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Response to letter

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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:25 am

This letter is in response to the letter to the editor from Troy Barrett, as published in last week’s Priest River Times.

Dear Troy,

I was surprised by your Letter to the Editor in last week’s Times.  It appears that the motivation behind this letter was the denial of the first request that the volleyball team be allowed to stay overnight in CDA.  From your wording, I take it that the second request was approved.  Apparently, based on this first request denial, you then felt it appropriate to make pointed (and in certain cases inaccurate) allegations against both the Superintendent and the School Board in a public forum.

Regarding the contents of your letter, I have the following comments:

1.  Regardless of Superintendent Perconti’s education, she holds all the necessary certifications for the School District Superintendent’s position in the State of Idaho.  To be accurate, Dr. Perconti holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa, Masters of Music Education from the University of Idaho, Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Education from the University of Idaho; and, beyond these degrees, she has taken all the credits required for an administrative certificate and superintendent certificate required by the University of Idaho and Idaho education certification.

2.  It would not surprise me that Dr. Perconti has had significant time in consultation with attorneys.  The District has been subject to several lawsuits that Dr. Perconti is having to deal with.  These lawsuits are a result of conditions within the District that occurred or existed before Dr. Perconti was hired as our superintendent.  Dr. Perconti is now taking the necessary steps to insure that these conditions do not exist/occur in the future.  The bottom line is that all of the problems that Dr. Perconti is taking care of will result in a better education for our District students, and the Board is supportive and appreciative of her efforts.

3.  Regarding the Junior High elevator, I have specifically requested that a study be performed to determine the least impacting, most cost effective means of providing handicap accessibility for the Junior High.  At this point, an elevator has not been selected as the correct alternative.  If an elevator is selected, as an owner of James A. Sewell & Associates, I can assure you that it will not be designed by James A. Sewell & Associates, as you so indicated.  However, to follow up on that point, James A. Sewell & Associates has performed various design services for District #83, such as the Priest Lake Elementary School building addition and the Priest River Elementary School parking lot improvements.  All of these design services have been performed as a donation, and we have never charged the District for these services.

4.  Regarding school scores, it is true that all school scores have dropped with the exception of the Junior High.  Under Dr. Perconti’s guidance, we are in the process of implementing programs designed to improve student achievement and growth scores in all schools.  Our District Goals reflect the desire for these improvements, and we are looking forward to improved scores in this and future school years.  I also wish to note that the School Board is in the process of completing the Superintendent evaluation, which will be finalized in January.

5.   Regarding extension of Dr. Perconti’s contract last year, it is common for a school board to maintain at least two years of contract extension in the future if the board is satisfied with the superintendent’s performance.  This is due to the difficulty and cost in selecting a new superintendent.  The consensus of our Board last year was that we were very satisfied with the performance of Dr. Perconti, and we wanted to make sure that she knew this by extending her contract.  Your letter indicated that the Board extended her contract under the urging of an attorney.  This was not the case.  The Superintendent’s contract extension was only the result of board input and board action.

Should you wish to further discuss your concerns about district operations, I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about it.  You may contact me at home or at work, my numbers are in the phone book.

Sincerely,

Eric J. Eldenburg

Vice Chairman, West Bonner County School District

Owner/Member, James A. Sewell & Associates, LLC

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