Steamboat Springs We're sure plenty of people in town are sick of the whole subject of the Devincentis e-mails and the attempted recall of this school board member. But since the Pilot & Today offered a one-time chance to print letters on both sides of the issue, we'd like to point out a few facts that not everyone may know.
Former board members, by their own admission, had Devincentis' e-mails for two years. They never told any members of the current board about them. Pat Gleason then broke district security policies by taking the e-mails to the newspaper. He threatened our school board president with a recall if she didn't ask Devincentis to resign. The same former board members are not only refusing to cooperate with an investigation; they're also the ones behind the recall effort. These are not exactly the most commendable tactics to get one's way.
In fact, there have been letters from attorneys that speak to possible violations of state and federal laws. No attorneys have written to endorse what has happened as legal. Signing the recall petition endorses the idea that the end justifies the means and that it is acceptable to take the law into your own hands.
Current board members had the chance, but did not ask Devincentis to resign. It also seems quite clear that they do not want a recall. Shouldn't we give their opinion some weight? The recall petition uses some strong language to say that Devincentis interferes with the smooth operation of the board. But the people who are actually on the board don't seem to agree and are proceeding in a positive direction. Having conflict with a superintendent is not so unusual and can be worked out. There is nothing wrong with discussion and questioning the direction being taken; that is what a board is supposed to do. We've been to several board meetings lately and business is moving along in a constructive way. It's ironic that the recall group accuses John of "interfering with the orderly and civil operation of the board" when it is their e-mail smear tactics and recall attempt that actually is distracting to the board and bad for this town. It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Two people who oppose Devincentis do not speak for the approximately twenty members of the former Parents for Dr. D. group. This has been misleading.
Regardless of your reaction to the leaked e-mails, it is a fact that John Devincentis has been a positive force in our schools for many years. We appreciate his strong views on small class size and Spanish in the younger grades. The teachers who worked with him tell endless stories about his dedication to doing what's best for the students. He is a fiscal conservative and made no secret of wanting to reduce excess administration costs and increase accountability when he ran for the school board.
As a board member, he has continued to spend time volunteering in all the schools, leading astronomy programs, reading, participating in special high school programs and numerous other events. He made a mistake with the e-mails, now let's move on and let this board get on with business.
Mary Darcy and Eric Gautreaux