GRAVES: Should have invited board

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It was Socrates who said “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” I offer this thought in response to the spurious My Turn penned by Adam Graves and published by The Press on Saturday.

Mr. Graves, had you wished the board to be in attendance, the most certain way to accomplish that would have been to formally invite the board as you did with several District Administrators. Knowing that formal invitations (likely printed by your firm) were mailed to several District Administrators, the board is left to assume that your failure to extend the same invitation to the trustees could only be an act of omission, deliberate or otherwise. Could it be that an opportunity to slander the board was your intent all along? If so, shame on you for creating a blight out of what should be viewed as a great success for Sorensen. If the lack of a formal invitation to the board was indeed merely an oversight, then shame on you for publicly chastising the board for what was in fact, your failure as chairman for the fundraiser.

In either case, it is important for the public to understand that this board does in fact hold Sorensen up as a shining jewel of success in our great district. We have expressed our support in several key ways, including:

Presenting a $32.7 million bond to the voters for approval that includes significant funding for much needed remodeling and upgrades to Sorensen. Many board members made numerous presentations to the public in support of this bond to help ensure its passage.

Presenting a nearly $26 million supplement levy to the voters for approval that includes significant funds for the operation of the successful programs at Sorensen. In this case as well, the board was quite active in lobbying for community support of this needed supplemental levy.

Designing and implementing a plan for the relocation of the district office building (without the use of taxpayer funds, by the way!) in order to allow for the expansion and improvement of Sorensen. It should be noted that the board endured a great deal of public criticism for this decision including false accusations leveled by Christa Hazel at our January Board Meeting that the Trustees had deviated from the plan developed in conjunction by the Long Range Planning Committee for the use of the Bond funds.

Each of these elements are the proper exercise of the governance responsibility of the Board of Trustees and each show that we strongly support the achievements and continued growth of Sorensen Magnet School for the Arts and Humanities.

The board receives invitations to numerous events throughout our district during the school year. With 17 schools, all very active, it is a nearly impossible task to be aware of all of the events at each of these schools. I assure you that we make an effort to appear at as many of these events as we are invited to as is possible and appropriate. It is reasonable to assume that had you had the courtesy and foresight to invite board members to your event, several, if not all would likely have attended.

The most truly disappointing facet of your misguided article was that this could have and should have been an opportunity to celebrate yet another great success at Sorensen. You instead elected to use it as an opportunity for a cheap political stunt.

I would encourage you and other supporters of school board candidates Christa Hazel and Tom Hearn to support these candidates based on their own merits and ideas lest Socrates be proven prophetic in his wisdom.

TOM HAMILTON

Trustee, Coeur d’Alene School District Zone 2

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