This is not a traditional chat room, because it is more of a place for me to express my thoughts, comments and ideas regarding my service on the South Kitsap School Board of Directors. You may comment with the Feedback button at the bottom of the page, or with the little maroon chat icon in the lower right corner.
As a Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP), I am a consultant on how to conduct meetings in a fair and efficient manner, with particular expertise on the application of Robert's Rules of Order.
For over sixty years, through my studies and involvement in many organizations, I have become very knowledgeable about how organizations function. (My degree is in psychology.) After moving back to Kitsap County a few years ago, and having grandchildren in the SK Schools, I was curious about how the School Board functions.
I started attending the Board meetings regularly in the spring of 2017, and attended nearly all the meetings as an observer before being elected to the Board in November 2019. (Often I was the only visitor still in the audience by the end of the meetings.) I thought that I could share my expertise and help the Board to function more efficiently.
There are 1,477 school board directors throughout the State of Washington, more than any other class of elected official except for precinct officers of the major political parties.
Being on the school board provides an opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of our children, who are the future of our community and nation.
In our election system, the only way to vote against someone is to vote for someone else.
The South Kitsap School Board typically meets twice a month on Wednesday evenings for 2 -3 hours each.
In addition to the two evenings per month for Board meetings, there are many more hours in other activities and preparation for the meetings. Six to ten hours per week would probably be a minimum. Currently half of the Board members are retired and the other half work full-time. Two years ago, only one of the five Board members was retired.
For those Board members working full-time, they may need some flexibility in their schedues to allow for activities outside of the regular Wednesday evening. If any Board members are unable to attend any meetings or activities, a majority of the Board can proceed without them. If they happen to be out-of-town, thay may be able to participate in meetings remotely.
Under State Law, school board directors may receive $50 per day for each day that they attend official meetings or conduct official business. Just visiting a school would not count. Directors may decline that compensation. (I personally received $1,800 in 2020 and $3,500 in 2021.)
There are many other hours in preparation for meetings and other activities that are not compensated. Attendance at conferences such as WSSDA are paid for by the District.
Often school boards are composed of professional educators or their family members, since they already have an interest and knowledge of the school system.
The purpose of the school board is to represent the parents, taxpayers, and community in managing the schools. All must be represented on the Board. Professional educators and their family members may have a bias in favor of the interests of the district employees rather than the interests of the voters.
Of the current Board, all but one are either retired professional educators or immediate family members of District employees. In fact, two are both retired SK teachers and immediate family members of SK employees.
Before I ran for the Board, I attended nearly all of the meetings for two full years as on observer. Unfortunately, some run for the school board without ever having attended a single board meeting. They need to know what they are getting into.
The Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) provides training and resources for school board directors. They conduct in-person and remote training for new and prospective board members called Board Boot Camp. Their website lists training publications, including a flyer on What Makes a Great School Board Member?
This website and the South Kitsap School District Website also provide information on what is happening here in the South Kitsap School District. The District's BoardDocs contains minutes, agendas, and videos of past Board meetings. My own comments on Board meetings is also on this website with links to minutes and videos.
The Kitsap County Auditor's Office has election and candidacy information.
There are five director districts and each director must live in one of those districts. Check the map to see where you live. The positions for director districts 1, 2, and 5 will be up for election in November of 2023. These positions are currently occupied by Directors Espy, Berg, and Daily. Filing for office will be the third week in May, 2023, with May 19, 2023 being the deadline. There is no cost to file. The following Monday will be the last day for a candidate to withdraw.
Candidates will also need to file campaign disclosures and personal financial information discourses with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC)
Shortly after my joining the South Kitsap School Board, COVID-19 hit, and all our concepts of "normal" changed. It became difficult for me to get out and about among the stakeholders in the District. Correspondence and communication outside of meetings was reduced to a series of emails.
This website is a way for me to communicate with you in a clear manner that is open to the public and not subject to having my words misconstrued or quoted out of context. It also prevents me from presenting one opinion to one group and a conflicting opinion to another group.
Board meetings are governed by Robert's Rules of Order, which prohibits calling another member a liar or questioning their motives in a meeting. In order to avoid such contention in a meeting, this website provides an opportunity to set the record straight regarding any misinformation disseminated by others.
In response to advice from the Public Disclosure Commission, specific data relating the current and future campaigns has been removed from this website. The PDC then found no violation in citing this website during Board meetings.
Much of this website is focused on Director Berg and Director Daily. Since the website is owned and managed by Director Berg, it is only natural that a significant portion of the website would be devoted to Director Berg's actions and remarks. As mentioned, the website is Director Berg's primary communication with his constituents.
Since they joined the Board in December both Directors Berg and Daily have been very vocal on the Board. Director Daily has a been a dissenting voice on the Board more than any other member. He has written multiple letters to the newspapers regarding Board and District business. When the District conducted a survey of stakeholders in April of 2021, there many comments regarding dysfunction on the Board, but the only Board member mentioned by name was Director Daily.
As Director Berg perceived Director Daily as attempting to bully and dominate the Board, he attempted to step in with his expertise in parliamentary procedure to protect the remainder of the Board from bullying tactics. Director Daily then turned his attention and enmity from the Board to Director Berg specifically.
Rather than confronting Director Daily's facts and actions during Board meetings, Director uses this website to attempt to set the record straight while lessening the disputations during Board meetings.
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th ed.) (RONR), published in September 2020, is the current enlarged and expanded edition of Henry M. Robert's original 1876 work. Robert's service in the US Army Corps of Engineers had him posted throughout the country. (He was involved in building fortifications in the San Juan Islands' "Pig War" in a boundary dispute with Canada in 1859.) His activity in various church and civic groups led him to realize the need for a uniform set of rules for conducting ordinary meetings, so that people could use the same rules of parliamentary procedure with the different organizations to which they belonged.
What was originally intended to be a pocket pamphlet has grown into an 800-page reference work that has become the most widely accepted authority in North America on parliamentary law. It is used by 90% of all organizations in the United States, and has recently been translated into Chinese. It has been regularly revised every ten years since 1970 by a team of parliamentarians, some of whom are also lawyers.
Robert's Rules of Order provides the most fair and efficient procedure for a group of people to reach a majority decision. It balances the rights of individual members, the majority, the minority, the group as a whole, and even absent members. When applied properly, it is not a set of dirty tricks to bully a group, nor a rigid set of rules to slow down the process, but a means to protect the rights of all members when efficiently arriving at a majority decision.
For additional information on parliamentary procedure for those attending or participating in meetings, I recommend the book, Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, In Brief (3rd ed.). Unlike the RONR 12th ed., it is an easy read that can be accomplished in an afternoon and gives a basic understanding of parliamentary procedure. It is written by the same authorship team as RONR, and provides references to RONR for more in depth study.
When I invoke Robert's Rules of Order in School Board meetings, it is an attempt to expedite or clarify the business, or to protect the rights of the members. In those meetings that I have conducted, most have noticed a positive difference in the manner in which the meetings were conducted.
In a ball game or other activity among civilized people, they generally agree upon a set of rules by which to function. When one player does not believe that the rules apply to them, disputations and dysfunction will usually result. The resulting dysfunction is not the fault of the rules or even of the referee trying to enforce the rules, but it is the fault of the those who refuse to abide by the rules.
There are four points that relate to the the application of RONR in the South Kitsap School Board:
See also RONR citations and how to get RONR.
A Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) is an expert and consultant on Robert's Rules of Order, accredited by the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). PRP is the highest credential awarded by the NAP. Lessor designations are Registered Parliamentarian (RP) and Regular Member of the NAP (an examination is required just to join the NAP).
Parliamentarians serve as consultants to presiding officers during meetings to advise the chair on proper procedures to assure that the meeting is conducted efficiently and fairly, balancing the rights of all members. They also assist with drafting bylaws and in other procedural and organizational matters.
Professional Registered Parliamentarians (PRPs) are also trained and qualified to actually conduct meetings, in addition to being an advisor to the presiding officer. Occasionally a PRP will be hired to preside at a rather contentious meeting as an unbiased, third party temporary presiding officer.
I was originally accredited as a PRP by the National Association of Parliamentarians in 2013. I have had over fifteen educational articles published in the journals of the National Association of Parliamentarians or the American Institute of Parliamentarians. I served on the NAP Edit and Review Committee reviewing submitted articles from other parliamentarians for publication in the journal. I have taught workshops at the NAP national training conferences or convention in 2021, 2019 and 2018. Presented a breakout session on Robert's Rules for other school board directors in the state at the Washington State School Directors' Association meeting in November, 2021.
I have served four years as the president of the Washington State Association of Parliamentarians (WSAP) and as parliamentarian for a number of national organizations. Including being president of the WSAP, I have served a total of fourteen years as president of state-wide organizations (some concurrently).
South Kitsap High School is the second largest in the state. It was built in two phases and is large and rather cumbersome. There are advantages to a large high school, such as centralized administration and the ability to offer a greater variety of classes to the students. The disadvantages of a large school include the time involved to navigate within the school and the individual students' sense of being lost in a large student population.
The advantages of having two high schools include closer proximity to the students and a more closely knit student body. The disadvantages are that not all programs and classes could be offered in both schools, requiring choices to be made, and the additional administrative costs of operating two schools rather than one (although the ratio of staff to student would be about the same with either one or two high schools).
Voters have rejected bonds for new school construction repeatedly, most recently in 2018. Even though the bonds received a majority of votes, 60% is required to pass a bond, while only a majority (more than half) is needed for a levy. It would appear that 60% will not vote for a second high school when only 50% of the students will be able to attend it, with the other half in the old building. While rather short-sighted on the voters' part, that appears to be the reality.
During his election Campaign, Director Jeff Daily touted his plan to build another addition to the present high school's north end, making it even larger. Nothing has been said about that since his election.
While overall school enrollment was down about 8% in the fall of 2020, mostly due to COVID-19, the enrollment loss was primarily in the elementary schools and the high school enrollment was nearly unchanged. Extended masking and vaccine mandates will most likely have a downward impact on enrollment.
Bigger is not necessarily better. The purpose of the South Kitsap School District is to educate the children in the district, not to be the largest employer in Kitsap County south of Sinclair Inlet. With more students opting for 100% remote learning in the future, the enrollment pressure on the high school may lessen. The District may be able to provide the needed education without expansion of facilities. Inflation since January of 2021, with increases in fuel and lumber costs, may stall a projected increase in housing units in the South Kitsap School District.
The facilities are nevertheless aging and will eventually need replacement or major renovations. One possibility for future consideration would be to build one new high school to replace the present South Kitsap High School, and repurpose the present high school into a comprehensive middle school. While the price tag in bonds would be high, a 60% yes vote might be obtainable since all will be able to attend the new school.
The term audit comes from the Latin term for hearing. It is generally defined as "a formal examination of an organization's or individual's accounts or financial situation" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) p. 81).
The State of Washington has a State Auditor whose office annually audits the financial records of the School District in accordance with State Law and the 635-page Accounting Manual for Public School Districts in the State of Washington issued by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Office of the Washington State Auditor. The most recent May 3, 2021 audit report on South Kitsap can be found here. The report found no significant deficiencies and no material weaknesses.
State law gives the school boards final authority for the finances of the district and requires that every single expenditure must be approved by the Board. In a small district the Board president signs all checks approved by the Board. In larger districts the law allows the board to approve one certificate covering a series of specified warrants. An example of such certificate can be seen here. (Technically the District does not issue checks but issues warrants drawn upon the county treasurer, who functions as the bank for the district.)
RCW 28A.330.090 requires the Board to establish an auditing committee as follows:
Auditing committee and expenditures.
All accounts shall be audited by a committee of board members chosen in such manner as the board so determines to be styled the "auditing committee," and, except as otherwise provided by law, no expenditure greater than three hundred dollars shall be voted by the board except in accordance with a written contract, nor shall any money or appropriation be paid out of the school fund except on a recorded affirmative vote of a majority of all members of the board: PROVIDED, That nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the board from making any repairs or improvements to the property of the district through their shop and repair department as otherwise provided in RCW 28A.335.190.
Other than the section 28A.330.080 cited below, the statute gives no further directions or definitions for such an "auditing committee".
Payment of claims—Signing of warrants.
Moneys of such school districts shall be paid out only upon orders for warrants signed by the president, or a majority of the board of directors and countersigned by the secretary: PROVIDED, That when, in the judgment of the board of directors, the orders for warrants issued by the district monthly shall have reached such numbers that the signing of each warrant by the president personally imposes too great a task on the president, the board of directors, after auditing all payrolls and bills as provided by RCW 28A.330.090, may authorize the issuing of one general certificate to the county treasurer, to be signed by the president, authorizing said treasurer to pay all the warrants specified by date, number, name and amount, and the funds on which said warrants shall be drawn; thereupon the secretary of said board shall be authorized to draw and sign said orders for warrants. Orders for warrants and warrant registers may be sent in an electronic format and using facsimile signatures as provided under chapter 39.62 RCW.
At the October 21, 2020 Board meeting, the Board, by a vote of 4-1, designated the entire Board to constitute the auditing committee as required under State Law cited above. The 13-minute discussion is informative and can be found on the video of the meeting beginning at 2:30:30. That discussion also references the opinion from the District's legal counsel that having the Board function as the auditing committee is both consistent with the practice of other districts in the state and complies with the state law requirement referenced above for an auditing committee. Director Daily was the sole vote against designating the full Board as the auditing committee.
Since October 21, 2020, the auditing committee has never had any separate meeting apart from the directors voting on expenditure items as part of a board meeting. The Board could, if it chooses, meet specifically as the auditing committee either separately from a Board meeting or as a segment within a Board meeting. The latter would be similar to a committee of the whole in parliamentary terms.
When the Board approves expenditures of the District, it is generally done on the Consent Agenda with three documents provided to the Board members, Those documents, with links to examples are as follows:
Each Board member has an opportunity to review those documents and ask questions of the Superintendent for any clarification before the Board meeting. These documents are available to the public on BoardDocs. If any Board member has significant concerns about any item on the Consent Agenda, it can be pulled from the Consent Agenda and disapproved or postponed until answers or further documentation is provided to the satisfaction of the Board.
Typically the expenditures are approved by a majority of the Board with only Director Daily voting against the approval or "non-concurring" as he puts it. Director Daily will come to the District offices on Tuesday before the Board meeting and review the financial documents and ask questions of the Superintendent. He then reports at the Board meeting that he did not receive answers to his questions and will not therefore vote to approve the expenditures.
Following the Board's approval of the expenditures at the January 5, 2021 regular Board meeting by a vote of 4-1, there was an extended discussion of regarding expenses, the auditing committee, and Director Daily's review of the documents. This discussion can be found on the video of the meeting from 1:11:00 through 1:22:40. (After a brief discussion of student activity funding, the auditing committee remarks resume at 1:19:31.)
At previous Board meetings Director Daily had announced that he held office hours at the District office on the Tuesdays before Board meetings. He had also mentioned numerous times that he also reviews warrants on those Tuesday mornings. However, January 5th was the first time that he claimed that his reviewing the warrants on Tuesday morning was supposedly a meeting of the auditing committee which the other Board members neglected to attend.
If the entire Board constitutes the auditing committee, the only single member of the Board who can call a meeting of the Board or the auditing committee is the Board President. A majority of the Board can also call a special meeting of the Board, but Director Daily has no authority to call a meeting of the Board or of the auditing committee.
(If the auditing committee were a committee separate from the board, under Robert's Rules of Order, two members of the committee could call a meeting if the chairman failed to call a meeting, but one member other than the chairman has no authority to call a meeting.)
A committee cannot function without a majority of its members present. If a majority of the Board is present, then it must be a public meeting under the Washington State Open Meetings Act (RCW 42.30) and be publicly announced in advance. No such meeting of the auditing committee has been publicly announced.
While the Board was aware that Director Daily has been reviewing financial information on Tuesday mornings before the Board meetings, the Board never designated such activity as a meeting of the auditing committee nor has the Board ever authorized Director Daily to function on behalf of the auditing committee.
There is no way that Director Daily's reviewing financial data on Tuesday mornings can be construed as a meeting of the auditing committee. Director Daily contradicted himself at the conclusion of his remarks on January 5th when he admitted that he could not function as a single board member but was nevertheless functioning singly as the auditing committee when other members failed to attend.
Director Berg has prepared a draft policy on Board Committees that can be found here.
The Washington State Auditor's Office is responsible for auditing government divisions and agencies in the State of Washington, and annually conducts an audit of the South Kitsap School District. The 2022 audit report is not yet available. The 2021 Accountability Audit and Financial and Federal Audit reports are availalbe online with the preceding links. Both audits reported no adverse findings.
The terms extended school year and balanced school year refer to shortening the summer break in the school year and extend fall, winter and spring breaks. The terms year round school or full time school can refer to expanding the number of instructional days in the school.
The number of instructional school days in the school year is currently determined by the level of funding provided by the State. Adding additional days, such as during the summer, would be a local district expense which would need to be covered by local tax levies, or, at least for the summers of 2022 and 2023, by COVID relief funds, also known as ESSER funds.
While there is some debate as to the origin of the traditional extended summer break in the school year, the most common theory is that an agrarian economy required children to work on the farm during the summer months. In the past, sending children to school, as opposed to the more flexible home-based instruction, was an inconvenience to the parents. Today, many families without a stay-at-home parent, find it an inconvenience to have children home from school. The schools provide a childcare service as much as an educational service. This became quite evident during school closure and restrictions during the COVID pandemic.
Adding more instructional days to the school year would require major legislation and funding changes. The remainder of this discussion will focus on simply rearranging the existing 180 days of instruction.
Balancing the school year will address the two issues of learning loss and burnout.
Learning loss results from an extended summer break from educational activities. The first part of September is then taken up in reviewing the past year and bringing the student back up to the level they were the previous June. Having a shorter summer break will reduce this learning loss.
Burnout among students, teachers, and parents has become quite evident since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March 2020. A shortage of staff has also put heavy burdens upon the remaining staff. Having more breaks during the school year will improve mental health of all. For example, Veterans' Day in November was on a Thursday in 2021 and adding the following Friday as a holiday would have been welcomed by nearly all.
Over the past decades, the school year in this area has been extend with the end of the year gradually moving from the first week in June to the third week in June. The beginning of the year has been fairly constant as the first week in September.
A balanced school calendar could expand fall, winter, and spring breaks to at least two weeks and shorten the summer break to as little as three or four weeks. Additional non-school days could also be added during the remainder of the year, however with the high school having A and B day schedules, these additional breaks might best be done in twos in order to balance the A and B days.
While the total number of instructional days would remain the same, and thus the child-care needs of working parents constant, the schedule would be more irregular without a long summer break.
The major impact of a balanced school year would be on working parents, staff, and employers. In England, most of the country is on the same school schedule, with the exception of one group of adjacent counties. Holiday venues and schedules are impacted. In Germany, different regions have staggered school schedules, balancing the demand of vacation facilities and providing scheduling consistencies for parents, students, and employers within each region.
Some parents work in school districts other than the one in which their children attend. Having parents and children on different schedules complicates family logistics.
In this region, the weather in summer is more favorable to outdoor activities than in other times of the year. Employers will also be impacted in scheduling vacation requests for a limited period of the summer school break. A longer summer school break allows vacation leaves to be spread out over a longer period.
While a balanced school year does have merit and deserves consideration, no major change should be enacted without through discussion of all parties impacted, and with broad community support.
This portion of this Fireside Chat on this website was prompted by a letter to the Board from a citizen who, while claiming to support LGBTQ+ rights, did not approve of the District conveying such a message. Shown at the left is an image submitted with the letter that is similar to one shown on the main page of the SKSD website recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Rather than argue over semantics, a few definitions will follow.
Diverse means differing from one another or composed of distinct or unlike qualities or elements (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed), p. 366). Diversity means the condition of being diverse or the inclusion of diverse people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization (ibid.).
Diversity has also be used to refer to an attempt or requirement to have staff and faculty match the same diversity as the student population, such as having an equal percentage of Hispanic staff and teachers as the percentage of Hispanic students. The opposite of such diversity would be having only white females as elementary teachers and only white males as secondary school teachers. This is not the meaning of diversity used in this article.
Include means to take in or comprise as a part of a whole or group (Ibid. 629). Inclusion means the act of including, the state of being included, or more specifically, the act or practice of including students with disabilities in regular school classes (Ibid. 630). For the purpose of this discussion, inclusion will mean, conjunction with the above definition of diversity, the inclusion of students in a school population.
According to Wikipedia, the original initialism LBG referred to lesbian, bisexual and gay. In the 1980's, T was added for transgender to form LGBT. Things got a little more complicated after that as a broad spectrum of gender and sexuality became identified. The addition of Q, to form LGBTQ, could be for queer or questioning. The now common initialism LBGTQ+ is used to include all variations from the traditional binary heterosexual genders. Those under the LGBTQ+ umbrella share many common goals, individual segments therein may have differing issues and objectives.
The definition of pride includes the terms such as the quality of state of being proud, inordinate self-esteem, conceit, a reasonable of justifiable self-respect, delight or elation rising from some act, possession or relationship (ibid. 985).
While today, pride is generally considered to be a positive quality, for the past fifteen millennia, pride has been included in the Seven Deadly Sins, along with lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, and envy.
June as Pride Month originated from a June 1969 uprising in response to a New York City police raid on the Stonewall Inn. President Bill Clinton declared June 1999 "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month in 1999. President Obama declared June 2009 "LGBT Pride Month". President Trump acknowledged the pride month but did not issue an official declaration. President Joe Biden declared June 2021 "LFBTQ+ Pride Month".
In the State of Washington, all public schools are required to teach all students within their districts, regardless of the characteristics of the individual students. (The only exception would be a student who was expelled for bringing a gun to school or posing a distinct threat to other students or staff.) Private and religious schools have more discretion in which students they accept.
Since the population of the South Kitsap School District is diverse and nearly all students will be included in the student population, the only question is, how will all these diverse students be included in a safe and learning environment.
Throughout human history, binary heterosexual genders were the norm, and any variations from that norm were discouraged, prohibited and even punished in varying degrees. In Biblical times homosexual acts carried a death penalty. It was not until the early 1970's that Washington State legalized sexual acts between those of the same sex. Adultery and fornication (sex between unmarried individuals) was also legalized at that time, but having sex with animals and dead bodies remains illegal in Washington State.
Noted British mathematical genius Alan Turning, who played a key role in the outcome of the Second World War by cracking German code, was later convicted for homosexual acts in 1952, died of cyanide poisoning in1954, and was ultimately granted a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.
For centuries, those who have not conformed to the traditional binary heterosexual genders have been shunned, hidden, shamed, ridiculed, beaten, persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered. Washington State Law (RCW 49-60.030) now protects individuals from "discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability."
In effect, homosexual acts that were illegal when I attended high school in the 1960's are now not only legal, but a legally protected right.
People naturally tend to congregate with others with whom they have the most in common. I doubt that Norwegians tended to settle in Poulsbo because they were excluded from settling elsewhere, but because they wanted to continue to share their culture and heritage. This is opposed to other groups who were actually excluded from settling in some areas.
In addition to congregating with those of their own kind, people are also wary or others to the degree that the others differ from themselves.
Since our schools have a diversity of students who must function together, it is important that all students learn a degree of acceptance and tolerance for others who are like themselves.
Bullying is a problem in the schools. Those who differ from the typical student will often face persecution and bullying. The only way to protect LBGTQ+ students from persecution, discrimination, and bullying is to discuss LBGTQ+ issues openly is the schools.
The dictionary has a difficult time defining religion and religious without using the term religion itself (Ibid. 1051-2) Acknowledging that a religion does not depend upon a belief in a supreme being or power, religion can be defined here as a deeply held belief that contributes to the basis for one's life. (This is in contrast to the definition in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary, which stated, "for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands is not religion" (An American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, from a republished facsimile edition, 1955)
In spite of laws that legalize, but regulate, the use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, many people's religion prohibits the use of these things. Some religions also prohibit the use of certain foods that are commonly eaten by the broader community. Some people's religion considers morally wrong sexual activity between individuals who are not married to each other.
Article I, Section 11 of the Washington State Constitution states:
Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for such of the state custodial, correctional, and mental institutions, or by a county's or public hospital district's hospital, health care facility, or hospice, as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony.
Article IX, Section 4 states:
All schools maintained or supported wholly or in part by the public funds shall be forever free from sectarian control or influence.
Considering the broad definition of religion stated above, it become very difficult to determine which "deeply held beliefs that contribute to the basis for one's life" that are taught in the schools are prohibited religious teachings and which are not.
If I were to invite a person into my home for dinner whose religious beliefs prohibited the consumption of pork, I would not serve pork to them. And if invited to their home for dinner, I would not expect to be served pork.
If I had a diner guest who was highly allergic to peanuts, I would leave them off the menu. If I had a dinner guest who choose to be a vegetarian and demanded that no meat be consumed at the same meal as theirs, I might reconsider having them as a dinner guest, taking into consideration how much I really wanted their company at dinner.
My personal religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of alcohol. I do not serve it in my home and I have had only one dinner guest who had the audacity to bring their own bottle to consume in my home at dinner. Nevertheless, I do not object to socializing elsewhere with others who are drinking alcohol, provided they do not attempt to coerce me to consume. I don't generally frequent bars, although I did attend a reception at a gay bar in Manhattan back in 2014.
My personal religious beliefs also prohibit the use of tobacco and I tend to avoid situations in which I am exposed to others' smoke. I recall many years ago asking a co-worker not to smoke in my car, who, upon leaving my car lit their cigarette and blew the smoke back in.
My personal religious beliefs also prohibit sexual relations outside of marriage. While I would encourage others to adhere to that standard, I do not impose it upon others and freely associate with others, including family members, who do not adhere to that standard.
I believe that our community would be a better place if everyone adhered to those standards and avoided tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, and sexual activities outside of marriage. Just imagine the impact on welfare, prisons and various costly social problems in our society. Nevertheless, I do not propose making fornication a felony in order to enforce my standards on others.
If a teacher were to display a Confederate Flag in their classroom (its' not really 'their' classroom, it is part of a public school), is the intent of that display to celebrate that teacher's ethnic heritage from the Deep South, to promote states' rights, or to endorse the enslavement of blacks? In today's environment, most would infer the latter and the flag should not be there.
If a teacher were similarly display a rainbow flag, the symbol of LBGTQ+ Pride, is the intent to convey to the students that the classroom is a safe place for LBGTQ+ students where they will be accepted and respected, or is it to promote a political or social agenda or what some consider to be an immoral lifestyle, or all of the above?
The classroom has more than LBGTQ+ students. There are other students whose deeply held beliefs also need to be respected.
In the abortion issue. there are deeply held beliefs on both sides with fundamental core beliefs that are incompatible with each other. Is the product of conception simply a collection of cells such that the woman in whose body it resides has every right to dispose of it as if it were a wart or parasite, or is it an unborn human being with a legal right to be nourished and protected?
We have a diversity of students with varying identities and beliefs. All students need to be valued and not offended or subjected to discrimination, ostracization, or persecution.
While LBGTQ+ issues need to be addressed (as required by State Law) in order to protect all students from discrimination, ostracization, or persecution, it should not be done in a way that promotes a particular political agenda offensive to other students. I do not favor the SK schools officially promoting LBGTQ+ Pride Month.
The South Kitsap School District is currently divided into five director districts, numbered 1 through 5. Each of the five directors, at the time of their election, must live within the director district corresponding their director position, 1 through 5.
Although each director lives in a different director district, all of the voters in the school district vote for all of the directors. The director in District 2 (Manchester and Southworth) is not elected solely by the voters in District 2. (State Legislative Districts and County Commissioner Districts are different in that only the voters in the respective districts vote for the candidate from their district.) If the voters in a specific director district had unique interests differing from the other director districts, they would be unable to elect a specific director to address their interests because all of the voters in the school district vote for all directors. It is actually mathematically possible for a person from one district to win election without receiving a single vote from their own district. Because of these factors, a director is not really representing a specific district.
Washington State Law, specifically RCW 28A.343.050, allows for a school district with five director districts to convert to having three director districts and two directors at large.
Upon receipt by the educational service district superintendent of a resolution adopted by the board of directors or a written petition from a first-class or second-class school district signed by at least twenty percent of the registered voters of a school district previously divided into directors' districts, which resolution or petition shall request dissolution of the existing directors' districts and reapportionment of the district into no fewer than three directors' districts and with no more than two directors at large, the superintendent, after formation of the question to be submitted to the voters, shall give notice thereof to the county auditor who shall call and hold a special election of the voters of the entire school district to approve or reject such proposal, such election to be called, conducted and the returns canvassed as in regular school district elections.
If approval of a majority of those registered voters voting in said election is acquired, at the expiration of terms of the incumbent directors of such school district their successors shall be elected in the manner approved.
The South Kitsap School District has 75,885 people living in it. In the most recent levy election in November of 2021, 19,832 people voted. In the most recent school board election, 17,244 people voted. For the sake of discussion, assume that there are 20,000 potential candidates for all the school board positions. Since director districts must have approximately equal population, each of the five director districts would have 4,000 potential candidates. If there were three director districts, each of those positions would have 6,667 potential candidates, and the director at large positions would each have 20,000 potential candidates.
For a director to be elected or re-elected, it would be in their best interest to have a limited number of potential opponents, which is the current situation. (This could be why few districts have gone to this configuration.) Anyone wishing to run for the school board is limited to running for that single position corresponding to the director district in which they live, and if there is an incumbent, running against that specific director.
On the other hand, if there were three director districts, each position would have a larger pool of candidates, 6,667 in the case on the three director districts, and 20,000 in the case of the director at large positions. Anyone wishing to run for the school board, would have the option of running for a director district position or a director at large position. The result would be that all the directors would be more responsive to the will of the voters because their re-election would face more potential competition.
I propose implementing the option provided by RCW 28A.343.050 and change the five director districts to three director districts with two director at large positions. This could be done before the next school director positions come up for election in 2023. I, for one, would be willing to take one of the director at large positions and risk greater competition should I run for re-election 2023.
Director Positions 1, 2 and 5 come up for election in 2023, while Position 3 and 4 come up in 2025. Ideally, the new arrangement would have each director at large position coming up in alternating cycles, such that every two years, the voters would be electing one director at large and one or two district director positions.
While the three director positions could roughly correspond to the three middle schools, the middle school area are configured based on the capacity of the individual schools and not equal population as a director district would need to be. Currently Directors Espy and Daily live in the Cedar Heights MS area and Directors Wilson, Berg, and Pickard are in the Sedgewick MS area.
The overall goal of the proposed change is to give more options and power to the voters and make the school board directors more responsive to the will of the voters. Current directors would need to rise above any personal political ambitions and be willing to give more power to the voters in approving this change.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is difficult to define in 2021 because it did not have a single point of origin and has been evolving since its origins in legal and academic circles in the 1970s. It has been described much differently by its proponents than by its opponents. This lack of a clear understanding of exactly what CRT is has lead to much controversy, with some insisting that it must be taught in the schools while others demand that it must never be taught in the schools.
While originally addressing only the issue of race, its proponents have expanded it to include all other oppressed minority categories.
For purposes here, CRT will be defined (in an admittedly biased manner) as a set of beliefs based on the propositions that (1) the laws, customs, and institutional practices in the United States are inherently racist and maintained as such by those with the power at the top of the hierarchy, specifically white males, or more specifically, strait, white, older, Christian males of European descent; (2) all other individuals are oppressed by that system based upon their specific traits or characteristics such as race, sex, expressed gender, ethnicity, religion, body shape, etc., and the more of those characteristics they have, the more oppressed they are and the more entitled they are to consider themselves victims; (3) those at the top of the hierarchy should feel guilty for the sins of their ancestors that put them there and should make reparations to those below them.
The problem with criticizing CRT is similar to defending oneself against the charge of being a witch. The accused would be drowned as a test. If they survived, they were a witch and were burned at the stake. If they drown, they were innocent, but still dead. The very accusation became a death sentence. To some, for a white male to deny CRT is actual proof of its validity.
Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5044 which mandates training for school staff and includes the purpose of "dismantling institutional racism" through training in topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competency. The bill addresses training of school staff and school board directors, not what is to be taught to the children.
The bill did NOT mandate teaching CRT, although "institutional racism" is one of the basic components of CRT. This has led many to believe that the bill thus mandated teaching CRT in the schools.
The specific training in the South Kitsap School District will be subject to oversight by the School Board, with input from the community, and that oversight will determine what will and will not be taught.
Related to CRT and often associated with it is The 1619 Project. The 1619 Project is easer to define than CRT because it has a single point of origin, being first published in August 2019 in The New York Time Magazine which "aims to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States' national narrative." It was a collection of essays rather than a single article. It has been the subject both praise and of scholarly criticism. Some of the original facts and claims have been revised. [source]
Institutional racism or systemic racism refers to factors that have become inherent in our society and laws that tend to foster racism. For example, if a prestigious college that previously admitted only white students, but now admits all students regardless of color, continues to give an an admission preference to children or grandchildren of prominent alumni, that would constitute institutional racism because the children of older alumni would be predominately white.
An example of institutional sexism would be a hospital that had urinals in the restrooms labeled "Doctors" but only stalls in the restrooms labeled "Nurses".
A previously common practice among real estate brokers was known as a "pocket listing", where a seller would list their property with a broker, and the broker would only circulate that listing among known buyers within that broker's own circle, rather than circulating the listing with a multiple listing service. This denied the opportunity for a more diverse population of prospective buyers to even become aware that the property was for sale.
Institutional racism in the schools might occur when assumptions were made about whether a new student would want to be on the varsity basketball team, base on that student's height and color.
Please provide in the comments button on the lower right corner any examples of specific practices in the South Kitsap Schools that are inherently and systemically racist and should be addressed.
Statistics alone do not prove racial discrimination. For example, statistically speaking , motorcycle owners have more motorcycle injuries than non-motorcycle owners. It is the ownership alone that causes the injuries? I have three sons, two of whom owned motorcycles and two of whom rode motorcycles, but they they were not the same two in each category. It was not the ownership of the motorcycle that increased the risk of injury, but the actual riding of the motorcycle, not to mention the manner in which it was ridden. Statistics can be misleading.
My post-graduate studies in statistical research have led me to believe that statistics, when properly applied, can be helpful in learning something, but they too easily prone to being distorted and manipulated to be relied upon when someone else is trying to cite them to prove anything.
Most people tend to interpret facts and events in a way that reinforces their pre-conceived beliefs and opinions.
I heard a story about a man who sat on the outskirts of his village. When a traveler was coming to the village and asked what the people were like in that village, the man would ask, "How were the people in the last village you visited?" The traveler would respond that they were good, or indifferent, or kind, or mean, or whatever. The man answered, you will find them the same here. And he was always right.
While some people are actually racist, some people are just jerks, inconsiderate or unpleasant people. If someone offends me, I can just assume that they are thoughtless or inconsiderate jerks, or I can take it personally and consider they the were mean to me on purpose for a specific reason. If I have been taught to believe that I am oppressed and discriminated against because of some trait of mine, then I would interpret any offense as proof of discrimination based on my particular trait and that would continue to reinforce my belief that I am oppressed.
A wise man once said, "If you receive things in the spirit in which they should have been intended, you will not be offended."
As stated, some people are racist. Some people are homophobic, Some people are sexist. Their improper actions need to be addressed. But not all offenses are based on anything other than the fact that the offender is a jerk.
Much of the history of the United States has been impacted by race. Not only were slaves imported from Africa to work the plantations in the South, but indigenous people who were here before the European immigrants (or invaders, depending upon your perspective) were slaughtered or relocated and robbed or their lands. After the Civil War, laws and practices continued to oppress Black Americans. Each new wave of immigrants was discriminated against by those who were here before them. Chinese were brought over to build railroads, then oppressed. Laws were passed to restrict immigration with racial quotas (after the "Give me your tired, your poor" inscription was placed on the Statue of Liberty.) Japanese Americans were relocated against their wills during the Second World War. I have three grandchildren living in the United States whose mother is Japanese and they experience overt discrimination even today.
We have been making progress over the past century in this country. A race massacre occurred in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1921 but we have not seen such things recently. We have a had a Black American elected President.
According to the Pew Research Center in 2018, the number of black immigrants living in the U.S. has risen 71% since 2000. Blacks are moving here, not leaving a supposedly oppressive racist county. (President Obama's father was from Kenya.)
History needs to be taught factually and address both sides of each issue. That is the only way to avoid repeating the errors of the past. I visited my daughter living in Germany and outside of her apartment were markers replacing some of the bricks or stones in the sidewalk. Each one had the name and other information on a person who was taken from that location by the Nazis and never returned. Denying the Holocaust is illegal in Germany. Teach the good and the bad, but don't dwell on the bad, there is still much good in this country.
Barriers to any child's opportunities for success need to be removed and they need to be taught that they all have equal opportunities for success.
The term equity can simply mean fairness, or it can be used in two different ways. One is equity of opportunity, or equal rights under the law. The other is equity of outcome, meaning everyone gets the same level of success, prosperity, or whatever. When anyone argues for "equity" there should be an understanding of which meaning in intended.
If someone is a proponent for "equity", that does not mean that they necessarily are a proponent of CRT.
Most of us have known people whom I refer to as "professional victims". All of their woes and troubles supposedly are the result of the offenses of other people and the victims themselves have no control or responsibility for their situation and constantly need rescuing. They will often go from one acquaintance to another seeking assistance and rescuing, then go on to another acquaintance when the previous rescuer becomes burnt out. When they work their way through their list of rescuers, they go back to the top of the list.
I have had similar experiences when inviting homeless people to live in my home. (With some, but not all.)
If people are taught and convinced that they are victims, they will never take responsibility for the circumstances in their own lives.
The same government that posts signs in the National Parks advising us not to feed the bears because they will become dependent upon handouts and become unable to sustain themselves nevertheless encourages the expansion of assistance programs for the poor.
While students facing disadvantages and obstacles to their success need encouragement and assistance in order to achieve their full potential, teaching children that they are victims of a system and need to be rescued will not promote their assuming personal responsibility for their own actions and decisions.
The famed Statue of Liberty has a bronze plaque pictured above, inscribed with the following;
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
With the Board's defeat of the June 16, 2021 resolution on Critical Race Theory, the issue has not been settled.
The state guidelines to be used for the school board training have not yet been developed. When they are developed and reviewed the Board will have another opportunity to revisit the issue.
The voters' hold the School Board accountable for what is taught in the schools, not only to the staff but more particularly to the students themselves. While the Board must operate within the laws and state regulations, they do have some discretion as to how and what is taught.
I have heard from other Districts that some teachers are signing petitions stating that they will teach Critical Race Theory to their students "regardless of law or policy". This may be only a "shot across the bow" and does not have any specificity as to exactly what they consider to be Critical Race Theory. While their have free speech rights to sign petitions, they are still employees of the District who are hired to teach the curriculum adopted by the School Board.
The Board governs through adopting policy that provide the parameters within which the Superintendent operates the schools.
I personally attended the training provided to the staff and supported policy amendments appropriate to assure that what is taught in the schools is in conformity with the values of the South Kitsap community.
Director Diehl and Director Berg drafted amendments to Board policy, specifically Operational Expectations 10 - Learning Environment/Student Discipline, that, when properly interpreted, will preclude the teaching of the deleterious aspects of Critical Race Theory. That amendment was adopted on October 20, 2021, with Directors Diehl and Berg voting in the affirmative, Director Sebren voting in the negative, and Director Daily abstaining. The policy as amended is shown below
I believe that the traditional family is the basic unit of society and must be preserved and strengthened.
Parents have the primary right and responsibility to protect and raise their children, not the government. This right is not absolute and society does have an obligation to protect children when necessary. For example, teachers have a legal duty to report any suspected child abuse to the state. While the state should not interfere with parents teaching religion to their children, this is not an absolute right; if the parents' religious beliefs include strapping a bomb to a six-year-old and sending them into a bar, the state should intervene. In this state, parents do not have a legal right to kill their children after the children are born.
While I am tolerant of those who hold differing views, provided that they do not attempt to force their beliefs and practices upon me, I feel that it is my duty to use my influence to strengthen families and the role of parents.
My beliefs are consistent with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which I belong. Click here for the Church's official position on families.
Pictured here is the most recent reunion of my family.
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