Guest Commentary: Time For Change On Board

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Move-on-1By Katherine Unger

While I voted for Trustee Susan Lovenburg previously, I have been disappointed with many of her decisions. Lovenburg sided with her fellow board trustee, Nancy Peterson, who subsequently stepped down as trustee, in voting to fire coach Julie Crawford for personal reasons. Trustee Lovenburg’s decision led to a costly investigation by lawyers who were paid tens of thousands of dollars to determine whether a child belonged on a sports team.

Rather than recognizing their costly error, Lovenburg and a fellow trustee authored an op-ed in The Davis Enterprise that instructed the community that we should just “move on.” Sheila Allen paid the price for this letter in the failure of her City Council campaign in 2014, and perhaps Susan Lovenburg thinks that the community has forgotten her role in this debacle.

I have also been troubled that Lovenburg often seems quick to make up her mind on issues and is then unwilling to reconsider or considers others’ views with which she disagrees. I recently ran across an article in the Davis Vanguard from 2008 that stated, “Throughout the proceedings, the Vanguard and much of the audience was taken aback by the demeanor and approach of newly elected school board member Susan Lovenburg. … Ms. Lovenburg claimed to have come to the meeting undecided, but her line of questioning belied that claim. Moreover, her approach and demeanor were at times condescending and insulting to those who had poured sweat and toil into this process.”

Our students and community deserve new representation that will bring positive change for our schools and use precious tax dollars for the greatest benefit to our students.

It’s time to move on

By Letters to the Editor From page A6 | March 19, 2014

Much has been said and written in the Davis media about the Crawford/Peterson complaint, and some of it has been speculative. For the record, we briefly recap the appeal process.

The Davis school board reviewed the facts of an independent investigation conducted on behalf of the district, listened closely to the statements of the parties involved in the appeal, then found that a preponderance of the evidence supported the conclusion that a coach made a poor judgment call which had negative consequences for a student.

By the conclusion of the appeal, the independent investigator, the associate superintendent, the superintendent and a majority of the board all concurred

that the facts supported this finding.

The evidence demonstrated a poor decision, but not a poor volleyball coach. Poor choices have consequences, in this case, a short-term suspension from coaching. Though the board modified the consequence slightly, it largely reflects the original recommendation of the superintendent and Ms. Crawford is welcome to coach again in the future.

This episode has generated much debate in the community; we trust it will also guide us to greater mindfulness. The board and administration will review and strengthen policies and practices, especially those related to personal conflict of interest and to resolution of complaints. Parents should think carefully where the line lies between advocacy for a child and possible harassment of a coach or teacher. And educators are reminded that the best interest of students should always be the determining factor in a public school environment.

With these lessons in mind, it is time to move on.

Sheila Allen
Susan Lovenburg
Trustees, Davis Joint Unified School District

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About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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14 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Time For Change On Board”

  1. Napoleon Pig IV

    Excellent editorial, factual and moderate in tone. Lovenburg has earned much less moderate and polite comments, but for now I’ll try to be a polite pig.

    The clear conclusion is for Davis voters to send Lovenburg into a well-deserved, and I hope permanent, retirement.

    Oink!

  2. Chamber Fan

    I’m surprised that more people aren’t focused on her length of service, the fact that her kids are out of school and the fact that if reelected, she’ll have been on for 13 years.  I was surprised, quite frankly, she ran again.  I had forgotten her early years and even Nancy Peterson.  Bad judgment.

    1. DavisAnon

      I don’t have an issue with length of service – it’s what you do with that time that counts.

      If she was making public education in our town better, I’d support her remaining there. Her actions and motions over nine years on the Board have damaged our schools.

      Poppenga impressed me with his openness, logical approach, and integrity last campaign, and even more so over the past few years and now. I’d like to see him take her place and see what he can accomplish. It’s that simple. I hope others will give him their vote, too.

  3. Ally

    Here is a similar comment made in The Davis Enterprise when she ran in 2012:

    “Let’s hope Susan doesn’t get reelected. She does exactly what she wants, not what the voters want. She is overbearing and does not listen to others’ point of view….”

     

  4. tj

    Let’s not forget the poor procedures that led to the Daniel Marsh situation.  Davis High used a subcontractor hired by the County Education Ofc who didn’t know what she was doing.  She called the PD for a 5150 and then took off so the officer had no idea why he had been called to see Daniel.

    Lovenburg asked for or accepted an endorsement by Delaine Eastin, a person who cost taxpayers Millions of dollars for harassing her staff after they noticed millions of dollars for ESL programs going to post boxes with no sign of programs.

    Poppenga seems to be an excellent replacement for Lovenburg.

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