Not move on, but move forward

By From page A10 | March 23, 2014

I appreciate the difficult job the school board does, but the missteps in the past year make it painfully clear the board members have lost all perspective of their purpose and their boundaries. For what should now be obvious reasons, a board is not intended to micromanage the details of a school district. It isn’t an issue of who knows best; it’s an issue of what happens when parents know they have a back door through which they can run the district.

In this most recent case, one parent used her singular power as a board member to pull a coach’s VSA, force a vote in an attempt to override the district, participate in the vote(s) despite clear conflict of interest, and finally, use the dais to malign a standing coach and teacher. Through all of this, the board never issued a formal admonishment to their colleague, giving the impression of tacit board approval.
The cumulative effect of the board’s actions has been to send the message that the board can do (or be used to do) anything they see fit. The end result is a district run by special interests through the conduit of the school board, educators who no longer even try to run the district, and a town full of students who have been let down by the adults.

The board trustees would like the community to move on from this incident and I absolutely agree, but we’ve “been here, done this” many times before. The details change but the general scenario is déjà vu (GATE, AP program, DHS principal, coaches…). I suggest rather than move on, we move forward. The community (including school district personnel) has a choice to make: either step up and set clear boundaries for board authority, or live with these regularly repeated train wrecks and the outrageous parental behavior that accompanies them.

Wendy Amundsen

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