Howell, board part ways

Former superintendent agrees to contract buyout

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Howell leaves district

Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell discusses her four-year career with the school district.

Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell discusses her four-year career with the school district.

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Donna Howell waits for the Steamboat Springs School Board to return from an executive session Friday morning in Centennial Hall. Many in the audience spoke in support of Howell. Later in the afternoon, Howell accepted a settlement package from the School Board and tendered her resignation, effective immediately.

— Donna Howell's tenure as superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District ended Friday afternoon when she and the School Board agreed to a contract buyout.

In exchange for her resignation, the district will pay Howell a lump sum of $270,000, slightly less than the $300,000 she would have earned in salary and benefits from serving out the remaining two years on her contract. Howell's departure is effective immediately.

Board President Denise Connelly said the buyout was necessary because of differences that had developed between the board and superintendent during the past year. Connelly said those differences had distracted the board from other business.

"Simply put, it became apparent to the board that this employment relationship was not a good fit after three unsuccessful sessions that were facilitated by outside professionals to improve the relationship," she said Friday after the agreement was announced during a special meeting at Centennial Hall.

The meeting began at 8 a.m. Friday with an executive, or secret, session. The board then opened the floor to public comments. More than a dozen people spoke in support of Howell. The board then went back into executive session, emerging at 10:30 a.m. to announce it would have to reconvene the meeting at 3 p.m. while it awaited word from attorneys on both sides.

At 3 p.m., the board went back into executive session. The deal was announced at about 4 p.m. The board voted 4-0 to accept the settlement. Board member Char Rusk abstained, saying she has not been on the board long enough to make a decision.

Board member Jerry Kozatch said Friday's executive sessions were the culmination of extensive negotiations with Howell and her attorney to find some sort of resolution.

"We've been going back and forth with options with her attorney for several days," he said. "This is really details as opposed to anything substantive at all."

Finance Director Dale Mellor will be responsible for the superintendent functions while the board looks for an interim replacement. Connelly said the board would begin the process of finding an interim superintendent next week. The board also is scheduled to meet Monday.

"We have already had people express interest in the interim position," Connelly said. She said board member John DeVincentis, a former elementary school principal, is not a candidate for the superintendent position, on an interim basis or otherwise.

"We do know there are people, we've talked with the Colorado Association of School Boards, and we know there are a list of retired people that look for positions like this for a year until we can have a formal process of interviewing (for a permanent superintendent)," she said.

Connelly said she hopes to develop a list of about 10 former superintendents who might be interested in the position. She added that the board is looking for "an experienced superintendent" with team-building experience.

More than 50 people gathered at Centennial Hall for the morning meeting to watch the proceedings. About 30 people returned for the afternoon session.

Many of those who addressed the board, including Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris, questioned the timing of the board's decision, which came just a couple of weeks before the start of the school year.

Before the settlement agreement was announced, Harris said the district is coming down to the wire to complete the temporary Soda Creek facility and that she needed Howell's help to get the job done.

"I need your support, as representing 385 kids, 62 staff members, and the parents of all those kids, to continue to support Donna Howell and let her do her job and support me in fulfilling the promises that I've made to our parents, our staff and our students," Harris said.

At the end of the afternoon session, board member Jeff Troeger said the district has the right people on staff to continue to be successful.

"We're very confident in the professionals we have, and we know the district is in good hands," he said. "We're going to move forward."

Howell was hired in fall 2003. None of the current board members was on the board when she was hired. Troeger was on the board when she was given a contract extension in April 2005; Troeger opposed that extension, which included a stipulation that Howell's contract be paid in full if she were fired without cause.

Following her dismissal, Howell said she has no plans to leave Steamboat, and she praised the administrators, teachers, staff, parents and members of the community she has had the opportunity to work with.

"They have all been dedicated to the education of our children," said Howell, who reiterated her intent was to complete her full commitment to the district.

"I know they will continue to focus on what is best and what is in the best interest of our community," she said. "I am, and I have been, touched and encouraged by the expressions of support I have received from teachers, administrators, staff, parents and the community."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

diensi 7 years, 4 months ago

How about the "board" running the schools and saving the public the cost of another superintendent that won't be allowed to do their job. Between ripping down good buildings and paying off unused management, you guys are a piece of work!

John Palmer

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steamboatparent 7 years, 4 months ago

Is this really what we as parents want? Spend 1/4 of a million dollars and get nothing? Does the school board represent us or are they making personal choices? Thanks for nothing.

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

Connelly says"We do know there are people.we've talked to the Colorado Association of school Boards,and we know there is a list of retired people that look for positions like this for a year until we can have a formal process of interviewing{for a permanent superintendent.}"-Sounds like a nice ,good paying gig for someone with no vested interest in our community,live in Steamboat for a year,make long term decisions that effect our community for years to come-THEN LEAVE US WITH NO LEADERSHIP AGAIN! Is this board just plain stupid? I wonder.

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nightbird 7 years, 4 months ago

The big losers in this again are the kids. Way to go school board!

At minimum former employees of the School District should be precluded from running for the School Board for at least 3 years. Board members that have a spouse working for the district should be required to excuse themselves from voting in all personal matters. The current board is so dysfunctional - I have absolutely no confidence in them to lead. They will likely do a good job of micro-management and forget the big picture of being good stewards of the public trust and funds. What a shame for Steamboat Springs we are stuck with this group of bozos until the next election.

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melissa 7 years, 4 months ago

Steamboat lost a very knowledgeable and sincere community leader Friday at the hands of a few. five to be exact: the school board. None of whom represent the community. Who, I might remind them, were elected to represent us--parents and staff alike.

Donna Howell's termination is a disgrace and will have irreversible, negative repercussions to the future of our school district.

Every person who attended the meetings on Friday (aside from the five member school board) were there in support of retaining Donna Howell. All those who spoke, spoke in favor of retaining Donna Howell. All those who declined to speak did so because they agreed with all that had been said by fellow supporters. Applause often followed every comment. Not one person, mind you, spoke out against Donna Howell.

The school boards' decision for public comment was none more than an insult to the community: all those who attended and all those who wished to attend but couldn't because of the impromptu meeting. It was an insult because the board had already determined to terminate Donna Howell. So all the out pouring from the community to retain Donna Howell basically went unheard and not taken to heart by the school board. This first became evident when the school board president's disclaimer at the end of the morning meeting was "we've appreciated public comment, but we've been evaluating this relationship since December". At this point it became apparent that it was not a matter of "If", but instead "When". And as many of us learned "When" was at 4pm that very afternoon with the announcement of Donna Howell's termination.

When all school board members voted in favor of terminating Donna Howell the room was silenced and sickened. I'm aware that Char Rusk abstained to vote because (in her words) she hadn't been on the board long enough to make a decision. But I believe this to be a cop out on her part. Rusk was involved long enough to have heard arguments from both sides. And if she didn't feel comfortable voting, then she should not have stepped up to fulfill the vacant position in the first place.

I' disappointed because I voted for some of these school board members to represent me based upon their election platforms. And I feel betrayed by all these members who stated the "board is of the opinion that everyone's interests...will be better served by severing the current employment relationship" with Donna Howell. Obviously, the board failed to take to heart any one of us who they supposedly represent when we all spoke in favor of Donna Howell.

Thank you Dr. Howell for your commitment and integrity to our district.

melissa vanArsdale

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 4 months ago

What Melissa forgets is that the community already spoke when not enough people signed a recall. The community evidently disagrees with your assessment.

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melissa 7 years, 4 months ago

I did not sign the recall of Dr. D...I supported all parties involved to work in a mature and professional manner--differences aside--for the district. Obviously, the board could not and let their personal differences stand before them.

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh Matthew, error in your statement. 2,300 people signed the recall - enough for a vote- but errors were thrown out. If 2,300 people thought I needed to be voted on again, I would hope that would be a wake up call. Life will go on and the board, teachers, staff,and kids will be fine. It is unfortunate the staff in the district is left with such low morale going into the school year.

The community agrees. Should have been there yesterday Matthew. Hope you got the house cleaned and the yard mowed.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 4 months ago

SteamboatJoe- That's exactly what I mean: Not enough people signed the recall. Sure, plenty of people signed it, but yes: there were errors. That means 2300 people signed, but not all were legal signatures. If people really cared about how they vote, they would have cared to make sure they did it properly. That means the community spoke and rejected a recall. So no: the "community" does not agree; just a select amount of people agreed.

I don't agree with wasting the money firing Howell, though. I've stated that before that I thought both D and Howell should be allowed to finish their respective terms/contract and let them go on their way.

Actually, I slept in yesterday since I had to work the evening shift. Mowing and house cleaning is put off til Sunday/Monday, but thanks!

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bolter 7 years, 4 months ago

That's more than a quarter million that WON'T be available for the kids of our district. It's all about the kids except when it's about me.

Donna got an instant stop to the daily brain damage AND a quarter mil. Talk about an offer you can't refuse! Donna is a class act and always took the high road. A model of professionalism to the very end.

What person in their right mind would want to take the Supt. job at the beginning of the school year with a board whose last two victims suffered as Cyndy and Donna? That's an offer anyone can (and probably will) refuse. We'll find someone, but we may have to lower the bar.

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

Our district will be fine and will survive. We'll have an interim Superintendent while searching for the right person who will understand what our little town is made of. This is my dream of leadership: I dream of a superintendent and leaders in each building who visit classrooms, sit down with our kids, sit on the floor with the kindergarten kids and read a book, sit down for circle time, interac with them, know their names, high five all the special needs kids instead of being scared of their disability. I dream of a leadership members who visit the field trips, ice climb with our kids, ski with them, raft with them, eat at the cafetaria with them, bring pizza, talk to them, have breakfast-donut with them, bike ride.... you name it. There is no "germs" and leprosy in our schools, but that how it felt when you see the leadership walking around. I plead our next Superintendent to put jeans and tee shirt on, get on the ground, know your kids and teachers, kiss the camel, play tug of war. Only then you will know what our kids and your staff are all about. At this point, you will know what to do, what to say and how to lead the District.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 4 months ago

Bolter- So Howell snuck...no, ordered IT personnel into an office in the middle of the night to check a computer that she had the right to check the whole time, yet made up 3 different reasons for doing so, all of which were debunked by those around her. That included checking for spending on D's computer when she admitted she knew it would instead be on the main server, or something to that effect. Is that how you take the high road?

Also, since you disagree with the settlement amount being given to her, do you also disagree with the past BOE for giving her that contract? When did this current BOE ever have relations with Simms? How many are currently on this BOE that were there when Simms was Superintendent?

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 4 months ago

Felix - while I enjoy your Disneyworld vision of the Supers role, give me a break.

It is clear you have a point to make that Donna didn't do these things but there is actually a bit of behind the scenes desk work and meetings and hiring and state funding to be considered.

A balance would be nice.

Realizing you have no idea what a job requires unless you are in it can be a hard pilll to swallow. I bet if a super spent their time doing even 25% of what you are talking about, the community would wonder what the hell we are paying for.

This is a hard time to be trying to find any good about this district.

What does the board plan to do in communicating with staff and parents?

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Matthew7_1_5 7 years, 4 months ago

Those of you who continue to throw stones are not setting a good example for anyone. I do hope that whoever comes in to take the reins will not read the blogs, will not read the newspaper, will not saddle up with those involved in the recall effort, will not listen to all of the bad birds who bring bad messages. Our schools and children need a person who knows the way to do your best is to keep only the kids in focus and knows to work WITH everyone without favorites and favorite points of view and by including the unincluded will be the only way to bring us back to level ground. I will say a prayer for peace and quiet, for the discontented, and for guidance from One greater than all of us to bring us back together.

Please let peace come into your personal lives and help, not hinder, the healing process for the sake of our children.

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Matthew7_1_5 7 years, 4 months ago

steamboatjoe, I am again saddened by your sarcasm. Perhaps it is not within you to consider what inner turmoil you are going through. Please allow this board to move on and wait to see what their answers are.

Please allow Felix and any others who have a vision to have them, just as yours are more pragmatic. Neither is better. Need you insert sarcasm? You allow your anger to demean those who have hopes for a brighter future. I will pray for you as I have in the past. I will pray that you change your delivery of your message in a way that is less demeaning and more understanding of the needs of others. Seek inner peace and it will be.

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

Steamboatjoe - I ve a clear idea of what this job requires because I actually work in one of these buildings and that is the kind of big boss I want.There's time in a week to be in Disneyworld for the pure reason that we are not white collars employeesat IBM, but a Superintendent has 2000 kids to protect, advocate for, love. There's time to work, be a business person and fullfill your responsibilties as a Superintendent, but you must make room in your schedule for what the job is all about: preparing kids for the future, and be a kid a few hours to understand why you're doing what you're doing. My vision is realistic and I bet you that the most successful Superintendent and principals in this town will be those who know how to kneel to eye level and play on the floor. It is as simple as that. I know the difference because I managed 1000 white collars in a Corporation... ain't the same in a school district. That's where the confusion lays.

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addlip2U 7 years, 4 months ago

CONGRATULATION to Donna Howell.

You are a true professional. I am one hundred percent behind you for your decision. Why should you put up with so much non-sense for all the hard work you've done for this community.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see the true picture.

Life goes on without hardship and stress you had to endure in the past years and you deserve only the BEST!

Thank you.

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autumnwitch 7 years, 4 months ago

Did anyone else notice the difference in the statements published in the paper? The board's statement talks about termination, not getting along, and payments. Donna's talks about the kids. The board was asked several times how is this in the best interests of the kids - a question they refused to answer. Paint this debacle any way you want, but Donna is the one with the class here. She's the one who really cares about kids. Donna, you will be missed.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 4 months ago

AW- That's because Howell knew she would either finish out her contract or receive enough money to take a couple years break.

You still didn't answer my question about Howell going right after Dr. D's computer for reasons that didn't reflect her real reason for accessing his computer. Was that what you consider class? Why won't you answer that?

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Carrie Requist 7 years, 4 months ago

Felix - My children's experience of Dr. Howell is different than you accuse her of in your post. All my children recognize her on sight, saying "that is the lady that comes into our classroom all the time." So, in my experience, Dr. Howell got to the schools to directly observe and I think that is a great thing.

-Carrie Requist

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

uh oh Joe-Matthew is on his soul saving mission again.I hope he also prays for the people without conscience.

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

Carrie - There's a huge difference between "observing" and "interacting, participating, kneeling to the floor..." It makes a world of difference, and that's my vision of a leader.

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

Felix-Donna spent a great deal of time in the classrooms,visiting with parents,having pizza with staff,etc.etc.She is a very balanced,intelligent and professional woman.She is also very genuine and human.Your vision ,however sweet it sounds,is unrealistic .

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

Bikegirl - I will not dispute Donna's profile. She is elegant, intelligent, highly educated, balanced, classy... My vision is not unrealistic when managing a mini-district of 1990 students. We are not talking about the Superintendent leadership of LA unified school district here with 50,000 students. We are talking about a tiny little district lost in the bushes of the Rockies where everything is possible, including blending with the culture, knowing the kids, understanding parents expectations and advocating for the kids. In my own experience as a parent, Dr Howell failed me on this last one, but I will put this on her lack of understanding and experience with a complex issue. Law was broken and sanctions were not applied, I do not think that is an example for the staff and the children. One doesn't have much room for error working with kids, trust me! So yes, I maintain my vision is realistic: keep it simple, fair and work your butt off to win hearts and minds.

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Socrates 7 years, 4 months ago

Felix, When you were conducting quarter million dollar business transactions with other people's money did you have the decorum and respect to at least put on pants and a collared shirt rather than showing up ready for yard work?

I, for one, do not need the superintendent holding teacher's hands, micromanaging classrooms, reading stories or hugging my children.

I need her bringing the Soda Creek Elementary construction in on time and on or under budget. I need her managing a $20 million business with large facilities spread out over four campuses, I need her obtaining and retaining voter approved funding mechanisms, I need her to build the capacity of staff to educate our district's youth, I need her to manage a team of professionals to continue excellent CSAP performance, I need her to catch the flak from anyone and everyone thus allowing her team to focus on students.

My vision of a leader is one who gets the right people on the bus and lets them do their jobs and flourish.

I appreciate the leader we had who did all of this and knows how to dress appropriately.

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Socrates 7 years, 4 months ago

Oops, she didn't do all of that, she won't be overseeing the Soda Creek construction.

Sooo, who exactly is doing that now?

Does the BOE even care?

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stmbtgrad05 7 years, 4 months ago

While I agree that this termination was a waste of a LOT of money, I can't say I'm sorry to see Dr. Howell go. I was a junior in high school when she was hired, and I have never been impressed with how she handled her job.

Through this ordeal she has absolutely been classy, intelligent, patient, and she has undoubtedly taken the high road. As Superintendent, though, I never felt she connected with the kids in the district. It's true she came and observed classes, because that's part of her job description, but she didn't know any names and she never felt very warm toward any students. I witnessed every graduation she announced scholarships at (including mine) and she always mispronounced many, many names, including last names of students whose families have been in the valley for generations. This may seem like a small thing, but in a town like Steamboat it really shows how she connected with the community.

While a large part of being a Superinendent is running the district professionally on a higher level, a good one definitely needs to have a relationship with the community.

I was born and raised in Steamboat, and there is nothing I would like to see more than some administrators (and police officers and city council members...) who get what this community is about. Everyone knows everyone, and we like it that way. This is a small town and it needs to be kept personal, because there are very few places in the country where this kind of dynamic still exists.

Superintendents spend time in classrooms anyway, no matter how they run the office. So wouldn't it be awesome to have someone who can run the office effectively but who can also connect with the community and its kids? Felix's picture of a Superintendent is exactly the breath of fresh air the School District and this entire community is in need of.

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 4 months ago

You are right Bikegirl, the saint is back to save my ever sarcastic soul right here before church on Sunday. How do we get the prophet to move on to another victim? Maybe he can have an opinion about the topic or start a new post on saving the souls of those posting on the pilot &today.

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

stmbtgrad05 - Thanks a million for saying so nicely what I could not express because I was not born and raised here, and because I am probably 25 years older that you! You are expressing very faithfully what I feel from my students and the staff of our - your - wonderful little town. (Man, I wished you'd have been one of my students). You seem sharp and bright, I wish you the best and please keep it up preserving the identity of YOUR valley.

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babette dickson 7 years, 4 months ago

Socrates - You look like the pure offspring of the American culture... I want ... I want .... I want... Secondly, one may handle an organization putting the jeans/ snikers on at any given time, and jump in a suit an hour later... and still be the sharpest dedicated business partner in a community like Steamboat - handling millions dollars projects. But only a certain breed of people are able to do that. So Socrates I advised you to never run for office, you do not belong to this category, I think!

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 4 months ago

Socrates, the kitty sounds jealous and I am sure it is not declawed.

I be you wouldn't show up to a board meeting in a t shirt or a hoody sweatshirt.

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jaunty 7 years, 4 months ago

Kudos to Denise and the rest of our School Board for making a tough decision that needed to be made. Donna Howell was not performing her job to their specifications, and it was time for her to go.

stmbtgrad05 -- I couldn't agree with you more. It is not a small thing to butcher a scholarship winner's name. In 2004, my first impression of this superintendent was that she couldn't pronounce even relatively common first names at graduation.

Is it arrogance, cluelessness, contempt or simply lack of intelligence to not even ask how to pronounce names before reading them out loud to an assemblage of thousands of proud parents, relatives and the community?

How did this attitude carry over into all the rest of her job duties? I think we have our answer, delivered by our School Board. Howell was not the right person for this job. And thanks to Paula Stephenson and the previous rubber-stamp board members, we had to give her $270,000 to disappear.

Money well spent. Let's move on.

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

What a bunch of nitpicking-But it takes focus off of the real issues.John and the BOE accomplished exactly what they set out to do as far back as December.

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Matthew7_1_5 7 years, 4 months ago

StmbtJoe andbikegirl and Socrates I am sorry that you three are still very angry. Are not your blogs indicative of what you might write or say to others on a daily basis? It is sad to think too your Christian spirit is off track. When will you be satisifed with the "scourging at the pillar?" Sadly you forget the stories of the Pharisees and what Jesus thought and said of them. Modern times reflect the continuation of our tribulations.

I solemnly pray that if you are in fact making jest of my prayers for you, that you do seek redemption for your daily sinning against others. Whether or not you have a god, God is watching and making note of your actions. I will continue to pray that you all find something that can attract your attention to doing what is right. Your actions here will not win you a place in the heavenly after life.

These could be your final words and yet you use your tongues to harm others. You may laugh at what I have to say, and if you do, it is because you are not listening to your consciences. You KNOW right from wrong yet you continue to berate others. Teach others how to forgive.

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elk2 7 years, 4 months ago

SteamboatJoe: whether a person supports Donna or the current board I must say that your way of communicating your position is quite juvenile no matter what side of the fence you are on.

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mom 7 years, 4 months ago

I think observing or working with kids takes more than standing at the doorway with your arms crossed, a sour look on your face, and leaving 1 to 1 1/2 minutes later. Kids know when someone cares about them.

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boatgrad06 7 years, 4 months ago

First- Thank you Felix and SteamboatGrad05 I couldn't agree with you more.

Second- I went to school at Strawberry Park Elementary and Dr. D was an amazing principle and a wonderful guy. He knew every student's name. He came to our high school graduations. I hadn't seen him in a few years yet at my hs graduation he came up to me, remembered my name and congradulated me. That's the kind of principles and superintendents that we need in this community.

Third- I didn't even know who Donna Howell was for the first few years of her reign on the throne of a too large pay check. She also pronounced my name wrong when I recieved a scholarship. And she ruined the arts department at the High School.

Basically THANK YOU SCHOOL BOARD!!!!!! Just why couldn't you have gotten rid of her sooner?

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Socrates 7 years, 4 months ago

I am going to anonymously reply to the anonymous suppositions about my dress, upbringing and religious character and then I am putting myself on a self imposed ban from this anonymous blog.

A. Felix, sorry for being obtuse in my crack about attire. I was specifically referring to the attire of two BOE directors at the meeting on Friday.

B. I said need, not want. Semantics I guess. Though perhaps there is a difference between the two. Being a SSHS I know that I will eventually be able to get to the bottom of this difference...

C. Right on, I am indeed a product of our American culture, I suspect a majority of Routt County residents are.

D. Joe, true , I never have and never will show up to a public meeting in garb that wouldn't get me onto Haymaker for nine holes of golf.

E. Jaunty, sadly if in fact "Donna Howell was not performing her job to their specifications", the BOE would have had complete discretion to fire her with out buying out the contract. Unfortunately for them and tax payers, she was meeting their job expectations, therefore, they had to buy out her contract. It is easy to spend other people's money.

F. Matthew thank you. Namaste my man :)

Mr. Boyer, please do our community a favor and hold this blog to the same level as you do letters to the editor. I believe doing that will foster civil discourse and debate that is germane to the topic.

Until then my cyber comrades, I bid you adieu. Sleep well.

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autumnwitch 7 years, 4 months ago

Matthew 7:15 states beware of false prophets, you know, the whole wolf in sheeps clothing business. I find it interesting that someone who supports John and thinks those of us who speak against him (and have actually known him for years) would use this as a psuedonym-it really is a verse that personifies John D to a tee.

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Sunspot 7 years, 4 months ago

What a mess the old board made. This is what happens when you have an employee that cannot be fired. The old board gave Howell a contract that allowed her to run the district any old way she wanted, with no regard to the current board. She has basically been saying to them, ha, ha, ha, I'll do what ever I want because you can't fire me!

Well, they did. Congrats to the new Board for having the guts to clean up this mess. Thanks!

And as for the old board members who have been doing most of the posting here, what would you do if you had an employee that thumbed their nose at you? You had your time without interference from boards previous to yours. It is time to back off and let this board have the same chance that you had.

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steamboatrocks 7 years, 4 months ago

As a former district employee I am amazed how 4 people can decide to squander the public's money over what is clearly a personality conflict. Donna Howell has done a good job for this district. Superintendents across the nation are in the position to make decisions that are not always popular and generally upset one group or another. That's just the way it goes. This lopsided board was determined to get rid of Donna and will have a hard time justifying to all of us WHY.
WHY can 4 people throw $270,000 of the tax-payers' money out the window (plus the cost to twice re-hire and re-staff the position) when hundreds of staff members are stuck with ONE PERCENT raises this year? If we don't have money to pay the staff appropriately or complete a construction project effectively, WHY do we have money to pay off the contract of someone who was doing a decent job running our school district? To me, the cost is more than just about the money. What is the real cost of the public trust? What is the real cost of teacher and district staff morale? What is the real cost to our kids when the school district coffers are squandered? The Board needs to be accountable for this decision. I hope they are prepared to begin hosting car washes and bake sales to replenish the hundreds of thousands of dollars we just flushed down the toilet.

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

Steamboatrocks-You ask why the board can throw out $-because they can.They have their own agenda.

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akeating 7 years, 4 months ago

This year's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is cause for a huge Steamboat Springs School District celebration! With 58 teams participating and over $189,000 raised, three teams of school district staff, retired and current, placed in the top 6. The OT's (Old Teachers) placed first, led by Bill McElvie, earning $8,220.79. In fifth place, led by teacher Jenny Krentz, the Strawberry Park Elementary 2 team brought in $5,358. Finally, I am very proud to have been a part of the Steamboat Springs Middle School team that raised $5,140 for sixth place. Congratulations to teacher Kerry Kerrigan who served on the committee for the Relay this year. Kudos to all distrct personnel who took the extra time to be a part of this extraordinary event. This is great energy to take into our 2007-08 school year!

Gratefully,

Ann Keating

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bikegirl 7 years, 4 months ago

Matthew7_1_5_-I will not discuss my spiritual beliefs here,but thank you for your prayers- Namaste- Stay Human

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boatsense 7 years, 4 months ago

Thank You Donna Howell. I am happy that a measure of compensation has been granted to you for the dysfunctional small town school board you have put up with for some time.

Our School system will now continue on the course of deterioration that unfortunately, we collectively deserve. We the People have failed to elect competent leaders and failed to remove the dysfunctional and emotionally charged board member that created our most current problems.

The bickering about the right and wrong here is pointless. The action has been taken, the money wasted and our community's credibility damaged. Any future candidate worth having will properly discount our community problems in making their career decision. As such it will be difficult to find a qualified candidate up to the task at hand and if we do - it will cost us much more in compensation.

Further, the board has carelessly created this vacancy at a time of critical importance to projects such as the Soda Creek elementary school construction. Inefficiencies in this project will manifest as final stage cost cutting measures leaving the education system at a further disadvantage.

I wish our community and Donna Howell the best. I hope Donna's future circumstances will be functional and productive . The hard work for our community is just beginning and we have yet to hit bottom.

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autumnwitch 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't know where most of you went to school, I was in a somewhat small district, not by Steamboat standards, but still small. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a superintendent and if that person had shown up in my class, I don't think it would have made much of an impression. We were in the classroom to learn, not have our hands held by the administration. Most of us hardly even saw the principal and that was a good thing, since if you did, it usually meant you were in trouble. Let the administration do the jobs they were hired to do and quit expecting them to know every child in the district. Their job is to try to make sure the schools are run safely and efficiently. The students don't really care who these people are unless their parents are whining about how they don't know the vital stats of their particular child. In doing their jobs, they don't have time to read your child's particular dossier, so get over it.

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autumnwitch 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry Matt, I can't answer that question, you could ask John but I seriously doubt he'd give you a truthful answer.

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elk2 7 years, 4 months ago

Why would anyone blame the present board for GIVING away all that money when none of them voted to give her the contract that allowed for such compensation.

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Matthew7_1_5 7 years, 4 months ago

autumnwitch,

Dr. Howell didn't send someone during the day to check Dr. D's computer. She had a right to take it. it was the district's computer. That is one question that bothers me. But to not answer Matt's question and turning the question to Dr. D. allows Dr. Howell not to be answerable. And to say Dr. D. won't tell the truth obfuscates the question and the issue.

I understand your loyalty to Dr. Howell, but everyone makes mistakes. Dr. D. did and maybe Dr. Howell had less than good intentions. I say that without judgment. it is not for me to judge others, but I do seek salvation through truth. The pathway to truth and righteousness is to be able to limit and admit our transgressions.

My prayers are with Dr. Howell as she goes into the world outside of the school district. I believe she will be relieved of stress and fear. Perhaps through meditation and peace she will be able to tell us why she did what she did. But, lo, she is not answerable to us but only to the Lord.

In issues such as those which have transpired here, it is important to seek truth and to allow our friends to be human while realizing personal errors reveal only their humaness which the Almighty has created. We have original sin, Christ died for our sins, we make mistakes through free will which He also bestowed on us. If Dr. Howell's actions are human it doesn't destroy our loyaty or love to allow the possibility of an unwelcome truth.

Our Lord gave us the ability to forgive and he expects us and told us forgive our enemies. I hope you can forgive Dr. D. as you forgive Dr. Howell. I have prayed often because our children need to see us heal. Let us forgive their errors and ask for forgiveness for our errors. " forgive us this day our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus asked his Father to forgive them who put Him to death. His example should inspire us to do the same.

Father please help us to move forward in peace and acceptance and allow us to truly forgive both Dr. D. and Dr. Howell, and give each board member the wisdom to lead us successfully out of this division we have created for ourselves. In the best interest of our children, I pray, for an end of our struggle and that we accept the peace You can grant us. A.

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cassgarza 7 years, 4 months ago

I am shocked that grown adults would resort to this. Many of you should be ashamed of yourselves. This is no better than the vicious note-passing shenanigans of junior high. I have restrained myself from posting before this, but I feel this is a great disservice to the children and staff. I know that most of this community recognizes an individual of class who refused to become entangled in an infantile (and very public) "pissing match." Kudos to you, Dr. Howell. I wish the public the knew all that you do about the BOE, but you have held your integrity and class throughout. I will not become involved in this hateful battle after this short note. I am just in disbelief that a BOE whose job should be protecting the students' best interests, has put their own personal interests above all else. Shame on you.

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CoJustice 7 years, 4 months ago

We need to do a better job with contracts. In addition, we need a committee to hire an interim, if parents let the board hire the next superintendent, that person will have allegiance to the current board and not the district, then we will have the same problems all over again.

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