View Full Version : News Leader Article regarding Sup.

08-20-2007, 06:12 PM
I don't get the paper and can't seem to find one nearby. (I'm not actually in Guthrie, but South Logan County) I desperately want to read the article that came out in Sunday's paper. Anyone willing to repost it here or scan it for me???


08-20-2007, 07:58 PM
From The Guthrie News Leader

By Belinda Ramsey, Editor

When I first arrived in Guthrie, (April) I spoke to Guthrie’s school superintendent, Mr. Terry Simpson. I invited him to submit a column once a week or once a month – whatever he preferred.

I explained how important I thought it was for our readers to hear from him on how things are progressing in the school district from his prospective.

I’ve offered and published columns from every superintendent in every school district, in every state I’ve been in prior to moving to Guthrie, so it was pretty much “the norm” in my book.

What I heard next was anything but “the norm.”

Mr. Simpson told me he simply would not submit anything - and the school district would no longer place advertising with this newspaper UNTIL… I removed Sound Off (our message boards) from the Guthrie News Leader website.

I was a little shocked and confused, so the only thing I could say was, “That sounds like an ultimatum to me Mr. Simpson.”

He said he believed it was, but that the school board had directed him not to do business with this newspaper until we removed that one part of OUR website.

I told Mr. Simpson that I understood how hard it could be to hear and read criticism, but his position, as superintendent, was and should be open to criticism. He said he understands that, but criticism about other school employees should not be open for criticism, and there had been postings on our website critical of some of his employees.

Now, I understand doing what your boss tells you to do – no question. But, as I explained to Mr. Simpson, surely the board would agree that having a weekly or monthly update on the school districts progress, in HIS words, would be nothing but positive for the students, their parents, the readers, his employees, himself and the board.

He said he really couldn’t do anything until I complied with their request.

I explained to Mr. Simpson that I would be happy to try and work with him, but that I really didn’t take well to ultimatums – it’s just not the way I do business.

I will allow Sound Off to continue – as long as the participants follow the guidelines. If they don’t then they will be banned from the site. The right to free speech should be protected – and taught in our school curriculums.

I hope the school board has a change of heart and allows Mr. Simpson to have open communication with the students, parents and residents of Logan County. I’ve offered a free “vehicle” to do that.

I certainly hope with the new school year upon us we’ll see a new attitude from Mr. Simpson and the school board.

08-20-2007, 08:03 PM
BTW, You can buy the paper at Petty's Pit Stop at the intersection of South Douglas Blvd. and Charter Oak...Used to have it at all the stores along Waterloo also?

08-20-2007, 08:26 PM
That's not nearby, thanks for posting this though!!

08-20-2007, 11:15 PM
Talk about a stir up, this thing has exploded. Stay tuned, the Super has written a letter in response and it will be in Wednesday's paper.

08-21-2007, 06:56 PM
Sounds like it's getting hotter tomorrow!

08-21-2007, 08:11 PM
What time does the paper come out?

08-21-2007, 08:27 PM
In the afternoon. The website is usually updated by 3 p.m.

08-22-2007, 02:54 PM
Here's the letter:
Terry L. Simpson / Superintendent Guthrie Public Schools

I read with some shock, concern and indignation at your recent comments in the Guthrie News Leader. I will assume, for the purposes of this letter, that your recollections and conclusions are colored by the passing months since our conversation. At the time of our discussion, I had been trying to contact you for quite some time. Each time I called, which I did at least 4 times over a 2-week period, I was told you would be given the message to return my call. You never did. I finally made contact with you when Rex Hogan called me concerning a news article he was writing. I expressed to him that I had been trying to reach you. He said “She’s right here if you want to talk to her.” That phone conversation took place in late April and is the one and only time I have ever spoken with you.

You are correct in indicating that I was not happy with the direction of the Guthrie News Leader blog. As you might recall, I was very upset at the time and felt that Guthrie News Leader personnel were not doing their job of monitoring the forum. As anyone logging onto this site is informed, certain rules are observed and violators of the guidelines will be subject to deletion or being banned. During this time, several unsubstantiated and deliberate personal attacks were being carried out against several employees of the Guthrie School District. As Superintendent, I have always been aware and accepted that I am in a public position. I indicated to you, at that time, that as a public official I certainly expect to be second-guessed, criticized, and even upon occasion, attacked. That comes with the job. I was not prepared, or willing, for employees to take the heat for decisions the district or I had made. When innocent people, giving their best every day for our school system and the students that attend Guthrie Public Schools, are subjected to very hurtful and slanderous comments, I become defensive. I did express that I felt allowing anonymous postings only facilitated the propagation of slander and innuendo with no factual basis. You indicated to me, in the conversation, that you would look into what was being posted and consider the future benefit of the blog in its’ current format. I asked you to please call me back and let me know of your decision, which you agreed to do. You, also, asked me to write a periodic column to be placed in the Guthrie News Leader to which I answered that I would wait until you returned my call and give you an answer at that time. I am still awaiting your call.

Let me be clear. I am an absolute believer in free speech, but there is a reason that letters to the editor are not published unless they are signed. Why then allow people to spread hurtful and untrue rumors on a website? Ms. Ramsey, you try to color your recitation of our conversation by suggesting that I must somehow not believe in free speech. This is not true and unfair.

What is, also, absent from the article is any mention of my expression of hope that the quality and accuracy of the reporting in the Guthrie News Leader would improve. A reporter from the Guthrie News Leader has been in attendance in only 4 of the last 13 school board meetings and no reporter attended either of the community wide meetings to discuss the bond issue. In the last several months, we have witnessed sporadic and inaccurate reporting on school issues. Not only has content been wrong, but even the headlines, on the front page, have misquoted the amount of the bond proposal currently being sought. Erroneous information was, also, abundant during the last bond issue proposal. This truly makes it difficult when trying to keep the community informed.

As a new school year begins, Guthrie Public Schools will again, as we have done in the past, submit to the Guthrie News Leader more news articles and pictures, written and taken by school personnel, than will ever get printed. The idea of withholding such information from the local paper was never stated or inferred in our conversation.

The Guthrie Public School district is one of the finest in the state due to the efforts of some of the best administrators, teachers and support staff found anywhere. These people are working hard every day, giving their best for the youth of our community while the Guthrie News Leader is providing a public avenue for anyone with internet access to say anything, unsubstantiated, without identifying themselves. This supposedly makes them free to express their thoughts and ideas. Actually, what it does is make them unaccountable for their words and attacks. Anyone can say anything under the veil of anonymity.

I would like for you to know, Ms. Ramsey, that we are sincerely doing our best to make the school system a positive, attractive part of this community. We are turning away many parents that live outside our district who want to transfer their children into our schools. Our teachers are second to none in their talent and training and devotion to their students. Not only are they giving of their time during the day, but nights and weekends, as well.

As I stated 4 months ago during our conversation I would wait upon your answer as to your plans for the blog and what efforts you would take to stop the unsolicited attacks upon school employees, excluding myself, before I gave an answer to your request. As stated earlier, I am still awaiting that call.

I will tell you that I do not feel that I can write a regular column for a paper that doesn’t abide by its’ own policies and continues to promote a forum for people to anonymously attack, defame and vilify innocent people.

Ms. Ramsey, I certainly feel that my conversation with you did not constitute an “ultimatum.” The Guthrie School District does not advertise, nor does it pay for ads, except for employment possibilities. There has always been only one “spokesperson” for the school district, which is normal in most districts. As Superintendent, I am in that position for Guthrie Public Schools.

With that being stated, I do not intend to respond to future editorials, presented in such an unethical and unprofessional manner, regarding phone conversations more than 4 months old. I will not engage in printed banter, which I know would increase sales for your newspaper, when your returning a telephone call would have taken care of the matter.

In closing, I would like to say our school district deserves better than what has been printed. As stated earlier, our employees are doing an outstanding job of educating and taking care of the needs of our students. Through the efforts of teachers and staff, our district is continually improving the quality of education in Guthrie Public Schools and I thank each and every one of them.
Terry L. Simpson
Superintendent Guthrie Public Schools

08-26-2007, 07:19 AM
Okie, can you post the newest letter for everyone? :please:

08-26-2007, 11:47 AM

Ya know it wouldn't hurt you to go and buy a paper. I mean after all, they are on our side in this deal and it cost money to run the print side and the online stuff...

If everyone were like you they would not be able to provide the service.

08-26-2007, 03:49 PM
You know, I am happy to buy the paper but there are none anywhere near me. I drove to 4 different gas stations and went way out of my way to find out. (Now I know where to find one, but it's 15 min. from my house!)

Regardless, I think posting the articles here where others that aren't in or anywhere near Guthrie can read and comment on them would be a good thing.

08-26-2007, 04:14 PM
If you live in the Guthrie School District the papers are not 15 minutes away. And if it is......I mean damn....must not be too important to you?

Give me a general idea where you live?

08-26-2007, 04:24 PM
I live off I-35 and Seward. Our gas station does not have the Guthrie paper, nor does the one on the East side of Waterloo/ I-35 so I headed West on Waterloo and stopped at 3 more gas stations along the way. The 3rd one (my 4th stop) off Broadway and Waterloo finally had them. It's a 15 min. drive with all the stop signs along the way. Sorry, but that's just crazy to get a paper. I guess it's time to subscribe eh?

08-26-2007, 05:09 PM
Well GGGGGEEEEEZZZEEEEE! The newpaper office itself is less than five minutes away from Seward and I-35!!!!!!!!!!

I thought you lived in SLC? LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

08-26-2007, 05:47 PM
I have no clue where the newspaper office is.

08-26-2007, 05:52 PM
...and uh yeah I live in South Logan County. What would you call it?

08-26-2007, 08:19 PM
I have no clue where the newspaper office is.

Sounds like maybe you have the same problem Mr. Simpson has. LOL!

Seriously...I live five miles south of you, that is SLC.

I suggest you get to know your community a little better, afterall I have seen some of your post on GNL...:beaten_fi

08-27-2007, 06:31 AM
Marko what is that supposed to mean? I am not from this area. I didn't grow up here. How am I supposed to know where the newspaper agency is?? South Logan County is made up of more than just the border of Edmond off Waterloo. Logan County is huge. We do not live in Guthrie, nor do we live in Edmond. We don't live in Central Logan County and obviously not North Logan County. That leaves SLC. If you have a better name for it, than tell me!

08-27-2007, 12:49 PM
Well I don't know what to tell you, the Guthrie City limits goes all the way to, and in some spots past Seward Road.

Basically what I am guessing or saying here is you are more than likely one of those people who complain about the shape of the roads, the schools, City/County goverenment in general....yet you probably never venture north of Seward Road. I would have thought that for someone who seems to care as much as you do about the Guthrie Public School system and takes advantage of the GNL's online forum you would have at least known where the office is. (BTW, it is SIX minutes away from the intersection of Seward and I-35)

Regardless, you are located , as the crow flies, 5 miles away from City Hall. Given the fact that Logan County encompasses 777 square miles....YOU LIVE IN GUTHRIE for all practible purposes....unless, here again you are one of these new Edmond wanna be's and are ashamed to say, "I'm from Guthrie"

Like I stated above, I am 5 miles South of you and I am from Guthrie.

08-27-2007, 01:08 PM
Well Marko, unfortunately I am not in Guthrie. I recently had that thrown in my face numerous times within the same day by the Guthrie City Planner, Assistant City Manager and the Logan County Commisioner. (I was researching something for myself and fellow neighbors.) So until you can tell me otherwise, I will consider myself a resident of SLC. When Guthrie decides to annex our neighborhood (The area I live is not even annexed in the planning map by the way. I think that's planning for 10 years or something like that?) then I will say that I am in Guthrie.

Oh, and I drive to Guthrie all the time. - Nearly every day. I actually drove around Friday on my way to the Post Office wondering where the newspaper agency was.

I do care about the roads that I drive on and the schools that my children attend. I am active on a public forum (3 actually) so that I can stay up to speed on things going on around me. And NO I don't know where the newspaper agency I don't get your point.

To be honest with you we moved here from another State. We planned to move to Edmond. Our brand new home was listed on the MLS as EDMOND. Our closing paperwork all say EDMOND. We did not find out that we were not actually IN EDMOND until after we moved. Call me an Edmond wanna-be all you want. If I didnt care so much about Guthrie I wouldn't be participating on the GNL Sound off. I would not be fighting so hard to get Guthrie to wake up and make itself a better place for all.

08-27-2007, 01:14 PM
I am on your side....really I am!

What baffles me is your inability, given the fact that you are so internet savy, is you can't find the GNL office and are unable to locate a newspaper for sale...I mean they are everywhere if you drive to Guthrie on a regular basis?????

Your friend,

08-27-2007, 01:22 PM

On Sunday's I have to drive to the City. Therefore I do not want to drive NORTH to Guthrie just for a newspaper. It's a waste of gas. Ideally, I just want to get a paper from the gas station on the corner (Either at Seward or Waterloo!) and neither carry it. That's frustrating!

08-27-2007, 09:09 PM
Geesh, sorry I wasn't on here sooner, I could of posted it and none of this argument would have happened.

I guess you want the editors response. I think it's been out long enough, the paper wouldn't be offended if I reposted it here.


In my response to a letter written by Terry Simpson (Guthrie Schools Superintendent) I intend to take the high road since it appears the low road has been well traveled.

With that being said, according to his letter, Mr. Simpson apparently has overlooked, or forgotten about a school board member, Janna Pierson, present during our conversation in April 2007.

Mrs. Pierson paid a visit to the newspaper office following that conversation.

I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that she was loud and quite frankly, had the same “attitude” I received from Mr. Simpson on the telephone.

She alerted me to the fact that she had been sitting in Mr. Simpson’s office during our telephone conversation by saying, “I was sitting in his office when he said it.”

It took me almost an hour of talking, and listening, to get Mrs. Pierson to actually listen to the point I was trying to make.

During that time, my entire staff had no choice but to hear every word she had to say…

But, to her credit – by the time she left the office she had opened her mind to the possibility of the school administration submitting updates and progress reports to the GNL.

If not penned by Simpson, then possibly by his assistant, or other staff members.

Mrs. Pierson said she was returning to the board with what we discussed.

Since that meeting in April, Mrs. Pierson and I have had several conversations via telephone. Anytime she felt something was inappropriate on our website, she called. I would check the site, and if I found it to be inappropriate, I removed it.

I’ve banned several people from our website, and sent refund checks for their subscriptions – and, she was well aware of what I had done, and thanked me for the action.

My last conversation with Mrs. Pierson was just last week. She again had a concern with something that had been written on our website. Although it did not mention her by name, she felt the inference would lead readers to conclude she was the person they were discussing. While talking to her on the phone, I pulled up our website on my computer to see what she was referring to. She was correct, there were absolutely no names listed. However, what had been written was deleted.

The next day, I received a thank you card from Mrs. Pierson.

For the record, I have no problem with her. At least she’s been upfront with me about her concerns, and has been willing to talk and work through the issues she’s had with our website.

Why Mr. Simpson said, “the board will not allow me to do business with the newspaper until something is done about Sound Off,” remains a mystery to me.

There were no telephone calls to be returned by my office since communication was ongoing with Mrs. Pierson.

So, I will say again, I hope the board will allow Mr. Simpson, or someone else, to submit a column to inform our readers on items the school district deems necessary.

I do not have a personal agenda or “colored” memory. What I do have are notes taken during an April, 2007 telephone conversation, an offer to the school board, and a newspaper with a website open to the public.

08-27-2007, 09:12 PM
By the Way, you can subscribe online, I don't know the cost, but it would save you a trip to town.

08-27-2007, 11:32 PM
Katt you are just plain out weird.....who is arguing?