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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dick Lily at Crosscuts; "All this means closure opponents will spend the day hoping for a miracle.

Dick Lily, former School Board director and now a contributor to Crosscuts (online zine), weighed in on the amendments submitted by Board directors yesterday to the final closure plan.

If I didn't know his hair was already white, I'd think it turned white. He genuinely sounds upset (not tearing out your hair upset but not happy at all).

His read:

"Given the widespread and reasoned opposition to this round of closures (seven schools were closed in 2006), the longer term question will be where the district goes from here. Much of the goodwill and confidence that school families bestowed on Goodloe-Johnson when she arrived two years ago has evaporated. One can see the district’s central office building down in SODO as the new Fort Apache, where the folks in charge are alien and unconnected to the interests of the community they’re sent to serve."

And, he doesn't mince words on the Board:

"Similarly, many will see in Thursday’s vote a stunning lack of spine in board members who go along with the superintendent’s plan. But they will have done what school boards commonly do and the consultants who train them recommend: present a united front, support the superintendent you’ve hired and move forward. What’s missing on the board is the power to quietly tell Goodloe-Johnson when she’s wrong.

So for the moment, one can only judge board members by their amendments:"

Naturally, this points to the bigger issue of "What is the role of Board Directors vis a vis the Superintendent?" Many people who write comments after the on-line stories at the PI or Times websites seem to think the Board should get out of the way otherwise, why hire a superintendent? Is the Superintendent a visionary or a manager or both? You'd likely get a variety of answers from other political leaders or business leaders or parents. Directors are elected officials so they get that authority but get paid little so their work is thought-of as glorified volunteer work. (And folks, you can do a ton of volunteer work and my experience is...no one really takes it all that seriously if you don't get paid. But I digress.) The Mayor seems to think we'd get a better caliber of director if they were paid more. I'm not so sure.

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