Letters to the Editor: May 8, 2013

Staff Writer
Morton Times-News

Ag disappearing at Morton schools

There is an opening for a science position at Morton Jr. High School for a science teacher.

I am assuming this is for the position that Gary Kutkat has held for the last some 45 years.

Gary is no longer at Morton Jr. High School since spring break this year. He is listed as one of the retirees from Morton District 709.

I have tried to contact Gary and have not been successful yet.

I have asked and many people have asked in the last several years that at least an opening in any science department in any district junior or senior high school be listed as having an interest in agriculture also.

We basically no longer have an agriculture department at Morton High School. There is still a Biological Sciences Application in Agriculture class taught by Mark Cox for the last three years.

After this year, we will no longer be allowed to have a recognized FFA chapter due to the fact that we no longer have a certified agriculture teacher.

This year is the last of the students that were under a certified agriculture teacher (Quent Ackerman) as a freshman. Those are now seniors and the program will end with them.

I would like to know how the band or orchestra or any other “elective” course could survive when their full teaching staff has been eliminated.

I may suggest the program would be in some kind of decline. And then we are told that there is no longer any student interest for agriculture.

We have been told by ag. experts from Illinois colleges and universities at a public board meeting that there is no problem for the agriculture graduates to have a great job waiting for them when they graduate.

Are our counselors suggesting areas of opportunity in agriculture to students?

 I would like to see statistics of how Morton H. S. graduates fare in searching for jobs. We are continually told how in “Morton” everyone is expected to go to college. That is great.

I want information on the percent of college graduates from Morton receiving a job in their field of endeavor while in college.

What I am saying is that there are opportunities in agriculture that have a future and a hope for many.

How many liberal arts graduates do we need with no jobs waiting for them?

I know full well I am “stepping” on many toes by writing this letter. But I am also a resident in this district that fully cares what goes on here.

It is high time we have an openness in this district of how decisions are made and why some things happen the way they do.

I have been attending Morton District 709 board meetings for some 15-20 years. Only Tom Neeley can say that he has been to more meetings than I.

I do not pretend that I need to know about more about “personnel” issues than I do.

We are working toward more “openness” in information of this public body.

We now have district board members email addresses on the website, we now have podcasts and even “live” broadcasts coming for board meetings.

We have attachments to board agendas that explain some of the topics being discussed at board meetings.

The minutes of board meetings are so summarized that many times one cannot tell what actually was talked about at a board meeting.

I have told this to members and administration several times.

Maybe in the future we can have more community members involved with open board meetings.

Thank you and I hope you can be involved in the future of education at Morton district 709.

David King

Morton, Ill.