Admin The Downey Patriot

Downey school board

Dear Editor:
In response to a front page article titled “DUSD Needs Change, Claims School Board Challenger”, 10/3/13), I feel it is my obligation to respond on two main accounts.
First, I happen to attend regular meetings with over 20 other surrounding districts where we compare budgets, policies and, most of all, analyze each others contracts. There is not another district in that group that doesn’t wish they had our school board.
During the last downturn in the economy, which is known to be the worst since the Great Depression, I can tell you that Downey is one of the only districts to not close schools, take furlough days, pay cuts or reduce valuable medical benefits in any way to its over 1,700 employees. And we thank our school board for this.
Second, as far as Bertha Valenzuela’s concern for students with special needs, I would like to invite her to attend special education parent meetings that are held regularly and put on by DUSD Director of Special Education Ruth Valadez. Here she would learn that DUSD now has added several new Special Ed classes including autism.
I first attended these meetings when they were held in the cafeteria at Old River elementary. On a good night we would have 6-8 parents show up and the meeting would last 30 minutes. A few years ago the meetings were moved to The Arc facilities and are attended by 50-60 parents on a regular basis. here parents with students with special needs come together to get valuable information relating to their success in school as well as outside of school.
I would encourage any parent (including Bertha) with special needs students to attend these meetings. They are even translated in Spanish.
In closing, I must share my experience Oct. 7. I attended a Norwalk-La Mirada school board meeting where over 150 employees were picketing because of poor school board decisions that are being made that affect the parents, students and teachers in that community. I personally spoke to a few of them only to walk away thinking how lucky we are to have such a supportive and experienced school board in Downey.
You only have to attend a Downey school board meeting to know that things are different here.
Jim Morgan

Published: Oct. 10, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 26

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