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Voice: Full-time vice principals needed in Brawley schools

December 21, 2001

On Dec. 11, I attended the Brawley elementary school board meeting and I'm praying this gets printed before the board's closed-session meeting Tuesday. Saying I was "alarmed" about the issues I head there is an understatement.

I'd heard rumors of the "big" topics but it was worse than what I'd heard. Although the meeting was "standing room only" the majority were teachers and administrators, so this letter is directed to Brawley elementary parents.

Were you aware Witter and Oakley schools no longer have a full-time vice principal? For approximately the last two and a half years those schools have shared one vice principal. Were you aware the elementary school board is extremely close to deciding the same for Phil Swing and Hidalgo elementary schools?

Of 54 staff members from Phil Swing, 53 signed a letter (presented to the board at the meeting) "begging" the board to reconsider this decision and listed "in length" the reasons why their school needs to continue to have a full-time vice principal! What's next? A part-time principal?


A long time ago when I was in elementary school, it was a "given" that one took for granted/expected/and had the following full-time personnel: a principal, a vice principal, a counselor, a nurse, a librarian, a teacher's aide and "fully" credentialed teachers. Why are we accepting less instead of better for our children?

With all the federal and state funding, assistance from both local state prisons, PTA moneys and private donations — not to mention the many yearly fund raisers we as parents participate in with the kids … this is the best we can do or expect for our children/our future?

Why not consider making the janitor, gardener or office clerks part-time? Or maybe the position the present Phil Swing vice principal is moving to should be a part-time position, for surely it's not as "essential" as the ground-level, kid-contact position of vice principal!

Recently while I was waiting to pick up my son after school I was "shocked" and almost trampled by the kids coming out as they were pushing, shoving, hitting and barroom cursing each other. (fourth-, fifth-, sixth- graders). I wondered, where is the vice principal?

Now I know — he's moving on to bigger and better things — but what about the safety of our kids? Are we so busy trying to provide for our kids we slept through this decision? I'm guilty. But after that meeting my friends and I decided no matter how may different places we have to be (at one time) one of us will always be at the school board meetings and relay the information to our circle of friends/parents.

We're going to research and find out the answer to the question I heard many teachers and one principal stand up and ask at that meeting — if it's not a money issue then why?

P.S. One courageous Phil Swing sixth-grade teacher stated at the meeting her students this year have had more "discipline issues" (and have been referred to the vice principal) than in all of her 16 years of teaching combined! We need a vice principal to handle this "load" on a full-time basis or it can only be expected to get worse.



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