At the Board Retreat, he was the only Board member who recognized the crisis in the Board - the failure to oversee, the successful math textbook appeal, the organized opposition to the levy, the state audits, and the concern about the District's direction among other elected officials. He tried to raise the alarm, but the Gang of Four remained deaf to it.
As Board President, Director DeBell has been instrumental in introducing some kind of oversight. He has led the effort to re-set the budget schedule and the budget priorities.
I first met with Mr. DeBell when he was a candidate. He struck me as an honest, intelligent, and well-intentioned man. He still does. While Mr. DeBell does not have the breadth and depth of knowledge about District programs or the command of the details about those programs that I would like, he is the most experienced Board member - the most experienced member of the District leadership team - with five years of history. If he has erred, it has been to presume too much integrity in others. It is a noble error that I can readily excuse (at first).
Starting with the vote on the high school math materials, I have seen a change in Director DeBell. It was then that he woke up and came to see that the staff - starting with the superintendent - maybe isn't completely honest with the Board, maybe isn't completely forthcoming. He's not a revolutionary, but he does appear to share many of our concerns and he does appear to be addressing them, albeit gently. I have seen Mr. DeBell tactfully ask sharper questions of staff. I have seen him view their statements with a more critical eye. He is, however, just one Board member of seven. He cannot move the Board by himself.
Those who wonder about his admirable qualities should attend his coffee hours. He is careful in his word choice, but he does see things clearly and he has strong convictions about the path the District should follow.
I know that he has to speak weasel words in the press to help cover up the District's little peccadillos like the 17% deception, the CSIP circus, the fake community engagement, and all of the daily crapload of lies from the District staff. You might think him a co-conspirator for the forces of darkness - or at least an enabler. Think again. You may not have seen him address these problems publicly, but I assure you that he is trying to address them.
Please review the agenda for the Executive Committee meeting for December 1, 2010.
1. Call to orderI really like this agenda.
- Approval of agenda, 11/10/10 minutes
2. Governance policies review (Section B)
3. Review of the December 8 and January 5 board agendas
4. Government Relations
- Legislative luncheon
5. Community Engagement
6. Executive Committee Discussion
- Superintendent mid-year evaluation format
- Prioritization of board work plans and schedule
- Management oversight work session
- Scheduling deliberation-decision on Brave New World
- Correcting errors in district reports and statistics
- Proper oversight and the role of annual reports
- Filling BEX Oversight Committee vacancies
I'm not going to be able to attend this meeting - how I wish I could - but I really want to hear the Board Executive Committee press the superintendent on these matters.
Governance Policy Review (Section B)
This is the part of the Board Policies where you find the requirement that the superintendent make meaningful report to the Board and the requirement that the Board perform meaningful oversight. The most critical failure in the District's operation right now is the failure of governance. Director DeBell looks to want to address it.
I don't know what this is going to be about specifically, but anytime they are talking about this it is good.
Management oversight work session
Director DeBell intends to emphasize the Board's duty to oversee.
Correcting errors in district reports and statistics
You don't think this is a response to the 17% deception and the CSIP fiasco? This is how Director DeBell addresses these things. This is the right way for the Board to address these things.
Proper oversight and the role of annual reports
Again, emphasis on Board oversight role and the required annual reports that have NEVER been provided.
As much as I would relish theatrical demonstrations at Board meetings or bold statements in the press, I know that ths is really the right way for the Board to address these issues. And I know that it is Director DeBell who is the driving force behind the Executive Committee's action to address them.