Letter – Thornton’s hypocrisy

Published 5:46 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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To the Editor:

During citizen comments at the Aug. 17 Board of Supervisors meeting, former Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton said, “Fraud involves the false representation of facts whether by intentionally withholding important information or providing false statements to another party for the specific purpose of gaining something that may not have been provided without deception.” Wow!

On June 11, 2015, then-School Board Chair Denise Tynes led the rest of the board to unanimously vote on Policy FFA–School Names for second read. It added school facility to the policy, stating, “No school or school facility will be named after a living individual.” Opinion: Tynes perpetrated a fraud for months in early 2022 along with others by relying on a version of the policy that at least some of them knew was invalid. Opinion as to why: Simple, to benefit Thornton!  

Thank goodness for Mark Wooster and Heidi Swartz for finding the correct FFA version in the board-approved minutes of June 11, 2015, and for three of the current board’s members who showed integrity to adhere to IWCS policy: Collick, Maresh and Wooster. They acted by correcting this gross violation of FFA policy on Feb. 9, 2023, by rescinding the Sept. 8, 2022, vote to name the CTE building after an “alive” Thornton. 

Then, only John Collick voted vo. Fact: Those Sept. 8 board minutes reflect why Collick voted against naming the CTE building after Thornton. This was even before he found out in October that Tynes used the wrong FFA policy. The Smithfield Times article “School Board votes 3-1 to rename SHS career building ‘Thornton center’ ”quotes Collick: “I don’t believe he (Thornton) was completely honest with me concerning his payout. If he had been, I most likely would have supported renaming the CTE building after him.”  

Too, Thornton’s contract states, “The Superintendent shall fully and completely inform the Board of any and all information that is relevant to the functioning of the Board.” Thornton did not do that relevant to his $91,000-plus payout nor in the School Board’s naming the CTE building after himself, in my opinion.

Herb De Groft