Central Point parents, educators speak out with votes

Central Point parents and teachers have spoken. Business as usual in School District 6 is no longer acceptable. Tuesday's election saw the defeat of longtime Central Point School Board incumbent June Brock. The School Board should sit up and take note.

Like every district in the state, and those in Jackson County, CPSD is inadequately funded and has struggled with two decades of budget cuts. The school term has been shortened, programs vital to student achievement such as elementary music have been cut and the need for new curriculum is becoming critical. These are decisions that every school district in the state grapples with each year. But many Central Point parents have felt shut out in the process.

Many parents in CPSD are upset over the hiring of principal Lynn Scott, who was placed at Mae Richardson Elementary despite being named as a defendant in a civil suit (and a Teacher Standards and Practices Commission investigation) regarding incidents at her former school district, Eagle Point.

Parents packed Mae Richardson with 120 people to express concerns. People also attended two School Board meetings with constituents voicing their concerns. Schools Superintendent Samantha Steele and School Board chairwoman Jolee Wallace were dismissive, implying that the parents attending were a small pittance compared to the 500 students enrolled at Mae Richardson. Instead of meeting parents' concerns head-on and engaging in open, transparent conversation, the board has failed to act on any of the parents' requests, which were submitted to the board on April 23.

Out of frustration, Central Point Educators and Parents formed to help parents have a voice in the Central Point School District. Parents districtwide came together in our first meeting just two weeks before the election to hear from School Board candidates and introduce write-in candidates. We endorsed re-election of appointee Ed Lindbloom and the election of Tracy Jackson over incumbent June Brock.

The campaign consisted of phone and door-to-door efforts reaching most active voters in the district. With just a few weeks to go, we knew we had an uphill battle in defeating a long-term incumbent.

Write-in candidates face nearly impossible hurdles because their names are not published on the ballot or the voter's pamphlet. We did have success in defeating the incumbent and we achieved a significant number of votes for write-in candidates, roughly 350 each.

We are pleased with the results and hope the district will view our success as a message that there are many in our community who would like to see change and transparency. CPEP will work districtwide on issues parents find essential. We aim to collaborate with all those in District 6 to strengthen and enrich the learning of all students. We invite anyone in our district to come forward and attend board and budget meetings with us.

The next meeting will be June 11 at the district office. The district will hold a public hearing on the budget at 6:15 p.m. before the board meeting at 6:30. Contact us through our email, cpeducatorsandparents@gmail.com, for more information.

Mary Kendall lives in Central Point.

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