Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Board policies…

Before I get to the main topic of this writing, I had the privilege of watching our fourth grandchild graduate from high school last Friday. I took advantage of the Braxton Live viewing option. I have utilized that option with the last three. My legs and back just don’t do well with the walking and sitting required to be there in person. Eric Campbell and his crew do a great job and I also didn’t have to contend with the heat.

Carly did a really good job with her salutatorian address. I know she was extremely nervous, but it sure didn’t show from my vantage point. I congratulate her and her classmates on their graduation and wish them well as they embark on this new portion of their lives.

I have watched the actions of the Board of Education pertaining to the selection of a new superintendent and I have a few issues. First and foremost, I am disappointed that the existing board didn’t include the newly elected members in the process to some extent. Of course, I realize that the hiring needs to be done before the newly elected members take their seats, however, I think they should have at least been kept in the loop and it appears that no attempt in that direction was made.

I am also very disappointed that they will hire someone tomorrow, May 24, and the public has never heard who the candidates even are. I have previously heard the argument that by not releasing the names they save embarrassment for those that are not hired. Frankly, I don’t buy that argument. These candidates are professional adults. They fully realized that all of them are not going to be hired and I believe the public’s right to know should be the only consideration the board has.

In other counties it is common practice for boards of education to announce their top applicants for such important positions. The hiring of a new president at Marshall University had weeks of prior publicity including stories on the top applications. Our board of education often says they seek transparency… well where is it? I gave them the benefit of the doubt and I won’t make that mistake again. I should have followed my instinct and filed a Freedom of Information request a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that the list had been narrowed to five candidates. This Board gets a “C-” at best, in my grade book when it comes to transparency and the public’s right to know. I hope the new composition, after July 1, strives for a higher score.

I have another question. We received a notice today that the Board is having a special meeting at 3:00 pm tomorrow with the main item apparently dealing with hiring the new superintendent. Now someone needs to explain to me why there is need for a special meeting 3 hours before a regularly scheduled meeting? Our deadline was hectic, and I didn’t have time to really check, but I’m not sure the special meeting was properly noticed either. Come on Board of Education… be responsible, first to the students of our school system and then to the voters whom you serve!