Monday, September 09, 2013

School Board Election: Whom to Vote For?

September 9, 2013 2:15 p.m. [If you're looking for "Syria: Moral Imperatives and Rational Analyses," Click Here.]

Nine Candidates, Three Positions; How Can We Benefit From All?

A Win-Win Advisory Board for District

Nicholas Johnson

Iowa City Press-Citizen, September 5, 2013, p.A7

Be sure to vote Tuesday for Iowa City Community School Board.

OK; but for whom?

We are blessed with this year’s offering: nine good choices. Each brings at least one quality that would benefit our board. [Photo credit: KWWL-TV; Iowa City Community School District Board, Feb. 5, 2013]

Study what the Press-Citizen brings us about them. There may be reasons for your preferences.

If you want a steady-as-she-goes board member — responsive to community pressure, soft spoken, able, collaborative — some candidates’ training and experience suggests they might be, by your standards, marginally preferable to others.

If you want a shake-’em-up board member — innovative, constructively abrasive, researching and advocating best practices, willing to take on the administration and special interests — you may find others marginally preferable.

If you think, however significant the district’s challenges and opportunities may be, the first task before taking up that agenda is for board members to understand board governance — the role of a board members and their interaction with the administration — there may be others who appeal to you.

But there’s no bad vote; no candidate who needs to be avoided at all costs.

When I was a School Board member, I used to say, “you may not get any pay, but at least you get a lot of grief.” Anyone who cares enough about K-12 education to be willing to serve deserves our encouragement and thanks.

It is mathematically impossible to put all nine on the School Board and still have a board of seven members.

So how about, this year, we create the opportunity to benefit from all of them, with a “School Board Advisory Board”?

No matter who wins, there will be six who don’t. There’s no way their votes on board business could be counted legally. Only elected board members can vote. But their comments at board meetings, and revealing how they would have voted on items, could be a significant contribution to board discussions and outcomes. Whomever they may turn out to be, it seems a shame to lose their commitment, enthusiasm and obvious abilities following Tuesday — if they would be willing to serve in that way.

Just a thought.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City

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1 comment:

Nick said...

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