I'm bringing three discussion items and three resolutions for the special School Board meeting to be held this Tuesday, 30 Sept. at 4:00 PM at the Hall Center. The resolutions can be found here.
The Board has requested this meeting to address lingering concerns, in multiple areas, arising from this month's regular meeting-a meeting none of us will soon forget due to the way in which it devolved so spectacularly.
So at this Tuesday's meeting, which is unusual in some respects and unprecedented in others, we will be considering a vote on one resolution that "directs" our employee, the Board's General Counsel, to administer an investigation of numerous irregularities concerning athletic eligibility at several schools, allegations that have surfaced in the wake of the firing of Willie Spears.
Additionally, the board will be considering a vote on two resolutions that "request" the Superintendent, who is not our employee, he is elected, to bring recommended policy and/or procedure for enhancing physical security at future Board meetings and establishing a policy for a board vote that addresses the numerous athletic eligibility issues we are currently confronting and will be investigating. Obviously, the intent is to address the issue now with good policy so as not to have these things continue.
While I characterize this meeting as unusual and I refer to some aspects of it as "unprecedented", and this may sound strange, I call this meeting this with good reason. In past instances where the board and superintendent were at loggerheads over an issue, we have been congenial and tried to "work it out." In one instance, the Board's audit committee and the Board requested one particular issue be
looked into by Superintendent's staff--and this was agreed upon in a special workshop by the superintendent. When the issue was brought back to the board, the issue that ultimately was looked into by staff was different than what was requested by the board.
In another instance, dealing with converting administrative deans at large middle schools into 3rd Asst. Principals--all five board members spoke out forcefully in opposition to this change for reasons that were very solid. Ultimately, the deans were converted anyway-despite unanimous opposition from the board expressed at a meeting.
So, in order for the record to be crystal clear, with the intent plainly delineated, my feeling is resolutions from the board is the mechanism to ensure this is the case and furthermore to assure the board that there are no ambiguities about what is requested.
In our District's structure, with an elected superintendent and an elected board, friction occurs when viewpoints are divergent. This is why I believe most school districts, in fact the vast majority, have appointed superintendents that are hired, supervised, and evaluated by the elected board. Of 15,000 school districts nationwide, 99.8% have an appointed superintendent. This for numerous reasons but one of which is that it provides a greater check on the vast power of a school superintendent and forces a greater degree of cooperation.
So because we are one of the 142 school districts out of 15,000 that has this throwback structure (elected superintendent) when the board disagrees wants action the superintendent may not want, things get tense. And thus, this meeting and resolutions for clarity and the unprecedented nature of this meeting.
Now, I say this, but because I cannot speak with my counterparts prior to the meeting-- I have no idea about whether or not they will support these resolutions-I hope they do, but we'll all find out at the special meeting.
And I'm certain that the Superintendent may feel we are "directing" him-and I certainly hope that he does not feel this way. At this stage, I'm simply trying to get the wheels turning on some issues that, frankly speaking, require quick resolution so everyone can move forward and we can all get back to doing important work regarding student academic issues.
We simply must work together, cooperate, and address the issue.
And if folks want to get lagalistic, that's fine too, because what is being requested if these resolutions are adopted, is completely in alignment with State Law:
1001.43 Supplemental powers and duties of district school board.--The district school board may exercise the following supplemental powers and duties as authorized by this code or State Board of Education rule.
(1) STUDENT MANAGEMENT.--The district school board may adopt programs and policies to ensure the safety and welfare of individuals, the student body, and school personnel, which programs and policies may:
(a) Prohibit the possession of weapons and drugs on campus, student hazing, and other activities that could threaten the operation of the school or the safety and welfare of the student body or school personnel.
(d) Provide procedures for managing protests, demonstrations, sit-ins, walk-outs, or other acts of civil disobedience.
1001.51 Duties and responsibilities of district school superintendent.—The district school superintendent shall exercise all powers and perform all duties listed below and elsewhere in the law, provided that, in so doing, he or she shall advise and counsel with the district school board. The district school superintendent shall perform all tasks necessary to make sound recommendations, nominations, proposals, and reports required by law to be acted upon by the district school board. All such recommendations, nominations, proposals, and reports by the district school superintendent shall be either recorded in the minutes or shall be made in writing, noted in the minutes, and filed in the public records of the district school board. It shall be presumed that, in the absence of the record required in this section, the recommendations, nominations, and proposals required of the district school superintendent were not contrary to the action taken by the district school board in such matters.
(2) REGULAR AND SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD.—Attend all regular meetings of the district school board, call special meetings when emergencies arise, and advise, but not vote, on questions under consideration.
(4) SCHOOL PROPERTY.—Act for the district school board as custodian of school property.
(5) SCHOOL PROGRAM; PREPARE PLANS.—Supervise the assembling of data and sponsor studies and surveys essential to the development of a planned school program for the entire district and prepare and recommend such a program to the district school board as the basis for operating the district school system.
(15) COOPERATE WITH DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD.—Cooperate with the district school board in every manner practicable to the end that the district school system may continuously be improved.