The following e-mail was sent to city council and school board members and was forwarded to The Gardner News for publication.
————— Forwarded message —————
From: Holly Snyder <holly. >
Date: Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 11:13 AM
Subject: Questions Regarding Youth and Community Programs for USD 231
To: ShippyR@usd231.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, ChandlerB@usd231.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear USD 231 School Board Members, District Superintendent and Gardner City Council Members,
The following timeline of events is concerning. The actions taken by Superintendent Pam Stranathan and then approved by the School Board was not done in the best interests of the students of USD 231, their families or tax payers.
(1) Please provide an explanation rooted in educational principles, pedagogy and philosophy that explains why a youth and community program department of our school district now exists.
(2) Please provide an explanation rooted in educational principles, pedagogy and philosophy that explains the value of a youth and community program to the students of USD 231.
(3) Please explain why USD 231 is providing these programs/recreational sports and activities rather than the Gardner Park and Recreation Department (GPRD).
(4) Please explain how USD 231 can provide these programs/recreational sports better than GPRD.
(5) What programs/recreational sports do Gardner Edgerton Youth and Community Programs (GEYCP) currently offer or plan to offer that are currently organized through GPRD?
(6) Why was there no public opinion asked for before the vote on approving an entire new department of the school district?
(7) How many more new departments is the school district planning on adding in the next year?
(8) Why were the new job listings not posted publicly?
(9) What is the scope and scale of the current GEYCP and how large is it anticipated to grow in the next 3-5 years?
(10) Other than the communication tensions between GPRD and USD 231, why now? What was the urgency about creating a brand new department in March and not asking for public input? What factors were driving the need for USD 231 to create GEYCP?
(11) What is current enrollment in GEYCP? What is anticipated enrollment for Fall 2017? For Spring 2018?
(12) What programming will be offered in Fall 2017? In Spring 2018?
(13) Will USD 231 allow GPRD to use their facilities for GPRD activities?
Timeline of events leading up to the creation of GEYCP.
December 2016: scheduling conflicts begin between Scott Garrie, GPRD Director and Pam Stranathan, USD 231 Superintendent. Garrie asked for the district’s communication point of contact and Stranathan responded.
January 2017-March 2017: communication between Garrie and Stranathan is strained.
March 2017: Stranathan begins search for two new job positions. Job listings are not posted publicly on USD 231 website.
March 29, 2017: in email dated March 29th 2017, Mark Meyer shared with the staff of Gardner Edgerton High School that John Duncanson had been hired as Coordinator of Youth and Community Programs for USD 231.
April 10, 2017: USD 231 School Board meets and approves GEYCP and new hires per Pam Stanathan’s proposal.
May 30, 2017: USD 231 issues a press release announcing the formation of the GEYCP, “The Gardner Edgerton Youth & Community Programs (GEYC) was created to support and develop quality, educationally-driven activities for youth in and around our community. The program and its activities are administered and managed by members of the USD 231 staff. The GEYCP was launched in May…”
I appreciate your service to our community, our students and their families. Thank you for your time in answering these questions. Being transparent, explaining why decisions are made and grounding those decisions in reason rather than emotions is what makes our government trustworthy.
Holly Snyder, Gardner