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What is up in Dollar Bay?

To the editor:

Since the millage proposal passed in the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City School District on August 6th, 2019, members of the community have been attending the school board meetings and providing input. Instead of welcoming the comments and providing feedback on them, the superintendent and the school board have chosen to treat the public as an intrusion.

Two instances have recently occurred. The superintendent, Christina Norland, has required that citizens pay for the printed material provided at the school board meetings to school board members (NOTE: at other schools, these materials are provided to anyone attending). These copies must be paid for in advance. Two women went to the school to pay for the printed materials. They are older and no longer have students in the school system, and were unaware that visitors must enter only through one entrance of the school. One was a former substitute teacher for the DB-TC schools. A school employee let them into the school after normal school hours. Because they did not use the required entrance, the superintendent sent the women letters stating that if they entered school premises in the future, without prior permission being granted from the superintendent’s office, they would be removed by law enforcement for trespassing. Furthermore, the superintendent has refused to participate in mediation with the women through an UPCAP program available at no cost to the school district.

The second incidence occurred at the November school board meeting where a letter from the school board was read during the public comment period. This letter chastised the public for stating their opinions. These interactions are in sharp contrast to how the public is treated at the Osceola Township meetings where similar concerns have been stated. At the township meetings, comments are welcomed and discussions may occur regarding them. The public may not get the response they wanted, but through open dialog, they learn the reasoning.

I encourage the public to attend the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City school board meetings and become active in voicing their concerns. Perhaps, through shared governance, the school board and superintendent will begin to work with the public and address the public’s concerns to make the school district better. The school board meets the third Monday of the month; the next meeting should be Monday, January 20th, 2020.