Verde

Perhaps his conscience will get to him

Editor:

On Saturday before Memorial Day, I was pulling into the parking lot of Lumbermen’s in Cottonwood.

A large white truck pulling a very long black or dark gray flat bed trailer with two pointed protrusions on the end was parked almost in the entrance headed away from me. I thought he was driving forward, but instead he started backing up. There was no sound coming from the vehicle to show it was backing up and no one nearby to direct traffic. I honked but he continued to back up into the entrance driveway until he hit my truck.

He pulled up enough to let me in and I parked. He glanced my way and continued to back up until he could pull into the lot area and head for the exit. I ran forward to get his insurance information, but when I reached the cab he rolled down his window and said, “I’m not going to pay for that” and drove out of the lot and onto 89A. I was able to get the number off of the paper on the back window of the truck since it was new and had no license plate.

I gave all of the information I could to the Cottonwood police, but they now say the number I gave them doesn’t correspond to a truck. I’m almost positive I gave them the right number, but maybe I was too rattled and missed one.

It’s not the money. I had to pay for the repair because it cost less than my deductible. It’s the idea this irresponsible lout is getting away with this cowardly act. I’ve met so many nice, courteous people since coming to Cottonwood three years ago that it shocks me when someone like this appears. I’m sure he’s the type that would brag about getting away with it. It would be very nice if someone who hears him would feel the revulsion that I do and turn him in.

Kathleen Chaney

Cottonwood

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