Letter to the Editor:

As an Avon Grove parent, taxpayer and avid volunteer who has gladly given countless hours to my kids' schools, and who has closely followed the school board for over seven years, I found Bruce Dobsch's letter to the editor grossly misleading. It was also insulting to those of us who have worked so hard to help improve Avon Grove schools.

Bruce has been on the board for two years. In that time, he's done very little to advance the issues he says he cares about. In fact, his voting record and behavior at school board meetings contradict his words. He voted against a teachers' contract that a vast majority of teachers supported and that saved the district over $500,000. How does that build good relationships with teachers or taxpayers? He commented in a Finance Committee meeting he would cut sports, activities, and all but state-mandated courses. How does this help our students and the district? He's continually questioned the effectiveness of full-day Kindergarten, when the evidence is clear that it helps at-risk kids get and stay on grade level. Bruce thinks we should experiment with our Kindergarten students, just to satisfy his need for more data. Perhaps if Bruce spent some more time studying the issues facing our schools and working more closely with teachers and administrators, he'd know better. A good start would be to improve his spotty attendance at finance committee and board meetings.

Bruce's statements about bullying and the temporary classrooms revealed his extraordinary lack of connection with parents and his ignorance of long-standing district issues. Up until a few weeks ago, Bruce hadn't uttered a word about bullying or temporary classrooms. But then some parents raised these concerns at two recent school board meetings. All of sudden, Bruce has made them part of his election campaign. The board has known about these issues for years. Perhaps if he attended more meetings, was involved in our schools and talked with parents more, he'd be more clued in.

The most galling part of Bruce's letter was his offer to "meet the candidates." Bruce, and his running mate, were conspicuously absent from the "Meet the Candidates" forum last spring that I organized with other concerned parents. They had a chance to discuss their views, engage the public and answer questions. They didn't bother to show up. If Bruce didn't make himself available that night, how can we trust that he will make himself available to parents in the future? I have never seen him at a PTA or booster club meeting. Nor have I seen him make any attempt to reach out to parents. Maybe he and his running mate are afraid to engage with people outside their circle of friends.

The election on Nov. 5 is significant. We don't need Bruce Dobsch, Bob Wickes or other candidates who can't take the time to listen to parents or understand the needs within the Avon Grove schools. We need board members that support our kids. I'm voting for Brian Gaerity and Patrick Walker. I ask that you do the same!

 

Christine Plankinton

Avon Grove parent, taxpayer, and volunteer