Return When the Storm Has Passed

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Clearly the board is aware of the circumstances regarding Ms. Normandin’s absence.  She is still with us and it appears is still involved with running the district but hasn’t been able to make the meetings. To my knowledge there haven’t been any tie votes that would have required us to drag Ms. Normandin away from her family for a vote.

What would satisfy the need for “this to be debated openly?” Perhaps delving into all the details of the emergency to be sure she wasn’t ditching school for a case of the sniffles? Or better yet debating whether Ms. Normandin should be forced to run down to the school board meeting during a family emergency?  Maybe we should debate whether she and her family have any right to privacy? How about we debate hiring yet another administrator to keep an eye on board attendance and make sure their bosses aren’t playing hooky.

I’m for debating the expense of another election. Some might want to debate about ditching the democratic election and appointing someone to fill her spot. Given what has happened, perhaps how about requiring background checks and physicals for all candidates and their families before the election?

Maybe, though, the debate should concentrate on who exactly would want to serve in an unpaid position where when your family needs you most you are required to drop everything for a vote on what type of tree should be planted near the baseball field.

Sarcasm aside, I have three children in the district and I voted for Carol Normandin. A plurality of us did and as George W. Bush so eloquently put “elections matter.”

Carol, Mr. Flores has it wrong. We don’t need a debate about what is going on in your life to pull you away. He is right about one thing though, our kids need you there looking out for them. Don’t worry about us right now though. The kids will be fine. It is the summer after all. Take care of your family and when the storm is past come back as soon as you can ready to keep our school district on track.


Sam Eidt, Laguna Beach

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  1. This person obviously is having a conversation with himself. I attended the Board meeting and anyone who did would know that no one wanted there to be a vacancy, no one wanted the school Board to appoint a member, and no one wanted an election. God forbid we have more of those than we must.

    The Board admitted at the meeting it was worried that her absences might create a vacancy, so it made confusing announcements that her absences were “excused,” thinking that would protect her seat from vacancy. But the Board never voted to excuse the absences, so those announcements could not have the legal effect the Board intended.

    Those who asked for transparency and an explanation of the Board’s cryptic announcements in open session were not seeking information about Normandin’a private situation, but rather were responding to the public record created by teh Board’s public statement. That’s still allowed in America last time I checked.

    Ironically, it was the Board that intruded into the realm of Normandin’s private life by issuing a staff report on Normandin’s absences, which stated the law was not clear about whether the illness of a family member or a passive non-participatory role prevents a vacancy after three months of absence form Board meetings. The Board paper raised issues about Normandin’s actual private activities, not the quesiton by those who wanted the Board to explain its actions.

    One Board member is quoted saying the Board has discretion to treat this as a compassionate leave and not a legal issue. Of course, the Board has discretion only consistent with he law, so that statement makes no sense. It was the Board ignorance of the law, announcing absences were excused but not voting on the issue and not knowing what constituted a vacancy before making statements to avert a vacancy, that showed a lack of respect for Normandin’s rights.

    Real compassion needs to be matched by conscientious and competent acts on behalf of another. Those who questioned the Board’s less than competent actions in this matter did so with due compassion and respect, the Board acted in a misinformed manner to defend itself from criticism, and that resulted in misdirection of any compassion for Normandin.

    Fortunately she announced in writing that she hopes and intends to come back. If the staff report finding that it is not clear a vacancy exists is not overturned by the County Superintendent of Schools, we should be spared more undue drama due to the sloppy manner in which the Board handled this matter.

    Criticizing those who revealed the Board does not have a clear policy based on law is misplaced compassion ad misdirected anger coming from someone who didn’t bother to attend the meeting.


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