Do a search for “signs of an effective school board member” and you’ll find positive characteristics including: an altruistic reason for service, an ability to speak for all stakeholders, maintaining constant open communication with a broad constituency, and having the wisdom to maintain order by discouraging contentious communication tactics.
An effective board member seeks input from varied stakeholders, does their own research, asks hard questions of the superintendent, listens, collaborates on solutions designed to fit the unique need of each school community as supported by data evidence, and does so with our students’ and communities’ needs in mind, versus reacting to national education issues and promoting the standardized solutions or their own opinion or agenda.
Our superintendent has unconditional support from a majority of the LBUSD board, and many changes in our district receive “rubber stamped” approval swiftly by majority vote. I applaud the ideas and changes implemented, such as important improvements to facilities and educational and social/emotional support programs and staff for our students. Others like “Challenge Success,” has excellent components, yet even its founder encouraged adaption to local needs.
From the calendar, to the high school bell schedule, to removing the grade bumps, decisions are made without regard to the communities they serve, their needs or their voice in mind. Committees are formed with the superintendent involved. How does that allow staff to freely share ideas? The board uses admin-provided data even on contentious issues. I elected this board to challenge our administration, not in confrontation, but to expand the boundaries of excellence. Why not be so extraordinary we’re looked to for ideas rather than us looking outward.
At the June 11 board meeting, action item #15 concerned me. A “special subcommittee” of board members, less Perry? Why silence her? Their argument is trivial and lacks justification. Addressing this seems overreaching and lacking transparency. She seems to be challenging the administration, asking hard questions, doing her own research and listening to her constituents, and now the board wants to take away a voice of the community “as warranted.” Is that legal? Board Member Perry is in her second term elected representing her constituents’ interests. She does independent research, offering a different viewpoint, which is necessary when determining the best solutions for our students and community. It’s time for this board to step up or get out.
Sheri Morgan, Laguna Beach