Thursday, January 14, 2010

My View

It was painful to read today’s Standard-Examiner’s editorial attacking Mr. Smith. More than the content, the oft repeated and never substantiated accusations and redundant slurs, I was frustrated by the lack of reason and justice on display in the paper’s view. The Standard may have more readers than the Agora, but that does not mean the paper’s words are reasonable or just.

The editorial begins in a bold print accusation that Mr. “Smith Abused His Office”. What they never do is explain how they came to this leap of logic.


1. Justice demands that a man is innocent until proven guilty – the paper’s first paragraph begins “Even if no criminal charges are filed”, and then opine a condemnation of Mr. Smith for something for which neither they nor anyone else has offered any reasonable proof. How unjust!

2. In the second paragraph, the Standard calls the Russian Club an “egregious example of abuse.” I ask why – to make such an accusation they ought to be able to give some reason. They claim $38,000 dollars is “way too much money for a public school’s incidental use fund.” Before this can be a reasonable claim, they must ask and answer these questions: What makes the Standard Examiner an expert on such funds? What is an appropriate amount of money for such a fund? Tell us for what such money should be used. Ask why it might be needed. What do other schools use their incidental funds, however named, for? The paper should ask how much other schools have stashed away and how they use their monies? Could they suggest a suitable name for a incidental account? I think the State of Utah calls theirs a “Rainy Day fund”; my mother got our family through on “pin money”.

3. The Standard quotes Christopher Williams, the district community relations director, as explaining that “other schools’ discretionary funds are garnered through direct donations or soda and candy machine revenues.” Here are some more questions the Standard could ask: Where did Layton High’s discretionary funds come from? Doesn’t the Standard think it would be fair to look into this before they tacitly excuse every other school for raising money to serve their school’s needs, while condemning Mr. Smith for doing the same thing? How much is in each and every other “discretionary fund” throughout the district? Does the amount determine the level of “abuse of office?” Is it OK to abuse one’s office “a little”? What standard accounting procedures were abused by Mr. Smith? Are the “same ones” abused everywhere else?

The attack on the “Russian Club” needs reasoned support. By asking these questions and finding the answers the Standard could give evidence and reason for their claim, but for now they have done no such thing. Until they do, I, based on twenty-five years of eyewitness experience, choose to accept that the money was a carefully gathered, fully accounted for fund that benefited teaching.

The Standard’s opinion piece makes claims about $4,000 raised from graduation ticket sales. Here are some questions they should ask and answer before they can make any just or reasonable charge:

1. Where did the $4,000 number come from? If the money was never deposited, how did the Standard or the district auditor come up with that number? What is the wording in the audit? Who collected the money? Who was supposed to deposit it? Is there any reasonable explanation for why such a deposit was not made? [I will suggest one – it was put in another account.] The district is capable of questioning those responsible for making the deposit; the district is capable of checking the books to see where the money ended up. The Standard should reasonably and justly ask for and report these facts as part of any truthful presentation.

2. If bonuses were given to anyone, how much were they for? Neither the Standard nor the district audit gives evidence that $4,000 was awarded to anyone. Were records kept of bonuses given? What had the employees done to deserve such so called bonuses? Are bonuses for otherwise uncompensated services proper use of “discretionary” funds? Did those who received the bonuses provide necessary support for the successful graduation ceremony desired by the patrons of Layton High? Do other bosses give their employees bonuses? Do bosses who give bonuses always deserve to be fired?

The Standard gives no reason for claiming any amount of money was misappropriated. The editors need to ask and answer basic questions. That is how truth is obtained and justice done. Printing unsubstantiated claims, even identified as opinion, is unreasonable, unjust, and irresponsible.

Maybe the Standard could ask its readers to imagine what they would do to a boss who gave them a bonus after they had put in many uncompensated hours of service. They did suggest another hypothetical.

Then the Standard makes a claim that rotating principals would somehow solve problems. Perhaps they could give some reason for such a claim based on some supportive evidence or argument.

Having given no evidence that Mr. Smith showed any lack of judgment; the Standard opines that he “placed his personal judgment above the specific school district policy.” They give no substantiated example of such “personal judgment” and cite no “specific district policy. This is unjust; it is an example of wrong!

The editors repeat the unsubstantiated claims, but reiteration is not reason.

They do make passing mention of the many in the community who support Mr. Smith. Reason would tell us that his supporters, the people who work with and for him, know far more about his character and this issue than the paper’s seemingly cursory investigation has provided to them.

The paper is correct in implying that nothing in their attack “outweighs all the positive contributions to the education of our youth that [Mr.] Smith has made during his long career.”

The editorial board ends their view with the claim that this fiasco should serve “as a cautionary tale to public official in similar positions of responsibility.” And indeed it should. We should all be afraid that baseless accusations can be used as weapons against our character. All citizens of a free society should be concerned when their news sources fail to ask any questions, find any facts, or demonstrate any reason in launching an editorial attack on those who remain innocent until they are proven guilty.

I hope the Standard-Examiner will take caution from these arguments, and re-earn the public trust by reasoned and just action.


Alison Conner said...

I love you and support you. I also agree with you 100% about the news. This might be a little off topic but when I read this a felt like you took the words right out my mouth. I only wish I could have said them as eloquently as you.

“More than the content, the oft repeated and never substantiated accusations and redundant slurs, I was frustrated by the lack of reason and justice on display…”

“The editors need to ask and answer basic questions. That is how truth is obtained and justice done. Printing unsubstantiated claims, even identified as opinion, is unreasonable, unjust, and irresponsible.”

“We should all be afraid that baseless accusations can be used as weapons against our character. All citizens of a free society should be concerned when their news sources fail to ask any questions, find any facts, or demonstrate any reason in launching an editorial attack on those who remain innocent until they are proven guilty.”

I took the liberty of bolding my favorite parts.

I love you. And I hope that we, “all citizens of a free society”, can be a little more discerning, and even critical, of what we call news and where we get our information.

Dan said...

I preferred the deseret news article that linked the audit in its entirety. When you read the audit, you can look at facts, I appreciated that. There were parts of the audit that bothered me, but didn't surprise me, as I believe that the school district as a whole has engendered a culture of non-accountability, and would be surprised if any school doesn't have accounting problems.

That being said. Based upon the audit, I do believe there were significant problems there. Does this mean I think Mr. Smith should have been run off by the district, no. Does this mean I think Mr. Smith is a bad person, no. But, I do not like how the money was being handled or the level of accountability people were being held to.

It sounds like the Standard's article was poorly written and researched, but that doesn't mean the information isn't available. I will merely speak to one of your examples. The graduation money. It was estimated to be at 4000$ by the individual assigned the responsibility of controlling and selling tickets. The reason there is no firm number is that person didn't bother to count it, as they told the auditor, they were too busy. The money was given to the head secretary who also didn't count or deposit it, but it was used for, 'awards for secretaries and others.'

I find that completely unacceptable.

Now, I was loath to post this, because I know that you are very close friends with Mr. Smith, and this has been a very personal crusade for you. My worry is that you will take this as me either a) believing every stupid rumor that has been levied, or b) proclaiming Mr. Smith to be a dishonest cheat who should be run off. Neither is the case.

I agree that too much media has been done with too little info and too much inference and innuendo.

However, that does not mean that there is no information or facts. That does not mean that there are no irregularities or even glaring problems. There are, and they are the same kind that has infuriated me about the public school system, most specifically the district, for years.

Lysis said...


Thank you for your support, your love, and your comments. You are among my most valued critics. It pleases me immensely to please you.

Lysis said...


Thank you for reading and for posting. I do not fault you for the conclusions you have drawn from the things presented in the Standard or in the audit. The fact that you, as wise and sympathetic as you are, would come to the conclusions you did; shows the injustice of the newspapers editorial and the harm resultant from the way in which the audit has been used.

I will address the graduation monies. I too have read and re-read the audit as released by the newspapers. It is before me now; as well as Mr. Smith’s explanations to questions raised and the auditor’s rebuttals to them. These prove to be an incomplete argument at best.


The $4,000 amount is unsubstantiated. First of all it is an admitted estimate. I would argue it is a guess – and not an educated one. I know that there were 2,500 total tickets printed for the graduation. Close to 900 of them were given out to graduates for their parents. Many more were sold through the cash register in the office during the weeks prior to the ceremony. Four thousand dollars would mean that one thousand tickets would have needed to be sold at the door. This seems far too high a number on its face, however, some investigation by the auditor or the paper could have established a reasonable number of tickets actually sold and a reasonable amount collected. (Questions like: how many tickets were sold and accounted for through the cash register at the high school? What is an accurate estimate of the number of attendees at the ceremony? What is the difference between the number of tickets accounted for and the number of people in attendance? Instead of accounting for the tickets by reasonable effort, the “investigation” settled for the guess, provided months after the event, by a person who did not count the money and could not have know the number of people who bought tickets at six different “doors”. The auditor and the Standard then took this bogus number and extrapolate misbehavior. What misbehavior?

The audit references a conversation with the principal in which he states the “funds” were used as awards to secretaries and others. The audit says there was no “formal record” to show how the funds were distributed. There was however a record, all of the bonuses were recorded and accounted for by name. I found out the number – and it was less than one thousand dollars. If the auditor knew this – he should have stated it in his report - if he didn’t he should have found it out before he relied on an unreasonable guess.

Lysis said...


Also consider this: I count eight secretaries who work many, many extra duties and put in many extra hours to make the graduation successful. The host of tasks they execute include record keeping and academic and citizenship credit checking, verification and accounting for make-up-credit courses, contacts with parents and tracking down of students who need help, handling orders for, announcements, caps and gowns, and handing out these items, producing flyers and announcements to alert students of upcoming events, providing lists of names and information to the “newspapers” letters to parents, managing ticket sales, providing lists and supervision for rehearsals, fixing the mistakes of students, teacher, counselors and administrators in their records and reports, purchasing diplomas, diploma covers, filling out, organizing, storing, and transporting hundreds of diplomas, finding gowns or tassels or caps for students who lose them, answering endless phone calls to supply the information they have already supplied again and again and again, traveling to the Dee Center in their own vehicles, and home on their own time and dime, to stand for hours at the doors collecting and selling tickets, handing out programs and answering endless questions, or remaining at the school and “running” it while administrators, teachers, and other secretaries are away working at the ceremony. I could go on and on accounting for all they do, and I don’t have a complete knowledge of their service. I am somewhat aware of the gigantic service rendered at the high school to prepare for, perfect, and perform the graduation. Believe me; the public gets far more than their money’s worth. I wonder how much Simon Cowell would charge to listen to 25 would-be graduation speeches in order to choose the four to be delivered at the ceremony, and then polish and practice these speeches and that of the class president to perfection. This is one shard of the mountain of work done by the high school and its personnel in order to provide the graduation. Just in judging speeches, five professionals, donating hours of their time to serve the students they love, and no one knows or cares about this service, let alone that of the secretaries. Indeed judging speeches is pleasant work compared to the frustration and sacrifice endured by the secretaries who serve the students and their families and friends for weeks leading up to the graduation.

Consider also that the district community relations director, Christopher Williams, who explains that discretionary funds are garnered through direct donations or soda and candy machine revenues. It might be wise and just for the paper to ask if monies raised from graduation ticket sales might also be used for incidental funds. If after the rent of the Dee
Events Center, the high school’s share of the floral decorations, the salaries of the Weber State security team, the diplomas and their covers, the signs, programs, and tickets are all paid for, and there are a few dollars left to give as awards to the secretaries who have worked for weeks to make the graduation a success with no other additional compensation for enormous additional effort, it would be a justifiable use of the money for that purpose. I was able to find out the amount of money used for this, there is a record of it. Divide less than one thousand dollars by eight secretaries and you will begin to understand the extent of these “awards and gifts”.

Lysis said...


Perhaps you could put such “awards” in perspective if you considered the justice of allowing a group of high adventure guides, who can never be compensated for the service they have given, being provided the opportunity to take a training hike through the Tetons, with the attendant supplies, equipment, and transportation. An agenda driven auditor might find even such a well deserved “award” as abusive. I think a news paper that used such an unreasoned claim as an attack in an opinion piece would be acting unjustly, and readers who found such a “gift” unacceptable, would have been misled.

To sum up these very simple arguments: neither the auditor nor the newspaper did the research necessary to claim any amount, let alone the $4,000 dollar one, and neither the auditor nor the newspaper made any attempt to understand the amount of, the appropriateness of, or the reason behind any awards given from an incidental fund used at the discretion of the person charged with collecting and dispensing it.

To release such incompletely audited information to the public and to use it in an attack seems to me to be the ABUSE OF OFFICE. I am left to wonder how much the patrons of the district and the newspaper have paid to award such injustice.

Dan said...

A few points in response.

First, you have come to a few conclusions about me that I need to clear up.

First, "I do not fault you for the conclusions you have drawn from the things presented in the Standard or in the audit."

I didn't read the article in the Standard, I don't read the Standard as I find its journalism shoddy at best. If you go back to my post, I say that I am sure it was poorly written and poorly researched. I came to no conclusions based on anything said in any newspaper. All of my opinions have been garnered from the audit itself.

Second, that I am either unaware, or unsympathetic of the extra hours put in by people working in education.

I am not. I come from a family of teachers. My Grandpa chose that profession over the medical profession after returning from the pacific serving as a navy/marine medic in WWII, he taught for decades. My aunt has taught for decades, and my sister is currently a teacher. Beyond that I count some of my dearest friends and mentors among those who have chosen to sacrafice and dedicate their time and efforts to the profession.

All of these things being said. The good work, or hard work, or going the extra mile does not, in itself, allow for shoddy accounting. My argument has never been against the work these people do, but the manner in which it is accounted.

Back to the graduation monies example. When no proper accounting was done, there is no way to have anything but an estimate of the amount of money taken in. This is unacceptable. When there is no deposit, or overall accounting of the money as a whole, there is no way to know how much, or in what way the money was used. You claim to know, but how can you? You don't know what the total amount was, there is no accounting as to where it all went (which there couldn't be unless we knew what the actual total number was).

Now, before you talk about their being no proof of misappropriation, that is not my point. I don't assume that Mr. Smith pocketed the money, or used it to buy something for himself. My problem is that it was accounted for. It may have been used for good purposes, but the fact is that cannot be known, because the accounting was not done.

Dan said...

I think you do the auditor a bit of a disservice. You are coming to conclusions that he does not, then laying them at his feet. The audit is very sterile, it points to accounting problems, and ways in which they need to be fixed. It makes no value judgements, it makes no pronouncements about whether the individuals are good or bad, merely if they were following good practices and procedures of accounting.

Anyone in charge of money, particularly money that is the public's should be held to task for the accounting of it. This is one of the reasons that I am such an enemy of the Davis County School District. They have no accountability, they have failed time and again to uphold that public trust.

The fact that Cookie actually told people in the office to withhold information of a 'petty cash' amount being kept in disregard to specific policies against such, I find troubling. Do all schools do it? Maybe, but that doesn't suddenly make it okay. It is that exact sort of relativism that creates huge problems in accounting.

My desire is that top to bottom, the school system be held responsible for the money that they get.

This isn't just in a vacuum, money given by the State, especially in times like this, to the school system means job cuts elsewhere. When the pot is finite, and the pot gets smaller, someone loses. And when one of those partakers is not fiscally responsible, or simply doesn't bother to account for the finances, that bothers me.

The cold hard fact is that there will be people laid off after this legislative session. People will lose their jobs as the State attempts to balance the budget. When one of the parties to those funds is not held accountable, as I believe education is never held accountable for their funding, there is a direct link between their lack of responsibility and others job loss.

This isn't about Layton High and the dozen or so people who did not follow procedure, and did not account in the way that I believe we all have the right to demand that they do. This is about a systematic failure that has lead to what I believe to be state wide accounting problems creating a culture of no accountability and lots of wasted money.

It effects more than your school, and your friends.

Does any of this mean that I believe these people to be bad people, or that I approve of the way the media has covered it, again for the fourth time, no. But I maintain, I find the whole thing unacceptable.

Lysis said...

I do not think I do the auditor any disservice by asking him to do the very thing you are demanding, make an honest attempt at accounting. Until he had done so it was irresponsible to provide information to anyone, and inappropriate for anyone to launch an attack against anyone else based on such an incomplete effort.

It is not my desire to play a game of whack-a-mole with constantly shifting sets of accusations. (Such as Cookie’s comments about petty cash.) I feel I have shown the flaw in the charges relating to graduation money. The questions that could have been asked, and the explanations that should have been given, remain unaddressed. It is not the weather-or-not of schools having discretionary funds that is the question; it is weather-or-not of such funds being acceptable in one case and not in another that needs to be addressed. That is what one can justly call relativism.

You make another interesting leap of logic by injecting “state” funds into the argument. Before this can justly be addressed it reasonable to ask if there is a difference between money brought into a school from taxpayer allocations, and those garnered from such things as candy and soda machines, direct donations, and graduation tick sales.

I am appreciative that you recognize that “this is not” about Layton High, but unfortunately that is not the way it was presented in the Standard. I also appreciate that you do not read the Standard, but the Standard’s editorial was the subject I was attempting to address.

Accusations relating to systemic failures the state of Utah are not addressed here, either by your comments or by my response. If such failures exist, they should also be reveled by just, open, and reasonable investigation, not by unsubstantiated claims or rumor and innuendo.

I agree with you in all four times that you state that you do not believe these are bad people. What is bad is leading the uninformed to believe, as the Standard does, that they are by referencing and drawing conclusions from less than reasonably diligent auditing.

Dan said...

The auditor, as far as the audit went, seems to have done his job. He looked at the accounting, or lack thereof, and pointed out where the deficiencies or complete lack of accounting was. That is his job. It is not his job to find all of the money, or to do the accounting for those who did not.

You want him to have asked all the questions and found out all the information. The problem is, that that information was not there, specifically because records had not been kept. Even from one visit to the next, the changes that were pointed out that had to be made were not implemented.

The point of the audit is/was to discover if sufficient accounting practices were in place, they were not. It discovered where the accounting was not being done, and gave very specific list of policies and procedures that needed to be implemented to reach the required standard.

You continue to lay the blame of the lack of information on the auditor. Yet you continue to pretend that none of that accountability sits either with those whose job it was to keep the accounts, or their ultimate boss, Mr. Smith.

You also continue to stick to the idea that the audit was incomplete. It was not, it is very clear and concise to read, and goes down a fairly comprehensive list of where the shortcomings are, and what needs to be done to address them.

The audit was not the judge, jury and executioner for anyone, it states facts, without prejudice. It does not make judgement calls on what Mr. Smith did, it merely states what was done. If you have problems with the judgements made, that is after the fact. The audit is very clear. It is not the problem. The problem lies in two places, the irresponsible and incomplete reporting of facts and rumor, and the inability of those who clearly made mistakes (or those who defend them) to take any sort of responsibility for what were clearly errors.

Dan said...

I want to address some of the things you think are shortcomings on the part of the audit.

First, you think not enough investigation was done on the graduation ticket money. You think relying on the information from the person who was specifically in charge of that money is not reasonable (I disagree wholeheartedly with that, but lets go on to some of your questions.)

# sold at register: It doesn't say, but does point out all such monies were properly accounted and deposited.

Estimate of attendees? I'm not sure how this 'estimate' would hold any more water than the 'estimate' already given of number of tickets sold, but...

#of tickets accounted for vs. estimate of attendance? This points to one of the defeciencies seen in the audit, the tickets were not numbered, and, I find it highly unlikely that these tickets were still in existence when the audit happened, so again, you have to go off of estimates.

Your questions go to the heart of what the audit points out. If proper accounting had been done, if the tickets had been numbered, and the amount of money actually counted, if the money had been deposited.....ever. The point of the audit isn't to prove where the money went, which seems to be what you want. The point of the audit is to see if accounting was being done correctly, which it clearly wasn't.

When records aren't kept, all you have to go off of months after the fact is memory and estimates. That isn't the fault of the auditor, that is the fault of shoddy accounting, and lack of accountability.

You say this, "The auditor and the Standard then took this bogus number and extrapolate misbehavior."

While true the auditor took 'this bogus number', given by the individual specifically in charge of the tickets and ticket sales, and money brought in, but no where does the audit extrapolate misbehavior, except to say that more accurate accounting should have been in place. A very reasonable standard of care.

You think it wrong that the auditor said that the moniew were used for awards, but didn't find out an exact amount. Again I am baffled as to why. The purpose of the audit, stated very plainly at its beginning, is to see if proper accounting procedures are in place, not to find out where every penny went. He pointed out that no formal records were kept, above and beyond no record having been kept originally from the money coming in to begin with.

You go on to point to all the extra work that the secretaries do, in what seems to be an attempt to point out that these awards/bonuses aren't excessive. Again, the audit doesn't judge the bonuses. It points out that proper accounting wasn't in place, period. It never judges use of incidental money, merely if it is being accounted for according to established policy and procedure.

Basically, top to bottom, you lump the audit, and the media. Their purposes are different. The audit judged whether proper accounting practices were in place. The media, and individuals are judging whether the use of the funds was appropriate.

The only place I saw the audit actually judge a use of funds, was in speaking of the petty cash, that was being kept and used in complete disregard to district policy. And its not like it said, you guys shouldn't be getting doughnuts, it just said this money needs to be deposited in the appropriate fund, and accounted for.

Lysis said...


Thank you for continuing the discussion. You provide much to think about and surely force me to clarify my position.

I should not and do not fault the auditor for doing his job. I feel that the process was rather arbitrary and selective in its implementation, but not unjust in its basic claims. My problem with the auditor is that he did more than his job; he did not find a specific amount of unaccounted for money but stated one anyway.

The Standard used that poorly supported figure to execute its attack. Had the paper chosen to point out that accounting practices were not in place and needed to be implemented, I, and I am sure Mr. Smith, would have agreed. But, as the audit was not complete enough to make specific claims, they made a claim which was misapplied by the paper. I gladly agree with you that: “The problem lies in . . . the incomplete reporting of facts and rumors.”

No one, least of all, Mr. Smith, is refusing to take responsibility for errors. He has done that and the school has taken the steps required to rectify the situation.

The auditor may not have been judge, jury, or executioner, but making an unsubstantiated assertion regarding a specific amount of money and selectively condemning one principal, without putting his actions in context, did supply the bullets used by the firing squad.

To your second post:

I have nothing against the auditor pointing out a deficency in numbering the tickets; my frustration comes in the unsupported claim as to the amount. The tickets should have been numbered, and properly accounted for. All who failed on that account should be corrected; however, neither the auditor nor the paper should have published an unsubstantiated number which was then used to “extrapolate misbehavior”. They thus armed those seeking a weapon with a seemly egregious amount with which to attack Mr. Smith.

My point on the “extra work of secretaries” relating to the graduation, was to suggest a justifiable use of discretionary funds. If the purpose of the audit was to enforce a district wide policy on incidental accounts, it would be just to put the mistakes of our school and its principal into the context of the practices of the entire district; not to selectively pillory one principal while defending others who participate in the same actions.

The problem with the newspaper’s attack and the release of the raw observations of the audit is that those who read them have no other information with which to put claims, assertions, and accusations into context. Therefore, my complaint with the audit is that it makes unfounded claims beyond its purview which become weapons for those who, without due process, should exact an unjust execution. Their rhetorical shots are literally lethal.

I will accept your admonition not to lump the auditor with the media, but I will ask the auditor to consider more careful policies and procedures when dealing with lives and reputations which can be easily destroyed and never restored.

Tiffany said...

My biggest question is where is the School District in all of this? I think they are showing a frustrating lack of accountability. Sure they had an audit and then released it to the public, but where is the explanation for the findings or for the resulting actions? The School District has sent out the bare minimum of information and has failed incredibly to explain their decisions and actions and has, in my opinion, invited speculation and rumors as people try to find answers for themselves.

First, an article came out stating Paul Smith would be finishing out the year at Bountiful Jr. High. He was on administrative leave during an audit. The article never said why nor did any member of the District or the School Board. People were left to wonder and assume that something was wrong. It seemed bizarre that he couldn't go back to Layton High but could still be an administrator in the District. Either they found some wrong doing or they didn't right? Then, it was reported that Paul Smith would return to Layton High. Oh, but wait, he will retire not at the end of the school year but at the end of the month. Again, neither the District nor the School Board offered any reason for this. It leaves those trying to figure out what is going on to speculate, and that is almost always more dangerous than the truth. Now, the audit is available to the public. I guess that is some bit of accounting to the public they serve, but again, where is the District to explain what the findings ultimately mean?

It looks to the average person that Paul Smith was forced to retire early. This happens under what kind of circumstances? I can understand why people would surmise that something is amiss. I find myself at a loss for words to explain my aggravation with the lack of explanation and accountability from the Davis County School District.

This does not mean the Editor for the Standard Examiner did not jump to some conclusions without asking questions and gathering answers, but honestly, where is the District with those answers? Did they find anything amiss? If so, what? To what degree were things amiss? What are they going to do about it? Are they going to do a District wide audit? Is there a reason Layton High was singled out?

I find little reason to believe the District will provide any of this information and little reason for any of them to remain in a position to make decisions without making themselves accountable to the public they serve for these decisions.

Lysis said...


You have seen directly to the core of the problem. The District has its head down, hoping “it” will all go away. For most, it will. Those who care are left in the dark, and forced to wonder how many who spent this Sunday in veneration of the Redeemer, conspired to destroy a good man’s name.

The District showed less courage than hoped – less than was promised, although more than was expected. Compassion entreats us to forgo bitterness; wisdom would caution us not to become what we detest.

We are left to balance our own scales of justice. Piled high, the pan filled to Mr. Smith’s credit: a Marine who gave fifty-one years of service to education; 1000’s of lives touched and improved, legions of Lancers given safety, joy, access to knowledge and boundless opportunity; teachers allowed to teach. Against this swings a little mound of procedural errors, un-clarified, unexplained, and un-compared. Through this petty heap the mean sift and sift, desperate to concoct a matter of weight.

Tiffany said...

"The District showed less courage than hoped – less than was promised, although more than was expected. Compassion entreats us to forgo bitterness; wisdom would caution us not to become what we detest."

I will choose to take this as a general admonition? I don't think one is bitter or unwise to expect accountability from those who chose to serve the public. I wrote to the School District and asked for explanation and accountability. I am registered to vote in Davis County, and I think anyone else registered there has just reason to expect more than they received and to chose to act accordingly in deciding who they would have represent them and make these decisions.

Finally, I don't believe anyone actually conspired to destroy a good man's name. I simply believe they are o.k. with that outcome if it means they can sweep everything into calm and quiet and keep on keeping on.

Lysis said...


You are right.

First, my weary call for amity was indeed a general admonition.

Second, the School District owes you an explanation.

And finally, your are right in that no one has actually destroyed Mr. Smith’s good name, but they did try. Those in this “group” are neither our elected representatives nor their employees at the district level. They will be immune to any repercussions to their actions, while others could well be tarnished by mistakes made through ignorance, carelessness, or thoughtless response to pressure. The district did not handle this well, they were wrong; we are left to consider the price they should have to pay, and the collateral damage of any effort to exact it.

The tragedy is that the “group” who pushed this situation into existence are safe, those pressured are now in jeopardy, and all who respect Mr. Smith are left to hurt in silence, while most of the community go on unconcerned.

Jamie said...


First of all, as a former student of Layton High school, I would like to say that I have many fond and happy memories of my time there, and those memories include Mr. Smith and other various staff members.

I, like you, was concerned to see the media – once again – reporting news that showed LHS in a bad light. Awhile ago, I remember the media covering a piece where a student was disqualified from running for class office because he violated the rules given to him and the other candidates. The media only became involved because this student happened to be a relative of a senator. I bring this up not to rehash these old memories, but to show that this is not the first time media has given the wrong information to the public, or painted their information in a negative light. It seems to me that this is always the case – the dirtier the news, (whether completely true or not,) the better provoked the audience will be because of it. I hate that this is what “news” has become: a gossip sheet where we are almost forced to question what we should or should not believe.

I agree with you about the news article and the audit –many of the right questions weren’t asked, and this led us (the public) to infer our own conclusions about the situation. At least, this was my take on your post, and on your comments following it. Again I state, unfortunately this is not the first time. Nor, do I doubt, will it be the last.

I do, however, have one other question that I hope you will clarify for me. What is the final decision of Mr. Smith’s career? Will he be staying until the end of the month only? Until the school year is over? Or may he even continue on with his principal’s duties at LHS? (That would be my hope.) I no longer live in the area, and can only find limited information about the events at LHS. I would have loved to go to the school board meeting on January 4, and I am curious about the outcome. Any information you could share with me would be helpful.

Thank you for your effort and time spent in writing your posts. I enjoy them particularly because they force me to think in ways I am not normally challenged to.

A Lancer Alumna,
Jamie S. R.

Lysis said...

Dear Jamie,

Thank you for your post and for the experience and clarity you add to our discussion from your own life.

I will attempt to answer your questions.

Mr. Smith will retire at the end of January. His successor has already been chosen and Mr. Smith has introduced him to the staff and toured him around the school. Of course, Mr. Smith has been very supportive of Mr. Astle and I know Mr. Smith’s return to Layton and the respect shown him here will be a great support to the new principal.

There was no mention of Mr. Smith made at the School Board meeting. There were reporters there from the news papers. When nothing materialized the gal from the Deseret New actually left the meeting. I was, in fact, the only person in the audience not directly related to the presentations done that night.

After the meeting I spoke with the Superintendent, and the President of the School Board. They were very positive about Mr. Smith, praising him for his achievements and supportive of his return to Layton. Unfortunately, they were not able to provide all the opportunities they had hoped. I do not know the details behind the final agreements worked out with Mr. Smith. This I do know, he has done great service to Layton High, and his retirement will be a great loss to all of us here and to the community, and the future.

I am eager to give my support to Mr. Astle, and have been strengthened in this resolve by Mr. Smith example.

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