Letter to the Editor: My vote for school board

Friday, October 27, 2017

To the Editor:

School Board - How much does experience count?

There is a big difference between serving on the PTA and being a teacher.

As a teacher Heather Fralick has first hand experience in how school board policies help or hinder teachers in the classroom.

We need that perspective. Heather has my vote!

Wendy DiPeso


Anonymous,  October 27, 2017 at 6:51 AM  

Heather understands that overcrowded classrooms are not acceptable. Our current school board does not.

kirsten vogel October 27, 2017 at 1:38 PM  

I hope this letter doesn't cause a misunderstanding of Heather Fralick's teaching position and how that relates to our school District. She is not a teacher in, nor has she ever been a teacher in, the Shoreline School District. She is a college instructor at the community college level which does not translate into first hand experience with Shoreline District policies.

Jill Brady has 13 years of involvement in our district with two kids attending four of our local schools. She had done much more than just served on the PTA. Jill was president of the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation, volunteered on bond and levy campaigns, was a member of science the acceleration committee, and much more directly related to the Shoreline School District. That is the first hand experience we need here in Shoreline!

Kirsten Vogel

Lisa Surowiec,  October 27, 2017 at 3:16 PM  

Oh Wendy. You couldn’t just say that you like Heather because she’s a teacher? Please don’t downplay PTA as the movie version of clueless moms baking cupcakes, cat fighting, and not doing the hard work of truly supporting the school district. It’s actually great training for the School Board.

PTAs are 501c3 organizations, with reporting and requirements, budgets, officers, contracts, and insurance. All PTA leaders have familiarity with nonprofit laws and accept officer liability for the organizations.

Shoreline PTAs are known outside the area as being particularly engaged and supportive of the schools. Here’s why:
• Presidents get access to School District personnel at monthly coffees hosted by the Superintendent. They often hear the same presentations that the School Board heard, with the added benefit of being able to ask questions directly of those professionals. They can then take that first-hand knowledge back to their boards.
• The parents involved in Family Services really understand and know the free & reduced lunch families and their needs. PTA Council supports the clothing room “The WORKS” which local PTA volunteers help staff. It participates in the Back to School event and district-wide holiday food drive.
• PTAs actively seek partnerships with other community organizations to better meet the needs of students and families. They expand the reach of their volunteer base by engaging the community.
• PTAs organize multi-cultural nights, cut & chats, and work with the Natural Leaders program to include and engage English-limited families.
• PTA Legislative Advocacy chairs become familiar with the State platform issues and educate their boards and membership on associated bills. They attend the State legislative assembly and learn about not only how to advocate, but also what the challenges are that face schools in other districts. They lobby the association to support the issues that most directly affect their own school populations.
• PTA leaders are often involved in bond & levy committees, and in that capacity learn a lot about how school funding works and what the district budget looks like.
• They know their own schools and what they fundraise for; what their populations support financially and in volunteer time.
• They learn public speaking, committee work, volunteer organization, budgeting (and the sometimes difficult choices that come along with that), contracts, and fundraising. They work with principals, office managers, teachers, coaches, custodians, kitchen managers, and support staff.
• They have access to free classes on everything from nonprofit law to school district policy to attracting volunteers, working with school administration, advocacy, and nonprofit financials.

We are blessed with two fantastic candidates to take Debi Ehrlichman’s position. Heather’s experience as a college teacher is definitely not the same perspective as Jill’s, and I’m sure she would be great. I’m actually not certain who has more knowledge about K-12 policy between the two of them. However, Jill is more than “just” PTA; she is an extremely well-prepared candidate with lots of experience.

Anonymous,  October 29, 2017 at 3:24 PM  

Wendy never said "Just the PTA". You all are reading into that. I think we have two great candidates. I don't agree most of the time with Wendy''s opinions, but I'm glad she takes the time to voice them. We need an engaged public.

Lisa Surowiec,  October 30, 2017 at 10:35 PM  

@Anonymous 3:24 - you're right. I heard "just" and I was not the only one. That was defensive, but I stand by it - Jill's gotten great training through PTA, and I love seeing PTA leaders stepping up their game to run for these positions. And Heather studied K-12 policy, Jill has lived through it. 2 great candidates bringing different things to the table.

Also wholeheartedly agree on the worth of voices like Wendy and Janet. Smart women who care about the community and are willing to put themselves out there and say what they think.

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