By Eileen Truitt
August 19, 2008
In response to the numerous letters Ms. Svenson has written over
the past several months harassing the Kanayama Board Members,
I wish to clarify some of the misleading information she has
been disseminating to the public. First off, there was never
a question of her daughter not being smart, or not popular, or
any of the other accusations made against others and myself.
This is not an individual travel program it is a group program.
Students are required to work with the group to build relationships
here to make travel successful. The reason Ms. Svenson s daughter
was dropped from the program was because she did not quite honestly
participate with the group in numerous activities.
In regards to the appeal process, there were numerous attempts
by the board to inform the student as to what was expected of
her. There was no change until the official drop had been made
a month later. The families attended at least three board meetings
to appeal and were told several times as to what was expected
if their daughter were to continue in the exchange program.
Ms. Svenson has numerous times referred to the monies involved
in the process and how she lost her contribution. She was refunded
all her monies that she put into the program. The fundraising
efforts however are not refunded to an individual person as the
monies were raised to support the program. Ms. Svenson neglected
to mention that the $72,000 raised this past year also included
the $36,000 paid by families as their part of the travel. This
money paid for part of the airfare, the rest came out of the
remaining monies that were fundraised for travel expenses while
in Japan. I realize that she says that a grand of total of $139,000
was extracted from the community this past year; she does not
have her numbers correct. This past year there were 4 chaperones
and 19 students that traveled. Personal contributions of $34,000
were paid total fundraising was $38,000. Other monies she is
counting are the monies that were paid by the Borough and School
District covered the salary for teacher to Kanayama. In exchange
for this the school district has the benefit of a teacher from
Kanayama and can offer Japanese as a foreign language at the
middle school level. Please note that the salary paid is almost
half of what the starting salary is for a new teacher here in
School Board members are not required to be on the board. Ginny
Clay was a Kanayama Board member before she was on the school
board. She, as many others of us joined the board after our children
were involved in the program.
In regards to the "secret" meeting, the minutes reflect
that the meeting was a "special" meeting, as it was
not held at our regular meeting time. Yes Mr. Boyle was present;
she commented that Mr. Boyle then left the meeting,, that was
because he had another commitment to get to.
And as for revising the student applications, these are reviewed
EVERY year and revised as needed. Ms. Svenson makes no mention
of the numerous hours of volunteer time that the board puts into
this program for what she calls a paltry trip to Japan.
Kanayama Board Member and Past Chaperone
Received August 19, 2008 -
Published August 19, 2008
By Kathleen Svenson
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