I spoke at the end of the 4/23/12 Clarkston School Board meeting, providing reasons for people to vote no on the 5/8/12 $20 million school bond. At the beginning of the meeting, there were a mixture of people who spoke about the bond during public comment regarding the bond - both for and against it.
There are many reasons why I am against this bond, but I only had my allotted two minutes.
I was not able to finish all of my comments. See here for my prepared comments at the board meeting.
I believe that one of the main reasons the district planned the election for May was to prevent having issues with the employee unions. The teachers did not get their raises this school year. The bus drivers and the custodians took significant pay cuts two years ago and have not had raises since. Dr. Rock has stated that he will press ahead with the technology purchases, whether or not the bond passes. Therefore, if the bond doesn’t pass, the money to fund it will come out of the general fund. This will result in employee pay cuts, layoffs, and large class sizes. This is a grossly irresponsible act by the superintendent and four board members. Holding the employee contracts hostage based on the bond outcome is wrong.
Dr. Rock’s calculations for employee expenses in the 2012/13 bond explanation on 4/14 assume no pay raises for any employees and no increases in costs over the years of the bond. This is impossible and fiscally irresponsible.
Is it worth our children’s and employee’s health to take the risk of installing Wi-Fi and having hundreds of students and employees utilizing the wireless devices that emit electromagnetic radiation in close quarters six hours a day, five days a week, for forty weeks a year and thirteen years in a school career?
- It can cause heart palpitations, headaches, memory issues, and many other problems in short term use in of sensitive people (3% of the population) and has been shown to cause tumors after long term exposure.
- One in 700 children have Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome. A student in the high school was diagnosed with that from the Beaumont heart screening. If he had not been diagnosed and had surgery, the Wi-Fi usage in the school may have prevented him from attending school because the EMF radiation from the Wi-Fi probably would have caused tachycardia or could have killed him. Based on the number of students in the district, we could have another eight students who also have WPW Syndrome.
- Dr. Rock says he wants students to learn and use critical thinking, but apparently he doesn't want to hear about it if it contradicts his opinion. There is research and "critical thinking" that went into research on the dangers of long term exposure to low level EMF radiation, but Dr. Rock quotes study findings funded by groups that stand to benefit financially from the proliferation of wireless technology. He wants to experiment on our children.
Currently, the MEAP testing is the only real way to measure “learning”, yet the district has not provided the board or the public with any evidence that the technology pilots have provided anything beyond excitement, nor that the technology rollout will increase MEAP scores.
Based on Dr. Rock’s April 14th 1 to Global document:
a. None of the preschool to 2nd grade students will have wireless devices to use from the bond.
b. None of the children in 3rd to 5th grade in the elementary schools will have a device to bring home. They will share them with another student and they will not get to take them home.
c. In the 2012/13 school year, the middle school students will be the first and only students who will get the wireless devices.
d. In the 2013/14 school year, the junior high students will be the only students to receive the devices.
e. In the 2014/15 school year, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the Elementary schools will receive their shared devices that will stay in school and the high school students will finally receive their one to one devices.
f. Students currently in the high school will never partake in the technology based on the schedule and plan..
Until the district has a plan for the bond that is based on facts and reality, we need VOTE NO and to “tell Dr. Rock to pound sand”.