I’ve lived in the Valley since ’91, and my son has been in the Snoqualmie Valley School District since kindergarten. This next year he’ll graduate from Mount Si High School. I’ve been a longtime school supporter, serving as PTA co-president, two terms on Learning Improvement Teams — one for Opstad, more recently for the high school. I’ve also taken active roles in levy and bond campaigns and spent time on various task forces with the district.
I’ve worked hard for Snoqualmie Valley School District and solidly support public education.
I also support Kathryn Lerner’s decision to move her daughter to Mercer Island High School and her right as a parent to make that decision while remaining an effective board member for our district.
For most of us, the most important role we will ever play in life is the one of being a parent. I’m confident that Kathryn carefully researched her decision, talked with parents both here in the Valley and on Mercer Island and carefully considered her role as parent and board member.
Regarding her effectiveness on the board, she’s the type of person who researches, listens to opposing views while keeping an open mind, and carefully considers options. She’s both fair and tenacious. She has integrity. Regardless, if her daughter attends the high school or not, she’s exactly what most parents would want in a board member. And perhaps there are other benefits to having someone in a leadership role in our district experiencing what many regard as one of the best high schools in the state.
Did she send the wrong message? If I were an administrator, counselor, or teacher at the high school, I might think so. But in life there are times when the message we really didn’t want to hear was the one we should listen to the most.
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is in trouble. Any parent that has a student in middle school or high school knows it. There are serious challenges facing a district that has not passed the past three bond issues, is facing severe overcrowding, a budget shortfall, has a dramatic exodus out of district, especially at the high school level, and has growing racial tensions. Everyone knows this — especially school board member Kathryn Lerner.
Ms. Lerner has made a decision to move her incoming high school freshman daughter out of the district for the coming school year to Mercer Island. She made a decision that many of us have discussed and contemplated for our children since elementary school, but have chosen to get involved to help improve education in our community instead of running for cover.
I am a graduate of Mercer Island High School, and am well aware that as a community they are very focused on college preparation at the high school level, with close to 90 percent of graduates moving on to college. Ms. Lerner is aware of this and has chosen what she feels is best for her daughter. Ms. Lerner should now choose what is best for the school district and step down immediately from the school board instead of making excuses why Mount Si High School isn’t good enough!
It’s time a community member, who wants to take action in our schools to benefit all students, be a member of the board. We should expect excellence both from our students and our school board.
I’m writing in support of Kathryn Lerner’s decision to send her daughter to another district. I find it strange that so much attention was paid to her decision over other, more important news in the Valley. Why is this so important?
Ms. Lerner has been on the school board for only seven months. I doubt that she could bring Mandarin Chinese classes to Mount Si or enough funding, especially when the district forecasts a budget deficit, to support a marching band. The Lerners made a difficult decision that was solely intended to benefit the aspirations of their child. She put her position on the school board secondary to her child. To me, that is good parenting and not a reflection on her ability to perform her board duties. Little mention was made to her other daughter who will remain in the district. Obviously, she has not abandoned the district, as the articles imply.
Since Ms. Lerner’s term began, the major focus of the board has been continued growth, overcrowding, analysis of school bond failures, budget deficits, teacher’s pay, and the recent negative publicity surrounding the Day of Silence. These looming issues affect all of Ms. Lerner’s constituents and should be the focus of her attention. I would find it rather self-serving if Ms. Lerner spent her brief tenure trying to implement a foreign language and marching band program at the high school during this time.
I applaud Ms. Lerner for continuing to volunteer her time and energy to serve her community. More importantly, I applaud her for being a good parent. Her decision had to be difficult in light of her position. Her strength as a leader is supported by her ability to withstand such negative press.
Sending a message
Jim McKiernan’s editorial draws a flawed conclusion about Kathryn Lerner’s decision to send her daughter to an out-of-district high school.
Lerner should be applauded for having the integrity to make the right decision for her family, while still being willing to devote time and energy to improving the school district.
In fact, Lerner’s decision could be viewed as evidence of how desperate the situation is and how difficult the choices are for families in this school district with children about to enter high school.
If a message is wrong, it is the message sent by those who voted against each of the school bond measures, a message that says we as a community don’t value our children or their education.
Our family has appreciated the enthusiasm, caring and dedication of the district’s teachers, but no amount of that will address the main issue: We need another high school.
Glenn Wallace, Mount Si High School graduate