LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Just sensationalism

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I was disturbed by the graphic nature of an article printed Oct. 30 regarding the serial killer in Denver for two reasons.

First, I found it sensational and much too graphic in its depiction of the crimes. It gave a voice to the mind of a heinous criminal. In the article, his desire to become famous prompted his confessions, so why give him a forum?

Secondly, this is a small town paper with all ages from this community reading it to find sport scores, whose birthday it is and other local information as well as national and world news.

The audience is too general to print such gruesome details.

My daughter reads the funnies and I was very concerned that she would accidentally bump into that story, so I just cut out the comics and threw the paper away.

I would like her and other children to be able to peruse through the paper safely, without coming across such unnecessary ugliness.

It revolted me, even as an adult, to read the details.

Please, report the facts and don't give voice to sensationalism.

Suzanne Barrett

Steamboat Springs

Missing the point

Your reporter missed the point I was trying to make at the Oct. 17 Hayden Town Board meeting. The applicants, Mr. Fox and Mr. Sills, seem to be ignoring the concerns of many Hayden residents about water.

The applicants are almost silent on their water needs and how they will acquire the water for their dream of a lake, golf course, shrubbery and grass-lined jogging trails, business center, school, etc. My dream of wheat and cattle is no less a reality than theirs without ample water.

When the developers are gone, who will pick up the tab if unforeseen problems such as weather extremes occur? For example, in another drought, there could be the same amount of water to ration out to more people.

Forrest Frentress

Hayden

Time for change

I applaud the Steamboat Springs Board of Education for its desire to empower the teachers, staff and administrators of this school district.

By endorsing policy governance as its method of governance the board has created the opportunity for empowerment to work and for decisions to be made at the individual level.

The board has also negotiated a performance-based pay program with the teachers, based on work done by Professor Allan Odden of the University of Wisconsin School of Education. The board hired Dr. Odden as its consultant to work with them to establish this program.

Professor Odden created this pay plan to reward teachers who rise to the challenge of managing a site-based school. Dr. Odden says, "A reward system is needed to acknowledge the extra effort site-based management requires, as well as to recognize improvement. High performance organizations shift from a seniority-based pay system to pay based on direct assessments of knowledge and skills."

In this same article, Odden says "for site-based management to work, people at the school site must have real authority over budget, personnel, and curriculum. For site-based management to be a vehicle for improved school performance, that authority must be exercised to introduce changes in school functioning that actually affect student learning."

He also says "that accomplishing reform goals should be largely decentralized to the school sites."

Based on the above, and on recent comments in the paper, it seems apparent that the board desires to decentralize the management of the school system and to empower its employees. To that end, the high school is already moving to a system of site-based management.

To gain the employee empowerment and decentralization that the board apparently believes will move us from having four "very good" ranked schools to four "excellent" ranked schools, the board must make one more change.

They must replace the existing superintendent with a superintendent that can delegate, that can empower, and that can decentralize authority.

A DAC member said at a community forum held by the Board of Education, "Superintendent Simms is involved in most meetings in the district."

This is true.

The superintendent attends nearly every meeting in the district, rather than delegating this responsibility. This is not empowerment.

At the same community forum, two key issues raised by the teachers in attendance were their belief that they are unappreciated and their lack of empowerment. This is not empowerment.

"As long as the District Superintendent uses any reasonable interpretation of the Board's Results and Executive Limitations policies, the District Superintendent is authorized to establish all further policies, make all decisions, take all actions, establish all practices and develop all activities," board policy states. This is not empowerment.

The district office has grown from five people to 12 people in the last nine years. This is not decentralization.

Our board, with guidance from our superintendent, recognizes the value of employee empowerment and decentralization of authority to the school level.

This change in our school system will take our district to a higher level.

However, as is often the case, the person who leads us to where we have to go is incapable of taking us the rest of the way.

Superintendent Simms, you have done a magnificent job for this district, but it is now time to take a deep bow, graciously accept your applause, and resign.

Jason Throne

Steamboat Springs

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