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home : opinions : opinions March 26, 2015

9/13/2012 5:00:00 PM
TIMES EDITORIAL: Take the reins Palo Verde Unified Board of Trustees

It's time for the Palo Verde Unified School District (PVUSD) Board of Trustees to take the reins and make a decision about Palo Verde Valley High School's principal, Bonita Bradshaw.

One would think the CIA was investigating the missing textbooks given the scarcity of information reaching the public, and the fact the Board of Trustees appears to have taken a vow of silence... though self-reflection doesn't seem to be a part of board members' penance.

They brought in the Blythe Police Department to investigate the matter. Officers determined that no criminal activity took place and closed the case without filing charges. Does the district not trust the police to do their job adequately? Apparently not, since the district is now conducting its own investigation.

Short of any crack detectives on staff, the district has instead brought in acting superintendent Bob Bilek and head maintenance man Marty Braden to search for clues and solve the crime. Unfortunately, if you're expecting an unbiased investigation, both Braden and Bilek appear to have as much involvement in the missing book scandal as does Bradshaw - at least as far as we've been able to deduce given that district officials have forced the public to rely on Facebook and Twitter rumors for information rather than share what they know with their constituents.

Two good questions would be: When did Palo Verde Unified become more qualified to handle an investigation than the trained professionals? And why is the board allowing two of the people who are involved in the incident to investigate the matter further while Bradshaw is on leave?

Many people have retold the missing textbook story many times and it is clear that four parties are involved: Bradshaw, Braden, Bilek, and the bookseller (who as of this writing remains unnamed... another secret school officials are keeping from the public.

The day the books disappeared, Bradshaw was on vacation and Braden was at the site and questioned the seller. At some point Bilek showed up and also spoke to the bookseller and to Bradshaw on her cell phone. They let the bookseller leave town with the books. When Bradshaw returned from vacation, she discovered that the bookseller removed more books than previously authorized.

The biggest question of all seems to be, if the bookseller left with the wrong books and it's a legitimate company that does business with school districts everywhere, why don't they just return the books and pick up the right ones?

Why can't the public get an easy answer from the district and board to this most reasonable inquiry?

Instead the district has ordered new books and the price to replace them has been quoted as being anywhere from $70,000 to more than $100,000 - the district, apparently, unable to figure out an exact number. Its spin on the matter is that the books have been ordered and they continue to arrive daily.

Gee, does anybody still wonder why this is a cash-strapped district?

The textbook drama has been running too long and like the reality television shows that dominate the airwaves to the point of nausea, it's time to pull the plug on this mess and make a decision.

The high school is suffering because of the unknown. Fights between students are erupting almost daily, placing other students and staff in unsafe situations. Teachers at the high school, especially, do not believe the district supports them.

Taxpayers shouldn't let the district sweep this situation under the rug any longer. Taxpayers have a right to know how much they got ripped off on this bad book deal and what's being done to correct the situation. Board of Trustees, get on the horse, grab the reins and take control of the district - or hand the reins to someone unafraid of making a decision.

The position expressed is that of the Palo Verde Valley Times.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: concerned parent

Awaiting Ms Bradshaw's return. Her presence is greatly missed. Should never have been placed on a leave this long. Next meeting, keep your word give the public an update on this so call investigation. It would be nice if you "allow" Ms Bradshaw to speak at the next meeting. I would be ever so grateful..

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: concerned parent

@james Eubanks, if they would let Ms. Bradshaw speak @ the board meetings, you would probably get all of your questions answered. They silenced her when they pulled her and placed her on paid leave. Bilek should be placed on leave as well, he allowed the buyer to retrieve the books, so obviously he didn't see a problem, am I right people?? Help me out here. He stated in a previous article, Ms Bradshaw didn't follow protocol. Did he follow protocol when he allowed the buyer to obtain the books? If he didn't he should be placed on leave ASAP!!!!

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Kilgore

If this incident required someone be put on administrative leave, it should be the Superintendent. He is the District's decision maker. He was at the site during the removal of the brand new textbooks. If there was doubt,he could have put the transaction on hold. As for Marty Braden, he takes his direction from the Superintendent. This is not Mr. Bilek's first big "egg on the face" decision, but in the end, it was his decision. That's why he makes the big bucks.

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: Bart Schlehuber

This district lacks leadership. Leadership comes from dedication, integrity and discipline. Teachers students and a community will follow a leader. We have a leader in our family and we follow her. She inherited her leadership traits form some of the Greatest Americans that this America has ever known. I am proud of my wife Lisa Schlehuber and I am sickened to my very core by these exact people that used their elected positions of authority to have Lisa exiled from Blythe California. Together, Lisa and I have raised our Sons and invested a generation into this community. We are not leaving get used to it!

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: Chris Peltack, Sr.

After getting my first teaching job in Blythe (for which I am eternally grateful- thanks, town!), I quickly saw the handwriting on the wall (deleted) and planned my escape Folks, you need to see that you have a deep-seated, systemic problem in Blythe. As part of my Master's program, I offered some ideas in anticipation of some issues and was summarily dismissed by a sedentary, calcified school board member, without consideration. I believe in local control of a school system, but not hegemony over families! I tried for a vice-principal's spot in town and wasn't getting far with the incestuous, nepotistic leadership then in place, when I thought better and realized there was too much quid pro quo in some circles and that was a game I didn't want to play. My daughter recently achieved her teaching credential, and I begged her to apply anywhere else! I love the town and the people, but until you clean house and start over, anyone worth their salt is not going to put up with this junk. You do have some "shining lights" still in Blythe education- I hope you recognize and rescue them before they decide they're on a sinking ship, too. After all, how many Ted Arnesons and Mike Gilmores can a town as small as Blythe have?

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: (Deleted) Parent

From what I have heard, Bilek knew about the book buyer long before the books were even picked up. He even ok-ed it in front of witnesses at a meeting. This is not on Ms. Bradshaw. It is all on Bilek. Also, why does Braden have "4" Assistants???? Does he need that much help to do his job?

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: James Eubanks

The criminal investigation may not have revealed criminal intent that would hold up in court it certainly exposes gross negligence. Bilek's focus is obviously on Mrs Bradshaw.

Who did Ms. Bradshaw brief on the textbooks before she left on vacation? Obviously it wasn't Bilek or Braden.

PVVT is correct, why not name the book dealer and why have the books not been returned? Has money changed hands? Perhaps there was no book dealer and the whole caper was a scam.

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: On the inside Waiting for help

Ponder this (I hope it does not get deleted). 1. Put Bradshaw back to work (she's paid her dues) 2. Put Bilek back in personel. 3. Make Butler acting super. 4. Put Braden on leave until a proper investagation can be done. Butler already has at least 1 assistant and Braden has 4. Sounds like a win win to me. Wadda ya think bloggers.

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: Freedom of Press

@pvvt butt out: Where did you get that hair-brained idea? Journalist articles are "supposed to be" bias-proof. What do you think an OpEd page is for, for crying out loud? Has Obama sneaked through yet another Executive order denying the right of a newspaper to have an opinion? Take a look at all the papers that demonstrate their left wing opinions! Get real. Atta way, Palo Verde Valley Times! Keep up the good job! More coming????

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Article comment by: Jon Yossarian

Dear PVVT,
Perhaps the reason the local school board is so reluctant to talk, and take hold of the reins, is because three of the current board members and the acting superintendent all attend the same church. One has to wonder as to how many district related decisions are made in the sanctuary of a church on Sunday, rather than in the boardroom of the local public school district. It appears that this board and the district level administration think they have the right to do anything they feel the community can't stop them from doing.

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: @ pvvt butt out

Pvvt - aren't your readers parents, school employees, district employees and board members? Newspapers are supposed to be neutral..... Yea you can have an editorial opinion - but here's what u miss - every time u criticize anybody - u are really dividing your readers with your opinion rather than educating with neutral facts. Every time president Obama opens his mouth - he is talking to only half of his constituency the other half are being insulted. Same with pvvt.

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: Not a good track record

A old Superintendent, a head nurse and now a Principal on front page. How much more can PVUSD take? When do the students have time to learn when nothing but term oil! The students are the reason everyone is there right?

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: Thanks for Printing article PVVT

Wow, thats alot of money!
Shouldnt someone get the State Board of Education involved? Who protects the students from not getting what they need? Who protects the taxpayers rights on where the money goes? Infact it does come from the taxpayers right? Someone needs to get punished for all this and a PVUSD should not be the ones investigating. Its called conflict of interest.

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: Upset & very disappointed

The taxpayers are the ones who should be asking questions for sure.
Hello folks truthfully If the State of California wasnt in so much trouble Im sure The State would have already taken over the PVUSD. Just on test scores alone. Face it its going down the drain and fast! It doesnt look good at all. Here our District is in the red and now this wasted money again? Thank you PVVT for article the public needs to know it.

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: @waiting for help too

Your post seems to be the most informed of all. I think every board member should read it. Here is what I get. 1 Braden confronted the book guy. 2 Bilek & Braadshaw (on vacation) got involved. Bilek let the books go. 4 Bilek & Braden both walked away and let the book guy load his truck unsupervised. (deleted)

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

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