Open Letter to the Garden Valley School District
To the parents, patrons, faculty and staff of the Garden Valley School District, and readers of the Garden Valley Daily News, you are undoubtedly aware of the continued and ongoing controversy involving the school district, Board of Trustees, and Superintendent of the District. This controversy has been distracting, hurtful to many, and expensive. It must stop.
For the last six months our school district has been in the process of investigating numerous complaints filed against Dr. Tomlin as district superintendent. These complaints were filed by David and Kathleen Gardner. The complaints, ranging over nearly 20 months, charged Superintendent Tomlin with harassment, intimidation, retaliation, violation of district policy and violations of Idaho Code.
Months ago, Superintendent Tomlin met with the Gardners, attempting to resolve these issues and their concerns, providing them with copies of district policy, Idaho Code, email communications and other documents that should have set their concerns to rest. The Gardners insisted on a hearing with the Board of Trustees.
That hearing has been held, and David and Kathleen Gardner presented their charges. The Board of Trustees has now completed its investigation and on May 10, 2011, they signed and sent a 16 page letter to the parties involved. To the complaints against Superintendent Tomlin, the Board “did not and could not find merit” in any of them. It was the finding of the Board that his actions as Superintendent were “legally appropriate as well as best business practices.” And “With due respect to the Gardners, this situation appears to be nothing more than someone looking to make a problem where there is no factual basis for such.”
It is regrettable that so many months of gossip, innuendo, newspaper and television reports, and disruption of the school district and community have taken place. It is regrettable that many thousands of dollars were spent to investigate ridiculous and unfounded charges. And the Board writes the “…wrongfully damaging and wrongfully destroying…” of Dr. Tomlin’s “profession, character, and job status” is “truly unfortunate.”
We ask any patron intent on going down this road next respectfully to reconsider. The emotional cost to our community is incalculable, and the dollar cost comes right out of the supplies and wages of those who teach our children. Please support our school district, don’t tear it down. Thank you.
Supporters of the Garden Valley School District
Superintendent Tomlin responded to the findings of the board:
"I am gratified to be cleared, and I appreciate the Board's hard work through the hearing process and all, resulting in this decision. I regret very much the community turmoil these people caused. I am angry about the unfounded and in fact stupid accusations, and I am angrier still about the $4,000 in legal fees they forced the Board to spend on the process. I believe the Gardners should pay every penny back to the district."