First, I agree with the recent “Sound Off” letter I read, about Cassia Schools. I think that the School Board feels that ‘in order to pass a bond, everyone (school community) has to get something or it won’t pass’ and it creates a lot of waste and mismanagement. It’s also accurate, as the writer noted, that many schools have been promised things from the proceeds from SEVERAL prior bonds and haven’t received those improvements even when the bonds passed (?). However, there is an overriding problem that still hasn’t been addressed.
According to the School Board’s governing body here in Idaho, every district has to have a representative group (School Board) to ENACT POLICY….NOT to get involved in the day to day operation of the District nor should it be picking teachers or curriculum. We’ve been told that the District does have committees to hire staff and pick books and other stuff, but then, we’ve been told, the Board goes ahead and does whatever they want. Why is this kind of behavior a problem, you might ask? A quick illustration.
Let’s pretend your car isn’t working. You take it to Bob your mechanic. Run this conversation through your head and see if you can see the problem, “Bob, my car is making a loud squealing noise every time I brake. Can you fix it?” Imagine Bob looks kind of sheepishly down at his feet and replies, “Well, I’d like to fix it, I know how to, but I got a new Mechanics Board that meets once or twice a month to decide what’s wrong with the cars that are brought in and then they tell me how to fix ‘em.” Huh? Another example- would a rancher allow a ‘Board’ of people from the nearby towns to come out once or twice a month to tell him how to ranch, not just how to plan (advise) but who to hire, which equipment to buy, how to run the ranch? I KNOW our Board THINKS they know a lot about education, but just because you sat in a desk in a classroom as a kid twenty years ago doesn’t make you an educational expert today, just like watching someone change your oil doesn’t make you a mechanic. Move ahead, there’s more.
The Board went to all the trouble to compose and post a letter to all of us in the Weekly Mailer to point out how stupid we are and how all the things we know to be true are wrong. Huh? Anyone still stung by the $15,000,000 dollar mistake Cassia Schools made? Get over it, they say. Huh? How can we get over it? No one was ever held accountable for that boondoggle. No one. Here’s a little experiment you can try, where you work….go tell the Boss tomorrow that you made a little mistake that is going to cost the business $15. He might let it slide. Try $150. You’ll probably get chewed out. How high before you get fired? I bet its a lot less than $15 MILLION dollars. Anyone in Cassia get fired? Any Board Member resign? No one.
What now? Replace the Superintendent, whoever that is, I see the District’s PR person in the paper, but hold a gun to my head, I couldn’t point out our new Superintendent. Why him? He was hired to be a figure head, to do what the Board wants. Ask ANY District employee who runs the District- they’ll tell you, it’s the Board. Replace the Board. Then get a Board that does what they’re supposed to do- advise. As the writer pointed out, they are good people, but NOT ONE is an expert in any of the million moving parts that make up running a district, but they continue to insist on doing so. That’s the real reason we’re in this mess. Not one penny more from our communities until these things get fixed.
By the way, our District made the news again last week. Not because of our Idaho’s Education Report Card which came out, where Burley’s BEST school was ranked 226th out of 652 (our best?) and our worst school ranked at 608th, no, we made the news because a District Judge found that our district administration has violated a group of student’s civil rights. Penalties for violating someone’s Civil rights are ALWAYS expensive. But wait, there’s more.
Signed, Cassia Old Timer