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Letters

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School

superintendent appointment

    Based on what I read in the Bedford Bulletin I find myself in the minority in siding with Talbot Huff who recently resigned from the Bedford County school board and Shirley McCabe who cast the only descending vote.   

    Having had experience in management for most of my life I cannot understand how a person can be hired to a position where he will oversee positions he has never held, such as a principal.   I had to chuckle that the majority of the school board agreed that his experience commanding 160 people during Operation Desert Storm about 18 years ago along with a “really dynamic” personality qualified him to manage 7,500 employees either directly or indirectly plus give him about $5,000 more than the previous experienced superintendent.     

    I’m sure Mr. Huff’s experience in managing 2,500 gives him a good insight of responsible management and why he feels Dr. D. R. Schuch has not reached a point where he is qualified to oversee all of the county’s education system.  Granted Dr. Schuch is well educated in having a doctorate degree, but I wonder what his major was. Having never worked in education I can only visualize principals and teachers having a very responsible job in managing many for the betterment of their students.  

    In the positions I had in management I had to work up the ladder, one step at a time.  How else can a manager know what responsibilities people under him have and what they go through to do their job properly if he/she has never experienced it?     To qualify myself, I am a resident of Bedford County, but do not have any children in the county system.  Therefore I have nothing to gain or lose by what the school board decides is best for the students in the system.   I can only look at it from previous management positions.

Tom Frasier

Goode

Frustrated with hiring

 

    It is with a great deal of frustration that I have listened to the information surrounding the hiring of Bedford County’s new school superintendent.

    I would have expected that the school board put aside any differences they might have and settle on a consensus candidate that they all could have supported. Instead it appears that the board chairman predominately selected the candidate, four others acquiesced to his decision, two disagreed (one of whom to the point of resigning), and one didn’t even bother to attend the meeting to vote on the matter.

    In addition, the method of voting on the selection appears to have violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The above causes me to have little confidence in the selection.

    Then there is the matter of compensation. At the announcement of the hiring of Dr. Schuch, Chairman Hostutler stated what the new superintendent’s compensation would be, even though he himself admitted that the compensation package had not yet been approved by the board! It appears that at a time of fiscal austerity, and possible cutbacks in school staff and faculty, the board is willing to pay the new superintendent more than the outgoing one. Not only that, but he will also be paid an additional $700 per month just to drive a vehicle that the county provides.

     So essentially, the additional vehicle allowance is nothing more than another $8,400 per year in salary. ...Hopefully, Dr. Schuch will spend some time in Bedford to tend to the business of running our schools. Chairman Hostutler assures us that the new superintendent is adept at analyzing data, and making decisions from it. I can only say that we could have hired a statistician for quite a bit less money.

    Strategic planning is more than analyzing data, and leading people is more than just telling them what to do. It seems to me that our new superintendent is getting the gold mine, while the students, faculty, and citizens of Bedford county are getting the shaft. For the sake of our children and schools, I can only hope that I am wrong.

 

James E. Smith

Bedford

Negative results

    From reading the Bulletin it seems that my thoughts on our local government are not different from other county residents at the moment. Of course I am referring to the hiring of a replacement superintendent by our School Board. I have to say that there have been many decisions made by the board recently that I have felt were not based on reason, need or benefit to the citizens. Their most recent debacle, however, seems to pale all the other idiocies brought forth by this group of egocentric individuals.

    One must wonder how this was allowed to happen with five members of the board seeing nothing wrong with the process or the result. However, it seems that many residents of the county wonder if our local government is trying to become as detached from reality as the scoundrels who have put America into its worse financial crisis in decades.

    I am very curious how allegedly intelligent representatives of county residents could get everyone, including themselves, into a situation that seems destined to have nothing but negative results. The man hired for the job of superintendent seems to have more the qualifications of a CIA agent than a school administrator. Nowhere has any information been published about where he received his doctorate or in what field it was issued. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out he received a doctorate in penmanship from a mail order college in the Philippines?

    It is curious that his credentials have never been fully divulged much less even mentioned. Even if he has a doctorate in education (not really what our school system needs at this time), what experience does he have that would warrant such a starting salary? I am not buying the “market value” explanation. How can one assign a market value to a person applying for a position for which he seems to not have proper qualifications? Market value barely applies to houses or vehicles and it seldom applies to individuals since people are supposed to be paid based on performance rather than some survey results of what other people make at similar jobs.

    All that being said I find the whole process that was used to find and hire this individual extremely questionable and certainly not one that will result in what is best for the school system in general. I would think this whole sequence has done nothing but irritate the people paying taxes to support such shoddy behavior by the board, the people working at the schools who are asked to work for a superintendent with little or no experience but is being paid as though he does, and the parents who expect the schools to exhibit professional behavior in teaching students but not in administering them.

    I am sure Dr. Schuch is a fine person but it would seem a fair assumption that he isn’t the correct choice as our superintendent and absolutely should be paid based on his experience and not someone else’s experience. I am certain that our school board has no concept of “On-the-job-training,” which is precisely what is happening in this case. Generally this situation allows for smaller starting salary with the promise of more if the individual can actually learn the job. In our case, however, our short supply of tax dollars is going to be spent to train someone for a job which, based on information released to the public, he is not qualified.

    There are two remaining items everyone should consider in this school board fiasco. First, if we are ending up with a person whose main qualification is having been a vice-principal, why could the board find no one in our current employ who would be as qualified as Dr. Schuch? Doesn’t that indicate that our school board doesn’t think much of the people currently employed by the school system? I know if I worked for the school system I would be a bit upset that the board had to choose someone from outside and probably not as qualified for the job as someone already employed. Second, if I were on the school board and, if the rumor is correct, paid a lot of money to a consultant to find this individual, I would be asking for a refund for services not performed.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Dennis strong

Thaxton

Home of the brave

    On Feb. 28 I attended a basketball game at Brookville High School.  At the beginning of the game everyone was asked to stand for the national anthem.  When the person singing came to the line, “the home of the brave,” hundreds of Brookville fans yelled out, “the home of the Bees.”  They completely drowned out the singer.  They have done this at other basketball games.

    The guidelines for the national anthem, found in United States Code 36 U.S.C. – 301,  state that you should stand at attention during the playing of the entire anthem with your right hand over your heart.  If you are wearing a hat, hold the hat in your right hand over your heart.  Slightly different guidelines apply to those in uniform, members of the military and veterans.

     “The home of the brave” stands for those people who have been members of the armed forces since the time of the War of 1812.  Some of them gave their lives for our country.  There were approximately 170 Army and Navy casualties from Campbell County during WWII.  That line of the anthem also stands for people in other capacities who have supported our country since the War of 1812.  We are a free country because of the sacrifices of all these brave Americans.

    There is a man who lives in Richmond who was imprisoned during the Vietnam War.  I wonder how he would feel if he came to a game at Brookville High School and heard the fans change the last line of our national anthem into a cheer for their school.

     The time will soon come when it will be the turn of many of these fans to prove that they truly are a part of “the home of the brave.”

Barbara Norton

Bedford

Consider

customers in decision

    I would like to ask Jeffrey S. Edwards, president and CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, why the company decided not to participate in an I.B.M pilot program (funded by the stimulus package) that would offer Southside members Broadband Internet service over existing power lines.

    Is it really because the “technology is unproven and too expensive”?  If that is the case, then why have Western and Central Electric Cooperatives opted to participate?

    Much of Southwest Virginia has been settling for slow speed dial-up or high-cost options like satellite for a long time now, and the demand for something better is growing.  The introduction of reasonably-priced Broadband service would not only be greeted with appreciation—it would also attract more telecommuters like me to Roanoke’s surrounding areas and help grow the local economy by allowing small businesses to flourish.

    Southside Cooperative members are already paying the highest rates in the state for electricity—why not give something back to the customers that will help justify the astronomical bills they receive in the mail each month? I.B.M.’s program seems like the perfect opportunity to put some stimulus dollars to work for those that live, work, and play in Southwest Virginia.

    I urge all Southside customers to write to President Jeffrey S. Edwards and express your disappointment with his decision.

Melissa Babula

Moneta

Dogs running loose

    I’m very sorry for the pain of the one who wrote about seeing their dog hurting but the responsibility for that pet should start at home. The people in Bedford County continue to buy or adopt large dogs and just let them run loose and expect their neighbors to take care of the pets.

    I have called the dog warden and complained about the dogs running loose. I have even called Supervisor Dale Wheeler and was told that Bedford County could not afford to have a leash law.

    As long as you live in this county you have to deal with large dogs tearing up your flowerbeds, getting into trash, and anything else they can get into because people choose not to control their own dogs. I now have a fenced in yard as I learned the hard way of letting two very special dogs run loose and they were shot while on someone else’s property.

    Your pet is your special friend, not mine! Bedford County needs a leash law! Also fines should be imposed for the damage done to other people’s property.

Jimmy Johnson

Goodview

Appreciates grant

 

    I would like to extend my gratitude to the Bedford Area Educational Foundation for approving a grant I wrote. 

    The grant was written to request funding to purchase a document camera to use in my 5th grade classroom at Otter River Elementary School.  The board approved $600 towards my grant request, which allowed me to purchase this wonderful piece of technology for my classroom.  I have seen first hand, the impact that using technology in the classroom can have on my students. 

    The document camera has been such an asset in engaging my students in a multitude of ways.  I have found so many ways to use this to the greater benefit of my students.  For example, we recently completed a measurement unit in math, where I was able to zoom in on a ruler using the camera.  The students were able to see how a ruler was designed and separated at a very close range. 

    This is just one of many lessons that using the document camera has been beneficial.   I appreciate the Bedford Area Education Foundation for providing funds to help me make a greater impact on my students.  Their dedication to our school system is appreciated by many.

Kristin Witt

5th Grade Teacher

Otter River Elementary School

American Red Cross Month

    Across the United States, March is recognized as American Red Cross Month. As one of the nation’s best known humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross has been at the forefront of helping Americans prevent, prepare for and respond to large and small disasters for 127 years. Communities depend on the Red Cross in times of need, and the Red Cross depends on the support of the American people to achieve its mission.

    This year the Red Cross is taking time in March to focus on the volunteers and employees who demonstrate such compassion and generosity by supporting the Red Cross in our community and around the country. Since our Chapter was chartered in 1917, we have relied on these everyday heroes to give their time and talents to help others by responding to local house fires, running emergency shelters, coordinating blood drives, or making financial donations.

    For example, Ms. Letty Collins and Mr. Vince Cackowski are Co-Captains of our Bedford County Disaster Action Team.  When the Red Cross is called to local fires or other disasters these are the folks coordinating the Chapter’s response.  Other Bedford County Team Members include Jane Grant, Josey Hull, Charlotte Maxey, Carol Stephenson, Barbara Swenson, Jean Judd, Jim Pierce, Carlene Cantrell, and Linda Dobyns.  In our Blood Services area, Bedford County resident Marge Maupin has been a volunteer for 25 years, and the following have volunteered for 20 years:  Ms. Mary Jan Salyer, Mr. Joe Bierer, Ms. Joanne Sneed, and Ms. Lea Keister.

    The work of our volunteers and employees is astounding.  In the past year alone, the Historic Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to 75 single-family house fires, seven multi-family fires and three other incidents which affected 141 households.  The Chapter opened two evacuation shelters, working with community partners in Bedford and Appomattox Counties, serving 150 individuals due to the wildfires in Montvale and the gas pipeline explosion in Appomattox.  All total, 400 individuals were assisted through disaster services last year.  Our local Chapter completed 735 Armed Forces cases providing verifications, communications and financial assistance (totaling $10,650) to members of the military and their families.  The Chapter also issued 7,521 certifications to local individuals in First Aid, CPR & AED skills, and 391 local volunteers assisted in the collection of 7,694 units of lifesaving blood.    Across this community, the Red Cross is an organization people can rely on for help, comfort, assistance and compassion. On behalf of the Historic Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross, I thank you for your support to help us continue our service to those who need us, every day.

David Burch

Chapter Chairman

Bedford

Honoring nurses

     We ask our community to join us in honoring our 280 board certified Centra nurses on national Certified Nurses Day, March 19, for their professionalism, leadership and commitment to excellence in patient care.

    We encourage national board certification of all of our nurses. We know this higher level of specialization is a major contributor to Centra’s national awards for patient safety and quality of care, from our Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing to our Forbes’ magazine award as one of the Safest Hospitals in America.

    Across the country, board certification of nurses is playing an increasingly important role in ensuring high standards of care for patients and their loved ones, and we are delighted about 23 percent of Centra’s 1,258 practicing registered nurses who work in the hospitals are certified.

    With advanced technology and state-of-the-art procedures, nursing has become increasingly complex and specialized. As nurses become more specialized, they help improve patient outcomes and experiences.

    Today’s nursing world requires many nurses to have extensive post-secondary and continuing education and a strong personal commitment to excellence. Certification is available in more than 85 nursing specialties including medical-surgical, pediatric, pain management, cardiac/vascular, oncology, hospice, case management, emergency nursing, operating room, post anesthesia care, wound care, leadership and critical care.

    Please join us in honoring these board certified nurses who provide nationally recognized patient care for patients from throughout our region.

Patti S. McCue, Sc.D., R.N.

Centra senior vice president

Carolyn Jacques, R.N.

Centra vice president of nursing