Charlie wrote this elsewhere and it absolutely reflects what I believe. (Emphasis mine and this is partial.)
The Board and the staff have a fundamental disagreement on the role of
the Board. The staff believes that the Board should function as a rubber
stamp. They don't believe that the Board has anything positive to add
at all and should just show up twice a month to approve whatever is
placed before them. The less they talk about it the better. These things
don't stand up well under discussion - even friendly discussion.
Board, on the other hand, thinks that they have a duty to make policy
and oversee management. Funny, right? So the Board occasionally -
rarely, to tell the truth - takes a break from floating with the current
and sticks an oar in the water. They suggest something. Something like
having a transparent program placement process, actually conducting
performance evaluations, keeping track of the money, or setting school
start times that work for students. You can review the past several
years' of "Board Priorities" for a complete list.
reacts to these signs of life with the gnashing of teeth and rending of
garments, but without ever actually doing the work that the Board asks
them to do. How could they possibly do any of that silly work when they
are so busy with the same implementation that they have been trying to
make (under a variety of names) for over a decade now?
called Standards-based Learning System, "the same high quality
instruction at every school", Fidelity of Implementation, Equitable
Access, and now MTSS. It doesn't matter what they call it, they can't
get it to happen. And they are trying in every way they know.
The only way this ridiculous
dysfunction can be fixed is for a new superintendent to come in and fix
A superintendent who understands administration and management of a
company of professionals.
A superintendent who understands that you have
to allow people to participate in the development of an idea if you
want their buy-in.
A superintendent who will articulate a narrow mission
for the central administration so they aren't wasting their time on pet
projects that don't advance the mission, so they actually can address
themselves to the mission, and so they can eliminate the excess payroll
in the JSCEE that doesn't support schools, teachers, and students.
I will add a couple of things.
Whenever we have this situation of a new superintendent, we hear a lot about "trust." I have to say that in all my years, I have not seen a lot of trust coming from staff to the Board. Or rather, I don't see a lot of belief in the abilities of the Board or understanding (and support) of their role.
The Superintendent leads the staff team BUT he is answerable to the Board. It's a balancing act for sure but if he/she gets the policies/priorities from the Board and then, turns around and enacts them, it can work.
We can have a whole other thread about the search. But, to start, the Board needs to make clear to candidates that the Board is in charge of priorities. The Superintendent is in charge of enacting those priorities.
The staff tag-team campaign at the last Board retreat is an example of a Superintendent allowing staff to set the tone for meetings. The Board retreats? See that word "board" in there? It's THEIR retreat. Work Sessions? It's to explain and illuminate the work staff is doing, not to give an overly long presentation so that there is little time for the Board to do their oversight.
As well, some of what was said at the the retreat, by staff, was unacceptable in terms of Board/staff relations. The staff cannot dictate to elected officials how much information is "too much" or set some minimum amount of information requests. They can give guidelines and perhaps have one person who does that work but they cannot limit what the Board's oversight. In fact, this all points to the need for a person who works for and is accountable to the Board for information about various issues.
Maybe we don't need a second principal coach. All the Executive Directors now make over $143K a year (with one making $146K). I have a list of 112 people who got raises last year. Most of the raises are "market adjustments" or "job title reclassification." I know these people work hard but so does everyone else in the district (for the most part in any big organization).
Every single time we say, "Things need to change." Again, I say, "Things need to change."
Or as Moss-Adams said in their report, if you don't change the culture of a bureaucracy, you change nothing.