CEP forum attracts citizens, educators - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

CEP forum attracts citizens, educators

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:12 am, Thu Jan 31, 2013.

COEUR d'ALENE - The inaugural public event hosted by a fledgling education advocacy group on Wednesday attracted more than 100 citizens to the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

Amy Evans, president of the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership, said she was "thrilled" with the number of people who came out to listen to Coeur d'Alene School District central office administrators provide information about the district's upcoming levy, its multi-school construction project, the Common Core Standards Initiative, and the district's efforts to increase school and building safety. The forum format included several brief, moderated written question-and-answer periods.

"I'm glad the community had the chance to dialogue with the administration," Evans said.

Superintendent Hazel Bauman gave a presentation on the supplemental maintenance and operations levy that will go before voters on March 12.

"Basically what this is, is the mechanism by which we ask property taxpayers if they will voluntarily increase their property tax to, if you will, fill in the gap in funding left by the inadequate revenue stream from the state," Bauman explained.

If approved, the local property tax measure will replace an expiring two-year levy approved by voters in 2011, and keep $12.9 million of the district's current general fund budget intact for each of the next two years. The measure also includes an additional $1.4 million, added to the first year of the levy, to cover the cost of school safety enhancements to all district buildings.

The $12.9 million replacement levy is not expected to increase property taxes, but the school security addition will affect tax bills for the first year of the levy. It is estimated the $1.4 million will cost the owner of a home assessed at $200,000, after the homeowners exemption, $24.80 for one year.

The value for taxpayers, Bauman explained to attendees at the forum, comes from having a high-performing school system with students that score high on state-mandated standardized tests, a high graduation rate, and, referencing the state's new school assessment model, more five-star schools than any other district in Idaho.

Should the levy fail, the district would need to slash its budget by $12.9 million per year for the next two years. Bauman said that would translate into a reduction in staff and programs.

"I think that educators and trustees must aim high for the quality of education that children are going to be given in a community, then it's up to the community to say, 'Yes,' or say 'No,'" Bauman said. "And our ability to provide a quality education to the 10,200 boys and girls would be very, very limited if we just relied on the money coming from the state. It really would not provide that extra quality piece that we have come to know and appreciate, and frankly, get used to, in our system."

Associate Superintendent Matt Handelman familiarized the crowd with the Common Core Standards Initiative, an effort to elevate and align education benchmarks across the states by providing clear educational standards in English language arts and math for kindergarten- to- 12th-grade.

The initiative is being led by the National Governor's Association and the states' top education officials, with input from educators, parents and education experts nationwide. Idaho is among 45 states that have signed on to the initiative. The state plans to have the standards in place by this coming fall.

"In addition to English language arts, it's also literacy in other subject areas, so it hasn't been just our English language arts and math teachers figuring out and working on the core curriculum, but part of the idea is that everyone has a stake in this in helping students with their literacy skills, so we've been working hard at finding ways to integrate the English language arts standards into our current social studies, science, PTE, music, art, PE classes across the district."

Wendell Wardell, the district's chief operating officer, briefly discussed district finances and gave a construction update. Wardell reminded the group that even with successful passage of the levy, the district still faces a $3 million budget gap that school officials have been discussing since last fall. The shortfall is the result of the loss of one-time federal stimulus dollars that school districts received nationwide at the height of the recession.

"I salute the district for how skillfully they managed the federal funds," said Wardell, who was hired by the district last spring, and previously served as a volunteer financial adviser to the district. "Some districts around the country saw it as manna from heaven and their approach was, 'Well, if we use this up, there will be more. This district very carefully budgeted over a period of time, hoping the state funding would return, and it has not."

Wardell said the district is continuing to work with architects and designers on the major renovation projects planned for five district schools - Borah, Bryan, Sorensen, Winton and Canfield.

Before the event ended, Bauman discussed the safety enhancements that will be made to all schools and district buildings using the $1.4 million from the levy.

"We will really be able to make some deterrents, so that anybody thinking that we're an easy target, will be dissuaded that we are not an easy target for there will be things in place that will make it more difficult, more of a burden, to come in and do bad things," Bauman said.

Before closing, Evans said the education group is planning its next event, a nonpartisan trustee debate, likely in April, prior to the May election.

The forum was attended by several of the school district's current trustees: Tom Hamilton, Terri Seymour, Jim Hightower and Ann Seddon.

Following the event, Hamilton said he's grateful for the volunteer effort the Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership is making to help bridge the gap between community members and education leaders.

Doug Jaworski, a parent of children attending district schools, said: "I think this was a nice forum that was constructive and conflict-free."

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  • Curt Slade posted at 3:40 pm on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    Curt Slade Posts: 57

    Preach it, parent! The word needs to get out that this group is made up of a bunch of elitist know-it-alls who believe they know best how our kids should be taught but guess what? We live in a community where 60% are fed up with the progressive agenda that is destroying our country and there is no way, at least in our little neck of the woods we are going to cede control to them AGAIN! Connservatives/Libertarians of Kootenai County, UNITE and freaking VOTE!!!

  • parent posted at 11:22 am on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    parent Posts: 346

    CEP is a set up and it's VERY easy to connect the dots. Christa Hazel wants Brent's seat and Dave Oleveria is her biggest supporter and allows her privileges on his blog site HBO. Christa's husband is the Spokesman's attorney. Attorney Wanda Quinn former board member and ALL her Dr. friends in town are are holding hands and supporting this group. Far too many Dr.'s, Attorney's, and Educators in this gang for this to not be obvious! The core of the attendance at this meeting are those who appose the current board including former board member Dianne Zipperer and Wanda. A person would have to be blind and stupid to miss this for what it really is. It was a very polished set up BUT it is a set up! The Press, the Spokesman and CEP are all wanting to take back the 271 to a liberal board. I cannot imagine having that leadership back. GROSS! Katie Klader, wife of Dr Klader partner of Tim Quinn, Wanda's husband, formed this group the day after the lawsuit where Wanda Quin lost her seat on the board. Katie Klader is a board member of CEP and so it Wanda. Get the picture? Really, It's not so very hard!

  • 5inPfs posted at 10:03 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    5inPfs Posts: 617

    Heh heh...you're new here, aren't you? :D

    JW is the ultimate spouter of pseudo knowledge...especially where education is debated. ;)

  • cdanative33 posted at 9:08 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    cdanative33 Posts: 354

    If you reply to jw you only encourage him. It's my opinion that anyone who has the time to post as much as he does isn't worth listening to.

  • cdanative33 posted at 9:02 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    cdanative33 Posts: 354

    Calgon...only has been this politicized since the last school board election. It's a shame.

  • cdanative33 posted at 8:59 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    cdanative33 Posts: 354

    I can't wait to hear the recording. If they said debate I'll be insensed. Because the difference between a debate and a forum is HUGE! It's a conspiracy! No elected official should be challenged to explain themselves in front of the public. It's an outrage!

  • Calgon posted at 8:19 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Calgon Posts: 4

    Didn't realize educating our children was such a conservative vs liberal contest......
    Also having a hard time equating education advocacy with demands to leave the state. You citadel dwellers can do education however you'd like (i'm picturing a one room schoolhouse and chalkboards).... we'll take the 21st century, thanks

  • LocalMom posted at 8:10 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    @apathoid - thanks for calling me a "bully". Very mature of you.

    I know what trustee you are referring to and if Ann Seddon has an issue speaking to the public she is suppose to represent, then maybe public service isn't right for her.

    And please tell me how announcing that a public forum/debate will be held in the future is a "setup". Did they announce a date? Mandate that the trustees attend? No, they didn't. They simply told people to look forward to it in the future. I for one am looking forward to the forum, I believe in being informed before I cast my vote.

  • SPUDIO posted at 7:44 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    SPUDIO Posts: 101

    Cmon 9milejoe the dog killer us libtards have been here for way longer than you inbred Detroit hillbilly crackers ! Get a life stay in the woods . Whirleybird stay in Athol or go back to Oregon, this is a school dist. 271 issue.Do you know what school dist you reside in, you can probably look it up? Use your computers for some good you right wing bats*&t crazy fanatics,maybe find a roadmap and go back to where you came from.

  • apathoid posted at 7:41 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    The trustee was pretty vocal about it after the meeting. Would have been hard to miss. The fact that no one from CEP bothered to ask the trustees first shows pretty clearly it was a set up. Now they have bullies like you saying "but why wouldnt they want to go?!?". Oh wait! i know! because it is obviously a set up!

    Pretty sure the Chosen One (Christa) knew all about it. Heck I will bet she gets to picks the location moderator AND the questions.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 7:19 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    The CEP is a front organization for LIBERALS who want to take back control of our schools from Conservatives. Ask ANYONE who knows anything about our schools, and they'll tell you the same.
    They're the same group of nitwits who worked SO hard to convince us that Brent regan is a "racist".
    We need to go to one of their "meetings" & see what we can drum up...


  • LocalMom posted at 5:36 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    If I'm wrong, I'll gladly admit it. I heard forum but maybe I misheard. Do you know why the trustees felt "blindsided"? Do they not want to debate/discuss in a forum the issues facing our schools/district? Just curious and you seem to be in the know with what the trustees felt.

  • apathoid posted at 5:20 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    Good thing it was recorded so you won't be able to back pedal when the video comes out. I heard they used the word "debate". You can change that to "forum" if you want but the tape won't lie.

  • LocalMom posted at 5:09 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    @apathoid – Your comment is interesting.

    What was announced last night wasn't a debate; it was a proposed candidate forum for the School Board elections. I would think that the sitting trustees that may be running for election would want to have an open forum to express their views. Remember, the ones that are up for election were appointed to the board, they weren't elected. We have candidate forums for all other positions, why not have one for the School Board. And participation isn't mandatory; it's optional, just like all other candidate forums.

    Maybe you should give CEP a chance to prove themselves in the community before you start labeling them and trying to discredit them. They've already done amazing things with their volunteer program at Borah Elementary and the forum last night was extremely informative.

  • apathoid posted at 4:49 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    Oh, you mean like blindsiding the seated trustees that they are expected to participate in a "debate" that was announced last night without having first requested that those trustees be willing to participate??? Does that count as political activity or an attempt to persuade??? Hmmmm...

    A bully technique through and through. Wrap it up in a pretty bow and put lipstick on it...it's still a pig. And a dishonest pig at that!

  • LocalMom posted at 4:40 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    Are you a lawyer Jeffery Wherley? Where is your law degree from? You seem to be a legal expert on the subject. I'm sure CEP has met with lawyers to discuss this but since you're an expert maybe you should offer your legal services to them.

    I also don't understand why anyone would have an issue with a group that wants to better the education in our community. Education is the key to so many things in this world and I give kudos to those who want to help improve it.

  • LocalMom posted at 2:31 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    @Jeffery Wherley - how exactly are they lobbying and political campaigning?

    Here is their website, educate yourself on this group before your say they are an illegal group.


  • LocalMom posted at 1:26 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    LocalMom Posts: 15

    @ Jeffrey Wherley - Were you at the forum last night? I'm guessing not. The purpose of last night’s forum was to educate the public on what is going on in the district. Is it bad for the public to be informed? Don't churches hold services every weekend to "inform" the congregation? CEP has not weighed in on any of the political issues but they want to make sure the public has all the information so they can make informed decisions. I think this is a great asset to our community.

    @Curt Slade - Where is this public record that says Joel Hazel was the responsible party in the formation of CEP? I know some of the founding members and to my knowledge Joel Hazel was not part and is not part of CEP. If you have different information, please share your source.

  • CClavin posted at 1:24 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    I don't want to see my taxes raised anymore, but I support the schools and will support the levy.

  • Curt Slade posted at 12:57 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Curt Slade Posts: 57

    Heaven forbid anyone should be inconvenienced by having to sit and listen to pesky questions being answered. It is public record that Christa Hazel's husband was the responsible party in the formation of CEP and as it so happens, Mrs. Hazel will be challenging Brent Regan for his school board position, but I'm sure this is all just a coincidence. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Sunshinegirl posted at 12:21 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Sunshinegirl Posts: 79

    Dear Curt Slade- I am not on the CEP board, but I am a 'member' - and CEP is a 501C3 non profit. Not a 501C4 that would deal with anything concerning politics. This organization was concepted due to a comment made regarding some schools getting lots of parent volunteers and others not having any... that is all. The timing is the timing... just by chance. Borah now has a group of men volunteering there, which wouldn't have happened without CEP.

    Last night's forum was wonderful in my opinion. They didn't offer a microphone for questions, which I was grateful for... many people like to take 10 minutes on their soap box and then finally get to a question. I've expereinced that at a number of meetings, which drags things out for longer than necessary. This kept the meeting on a timeline and we all went home to our families at a reasonable hour. Thank you CEP for that format.

  • Curt Slade posted at 11:25 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Curt Slade Posts: 57

    ulterior motive :)

  • Curt Slade posted at 10:24 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Curt Slade Posts: 57

    My goodness, what an insane reaction to my comment! Good on CEP and anyone that is interested in the betterment of our schools. My point was the timing of CEP's formation is curious and if they have an
    alterior motive as to their existence then transparency is best. P.S. Firearm training in school would be terrific! Great idea!

  • cdanative33 posted at 10:05 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    cdanative33 Posts: 354

    That's right!! The only political organizations that we'll tolerate in this town are on the radical right! Anyone that doesn't agree that our kids should only learn about the bible and how to handle a firearm in school is a commy libtard and needs to leave this town now!

    You tell em' Curt!

  • Curt Slade posted at 8:28 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Curt Slade Posts: 57

    There certainly wasn't much in the way of a "dialogue" going on. The CEP only answered questions from pre-selected question cards. My question to them would be why was the CEP formed the very day after a judge ruled Wanda Quinn's appointment to the CDA school board unlawful? It would appear that the CEP is acting as a political arm to replace the current school board and if that is so then out with it!

  • mister d posted at 7:42 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Maybe the state should adequately fund the school system. We have lousy legislators that feel business tax cuts should rule and the kids and future of Idaho should get the scraps. Most quality businesses will not relocate here with an education system that is not supported.

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