Of Turf Wars and Astroturf
To the editor:
WOW! The School Board publicly censures a member for representing the public, asking the hard questions, and actually seeking an outside opinion on issues without the permission of people who are intimately involved in the decisions that led to the issue and questions in the first place? And, here we go again … let’s spend money and favor the north of the corporation over the “left outs” in the south! Northview needs Astroturf!
Exactly how does one get a reliable answer to a question about a potential problem without asking it of someone not involved when those involved do not see any problem to start with? Unless your question can be answered irrefutably by someone within the corporation, in the case of a question as to the validity of a contract by reference to either law or case law, and if the President of the School Board or the Superintendent were aware of the board member’s questions should they not have sought that irrefutable proof to settle the question? But how does one even ask a question about issues locally without starting the “rumor mill” or causing animosity, even if it is only subconscious and not intended or blatant?
Was the member wrong to question when they saw a question that had not been adequately answered and laid to rest? Not a bit. They sit on the School Board to represent the public and to question how all shareholders can best be served. Laughingly, I see the situation described as to when the first people “questioned” the position held by their peers that the earth is flat and and the center of the universe. As I recall, they were ostracized, excommunicated from the church, and I think some were even burned at the stake as heretics, yet today they have been proven correct and their idea is the norm. As one member of the board so aptly put it, as quoted in the article “This is politics at its worst ...”!
The board member censured was censured because of attorney fees, a fact brought up by another board member during this meeting. However, his questions accounted for only part of the bill, but nothing else was questioned. “The remainder of the bill, $475, was incurred by the members of special education department officially requesting advice and counsel about services.” As the School Board makes policy that provides services, why was this part of the bill not also questioned, as the board member questioning the bill stated “We have free attorneys on staff from the Indiana School Board Association who can answer all of our legal questions ...”, therefore on getting a request for “advice and counsel” from employees should not the Superintendent went first to the School Board for clarification of policy which would allow the Board to obtain guidance … free of charge? This looks like “all for me and none for thee”, does it not?
Which brings me to the point of questioning the disparity of opportunity presented by our two high schools. Apparently, it is under consideration to resurface the football field at Northview with artificial grass. Meanwhile, Clay City Junior/Senior High School doesn’t even have a football program. Our north / south division is showing again, as it always will until we can provide the same educational opportunities to every student in the corporation while putting the minimal burden on the student and their family. After all, a student who wants to play football but lives in Clay City can attend Northview IF the family provides all transportation at their expense. It only takes time and money.