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Sportsmanship should be goal

October is sportsmanship month and, while it may not be widely recognized, it couldn’t have come at a better time, as sportsmanship in some corners of the Mother Lode athletic scene hits new lows.

Change needed at Columbia, John Pendley must go

It took nearly a year, but Columbia Elementary School District has finally addressed after-school aide Brennan Pendley’s arrest for sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old student on campus.

In a letter sent home with students Tuesday, Columbia officials say: “Everyone is now very well aware of the horrific crime committed in our After School Program … and the travesty perpetrated on one of our students. (We) cannot tell you … how sorry we are that one of our student’s safety was so severely compromised.”

Columbia School Board of Trustees should be replaced

    Shame on the Columbia Elementary School District Board of Trustees.
    In an increasingly common show of contempt for the good of students and constituents, trustees in a single hour-long meeting last Tuesday failed to address the biggest issue on campus — Superintendent John Pendley’s son sexually exploiting a student in a classroom —  and even approved a policy that will compromise the safety of students in the misguided belief the district can revise history to save face.
    Who exactly do these people represent?
    It’s not the community at large.

Columbia Superintendent John Pendley must resign

    Columbia Elementary Superintendent John Pendley is generously compensated — $166,000 a year — to make sound decisions, be a good steward of school district funds, respect open government and public access to school documents, and, most importantly, to create a safe learning environment for children.
    Over the last 20 months, he’s earned failing grades across the board. Through a series of deliberate missteps, he’s put the interests of his son before those of students, parents and the taxpaying public.

Editorial Comments for Aug. 5, 2011

Editorial Comments for July 1, 2011


Editorial Comments for June 17, 2011

Summerville denial of records disingenuous

    The Union Democrat has again been denied public records from a local school district.
    In this case, we have attempted to free the results of an “internal investigation” for the Summerville Union High School District. We’ve asked for its release under the state’s Public Records Act.
    The probe involved the Connections charter academy and its principal, Mike Gibson. Supposedly, it involves grades being changed by computer-hacking students or school administrators, PE requirements possibly being waived, and a bevy of other things — all subject to rumor and innuendo.
   Of course, at this rate, we may never really know the full truth.

Census data and a new blueprint for growth

Tuolumne County residents, Realtors and business owners have weathered some tough economic storms over the past three years. Some of the hardship is reflected in the latest release of 2010 census data.

While California grew by 10 percent — and the entire U.S. by 9.7 percent — Tuolumne County grew by just 1.6 percent over the last 10 years. After growing by 4 percent in 2000-2007, the loss of jobs in logging, timber mills, construction, government and retail and the accompanying relocation of young families — coupled with less “in-migration” of retirees from other California communities — all contributed to population declines over the past three years.

Columbia Elementary needs to stop stonewalling

    For years now, The Union Democrat’s coverage of Columbia Elementary School has been much like that of other local schools.
    We strive to report and recognize the talent, creativity and academic achievements of the students; the dedication and excellence of the teachers; and the on-going operational and budget challenges facing administrators and trustees.
    At Columbia, we’ve written about students’ academic achievements in math and algebra; the talent of the local school band; the skills students acquired in a recent stock market simulation class. A few weeks ago, we wrote about Columbia’s John Russel who was honored with Tuolumne County’s Career Achievement Award for Teachers. He has taught at Columbia for the past 32 years.

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