To the editor:

It is my sincere hope that Tim Collins will not be rehired as the superintendent of Hastings Public Schools. As someone who loves Hastings, I have to say that our children and community need a change.

Mr. Collins waited to announce his retirement until two and a half weeks before the end of the school year and six and a half weeks before he plans to retire? His lack of timely notice reveals that he wants the residents of Hastings to feel he is our only option. There are however several excellent replacements for superintendent available.

Mr. Collins makes approximately $206,000 a year while teachers with more than 30 years of experience top out at about $81,000 a year. What are we getting for $206,000 a year? Declining enrollment, a significant drop in standardized test scores, a lack of vision, diminishing community involvement, fractured trust and a serious employee morale problem. A great leader inspires confidence, not create an environment of distrust. This toxic environment will ultimately drive strong, bright, creative staff to neighboring districts.

Retire and rehire is a process small, rural districts use to retain strong leadership because they can't attract superintendents to their communities. Retire to rehire is not a reflection of the strength of our community. We have a legacy of excellence in this community that precedes Tim Collins. Please afford us the opportunity to make the change we so desperately need.

From the insulated point of view of working next to Mr. Collins, it is natural that you will have a bias to support your friend and colleague. I, along with many community members feel that we deserve better than declining enrollment, plummeting test scores, lackluster leadership and fractured trust. The members of this community have put their faith in you to be the leaders of our school district. Let someone with a vision, passion, drive and the ability to unite and inspire people, come in at this critical time.

Pamela Cook