School board seems confused

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

    To the Editor: Sometimes it seems our board of education in Sparta is hopelessly confused, and that Dr. Morton either has some very scary hidden agenda or no plan whatsoever. Kathleen Monks arrived on the scene in Sparta earlier this year. In the approximately nine months she’s been here, her starting salary of $136,500 was deemed insufficient and she’s been given a 9% raise. According to the Independent, Morton cited standardized test score improvements as justification for Monks’ increase. The problem with this logic is that the standardized tests were administered in March and April, just weeks after Monks came on the job. Are we expected to believe that Monks was able to have such a profound impact on test scores while she was still touring the district and introducing herself? Standardized tests are designed to measure learning over a long period of time, like years. Yet Morton would have us believe that Monks managed to effect positive change in mere weeks. Is Morton insulting our intelligence or is he just that clueless? Some might say that her over $12,000 increase is a drop in the bucket and not worthy of concern. That may be true, except when considering the dog-and-pony shows Morton and Ron Wolfe have been performing in recent years. Sparta residents have been bombarded with budget-related rhetoric; from the millions needed for Morton’s new high school, to our teachers working for a year without a contract, to Bill S-1701, to the recent rising costs of heating oil, the Sparta board of education’s fiscal needs and shortages have been well documented. Yet despite these tight budget constraints they are supposedly under, board members have no problem voting “on short notice” to give a five-digit increase to someone who has been in the district for about six months of school time. Maybe these folks are guilty only of being highly inconsistent in their words and actions. Maybe they’re guilty only of another gross misjudgment. At some point though, the residents and students of Sparta deserve better. Scott Ryan Sparta