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The Alton superintendent failed to perform her duties yet again

To The Daily Sun,

We have turmoil on our Alton School Board. For more than a year, parents, community members and staff have been trying to sort through a debacle created by the School Board that hired a superintendent whose actions have been damaging our school. The superintendent, Maureen Ward, who evidently was also controversial in the Franklin School District, can be seen walking out of the April 4 School Board meeting in a video. One of the two School Board members who followed her out of the meeting, Stephen Miller, was the previous chair and made national news in 2013 when he pulled out a knife at a school board meeting.

In February, a very well-attended School Board meeting made several news channels when students protested outside the school, supporting the teachers and looking for positive change. A petition of no confidence in the superintendent, principal and special education director had been signed by 250-plus community members. The board did not respond. We have a pile of complaints regarding violated policies, noncompliance with Right-to-Know requests, lack of response to emails, and outright lies. At the end of this heated meeting (which can be found on the Alton Central YouTube channel) the board canceled the previously scheduled March meeting due to "lack of business."

At the March elections, two new board members, supported by a large group of parents and clearly the majority of the community, were elected — Peter Leavitt and Michael Ball. In an effort to bring urgent and time-sensitive issues in front of the board, 130 Alton voters signed the below noted petition requesting a March meeting. The chair at the time, Stephen Miller, turned to legal advice without consulting the rest of the board and essentially stonewalled the meeting. Then, when the newly elected members finally reached the table, they are blindsided by a clearly preconceived plan between the other two members and the superintendent. We are looking into the legality of how the meeting was recessed and the next steps to electing a chair.

After months of trying to work with the School Board and administration to correct issues taking place in the district, parents have had enough.

We've presented a survey outlining parental and teacher concerns regarding to curriculum changes and were completely ignored.

We've presented a vote of no confidence in the superintendent, principal, and special education director which the board and administration dismissed as only a fraction of parental concerns despite it having 240 signatures. (https://www.change.org/p/alton-school-board-vote-no-confidence-in-the-acs-superintendent-principal-and-special-education-director)

After the board's refusal to schedule a March meeting (which they normally would have) we presented a petition requesting a special March meeting to discuss parental concerns related to eight specific topics. (https://www.change.org/p/ask-the-alton-school-board-to-stop-damage-now?recruiter=61950604&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink)

Also noteworthy is that our local teachers' union recently worked with the National Education Association (NEA) to gather teacher union member feedback and the administration and board have also disregarded this feedback: (http://ata.neanh.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2016/03/march2016_ata_survey_results.pdf)

We conducted weeks of research to find out why they're making the changes that they're making and found nothing but one misleading statement after another. This information is publicly (available) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/supportAltonSchools/.

Ultimately, as parents our main concern is that the administration is non-renewing and reducing staff, making programming changes, making false accusations about test scores and enrollment, and hiring staff or extending contracts without sufficient evaluations. When we reached out to the SAU with a Right-to-Know request asking to see a copy of the documented and approved plan that aligns with these actions, the then-chair of the board advised that there is no "document" that they can make available as part of my Right-to-Know request. He stated that the plan is more of "ongoing philosophical discussions" between the board and administration. This is completely unacceptable.

Tonight, it all culminated in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K39-sTWy_R0&feature=youtu.be. In short, the superintendent failed to fulfill her duties yet again. Per our district policies, she is required to chair the School Board meeting until a chair is elected. Rather than working through a 2-2 vote for a chair, she walked out. As parents and taxpayers, we've decided that enough is enough. These people have done enough damage to our district and it has to end. We're reaching out to all media channels to create awareness on this pressing issue in our community as the board and administration continue to deteriorate the future of our children's education.

Anna Ransom

Alton


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Cruz's immigration plan is better & he will make a better president

To The Daily Sun,
Many of Bernadette Loesch's "facts" are only true in her imagination. Hopefully, Loesch doesn't intentionally try to deceive readers (although one has to wonder since she doesn't provide links to her references). Probably she just repeats, in her March 25 letter, without verifying, false claims from sources like moveon.org or The Huffington Post — which I believe do try to deceive people.
Reviewing the references that Loesch describes reveals clear media bias, it shows the media trying to get Donald Trump to say things that they have condemned and/or ridiculed; they guide interviews away from a complete picture of his plans, and they report what they wanted to hear as opposed to what Trump actually said.
The focus of Trump interviews is to get Trump to say that he will round up and deport 11 million illegal aliens, which interviewers falsely assert is too difficult, costly, and unfair. Some reporters even falsely claim he says it. Interviewers ignore the other aspects of Trump's immigration plan in order to try to discredit him based on their misrepresentations.
Loesch provides some explicit and some ambiguous references but her claims are not substantiated in any that I could find. Feel free to do your own investigation; for the explicit references see: Meet the Press (http://goo.gl/XVYkqE), Dana Bash interview (http://goo.gl/99b6Jw), Bloomberg interview (https://goo.gl/XBGIDZ), and Mika Brzezinski (http://goo.gl/tDmyJ4).
Interestingly, people might also wish to view Mika Brzezinski's challenge to her panel to come up with a better plan than Trump's for Muslim immigration; they can't (https://goo.gl/gwvcNi).
Loesch refers to Trump's Immigration Plan (see: https://goo.gl/YG2ZUx), but she apparently hasn't read or doesn't understand it. Trump's plan doesn't specify rounding up and deporting 11 million illegal aliens, it makes three main points and then elaborates on them: "A nation without a border is not a nation", "A nation without laws is not a nation" and "A nation that does not serve its own people is not a nation".
What is it about our open Southern border that progressives love so much? Is it the illegal drugs that kill 40,000-50,000 Americans annually? Is it the potential terrorists coming illegally from hostile countries? Is it the sexual molestation of 60-70 percent of the female illegal border crossers as reported by the UN and/or the "picturesque" rape trees? Is it the hundreds of murders and tens of thousands of rapes and other crimes committed annually by illegal aliens? Is it the flooding of our hospitals with sick, non-paying, non-English speaking illegals that causes long delays for treatment and financial losses causing emergency room closings? Is the flooding of our schools with under-educated non-English speaking illegals who deprive American children of proper educational opportunities? Is it the many billions of dollars we spend dealing with illegal aliens and the problems they cause? Is it the taking of income and opportunities from American workers? Is it the increased cost of living for American households, many of which struggle to make ends meet, to pay subsidies for illegal aliens, welfare for displaced American workers, and the other costs that illegal aliens create?
Unless one wants more Americans to be poor; to lose jobs, opportunities, and hope; to be crime and terrorist attack victims; and to feel oppressed by their government; it's hard to imagine why everyone wouldn't want our borders secured and illegal immigration ended.
Trump's immigration plan, similar to other Republican candidate plans and essentially what I described in my March 17 letter, says stop the inflow of illegals, stop visa overstays, remove the incentives (welfare, jobs, sanctuary cities, birthright citizenship, and criminal opportunities) for illegals to come and stay here so they return home on their own, and then deport the comparatively few remaining illegals starting with criminal illegal aliens.
Since President Obama has released (not deported) at least 76,000 criminal illegal aliens since 2013 to prey on American citizens, the first job is to find and deport these people and other criminal illegal aliens captured by law enforcement.
While Trump's immigration plan is good, he has already been modifying his initial position, apparently to curry favor with the media.
Ted Cruz's immigration plan is better (see: http://www.tedcruz.org/), and Cruz would make a much better president. Ted Cruz has demonstrated his commitment to delivering on his campaign promises; to promote freedom, opportunity, and Constitutional government. Ted Cruz would be a president working for the American people, not the special interests and not the corrupt and despised Washington establishment.
Whether the Republican presidential front runner or nominee is Trump, Cruz, or someone else, we can expect leftists like Loesch to make false charges against him or her.
Don Ewing
Meredith

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