Oversight should not cloud Murray’s legacy
I am writing to comment on the recent controversy regarding retiring Altoona Area School District superintendent, Dennis Murray.
My view is based on three separate prospectives.
First, as a parent of four children who attended Altoona Area School District schools, I can vouch for the fact that my children were offered an excellent educational opportunity with an outstanding curriculum, dedicated teachers and modern facilities.
Under Murray’s watch, there was a strong emphasis on scholarship. While recognizing the value of school athletics, Murray made sure that no one lost sight of why students were there. For example, he organized a special awards night to celebrate academic achievement, similar to the many sports award ceremonies.
Second, as a former property owner in the city of Altoona, I am grateful to Murray’s success in keeping school real estate taxes among the lowest in Blair County without sacrificing educational standards.
Residents and businesses in Logan Township and the city alike should recognize his achievements in this regard.
Finally, as a former school district solicitor in the area, I can vouch for the sizable demands placed upon the superintendent.
The job is enormously complex and is easily the most demanding job in education. The superintendent works year round with little time to slow down. He is required to be an expert in school law, labor relations, finance, accounting, job benefits; the list goes on.
Because the management of a school district is so complicated, school boards have to rely heavily on the guidance of their superintendent.
Therefore, it hardly seems unusual that the matters at hand could have slipped through without raising notice. No one is questioning whether these raises were well-earned or justified.
And we should not forget that they evidently went by the board and auditor general’s office at the time. In all, it seems to have been more in the way of oversight rather than malfeasance.
I have no dog in this hunt. I simply would like to see a man receive credit for a career of hard work and dedication to his job, with outstanding results.
Tom Reese, Hollidaysburg