To the people of the Manhattan school district. Many of us feel we can no longer sit back and be silent about what we see happening within our school and at our school board meetings. I
have left many of the school board meetings over the past several months wondering, who on the board truly represents the people of our community? After all of the public comment that was made in the last February meeting, who on the board truly listened? I realize that there can always be a difference of opinion on any issue, but when the board meeting room is standing room only, with both parents and kids, and all are delivering the same message, why isn’t that given some consideration?
After almost two hours of both parents and students giving their heartfelt comments before the board, the message from the board appeared to be that it really didn’t matter. One board member stated that those who made public comment at the board meeting were not speaking for the entire community. The hard part about taking that position is there was not one person there that spoke from an opposing viewpoint.
Many people who spoke about Coach McQueary not only supported him as a tremendous coach, but also a great teacher and a mentor to their kids. Several people spoke about how Mr. McQueary took their kids from not liking math to excelling in math and positioning them well for their college education. Both parents and students talked about how Dale McQueary made their kids and/or themselves better people, which prepared them for life beyond the classroom and the football field.
It should also be mentioned that the coaching staffs for all sports at the Manhattan schools have a chain of command that oversee them in their fund-raising efforts. If the coaches are going to be held accountable for their fund-raising practices, it makes sense that their superiors should be held accountable as well. It’s clear that there were things that should have been done differently, but it’s also obvious that the administration must assume some responsibility in this as well.
How could the administration not known from previous years and past audits, performed by Rudd and associates, that there were fund-raising issues that needed to be addressed? It makes no sense that the blame for this entire issue is being attached to just one person.
The Manhattan schools have already gone through one lawsuit that has cost the district a large unknown amount of money. Now, we face another legal battle that could have easily been diverted and dealt with long before it got to this point.
After most of the people left the last February board meeting, a board member said, “he could not understand how a football issue and teacher could draw that much attention and a bond issue doesn’t draw a single person to a meeting.” A point well taken that our community needs to come together and attend these board meetings and provide their comments and input to the board. The big question though is, will the board truly listen? We need people on the board that will listen. Remember, there is an election coming up soon for appointing people to our Manhattan School Board. Please be sure that you get out and vote!
Les and Lori Oldenburger