No leadership at Santa Ynez High School

In our community, public and media scrutiny of the school board of education and administration are seriously lacking. I consider the following information critical for trusting parents, students and community.

Sorry to be cynical, but it is astounding to me, that within a tight knit community and a wealthy property tax base like ours, only 37.3% of local high school students met or exceeded California state standards in math. Only 64% of the students met or exceeded the state standards in English. These results are far worse than last year by -7.5% in math and -8% in English.

In addition, only 50% of graduating seniors met the academic requirements to qualify to attend UC or California state schools in 2019. What!

The average daily attendance for Santa Ynez High is less than 900 students. We are a basic-aid school, funded by local property tax-dollars. In the past two years the number of teaching positions declined from 54 to 43. The number of administrators stayed the same, with salaries well above the state averages, for similar size schools.

The SYVUHSD board of education needs to seriously address the decline of test scores and college readiness. Does Common-Core math continue to make sense at Santa Ynez High? How will the board hold administrators accountable?

Very few parents attend school board meetings. Increased attendance at the meetings will be a first step to hold our leaders accountable. School board meetings are typically held on the third Tuesday of the month. The next school board meeting is Nov. 19, at 4 p.m.

Michelle de Werd

Los Olivos


Isn't it about time?

Isn't it about time we require the selection of our president, governor and for that matter maybe all elected officials to complete a much needed full vetting process?

Consider that the recruitment of or the acceptance of application for employment by so many public service, non-profit, and corporate positions require qualification for the positions. Teachers must have at least college education and certification of proficiency and background checks. Lawyers must have an advanced education and pass the Bar exam at minimum. Police must go through the Police Academy and pass certain physical requirements.

You and I can name many more positions that require preliminary qualifications just to get to the interview.

A board of directors of an organization or corporation would not interview a candidate for the executive or financial officer without the applicant having a thorough financial and criminal background check. Why even non-profit organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, Red Cross and others have learned that it is necessary for thorough financial and criminal background checks before hiring an employee or volunteer and putting them in charge of the cash box or children.

We as a nation were not always as diligent as we are today. We had to learn from our mistakes. In our formative years, many teachers were those that could just read and write. Lawyers were often self-taught. And we all know of the horror stories that children have faced over the years at the hand of pedophiles and the insider thefts by unscrupulous employees and volunteers. Our forefathers knew this in writing the Constitution and put in the checks and balances of the three branches of government.

These days public officials, non-profit executives, for-profit corporations, yes even McDonalds' executives have an over-sight structure to whom they must report or that has authority to remove them from office or employment. Without prior experience in this structure the official will think they have carte-blanche to do as they please and if anyone disagrees, they see them as being treasonous. Thus allegiance to the organization, state, country or Constitution is replaced by allegiance to the individual, as in a dictatorship.

It is time we require more and better vetting of our candidates before election. We should require candidates for public office, be it city council, county commissioner, governor or especially president to provide official tax records, not unaudited financial disclosures, allow criminal background checks, financial or credit checks and show prior experience appropriate for the office being sought?

Jim Welch

Santa Maria


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