Posted by: wcdem2 | October 21, 2013

Thoughts on Why We Must Change the WCASD Board Now

by a local Democrat

The Republic party, which has controlled the board since the Civil War, will say:

“Why would we need to replace any members of the school board? Our test scores are up. Our budget is down. This group must be doing a good job.”

However:

The Board is still in a protracted, expensive, and unpleasant negotiation with the district’s teachers. As months and years go by and a contract is not settled, the working relationship between teachers and administrators and Board deteriorates. There are questions to be asked:

What is the source of the inability for the two sides to work effectively toward a settlement?

Why has a prominent local Republican leader discussed the contract with a local Tea Party leader and with board negotiating team members?

Why are board members consulting with former board members regarding confidential matters?

Why have three top level administrators left the district recently?

Does our school board–with eight Republicans, one Democrat, and no Independent members–represent all the voices in our community?

The school boards of Pennsylvania are created by state legislators, but local school boards represent and tax their local communities. When the policies and laws passed by the state legislators are hurting public education, one of the duties of the local boards is to try to work with or at least inform their legislators of the effect of those policies and laws on our greatest resource – our students.

Each board has a legislative liaison. That person should be contacting our district’s state senator and representative at least monthly to get information from Harrisburg and letting those elected officials know the state of public education in our community. The WCASD board is not doing that.

A local school board should have school board directors who are connected to public education. Who believe in it and support its goals. Who support its administrators and teachers. Who respect the superintendent and work with him to provide a great education at a reasonable cost.

Every district in PA faces similar challenges. Wise boards do not blame their teachers for the PSERS funding pension crisis. Wise board members spend time learning how a school and a district work. It is complicated and time-consuming public service. It takes dedication and time to prepare for several meetings a month and exercise the responsibility to spend the public’s money effectively. Our children deserve no less.

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