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NO HOT TUBS HERE - DAVIS SUPERINTENDENT SINKS `RUMORS’ ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION

SHARE NO HOT TUBS HERE - DAVIS SUPERINTENDENT SINKS `RUMORS’ ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION

While the superintendent of Davis County schools joked he doesn't own a Jaguar, a school board member challenged teachers Tuesday night to send him a list of required supplies that they don't have.

The retorts at the Davis Board of Education meeting, the school officials said, were in response to talk that has swirled around the district since a teacher walkout almost three weeks ago that started in Davis County.Davis Superintendent Richard Kendell joked he doesn't drive a Jaguar and his principals don't have private showers in their schools as he debunked what he called "rumors and misinformation" generated in the wake of the recent teacher walkout.

Kendell said since 1987 the district office in Farmington has only added one full-time and one half-time position while there has been a 11 percent increase in the number of teachers to meet the high pupil population growth.

His report was prompted, he said, by public outcry that school budgets remain top heavy at the expense of teachers.

"the hot tub on this floor does not exist" Kendall joked, inviting public inspection of the "inlaid mother of pearl" on the district business manager's desk.

"Those who know of any private showers in high school principals' offices, please report to my office tomorrowm" Kendall said. "And my Jaguar is really a Mazda."

He said that since 1987 the total instructional budget has grown to 12.6 percent and the administrative budget by 11.59 percent.

He said salaries for teachers have risen 9.8 percent while salaries for administrators have risen 8 percent in the same two-year period. Benefits for teachers have grown by 22.3 percent while administrators' benefit growth was slightly less at 21.9 percent.

He said during the past two years there has been a 30 percent turnover rate in district office personnel. The district now has 105.5 positions.

He challenged anyone who believes that assistant school principals are not necessary to follow one around for a day.

Kendell reported that 76 percent of the district's $122 million general fund budget goes for instruction while the national average is near 67 percent.

Meanwhile, Davis School Board member Bob Thurgood is likely to be getting a lot of mail.

"I challenge any teacher to give me a list of materials that they are required to have and they do not have," Thurgood said.

Davis Education Association President Kathie Bone said she was "sure the challenge will be accepted by teachers."

Thurgood criticized the teachers for poor timing in the walkout, which he said undermined efforts of the board to achieve a quality education.

"I was very disappointed in the professionals, or those that call themselves professional people, who walked out of the classroom and put children in liability or danger," Thurgood said.

He said school board members had received numerous calls from concerned parents unhappy that their children were forced to leave school early during the initial spontaneous Friday walkout.

Bone countered that she didn't believe that the safety of very many children was compromised. She had earlier said many teachers helped get students on to buses and some waited for parents to come pick up their children before leaving schools.

Thurgood's statements were the sharpest criticism from any Davis board member since the walkout began in the district Sept. 22. The board has generally kept its comments to low-key prepared statements that said the board sympathized with the teachers but could not support the walkout.

"I hate to see someone try to ruin the good that has been accomplished by the walkout," Bone said.