Sunday December 21, 2014
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Over the years I had the opportunity to observe the workings of many segments within a school district. As regards school boards, they do sometimes pass certain items with a solid majority and little discussion.However, it usually is not a rubber stamp but rather a tactic to send a firm impression to the constituency (eg. budget matters, personnel items, contractual disputes, and so forth). The current Payson Board majority has not been counseled as to when they should or should not use such a tactic, which points to a lack of leadership by OBrien or foolishness by the majority. Overusing quick votes with little or no public discussion prior to the voting leads observers and constituents to form opinions regarding how the Board members arrived at a conclusion. I sincerely hope that the new Superintendent will be able to impress on the Board majority a sense of the role of public deliberations before votes and a sense of proper use of authority. The next question is: "does the Board majority have the sense to change?". If they do we may optimistically hope that the change will be first of many and can look to a new dawning.
Who is boss?
The superintendent or the school board.
John, thanks for an interesting read. At one time the Town of Payson had proposed helping the school board broadcast meetings. This was when Fred Carpenter was the town manager. I brought that idea to several school board members who were adamantly opposed to that form of transparency that the editorial is suggesting.
In lies the problem when they meet with the superintendent prior to the meeting individually or sometimes in groups of two. The newest board member is accurate on public perception and I sure believe that many votes have not been above board whereas the paper gives them the benefit of the doubt. Public business should be done and completely discussed in the public with the opportunity for the public to participate. Major decisions have not taken place that way, just simply voting with no explanations.
The board president should take the initiative to change that. Having sat on the town council, I can tell you that sometimes too much time is spent explaining positions which is just the opposite of the school board. As one of he largest employers and consumer of tax dollars in the area, they have a responsibility to answer publicly on their decisions. No ifs. No ands. No buts.
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