Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lee's Summit Journal Dear Editor Page

Dear Editor:
Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2008 10:49 PM CDT

When we first began this struggle I had no idea what I was doing and the impact that it would have on our lives. I'm still not completely sure, but I do know that we have finally given our children a voice.I can understand why no one wants to run for the board. It wasn't four people running for three seats. It was the board running against the mother of a child with special needs. Or more appropriately, it was the board running against a mother that dared to believe that she had a right to stand up for something that they knew nothing about.In the Feb. 1, 2008 edition of the Lee's Summit Journal, it was stated that "The incumbents, however, said having just one challenger for the three at-large seats says to them that the public, in general, is pleased with the current board."I agree. The general public does not have children with special needs. Their children are receiving the education, football facilities, baseball facilities, IB classes and now swimming facilities that they desire. Some of these things are not necessities, but rather they are wants.Our children need certain programs and services to become independent tax-paying citizens. Somehow that is twisted into being single-issue and special-interest minded.I'm not sure how an aquatic center isn't viewed as special-interest. I'm not sure how band uniforms aren't viewed as being special-interest. I'm not sure how giving students rewards for doing well on the MAP tests isn't viewed as being special-interest. But, I have been told that worrying about our children is special-interest.
I continually said that I believe that the board can be full of experts in different areas and come together and use it to the best interest of the district.In The Kansas City Star, one of the incumbents stated that, "Each board member has an informal 'niche role,' and that he feels his to be legislative affairs and finances." Yet, Mr. Tindle felt that my niche role was not needed and was single-minded.The Lee's Summit Journal agreed with the advice of one of the incumbents that special-interest group advocacy needs to be done from the podium in front of the board and not from a board seat. Yes, Mr. Plaas, I understand your point. So, don't advocate for the swimming team, or the football team, or any other special-interest group from your seat.
Finally, Mr. Wiley told the audience at the forum that he knew how I felt because his wife was a special education teacher and their family had babysat children with special needs. I won't respond to that because we all know how ridiculous and hurtful that comment was.I am proud of our effort. We got 20 percent of the vote. Who would have guessed that we could have been that successful? Thanks to all of you for the work, dedication and help that you gave us. This was a group effort. We spent no money and we worked as a team. This was for our children. We don't have a political agenda. We want the best for our children and I believe that we have finally let the district and the board know that we are not pleased with the current board or the way that our district is handling our taxes and children. Let's try it again next year.

Sherri Tucker
Lee's Summit


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