Board reverses position
It is unbelievable that Hesperia School Board member Lee Rogers would blame the "massive amount of information she must digest in a limited period of time before making decisions" as her excuse for the incompetent voting by her and the other two new board members.

Why would she vote on any matter if she did not have all of the information? Thank God she is not on jury duty. Is this how she teaches class in the Victorville district? Hesperia residents need to sign the recall petition and rid the district of these incompetents.

Catherine Howl
Oak Hills

Defending ExCEL
I have been a teacher for 20 years, (12 in this district), and have been an ExCEL trainer for four years. I have been exceedingly proud to work for this district as for many years it has been innovative and forward thinking in education, with an excellent reputation in the State of California. The record of the Hesperia Institute for ExCEL needs to be clarified after having been vilified by Chris Bentley. I don't know where he gets his information about the "gross mismanagement" and the "fiasco" it has become, but he is gravely mistaken. Here are the facts:

The Institute has been highly successful financially since its first year of existence. Where most businesses and organizations dream of breaking even in their first year, the Institute was in the black from year one to date. Gross mismanagement? No, this was due to the hard work and astute business acumen of its director, Cara Bergen, one of the finest administrators this district has ever had.

Because of the financial success of the Institute, teachers and students reaped the benefits. Thousands of dollars in grants to HUSD teachers for use in the classroom and scholarships for HUDS seniors have been awarded. Incidentally, one of those grant recipients is a current school board member. At the end of the 2006/2007 school year the $34,000 in teacher grants and $5,000 in student scholarships was not awarded because Mr. Bentley alleged to the school board that the Institute was illegal as was illegal as was its executive board. The school board suspended the awarding of these monies based on these allegations pending legal consultation. On what evidence were the allegations based?

The Institute brought positive recognition and appreciation of HUSD from districts throughout California and Tennessee. The name Hesperia was touted by under-performing districts who found ExCEL to be the solution to problems with achievement, to schools already performing above 900 API but who needed a strategy to reach their entire student population and thus achieving even more. The names Hesperia, ExCEL, and the Institute were respected, admired, envied and highly sought after. Fiasco?

Rather than speaking to Cara Bergen and asking questions about things he had doubts about or gathering information directly from people associated with the Institute, Mr. Bentley has neither written to nor spoken with Mrs. Bergen, nor was anyone at the Institute aware that any attempt had been made by him to do so. Before impugning the integrity of anyone in our district, especially someone of Cara Bergen's profound dedication and professional caliber, one should have strong evidence of mismanagement or wrongdoing. The Institute was run with integrity and on the best legal advice that could be obtained when it was formed. This district cannot measure the loss resulting from re resignation.

I would also like to add that Dave Long, former principal of Kingston Elementary, is also a man of integrity and character and Mr. Bentley's comments to the contrary were highly inappropriate. Instead of speculating on why the list of 13 HUSD employees have left, where Mr. Long was in an infinitely better position to have known, perhaps Mr. Bentley could ask them himself.

In conclusion, while it is true that HUSD is in turmoil, I hope Mr. Bentley realizes his own role in some aspects of this mess, although the marionette strings to which he seems to be attached may not allow him to point a finger in any other direction.

Laura Skiffington