November 16, 2015
Superintendent McKell Withers
Board President Heather Bennett
We, the undersigned, join with leaders of various cultural and ethnically diverse groups who have come together to voice their concern over the recent reorganization plan which was announced by Superintendent McKell Withers and the Salt Lake City School Board.
Several members of this group attended the school board meeting held November 3 to express their concerns. Presentations made by Josie Valdez, former vice-chair of the Utah State Democratic Party, Stanley Ellington, community activist, and Dr. Paula Smith, professor at the University of Utah, expressed the following concerns:
- Superintendent McKell has overstepped his authority and has not followed regulations outlined in State law.
- The board has failed to follow the procedures outlined in the Salt Lake City School Board Handbook.
- The reorganization plan has marginalized and demoted the Equity Department in the re-organization resulting in an all ALL-WHITE administration.
- These WHITE administrators were appointed. The group demanded competitive hiring practices be followed to allow for qualified minorities to apply for consideration.
- The group demanded that the reorganization not be allowed to proceed until laws are followed, rules and procedures are observed and ethnic minority personnel be allowed to apply for positions within the administration.
We, the undersigned, join in the concerned that 57% of the student population in the district come from ethnically diverse families, yet there will be no representation from these communities in your administration.
Salt Lake City continues to grow as an ethnically and culturally diverse city and we must ensure the administration of the Salt Lake City School Board reflects the population which it serves.
With utmost respect,
Jeanetta Williams, President, NAACP Salt Lake Chapter
Archie Archuleta, Former Chair, Utah Council of la Raza (UCLR)
Senator Luz Escamilla
Representative Mark Archuleta Wheatley
Becky Moss, Chair, Utah Stonewall Democrats
Jorge Robles, Community Activist, candidate for school board
Dr. Karen Kwan, Asso. Professor, Salt Lake Community College
Diego Cordova, Frank Cordova Foundation
OCA, Utah Asian Pacific American Advocates