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Voice: Layaye defended by former trustee

May 26, 2001

This letter is written in support of Mrs. Barbara Layaye, superintendent of the Imperial Unified School District.

I had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Layaye as a school board member for approximately one year. During this time I saw many issues pass before us. Each case was handled professionally and diplomatically. As with all professions, controversies arise and not everyone can be satisfied with the outcomes. One thing that cannot be disputed is Mrs. Layaye's consistency and fairness to all.

The buzz around town is there are a few ruffled feathers in the chicken coop that are trying to rally the troops to suit their personal agendas. I believe the attempt to get a "vote of no confidence" to dismiss Mrs. Layaye stems from some disciplinary actions taken earlier this school year.

Although I am no longer a board member, I continue to work closely with Mrs. Layaye and the school board in conjunction with the city of Imperial and the Imperial schools for the betterment of the community.

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I believe the front-runners of the opposition are a few longtime teachers who do not like to be held accountable for their actions.

For example, Mrs. Sam, you have a boss who expects you to be at work on time? Shame on you, Mrs. Layaye, for doing your job! Mrs. Sam, you have a boss who doesn't sugarcoat the expectations of a teacher to your liking? Too bad. Do your job, then you won't have to be reprimanded in a tone that doesn't suit you!

Let's get to the real issues here. The teachers are upset over the recent contract extension the board approved for Mrs. Layaye. I can see where this would get the teachers excited, but why delay the inevitable? When you have a leader with Mrs. Layaye's qualities, you do what it takes to keep that leader.

It is a shame the few teachers who are raising a fuss are the same teachers who benefited from Mrs. Layaye's willingness to request an increase in the insurance benefits for the teachers from the board after negotiations were completed. This tells me Mrs. Layaye is not trying to take anything from the ones responsible for educating our students.

If there is a way to make everyone happy, I believe Mrs. Layaye will continue to work with you to find a solution that everyone can live with.

Teachers, think for yourselves and reflect on the treatment you have received under Mrs. Layaye's leadership. Don't be too eager to jump on the bandwagon without first knowing who is handling the reins. Know if it is a disgruntled employee who is defending their friend or relative, or if it is a co-worker who is truly looking down the road for the best interest of everyone concerned.

The ultimate goal of the teaching profession is to educate the students and give them every opportunity to succeed; Mrs. Layaye is in the business of education for the students. If you think about the professionalism you have received from Mrs. Layaye, I am confident you will agree when I say Mrs. Layaye is a fair and professional leader for our school district.

JAMES TUCKER

Imperial

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