After receiving several phone calls, texts and Facebook messages over the last week from concerned and sometimes angry taxpayers, I have decided to set the record straight. In reference to the Feb. 26 article, “Fort Cherry approves hiring security officer,” I would like to address some inaccuracies and elaborate on other issues in order to make things more clear for the residents, staff and faculty of Fort Cherry School District.
On hiring a full-time security officer, the board has been preparing for this action for several months, working with the public, the administration, local police departments and the district’s part-time security officer to determine the needs of the district as well as what options are available. The vote to hire a full-time security officer has authorized administration to officially advertise the position. A firm salary has not been determined.
On removing the Right-to-Know log from the district’s website, some board members who voted to remove the log are concerned that the log was incomplete and, at times, inaccurate. Technical difficulties in creating and maintaining the log have been resolved unsuccessfully after several months of effort. While transparency is a priority of the board, dissemination of complete and correct information takes precedence.
Finally, the board voted to approve the revision of District Policy 616 - Payment of Claims. The revision is a one-line statement at the end of the policy that reads, “No credit cards may be obtained and/or authorized by the school district.” It is my opinion the change is not comprehensive enough to meet the needs of Fort Cherry School District. In addition, because the statement has been added to the end of the policy about how claims are to be paid, the board’s intent appears to be that no credit cards will be utilized when paying bills. That is not the case. Instead, it is my interpretation that the board intends that any and all credit card accounts will be cancelled immediately and no additional accounts will be opened. The language and detail of the policy are lacking; therefore, I voted against adopting the policy. I did not, as the Feb. 26 article stated, vote against a motion that “no credit cards [can] be issued, obtained and/or authorized by the school district.” On the contrary, I am 100 percent in favor of the abolition of all district credit card accounts at this time. But I am also in favor of a strongly written policy that will protect the financial state of the district as well as the staff, faculty and administration in our employ.
I will continue to work toward improvements and positive growth for our district for as long as I am seated on the Fort Cherry Board of Directors, even if sometimes this means that I stand alone in my position. I encourage anyone who has concerns to attend the board meetings, speak out, and have your comments heard.
Darnley is a member of the board of directors of the Fort Cherry School District.