[JoAnn Portalupi cc'd me on this letter she sent this Foster's. I don't know if they'll get to it before the election, so I'm happy to post it here. It gives a great first hand account of recent board history. Thanks, JoAnn. - Dean]
The Facts Speak for Themselves
I was on the Oyster River School Board in August of 2010, when Jim Kach was appointed to fill a vacated seat. I voted to appoint Jim based on his easy going, friendly demeanor and his claim that he had no agenda other than to serve his community. He thought he could help heal tensions that were rumbling in the district.
At his second meeting he voted against a nomination put forth by then Superintendent Howard Colter. This was a clear vote of no confidence, which struck me as odd coming from someone without an agenda who additionally claimed to know little about the school system.
At the Candidates Forum in February of 2011 Mr. Kach told voters he was in support of hiring a permanent principal for the high school. But on April 14th, shortly after his election, he voted NO on the nomination that came as a result of a long and thorough search process, a vote that directly led to the need to hire an interim.
In June of 2011 Mr. Kach stated at a public board meeting that he believed every dollar of the unreserved fund balance should be returned to the voters. And yet at the very next meeting (June 30th), he voted to spend $185K to buy out the last year of Superintendent Howard Colter’s contract. The money came from the unreserved fund balance.
Mr. Kach includes support for technology on his list of accomplishments and yet on December 7, 2011, after already approving cuts in technology hardware for our teachers and students, he voted to cut further.
A clearer picture of the real Jim Kach has emerged.
I’ve also observed that Mr. Kach does not follow the will of the voters. On September 21st, 2012, he voted NO on a motion to expend the $15K that voters approved to help heal the tension in the district. (Henry Brackett, also up for re-election, voted NO as well.)
I’ve watched Mr. Kach minimize issues when confronted with concerns about his or the Board’s behavior.
About a string of personal tweets that offended many in the community, Jim claims they were attempts at humor and that he didn’t mean to offend. And of the first of two lawsuits against the Board, Jim claims this was merely a matter of 3000 emails. When asked what he would do to prevent this from happening in the future? He quipped, “Hire a better lawyer.”
Such attempts at humor are fine for shooting the breeze over a cup of coffee, but they are not the response one seeks from an elected school official. They reveal an inability to look reflectively at, and take responsibility for, actions that have wronged or hurt others.
Voters in all three communities will be allowed to cast a vote for the Madbury race between Jim Kach and Ed Charle. We need school board members whose words are backed by actions and who respect constituents enough to own up to mistakes when they are made. Eighteen months ago I gave Jim Kach my vote. This time around my vote will go to Ed Charle, a Madbury resident and civic-minded individual who sees the facts and knows our community deserves better.