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Posts tagged: Tom Hamilton

Hamilton: Putting An End To Bullyism

Trustee Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board gave a speech RE: bullies to the Kootenai County Republican Women's luncheon and received a standing ovation yesterday:

Knowing (bully expert Stephen Wessler's) background and focus, I will admit that I was a skeptic. I assumed that he would come in speaking of human rights and tolerance, boiling our problem down to intolerant kids with intolerant parents. However, he addressed our Board Monday night and he moved me. I doubt there is much that Steve and I would agree on politically, religiously or maybe philosophically. I don't know that for certain because Steve refuses to address it. It simply doesn't matter. What is remarkable to me about what he said is that our bullying problem is not about beliefs but about behavior. He said that we don't have to agree on things where we can't find agreement, but we do have to learn to treat each other with dignity and respect. Sounds a lot like the “old” tolerance to me. That is when it struck me. Dignity and respect is what is missing from our conversation. More here. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)


Trustees Pass Anti-Union Resolution

Item: Cd'A board supports anti-union resolution: Right to work prohibits union membership as a job requirement/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: School trustees in Coeur d'Alene on Monday voted unanimously to, as a board, support the Idaho School Boards Association's efforts to lobby state lawmakers for legislation that would tighten Idaho's right to work statute in the state's schools. It was one of the last official acts of the board before June 30, when the terms of three trustees - Ann Seddon, Brent Regan and Jim Hightower - come to an end, and their seats are filled with three newly elected board members. “I was the one that asked to have this included in the agenda,” said Tom Hamilton, board chair. Hamilton said that in order for the Idaho School Boards Association to bring suggested legislation forward in Boise, the organization needs a sponsoring school board.

Question: Do you think this resolution would have passed if the new School Board was in place?

Poll: Hazel For School Board Chair

  • Weekend Poll: Trustee-elect Christa Hazel received 113 of 204 legitimate votes 55.4%)  from Hucks Nation, which wants to see her become the next Coeur d'Alene School Board chairwoman. Current Chairman Tom Hamilton was second, 37 of 204 (18.1%); Tom Hearn third w/34 of 204 (16.7%), Dave Eubanks fourth w/19 of 204 (9.3%) and Terri Seymour last with 1 of 204 votes (0.5%). Hazel had more than 60% of the vote Friday evening when someone hacked in 160-170 votes in a short period of time. I removed 160 votes.
  • Today's Poll: What do you want Councilman Mike Kennedy to do re: re-election plans?

Hamilton: Challenges Face Newbies

Board chair Tom Hamilton said he's not sure what to expect from the trustees-elect. Hamilton and Trustee Terri Seymour were elected in 2011 with the support of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and anti-International Baccalaureate activist Duncan Koler. By December 2012, three Republican activists, including Regan and Seddon, had been appointed to fill out the five-member board. Hearn, Eubanks and Hazel were supported by Balance North Idaho, a new political action committee that does not align itself with any one political party. “The business of the board goes on, and elections happen every four years,” Hamilton said. “I hope they take the time to educate themselves on the issues, to learn the depth and complexity of the issues rather than handling things the way they did during the campaign”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think hold-over Trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour are going to play well with the new trustees?

Hamilton: Shame On Sorensen Chair

On his Facebook page, Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton chastizes Sorensen Magnet School fund-raising Chairman Adam Graves for criticizing trustees in an Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed piece:

Mr. Graves, had you wished the Board to be in attendance, the most certain way to accomplish that would have been to formally invite the Board as you did with several District Administrators. Knowing that formal invitations (likely printed by your firm) were mailed to several District Administrators, the Board is left to assume that your failure to extend the same invitation to the Trustees could only be an act of omission, deliberate or otherwise. Could it be that an opportunity to slander the Board was your intent all along? If so, shame on you for creating a blight out of what should be viewed as a great success for Sorensen. If the lack of a formal invitation to the Board was indeed merely an oversight, then shame on you for publically chastising the Board for what was in fact, your failure as Chairman for the fundraiser. More here.

Question: Izzit just me, or would Chairman Hamilton and appointed Trustee Brent Regan have been better served simply by saying: “Oops. Sorry for missing the fund-raiser. Congratulations on your success”?

School Board Agenda Lacking Again?

The Coeur d'Alene School Board has another nebulous real estate transaction listed on their agenda for its monthly meeting in November, which begins at 5 p.m. Monday at the Midtown Center Meeting Room, 1505 N5th. At 8 p.m., the board is scheduled to discuss “Real Estate Transaction — Wendell Wardell — action: potential lease/purchase district office.” Once again, there is no notice regarding which specific piece of property will be discussed, a weak point that Chairman Tom Hamilton conceded in last month's agenda with regards to real estate transactions that involved sale of Person Field and 10 acres of School District property on the edge of the Northshire subdivision, off Atlas Road, including Coeur d'Alene's first dog park, Central Bark.  The public will need to attend the meeting to discover what property will be considered and action could be taken that evening.  That, or Hamilton is welcome to tell us about this one on Huckleberries. Coeur d'Alene School Board agenda here.

Chairman Tom Hamilton responds: @DFO - Idaho Code 67-2345 (c) specifically allows for the Board to meet in Executive Session to discuss the acquisition (not the sale) of real property when it is not owned by a public agency. The reason should be obvious and that is to avoid a potential bidding war or other artificial inflation of the purchase price when it is disclosed that a public entity is interested in purchasing a property. See more in comments section.


Bubba: Hamilton Maturing Politically

Bubba32 (re: Purtee resigns from School Board for health reasons): I think the board will appoint Christa Hazel. Tom appreciates thoughtful, open dialogue, which Christa will provide. She is dedicated and well-versed in school board issues. It will also demonstrate that the board is committed to move beyond mere ideology and have a board that reflects its constituency. Over the course of his chairmanship Tom is politically maturing. He may be more open at this time to demonstrate that he is willing to work with people who do not see through his same lens, which will help the community reach a lasting compromise. I sense a growing quality of leadership in Tom Hamilton that is only just beginning to bud. For that reason, I will not cynically assume a RR will be appointed.

Question: What type of individual does the Coeur d'Alene School Board need to pick to fill the vacancy created by Purtee's resignation?

Hamilton: City Didn’t Ask For Time

Responding to Coeur d'Alene Press story reporting that Central Bark, the dog park in the Northshire subdivision area (Atlas & Nez Perce), is for sale along with adjacent Coeur d'Alene School District property, School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton commented:”

It should be noted that Superintendent Bauman, myself and Trustee Seddon all attended and spoke at the City Council meeting where Person Field was discussed. A number of representatives from the city were also there and although it was noted several times that the Northshire property was also be disposed of by the district, no one from the city spoke of any interest in that property. Mr. Wardell is exactly correct in his statement that had the City Council asked for time to consider Northshire (as they did with Person Field) the Board more than likely would have seen fit to honor that request.

Question: Should the School Board back off & give the city of Coeur d'Alene time to also purchase the 1.8 acres that contains the Central Bark dog park?

School Board To Hold Special Meeting

The Coeur d'Alene School Board has scheduled a special meeting at 3:30 p.m. today in the district office, 311 N10th, to discuss a “possible amendment to action taken (on Monday) regarding disposal of property.” As you know, the School Board voted 3-1 Monday to dispose its 3.8 acres at Person Field at 15th & Garden. On Tuesday, the Coeur d'Alene City Council unanimously instructed staff to work with the School District to purchase that property. The city owns an eastern portion of Person Field, consisting of the softball field, located on about 3 acres. CSB Chairman Tom Hamilton and Superintendent Hazel Bauman were at the meeting to assure the council that the board and district would work with the city to make the purchase possible. Also today, the School Board is expected to authorize the sale of general obligation bonds. (Coeur d'Alene School District photo: Trustee Chairman Tom Hamilton)

Question: Are you glad to see city and School Board seemingly working together to save Person Field as green space?

Hamilton: Willing To Work With City

Chairman Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board: I attended the council meeting tonight together with Trustee Seddon and Superintendent Bauman. In addressing the council, we made it clear that the district and the Board truly desire to keep Person Field as a green space / park for the local community but that the District should not be the steward of that park space any longer. I am happy to report that the council agreed and have directed city leadership to work with the district to find a way to transfer ownership of the parcel to the City where it rightfully should be. Mike’s statement that an exchange of property is the statutory requirement for a public entity to acquire property from another public entity is correct. The solution here is simple and I remain hopeful that this can come to fruition quickly. Tom Hamilton's full comment.

Question: Sounds like a good copromise to me. How about you?

Hamilton: Need Cash, Not Park

Chairman Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board:

The fact that the mayor elected to not involve the council is certainly no fault of the Board. The Board also did not “lecture the city”…the Board and the Administration simply said “we need the cash more than the property and we hope the city will find a way to keep this as green space”. The city has always said they wanted to purchase the park when the district no longer could keep it…so find a way to make that happen Mike. The city, not the district, should be in the park business don’t you think? The city was offered an opportunity not an ultimatum. The School District’s facility use policy was out dated and meant that most of the time facilities were being rented at a loss. That’s not good practice, so the fee schedule was modernized. That’s not “punishing” anyone, that’s good fiscal responsibility.

DFO: The School Board must do everything it can to work with the city of Coeur d'Alene to preserve Person Field as a green space. Should this under-utilized park in the middle of an old part of town be lost to development this current School Board will shoulder the blame for decades for rushing the process in order to meet some bottom-line goal. Green space is too valuable and important to sacrifice in the name of someone's business model — or to save a few dollars. My 2 cents.


Press: Resist Recall Itch

Recall the recent recall effort? That one, aimed at Coeur d'Alene city leadership, ultimately failed but lessons were learned along the way. The most important lesson learned was this: Recalls are divisive legal alternatives that rip open feelings and render cooperation much more difficult for people on both sides of the issue. A secondary lesson is that recalls are instruments that should replace normal elections under only the most dire circumstances. We do not believe the recall effort against Coeur d'Alene City Council members warranted that level of political warfare earlier this year, and we do not believe a recall effort against Coeur d'Alene School Board members is warranted now. While there has been no formal announcement of a recall attempt against the school board, a number of citizens have contacted the newspaper offering that suggestion. We know it's being discussed and debated - around the coffee table if not in front of the schools' trustees/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Would you support a recall against the Coeur d'Alene School Board?

Chairman Explains School Switch

Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton addresses possible problems at Hayden Meadows:

Secondly, while I would say that most of the staff at Hayden Meadows are excellent at what they do and have been a blessing to my children personally, I stand by my wife’s description of a “poisonous element” at that school. That element is small, but the impact they have had on us as a family is significant. One member of the staff at HM is on record in the CDA Press referring to schools in our district that don’t have PYP as “mediocre” and parents such as my wife and I who oppose PYP as part of a “subculture” similar to the “KKK and the Aryan Nations”. Similar views and other more hurtful statements have been expressed to other people that we know, but since those are 3rd party to me, I won’t repeat them here. However, the quotes I reference above are in print and can easily be verified if one cares to look. More here.


Mrs. Hamilton’s Testimony

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Mrs. Hamilton’s testimony to CdA School Board

On Tuesday, Katie Hamilton, wife of Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton, testified (hear audio above) that her family moved a child from Hayden Meadows to another school, as a result of problems with pro-PYP staff members. Mrs. Hamilton's allegations of possible harassment of a child by school staff members as a result of her husband's position against PYP is unsettling. If true. Maybe the matter should be reviewed by an independent source, to put the matter to rest. School children shouldn't be harassed as a result of a parent's stand on a controversial issue. Nor should the reputation of school staffers be damaged by a baseless accusation. What do you think?

Mrs. Hamilton Blasts School Staffers

I just listened to the public testimony of Katie Hamilton, wife of Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton, from last night. During the testimony, she said that one of her two children had been slandered by the pro-PYP elements at Hayden Meadows School as a result of her husband's stand on the issue, prompting the Hamiltons to transfer a child to Dalton Elementary. She also called for administrators to address the “poisonous” pro-PYP staff members at Hayden Meadows School. As a private citizen, Katie Hamilton has a right to her opinion. Her husband certainly doesn't have to apologize for her statement at a public hearing attacking Hayden Meadows staff members, including one teacher whom Mrs. Hamilton said she'd had one or two run-ins with. However, her husband, as chairman of the Coeur d'Alene School Board, should let his constituents know if his wife's views of Hayden Meadows School and the staff reflect his.

Question: Should Chairman Tom Hamilton have recused himself from this vote, given his emotional involvement in this matter?

Trustees Sign Online Anti-IB Petition

It appears that Coeur d'Alene School Board Chairman Tom Hamilton and Trustee Terri Seymour signed an online petition against the International Baccalaureate program on Aug. 8 of this year, only days before voting to phase the program out of Coeur d'Alene schools. The anti-IB petition has been circulating for years. The petition and its wording, with addendum, can be found here. Hamilton and Seymour were part of a unanimous 4-0 vote Aug. 13 to phase out the IB program at Lake City High. The two could vote tonight to end the elementary school equivalent of the IB program, Primary Years Programme, at Hayden Meadows. The addendum of the online petition states, ”

We, the undersigned, request Federal legislation to prohibit the expenditure of U.S. taxdollars (income and/or property taxes)on UNESCO and any of its affiliates, in particular, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) and IB's programs as they pertain to U.S. public schools. We believe that IB programs are unduly expensive, foster anti-American sentiment and seek to indoctrinate American youth in order to devalue their American citizenship and undermine our sovereignty as a nation in favor of global citizenry. Public schools should be apolitical. 

  • On signature page 2, #68 & 69 is signed by Aileen and Duncan Koler on May 24, 2010
  • On Page 20: #992 Brent Regan, and #994 Tom Hamilton signed on Aug. 8, 2012
  • On Page 21: #1007 Terri Seymour signed on Aug. 8, 2012
  • Local Anti-tax activist Sharon Culbreth signed at #1019.  Her post included the following comment: “This is America, we do not need socialism and $ sent to other countries. We need to educate our children, improvement yes, not socialism.


Press To Trustees: Go Slow On PYP

In its Sunday editorial, the Coeur d'Alene Press cautions the Coeur d'Alene School Board not to let personal agendas get in the way of overall good during discussions and vote on the Primary Years Programme at Hayden Meadows:

Alas, unlike IB's final days, the executioner's mask has come off with PYP and the real motives have been exposed. School board Chairman Tom Hamilton (pictured) is on the record as saying that one of the chief reasons he disapproves of PYP is because he believes it does not reflect the values he and his family hold dear. While we certainly respect that viewpoint and would understand if Tom sent his children elsewhere, we believe such a pronouncement from the head of the school board ensures that he will not give the matter fair consideration. We also wonder if his judgment has colored the objectivity of other board members, only one of whom has been on the board for more than a few months. Before another lynch mob assembles, further study of PYP at Hayden Meadows is essential. It should start with the hundreds of parents who are happy with the product. Perhaps it should even end there.

Question: How can Chairman Tom Hamilton and the largely appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board ease constituent fears that they are dealing with PYP issue fairly?

Tom Hamilton: My Turn

The Board of Trustees for the Coeur d'Alene School District has directed the Superintendent to run a $32.7 million school bond on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to provide major renovations to five of our most aging schools as well as security and technology upgrades across our district.

Supporting this bond was not an easy decision for me to come to but I can tell you in all truthfulness that I do, in fact, support it.

To understand the need, you have to understand the funding that is provided to the district and simply put, there is no money provided by the state for significant capital improvements or building projects. The logic behind this, as I understand it, is that if a community needs a new school or desires to improve the schools they have, the funding for those items should come from that community. Both sides of that argument are persuasive but regardless of which side you would choose, the reality is that the state does not provide funding so we as a community have to find it.Tom Hamilton, CdA Press, Read more. 

Are you surprised that Hamilton backs the bond?

Tom: Wholeheartedly Support Bond

Chairman Tom Hamilton of the Coeur d'Alene School Board: One of the reasons I ran for the trustee position was that I felt that previous boards had not been judicious stewards of the taxpayers dollars. One of the more glaring examples of this was the mismanagement of the funds designated for Lakes Middle School in a previous bond package. Since that time, policy has changed to require more reporting to and oversight by the Board, more transparency with the public and most importantly, specifically prohibit “borrowing forward” (among other things) which was the issue that creating the problem with Lakes Middle School. A year ago I would have been very skeptical of this bond (which is the statement I made to this reporter). I’ve spent the last year trying to learn as much as I can about how the district functions, what the true needs are, where money can be saved, etc. Truthfully, the view does look different from the inside and I do wholeheartedly support this bond.

DFO: I'm very encouraged by this statement from Tom in the HucksOnline comments section, as well as his support for Superintendent Hazel Bauman and CSD finance director Wendell Wardell. BTW, I'm also hearing that Trustee Ann Seddon may be setting up a tour for Republican leaders of dilapidated school buildings tomorrow. This is the kind of leadership from the new trustees that will win community support.

Question: Do you support the $32.7M Coeur d'Alene school bond?

Early Trustee Decisions Worry Some

Illustration of Coeur d'Alene School Board (from left, Terri Seymour, Ann Seddon, Tom Hamilton and James Purtee) by Pacific Northwest Inlander.

In the Inlander, Daniel Walters reports on the Coeur d'Alene School Board: It took an election, three resignations and a lawsuit. But now, after a little more than a year, the Coeur d’Alene school board has all new members. And to some observers, the changes have brought about a notable ideological shift. Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin says there’s at least a perception of a shift rightward, while the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans praise the board’s new fiscal conservativism. Amid the controversy, the fledgling school board has a challenge: Pass a school bond while assuring Coeur d’Alene its focus is on education âeuro;” not politics. “The teachers remain concerned about what this board’s going to do. We need to allow some time to pass,” board president Tom Hamilton says. “We’re not crazy, we’re not radical, we’re not out to shut down public education.” “I’ll be blunt,” Hamilton says about his first year on the school board, “We’d appreciate being able to put a lot of it behind us.” More here.

Question (for Chairman Tom Hamilton): Who say you support the $32.7M bond to fix local elementaries & Canfield MS. But you wouldn't support it if the old board was still running things. Can you explain what you mean?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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