The head of a local political organization has taken issue with a recent editorial by the Greeley Tribune placing the blame for low test scores on voters.
In a recent editorial, District 6 needs everyone’s help, the Greeley Tribune said residents who want to blame Superintendent Ranelle Lang’s leadership for the district dropping to the second from the bottom of the state accreditation list are actually the ones to blame.
“We would caution against grabbing a torch, however, unless you’re willing to take a hard look at yourself,” the Tribune said.
Last year, board member Judy Kron acknowledged the fault for the low scores lied with the school board, saying, “we own these scores.”
Brian Britton, head of the Greeley 9/12 Project said if Lang is not willing to show leadership on the low test scores, but instead wishes to blame others she should step aside and let someone else lead the district.
“Instead of passing the buck and blaming parents and non-English speaking students, Lang needs to simply step up and deal with the issue,” Britton explained. “Greeley has been a melting pot city for decades. We have had Mexicans, Germans, Dutch, Japanese and others since back when we were Union Colony. I suspect these people also spoke their native languages, yet they assimilated quite well.”
The Gazette has previously reported how Lang earns over $300,000 a year plus benefits to lead the district. Her husband, Robert Hammond is a current member of the Colorado Commissioner of Education.
The Tribune editorial says while “the district needs to take some of the blame for what happened,” it goes on to suggest the bulk of the blame for the failures lie with Greeley residents who are unwilling to support tax increases to give the district more money.
Last November, voters approved a bond initiative that would enable the district to obtain $30 million to replace John Evans with a new school west of town. The measure raised property taxes to pay for an $8.2 million bond with the rest of the funding coming from the state.
However, voters appear to have gotten no major credit for their efforts. The Tribune said, “we applaud residents” for passing the tax increase but then went on to say, “that was a no-brainer.”
Residents are then taken to task for not voting for an even larger tax increase with the paper complaining that residents are not willing to raise taxes on themselves even more. “Residents still refuse to pass any kind of tax increase that would bring the district more in line with its contemporaries.”
The statement comes on the heels of the Tribune reporting a few days earlier that the city’s unemployment rate is 7.6 percent. Colorado was one of 22 states that suffered job losses in December.
Britton said blaming local residents while giving district leadership a pass is outrageous.
“They are basically saying if the people of Greeley would just give the district more money than test scores would magically rise. Of course, the district will not offer any kind of guarantee that if the taxpayers give them more money this will happen,” Britton said.
Britton said the reason voters do not want to give the district more money is they want to see a return on the investment they have already made. “When I go to purchase a product, I want some assurance that I am getting a good value for my money. Until that happens it is an issue of trust. This district does not know how to effectively manage the funds it has.”