Letters to the Editor for Feb. 7, 2012

timestamp icon
category icon Opinion

Keep school fees and fines process simple

I read the article by Danielle Frost in the Tuesday, Jan. 31 edition with some interest. While not a resident of Washougal and not having children in any school district (retired) I believe that the board, superintendent, and business manager are over thinking the collection system.

First thing to make clear is that if the system of fees and fines is an established policy then the officials need not be concerned with justifying a collection process. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that funds are collected. Board member Rubino cannot use the excuse of not receiving a reminder letter to avoid paying up until forced to pay by needing transcripts.

Board member Dinius should not be worried about teachers being challenged to be part of the collection process. A teacher is either the originator of the fine or fee or should be part of the communication process i.e. sending notes home with the students. Besides $60,000 is a fair amount of money to provide extras to the curriculum.

Perhaps my greatest concern is with Business Manager Lassman’s statement regarding invoicing and collection. From my perspective of being a financial manager for over 40 years, the suggestion of a new department and staff position is ludicrous. Again, I have the same reaction with Superintendent Tarzian’s concerns of balancing values and costs. I appreciate cost control but basic financial controls can mitigate her concerns.

The $60,000 potential amount of the uncollected fees and fines is worth a simple project to solve. I believe that every district employee has a vested interest in ensuring that the system is properly managed. To this end they need to be part of the process. On the other hand this is not an amount of money that supports a sophisticated system.

Perhaps a simpler solution is to use basic word processing programs and, spreadsheets to track the amounts due and create notes to parents of amounts due. Send a note home explaining that the school is implementing a new collection process that will include having as note sent home with the students showing the fees and fines due. Parents should be expected to pay based on the notes sent home. Superintendent Dawn, let kids explain to their parents why they are being charged. Asking parents to be involved in the collection process is to put the fox in the hen house.

Keep it simple and get it right.

Mark E Swenson, Camas

Happy with new newspaper size

Just wanted you to know — and especially the publisher who believed no one would actually send in a comment on the new size of the newspaper — that I like the new size of the Post-Record. It’s a bit easier to maneuver while reading and I’m appreciative of the paper it saves in printing. Good decision! And I’ll continue to enjoy reading the local news.

Madeline Lyne, Camas

People are hungry year-round

On Dec. 3, residents once again opened their hearts and wallets for the annual Walk & Knock food drive, donating approximately 154 tons of food and $20,000 in cash to the Clark County Food Bank.

But feeding the hungry is a year-round project. The Clark County Food Bank depends on the ongoing generosity and civic spirit of citizens to keep the shelves stocked at the 27 local food-distribution agencies.

One way to help us meet this need in Camas-Washougal and countywide, while enjoying an afternoon of delightful music is to attend a concert by The Trail Band ( at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Skyview High School in Vancouver. This is the same Trail Band that attracts big crowds to its annual Christmas concerts in Washougal.

The Salmon Creek Kiwanis, which is sponsoring the fund-raising event, is designating 100 percent of raffle proceeds at the concert to the Clark County Food Bank. Prizes include gift certificates to Beaches Restaurant and Fred Meyer, a collection of Misty River and Misty Mamas CDs and an original watercolor by Vancouver’s Bev Jozwiak.

Tickets are on sale at all Columbia Credit Union branches, local music stores including Beacock Music, 1420 S.E. 163rd Ave., Vancouver, and Attend the concert and buy raffle tickets. You and the food bank will be winners even if your number isn’t drawn.

Jim Youde, President

Clark County Food Bank

Steve Rusk, Business Administrator

The Salvation Army