Recently, a letter to the editor appeared in the Oldham Era in
which a Board member indicated that the student population
within 2 miles of Liberty and the proposed Brownsboro campus are
vastly different numbers. The letter said there are 25
students within 2 miles of Liberty and 682 students within two
miles of the Brownsboro school. Later, different numbers
were discovered by the district and the two mile student
population for Brownsboro was corrected to
38. But there's been no effort to
set the record straight in a public forum and no letter went out
to all district employees to correct this error. Now,
the ironic part is that this letter was criticizing one of the
challengers for not being informed about the district.
This is an perfect
example of why I say that this board has lost the confidence of
the community. If the board had followed proper protocol
in some of these land purchases and actually communicated with
the voters, much the wasted time, money, and effort could have
been avoided. If you have not followed the story for the
past six years, it goes well beyond Brownsboro.
here for the short version There is a whole list of
other sites that were purchased for specific purposes and then
"abandoned" after the board found that the cost to develop them
was too high or the Transportation Department rejected them as
suitable sites for school facilities.The cost of
these tracts runs into the millions of dollars. You are
paying for that. The board exacerbates these bad decisions
by ignoring the input of the community.
held at least one town hall meeting at which the opposition to
Brownsboro was substantial. It has since decided to
discontinue the subsequent town hall meetings.When I learned of
the land purchases and the lack of communication, I too began to
follow the board more closely. My inquiries led to more
questions than answers. I even applied for the open
fifth division position when it was vacated in August 2011. I
thought that I could get answers to my own questions and those
of the community. My intention, had I been appointed by
the three-member committee of non-Oldham folks, was to try to
make the board more responsive, and encourage greater
participation and interest on the part of the community. I
wanted to do several specific things:
1. Make sure that the number
one priority of the board is academics.
2. Post every vote of the board members on the
district web site and keep them there through the entire term of
that board member.
3. Set up a newsletter that would allow anyone to
subscribe and get news of upcoming board meetings and past
4. Insure that the board minutes stay on the web site for
more than one month. These are supposed to be public
5. Meet frequently with parents, students and voters and
REPRESENT THEM instead of blindly following the rest of the
6. Try to get board meetings scheduled at a time when
parents can attend. The meetings start at 4pm when few
working people can be there.
7. Reinstate the town hall meetings and actually listen to
the people of Oldham County
When another of the five applicants was chosen
for the position, I hoped that we would see some of these
measures implemented but that has not been the case. I
have attended most of the board meetings for the past year and
my concern has only increased. Board meetings seem to be
arranged to make it difficult for people to fully participate.
The meetings start at 4pm and, every month, the board goes into
executive session at 5pm. The board members have a catered
meal provided during the time they're in executive session.
At about 6pm, they come out of executive session. What
working person can get there at 4pm only to waste an hour
beginning at 5pm. They should start at 6 or 7, skip the
meal, and go into executive session at the end when others can
go home if they choose. This board arranges meetings to
suit the members rather than the community. I've seen no
evidence that the current 5th division member has done anything
to increase communication with voters, or make the entire board
more responsive. So I'm running.
I intend to SERVE you - as your representative....sent to the
board to carry out the will of the people of the Fifth Division.
As a life-long student and educator, I have my own ideas
regarding instruction and I'll share those. But in the
end, I will be working for you and will voice your concerns to
the board and vote in the interest of all of the students,
parents, and tax-payers of the Fifth Division. I intend to be
accessible and to provide all the information that I can
regarding the intentions of the board. I'll also provide
insight into the reasons for board actions after the fact.
I will reach out to you so you can be a full partner with your
schools, teachers, administrators, and the board.
Your involvement is critical to excellence in
education. The first thing to do is become informed.
I'd like to help by offering to speak to any civic group, club,
church, or other organization that is concerned about education
in a world that is changing before our eyes.
Globalization, technology, and demographics are playing an
increasing role in how we must educate our children if we want
them to be competitive.
I would also like to meet with you and your
neighbors in your own neighborhood. Let's try something
we'll call "the lawn chair round-table". If you can
interest two or three neighbors in meeting on your front lawn,
we'll sit down and discuss the schools and your concerns.
I welcome your ideas and insights into how the Board of
Education can better serve you.
Rod Smothers will work with the board
and administration to:
- Insure the continued excellence of Oldham County schools
- Focus on academic achievement
- Use resources in the most efficient manner
- Attract and retain the best
teachers WITH COMPETITIVE SALARIES
- Represent the citizens and students of District Five
- Provide information and updates to constituents
- Encourage District Five neighborhood meetings with
- Seek and WELCOME your input.
- Serve as YOUR representative on the Board
- Maintain a logical/objective approach with a community
- Apply principals of fiscal conservatism