Back in 2009, board hopefuls EJ Anderson and Lily Tram approved spending 100K to company called HeinSight LLC. How many dry erase markers and reams of paper can 100K buy? It doesn’t matter because that is not what the board spent the money on. Volunteers and parents will buy school supplies for the kids if the leadership claims there is no money.
The community awaited patiently for an entire year for the grand result we expected that 100K would deliver. Surely this intellectual property would be worth far more to the district than the 100K we spent to gain the knowledge. That is the only logical reason any of us would spend that kind of money for our business.
What happened a year later? The strategic plan was unveiled. What are the 100K ideas? Engage parents, grandparents, community members and stakeholders. Realign school boundaries and repurpose schools to maximize resources. Increase print advertising. Increase revenue sources, such as food catering. Increase student performance. Align with the common core standards, something required of schools in the coming years. Recruit and retain quality teachers. Develop an orientation program for new board members and recruit future leaders.
We are having difficulty understanding which new and novel ideas emerged from the 100K cost that either GPS or other districts haven’t been implementing for years. The only ideas we could identify are plans to look into food catering and the recruiting and training of new board members. This idea is not new to the Mesa district. Mesa school district launched food catering using student employees and there has been community backlash about the school district using taxpayer funds to compete with local catering companies. Can you imagine struggling to keep your catering business afloat in this economy, while the school district is competing and offering customers a feel good bonus of helping out the kids and schools. What business can compete with that?
Therefore, the only new idea that came from the strategic plan as far as we can tell is the idea to recruit and train new board members. Wait one minute. Have we forgotten that the board oversees the district, not the other way around. The board oversees the district and the community oversees the board through the voting process. The strategic plan suggests that the district administration train the new board members. Training and recruiting new board members must be the golden 100,000 idea.
The strategic plan survey conducted by a small sample of the community selected by the administration analyzed roadblocks and threats. These were identified as conservative board members, elected state legislators, and board members that asked questions. Board members that ask questions are a threat? We think board members that ask questions are doing the job they are elected to do.
Did we pay 100,000 to identify that conservative board members and board members that asked questions are a threat? We believe so. The implementation goal for this key result is to recruit and train new board members. Thats it. If the superintendents train new board members and candidates that encouraging conservative platforms such as improving quality by directing funds to the classroom, teaching classic literature, enforcing reasonable dress code standards, teaching balanced views regarding evolution, etc. are impossible standards to achieve, or even better to recruit candidates that rubber stamp and don’t ask questions.
When board members rubber stamp, don’t ask questions and vote 5-0 on every superintendent recommendation the goal will be accomplished.
How will keeping board members submissive increase the quality of education for our kids? Is that what our community wants?