Letter: Don’t Change, Just Follow School Board Rules

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Existing School Board rule providing for annual rotation of president is a best practice Jan Vickers voted for and demanded the board follow in 2014 when she was in line to be president. That rule must be preserved to cure the defect of recent election of 30-year board incumbent Vickers to third consecutive term by default, due to disarray caused by non-compliance with Bylaw 9100 rotation protocol.

Vickers’ incoherent and hypocritical defense of the board’s improper action is unsustainable. Dee Perry is next in line under Bylaw 9100 and deserves her first turn as president after serving as clerk twice and getting re-elected in 2018.

When board majority leader Ketta Brown told Perry (Nov. 2017) she would be passed over but remain as clerk, Perry showed parliamentary savvy by nominating Vickers to preserve Perry’s place in the line of succession under board rules. Vickers misleads public asserting Perry’s nomination legitimizes her election contrary to the board bylaws.

Perry’s quick action actually confirmed her resolve as far back as 2017 to defend her right to represent voters by allowing interposition of Vickers in the sequence to prevent members in line behind Perry from a leap-frog maneuver that would be blatantly noncompliant with board rules.

Repealing the rotation sequence under Bylaw 9100 now will not legitimize disqualifying and excluding Perry again in December 2018 without any standard or criteria. The board majority may not agree with voters who re-elected Perry, but only restoring order will restore legitimacy of board and superintendent after four years of inappropriately enabling discriminatory treatment of Perry.

Just as self-discipline is essential to education, it’s essential elected school board members have self-discipline to obey rules the board itself has adopted. Our public schools can sustain quality education putting students and classroom learning first only if School Boards conduct official business in accordance with state law and binding local rules. Clever re-interpretation of rules and established best practices is no substitute for consistency and integrity.

When those entrusted with school governance don’t protect equal rights, due process and democratic representation, that puts undisciplined adult will before students and education. Even in great schools, that degrades the learning experience for students, teachers and parents.

Christopher Kling, Laguna Beach

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