Do the right thing

Recently, the Lake Chelan School District (LCSD) superintendent of schools was fined and reprimanded for Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) violations regarding the recent tax bond issue for $75.5M before the Chelan community in April 2019. These violations were specific to his improper use of school district resources and equipment by asking members of the community to change their voting intention and support of this massive bond issue. The PDC levied a fine of $150 and required the superintendent to sign an agreement that admitted to the violations as charged. In addition, the superintendent hired an attorney, paid for by the LCSD, to respond to the PDC complaint, rather than just stating the facts that were obvious. This is a waste of taxpayer resources.

Of greater importance than a small fine is the intentional attempt by the superintendent of schools to persuade members of the community to support a mis-guided and highly misleading proposal that was not needed in our schools. Rather than just presenting information, he created fear about safety, fear about overcrowded conditions, and fear that our students were not receiving 21st Century learning skills and teaching. And, according to the Chelan County Auditor, this special election will cost the Chelan taxpayers approximately $20,000 (to be billed at the end of 2019).

The PDC decided not to pursue an additional violation the superintendent of schools committed by distributing a two-page document that promoted the tax bond issue. The document stated, “The Right Projects – The Right Reasons – The Right Time” from the privately funded vote yes committee. Fortunately, the Chelan community soundly rejected the “projects”, understood there were highly misleading “reasons” for the bond proposal, and this was not the “right time”.

I ask that the Lake Chelan School District school board seriously review the past year plus of flawed decision-making regarding excessive capital expenditures and tax proposals in the community of Chelan. There is no need for massive expenditures; there is always a desire for wants, and our leaders have a fiduciary responsibility to manage the absolute needs for our students and their education. Do the right thing, and provide sound leadership, supervision, and management of community resources now and in the future.

Jim Busey

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