Letter to the editor: School staff deserve recognition for efforts

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By The Staff

Although I was unable to attend the (May 10) board meeting, I would like to thank all the parents who did attend. I also want to thank the board members for all their hard work during this time and commend them for asking the right questions. I think that the large parent presence was very encouraging to the staff, and at this point encouraging the staff should be our main concern. Budget cuts are an unavoidable reality and they are everywhere; however, if the cuts are handled correctly our kids will not suffer. 

 As a manager, I know how hard it can be to deal with budget cuts, low employee morale, and backbiting in different departments. (Owen County School Superintendent Mark) Cleveland, I know your job is not easy and I don’t wish to make it any harder. I am a former employee and parent of a 10-month-old, so I don’t have a dog in this fight; however, I have prayed continually over our school system and feel that I can offer some insight as an outsider. I want to believe that your intentions are pure and that you are here for our kids but just come across wrong. Your subordinates work hard and should be treated as your equal where their opinions are valued and their service is appreciated. I urge you to consider the judge’s recommendation for leadership training and counseling. My degree is in organizational leadership and I continue to take classes and learn techniques that work for different people. I challenge you to lead your staff by example; take the first budget hit out of your own pocket and prove that you are on the same team. Listen to your staff who are on the front lines and use their input on where to make the cuts. Lead them and we will all rally behind you in support of our schools for the sake of our kids.

 As a parent, I make countless sacrifices in order for my son to have the best life has to offer. The mentality that parents shop at Goodwill for their kids while they wear designer clothes has got to go. We should all be willing to make sacrifices for the well-being of the children. I can tell you for a fact that 99.9 percent of the staff members in the Owen County school system are there for the kids, and more than willing to sacrifice themselves for “their kids.” When our children get on a bus, that bus driver cares; and when the child enters the classroom, that teacher and assistant care; and when he/she goes to breakfast, the cafeteria ladies care. Our kids become “their kids,” not their students, but “their kids.”

These employees are underpaid and underappreciated and I think it’s time for parents to take a look and take some action. Morale is low within the school system right now and tensions are high. It is my understanding that all teachers are taking a pay cut in some form, and many are losing their assistants who are their backbone. It is also my understanding that the teachers are willing to work together with the cuts for the benefit of our kids.

Parents, this is your call to action. Let’s make it our mission to show the staff that care for our children how much they are appreciated. Start by praying for all the staff members of the Owen County school system. Then send a note to any staff member who ever made a difference in your or your child’s life. Make an effort to say a nice word when you see them out – a simple thank-you goes a long way.

Perhaps our local businesses could rally together and offer an appreciation discount. What a difference we could make if all the churches in the community came together to show appreciation. It would be great if we could do fund-raisers to show monetary gratitude, but I can promise you that 99.9 percent are not in it for the money.

Board members, keep asking the questions, follow the money trail, and put accountability to work.

Staff members, please know that you are appreciated, and may God bless you for the work that you do.


Shanna Richardson Marsh