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The proposed nickel tax is a popular topic of conversation in our community. The Campbellsville Independent School District has chosen not to make any public statements concerning this because, quite simply, it is not our referendum.
However, due to recent incorrect allegations, I now find it necessary to clarify the misinformation in a public manner.
There has not - nor will there be - any organized attempt by our district to "stop the nickel." Our small district is trying very hard to become one that excels in curricular and extra-curricular activities for all races and socio-economic backgrounds. We, and our school community, are proud of our diversity and the efforts to see that all children succeed.
I have asked each principal to set high goals for their teachers and students. We feel that with increased expectations from all of our stakeholders, and the small class sizes we can offer, these goals are indeed attainable.
As almost all studies will tell you, the No. 1 key to student success is the relationship between the student and the teacher. We at CISD believe that is a selling point for our district.
But even though we want to be one of the top small independent districts in the state, we also want Taylor County to be one of the best county districts in the state. In that scenario, we not only make each other better, but we improve our community and make it attractive to outside businesses and investors. That is the focus of our efforts, not jealousy as has been incorrectly rumored.
While there is no organized attempt by our administration to oppose the tax, I am sure people in our county understand that there are those within our system who hold and express their own views on this topic. This is more than just Taylor County versus Campbellsville, contrary to what has been suggested.
From an economic standpoint, I know that many districts in Kentucky have told their staffs that they are losing two days of pay next year. In addition, insurance costs are increasing and retirement withholdings will increase significantly in the next three years.
So in these tough economic times, please understand that this is a dilemma facing all educators. Like many others, those who work for this district should not be made to feel that they are doing anything other than looking out for what is best for their family or particular situation.
Similarly, as superintendent, I cannot dictate to my employees what they can or can't do in regard to their political leanings. KRS 161.164 states that "no employee of any district board of education shall be demoted or dismissed from any position because of his/her political opinions or affiliations."
Nor can I prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights, such as signing petitions or how they choose to vote in any election. Certainly, I hope that the employees of our district would exercise good judgment in their actions and behaviors, as does every superintendent.
I enjoy being a resident of Taylor County. If Taylor County votes to pass the tax, then perhaps the hostility will subside. But if the tax does not pass, then I fear the blame could fall on what I'm told are the 36 employees of our district who signed a petition to vote on the measure, as well as the CISD as a whole. That deeply concerns me.
This is a much bigger issue than school rivalry, and I trust that the emotions of some will not blur the issue for the sake of a few votes. All of us must make individual decisions based on what we feel is right, the facts and our particular situation.
I would like to add that I offered to meet with the head of the Taylor County Citizens for Better Schools group to clarify any misinformation after my principals and I were e-mailed, questioning our supposed effort to defeat the tax. The offer was refused.
I therefore thank the CKNJ for this opportunity and you the readers for taking the time to read this. I hope this does indeed clear some of the misinformation and ease the vitriol currently felt in our community.