Letter to the Editor: PASS picked brew house to draw parents

Editor:

Roger Barbee’s letter to the editor on Thursday denounces Parents’ Alliance for Strong Schools for holding a briefing on local education funding at the Woodstock Brew House.  As the president of that organization, I feel compelled to respond.

PASS exists to inform, organize and mobilize parents and other education supporters to advocate for our children’s education, and to give them a voice before local government and the media. Busy parents often lack time to follow local education policy; PASS is designed to help keep parents informed.

We wanted to hold a briefing in which parents and others could learn more about education funding in Shenandoah County, but we know that, after a long day of work or parenting, the idea of sitting and listening to numbers might sound unappealing to many parents. Previous public meetings on school budgets have been lightly attended at best. So yes, we picked a location that might seem a little unconventional in the hope that more parents might attend. Of course, no tax dollars are involved – PASS is privately funded.

When I asked Dr. Jeremy Raley if he was OK with the location, he said “as long as everyone knows I’ll be drinking a Diet Coke.”   We know that lots of attendees won’t want a beer. We will have plenty of soft drinks and snacks. Mr. Barbee also takes a gratuitous shot at my wife, his 2015 opponent for School Board. Cyndy hasn’t been on the PASS board in a long time. She won’t attend, not because she sees anything wrong with it, but because she is well-briefed on the budget, and because her School Board duties keep her away from our kids a lot of nights as it is.

Mr. Barbee wonders what message this sends to our children. Hopefully it tells them that we care enough to learn about public policy affecting their education. That doesn’t square with everyone’s agenda, so we aren’t surprised that some people would say nasty and petty things about adults possibly having a beer. But if it helps local education, it’s worth it.

Dan Walsh, Edinburg

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