To the Editor: Free the 268! (We’re still waiting.)


Dear Board Members:

I remain concerned that [School Superintendent] Pam Moran continues to withhold 268 e-mails that could reveal more clearly her communications and relationship with Pearson, the publishing giant. Some of her dealings with this vendor, especially the SchoolNet debacle, are now public record, but many important questions remain unanswered.

Locally, The Hook first introduced the public to Moran’s interactions with Pearson and recent New York Times articles have further documented Pearson’s unscrupulous strategies to extend their corporate interests.

My questions are fundamental: Why does she refuse to cooperate with a Freedom of Information Act request and withhold such a very large number of e-mails? I do not believe this is her prerogative or privilege, and I also feel strongly that the superintendent is obligated to be truthful and make a full disclosure to the taxpaying public. Do you not consider it your responsibility to expect and insist that she be forthright and provide these communications? If not, why not?

Unfortunately, there is a distinct element of impropriety in both her noncompliance and relationship with Pearson, and I am disappointed and cannot fathom why board members have become complicit in this ongoing and avoidable mess. I thought board members were supposed to represent the public and ask thoughtful, insightful, and direct questions of the superintendent. The public has a right and deserves to know the truth, and your role is simple yet vital: Please insist that these 268 e-mails be released so that we can draw our own conclusions.

Bill Guerrant

Wind Turbine Math

According to an article in the Crozet Gazette, Henley Middle School installed a wind turbine to produce electricity.  The January 2012 article said it was funded with $211,000 from the Dept. of Mines, $40,000 from the Henley community and $35,000 from County School funds.  That means it cost approximately $286,000. It has a life span of 20 years, so that means its capital cost-per-year amounts to about $14,300, discounting any scrap value at the end of 20 years. The article says the school can expect to save “hundreds of dollars per year.”  That seems to me to quite absurd.  I think there are many financial institutions in the US, even in this present economy which could give a better return on $286,000 than the “hundreds of dollars per year” and still have the principal sum in hand at the end of 20 years.  Did anybody do the math of working out whether this was a reasonable return on money invested?  If it was correctly reported in the Crozet Gazette, it appears to me to be a huge waste of funds, whoever contributed them.

Ian D. Henry