The Week in Letters

By Beacon Staff

A feeble attempt at humor
Congratulations on your new enterprise. For some time we have needed a newspaper in the Flathead that represents the diverse nature of our residents. I hope you will be successful in doing this.

That said, I was disappointed in your first commentary: “Statehouse or Schoolyard?” In his effort to be clever and humorous, Mr. Brown trivialized the recently concluded legislative session. Instead of commenting on the substance of the work, i.e., the biennial budget, he talked about the outbursts of a small minority. Instead of pointing out that long-needed help is on the way to properly fund education and community mental health services, Mr. Brown suggested that future legislative sessions be cut in half, which would provide no budget in the future.

The legislature is about process. The process, by design, requires that differences of opinion and philosophy be debated and worked out. The debate is often passionate because the issues are important and many legislators take their work seriously.

I wish that Mr. Brown had taken some time to learn about the process and to read the budget before attempting to make fun of it. He might also have acknowledged that, with a bipartisan vote, the senate defeated extra funding for the three-day special session.
Sen. Dan Weinberg, D-Whitefish

Rescind your decision
I am always suspicious of salespeople who try to rush me into buying their product without giving me time to think about it, particularly when they seem to be completely uninterested in my needs and questions about their product. Somehow there is never time to think with these guys – the sale is always an emergency, and has to happen right that second.

As a parent of a student in Polson, I’m feeling much the same way about our school board’s recent decision to reconfigure our district: rushed and ignored. And yes – a little suspicious, too.

The announcement of the school board’s meeting to discuss and vote on this issue was given Friday afternoon before the three-day Memorial Weekend. The meeting was scheduled for the Tuesday immediately following the holiday. Does the timing of this notice invite participation? Does it invite careful consideration and community input?

Even with that short notice, many concerned parents and citizens attended the meeting and voiced concerns and questions, but the board evidently felt that there was no time or need to consider any of the community input. The vote had to happen right that second, and did – so that’s that, I guess. They have their reasons; they have the power, so who cares what parents think?

Whether reconfiguration is a good idea or not, I don’t know. I haven’t been presented with the arguments for and against it yet – have you? For all I know, reconfiguration of our schools could be the greatest thing since the idea of “due process” in a Democratic society!

Of course there’s been no due process here: no information given, and no time to think about it. Isn’t it the job of our elected school board to represent our needs and concerns? If so, why do they seem so uninterested in them?

Please join me in requesting that our school board rescind their decision until proper research has been conducted, the research examined, and the voices of the District’s teachers and parents have been heard.
Claudia Cunningham