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Op Ed: An Open Letter to the New Lodi School District Administrator

This article contains opinions and/or editorial content
Vincent BreunigVincent,
In September of 2019, I invited the four principals to hear about a new newspaper in town: the Lodi Valley Chronicle. On September 30th, we all sat down in the district office–along with Chuck Pursell, who was not included in the invitation.
All four principals expressed interest in working with the Chronicle as an additional way to inform district residents about what’s happening.
With a teacher, you didn’t.
On September 30th, I received an e-mail from Charles Pursell speaking for all of you.  He said:
Sorry, I was supposed to correspond with you on behalf of the administration and let you know we will be sending information your way along with the Enterprise.
But you didn’t.
I offered every every principal their own column to speak to the Lodi Valley about anything they want.
But you didn’t
I contacted the faculty member who teaches journalism at the high school and offered columns to students who wanted more experience–especially those who would be willing to cover sports, forensics, academic competitions, and the performing arts.  She said she had to talk to you.
Silence.
At the public forum for District Administrator candidates you said that you are open to working with the press.
But you haven’t.
At the Optimists’ forum for the Town of Lodi board candidates, you mentioned that LHS is putting on the play Harvey this weekend.  That’s not listed on the district list of events. It’s not listed on the webpage for the spring play.
And nobody informed the Chronicle.  Which is really too bad. Because I have a degree in theatre and could have done a great series of articles on all that goes into a production–not just the actors on the stage, but all those “behind the scenes” (literally) who make it happen.  I also work at ETC, and could have highlighted the amazing donation of time, skills, and knowledge by Lodi residents who work there.
But…. Silence.
As a journalist, I try my best to report the news without bias.
As a private citizen with a podium, however, it’s no secret that I’m critical of the administration of the Lodi School District. I’m far from the only one.
You could have had hundreds of articles written about your faculty, your staff, and your students–many of them by your faculty, your staff, and your students.  You failed to do so.

Tablula Rasa

You’ve been given a clean slate. As of July 1st, you make the decisions. The invitation I extended 6 months ago remains open–as does the “cost”.
  • Stand by your word and provide the Chronicle–and every news source–with transparency and active engagement.
  • Talk to the entire community–not just parents who get e-mails through Infinite Campus.
  • Announce every significant decision you make and explain why.  Be prepared to defend those decisions publicly.
  • Announce every event (not just sports–Lodi excels in many other areas).  Invite journalists (including students) to write about every event, and to do in-depth articles where applicable.
  • Not only allow, but encourage, students to submit articles, columns, and photos to the Chronicle, the Enterprise, the Isthmus, the Capital Times, or any other publication.  Give them class credit for the work they’re doing outside of the classroom.
On my part, I am announcing creation of the Lodi Valley Chronicle “Cub Cadet Corps“.
I will work to develop a network of mentors from local professionals and skilled amateurs to provide insight and advice to any students interested in any aspect of journalism.
In addition, I will be reaching out to community businesses1Local individuals are also welcome to participate to build a fund that will pay student contributors for their efforts.
Real world experience, expert mentoring, published content, and pin money.
The ball’s in your court.  Everyone’s listening.  What do you say?

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Local individuals are also welcome to participate

One Comment

  1. merwinmiller merwinmiller March 9, 2020

    Good article! Good story, the school board, not unlike the city council, would just as soon leave everyone in the dark, so a few people can do what they want without questions.

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