December 1, 2017 Huntsville Rotary Club Minutes

     Seventeen Huntsville Rotarians and two Guests met at noon today at Don’s Family Style Restaurant in Huntsville for the first meeting of the 12th month of year 2017.  Our President, Ken, invited Bishop Roy to return our Thanks to our Lord in Prayer, followed by our reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag.  Our two Guests today are Westran Students of the Month, Lauren Cobb & Devin Viley.  Lauren plans to become a opthamologist and Devin a pediatrician.  Secretary Richard noted that the Club is currently at 28 members today and two members will leave January 1, and, suggested we discuss two other members next week due to non-payment of any dues for some time.  Weatherman Dan gave a nice warm forecast for next week, possibly turning a little cooler because it is still December, with little chance of measurable rain.

     Dub was noted to inform us that his lady friend is seriously ill and for us to keep her in our prayers.  Then our Leader invited Westran Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Shelby, to provide us with information happening today.  Apparently,  there is to be a vote to remove the Chairwoman from the 8 member State Board of Education.  She is very popular statewide with many members of the legislature, and school administrators and our Governor has decided she must be replaced.  Information leads us to understand the Governor is a proponent of Charter schools and is appointing a majority of the State Board with like=minded members who may hire an out of state promoter of Charter schools.  It appears that Charter schools do not have the same criteria for operations as public schools are mandated, and, most likely will draw students away from local school districts, weakening their base, in order to additionally fund the Charter schools.   It is unclear if local property taxes can be used for Charter schools, which typically make up 50% of the public school funding.  The rest of the needs of public schools comes from State & Federal funds, which may, in part, be diverted from public schools to Charter.  Without supplemental funding, public schools may be financially strapped to provide local services.  Public schools have locally elected board members while Charter schools have appointed boards not subject to local decisions or answerable to local citizens.  Historically, Charter schools have not proven they provide a superior education to students. Also, they can select which students attend, which means they can refuse service to disabled or disadvantaged students.  Theoretically, Charter schools could be sponsored by any religious sect and acquire public funding, circumventing the Constitutional separation of Church & State.  Time will tell.

     Harry Hall is on the schedule for a program next week.  The restaurant will be closed for vacation the last week of December, so we will not meet on the 29th.  President Ken asked Clay for the Last Word, then we were adjourned.

Members present today:  Phil Brown, Jerry Crutchfield, Chris Dady, Dub Hayes, Clay Joiner, Gerald Link, Roy Morales, Mark Nichols, Ken Rathmann, Merl Riley, Mark Samp, Charlie Serio, Kelly Shelby, Dan Shepherd, Richard Tregnago, & Wayne Wilcox.