To the editor:

In the letter to the editor of March 8, titled “MCS working conditions hostile,” I believe portions of the letter were intended to discredit my integrity as a board member. I want it to be clear that I am responding on my own behalf, not speaking for the board.

Referencing the statement that I insisted the canopy at E.O. Muncie be removed because it was unsafe: During Mike Robinson’s tenure as director of facilities, significant deterioration was evident to the point it was unsafe. He had implemented a temporary wooden support structure which was placed under the canopy and a rubber roofing and gravel were removed by Teton Corporation to alleviate a lot of weight from the structure at a cost of $26,400 in 2011.

There were chunks of concrete falling from the canopy onto the sidewalk exposing rebar which was cleaned up daily by custodians.

Upon Robinson’s retirement on June 30, 2013, the structure was left in this condition. His successor consulted with an architect, and a decision was made that the canopy was not feasibly repairable and was unsafe.

Multiple bids for demolition were requested, and at the Feb. 12, 2014 meeting, a recommendation was made that it be removed by the lowest bidder at a cost of $29,980. It was approved by the entire board by unanimous consent.

The canopy was removed by Riverside Contracting during spring break 2014 when no one was in school. This can be substantiated through board meeting minutes and invoices.

It is my opinion that the safety and well-being of our students, staff and the public is of utmost importance above all else. I encourage our community to seek only factual information as they form opinions and reach conclusions. It is up to you to look at all the facts and be the judge.

As to the statement that under my insistence the transportation department convert to propane buses, I have facts to present. First, there is a nationwide movement to change to propane and natural gas for buses and heavy trucks for many reasons, including less expensive operations, maintenance and cleaner environment.

After significant research and study the administration recommended to the board at the June 20, 2015, meeting to purchase three buses with propane engines, and it was approved by unanimous vote. It was recommended by unanimous vote at the Feb. 10, 2016 meeting to purchase four more buses of this type.

I share responsibility for this decision, but I am not the only one who made this choice. Time will tell whether it was the best decision or not, but it appears it has definitely been a cost-saving measure.

Here are some other facts regarding our district:

• MCS’s average ISTEP scores are approximately 5 percent higher than any other school in the county — public or private.

• MCS’s academic growth over previous years is very high with one elementary being third highest in the state.

• MCS’s current local tax rate is one of the lowest in the region and our debt is extremely low comparatively.

• MCS’s general fund condition and cash balance is excellent.

• MCS’s curriculum and course offerings are superior to any in the region.

• College-bound students are very well prepared after graduation with many starting college as sophomores.

• Those entering directly into the workplace or going to trade school are also offered great opportunities for success.

• MCS’s drop-out rate has declined significantly over the last few years.

• MCS’s employee turnover rate is lower than state and national averages and is lower than it was in 2008.

• MCS’s employee pay rates and benefits are better than ever and are very competitive in the area.

• There are many district-wide initiatives in place which bring visitors from other districts to learn from our teachers.

• MCS has been successful in applying for and receiving grants - public and private - to help us improve.

• Our corporation’s letter grade of “B” is the best it has ever been.

As always, there is room for improvement and I will continue to strive in that direction.

I recognize that I cannot satisfy all people, but my goal is to continue to carry out my oath within the laws imposed on us for the benefit of our students and the overall good of the community.

Carl Glesing

Madison School Board member