By Russell Thomas
September 26, 2006
This letter reflects my own personal opinions and is not intended
to represent the Board or the Board's collective opinion.
If anyone had been paying too much attention they would realize
that the Superintendent's yearly evaluation and contract did
not suddenly "appear" on an agenda just a few days
before a school board election. In fact, Mr. Martin's evaulation
has been discussed at each of our meetings since June.
Board policy states that the Superintendent's evaluation instrument
will be handed out to Board members during our July meeting with
instructions that it be brought back for discussion with the
Superintendent at our first meeting in August. This discussion
took place in executive session at our August 10th meeting. Our
policy also states that the Superintendent will have the opportunity
to respond to the Board's evaulation in writing, which he did
at our next scheduled meeting on September 13th. Changes to
the Superintendent's contract traditionally follow his evaluation
and can include a contract extension, an increase in pay and
benefits, or both.
The idea that voting on a contract before an election subverts
the process ignores the evaluation process itself. Suppose the
incumbents were to lose the election and three new board members
were asked to vote on a Superintendent contract at our second
meeting in October. What information would they use to base
their vote on? New board members would not have had the opportunity
to evaluate the Superintendent on his job performance, determine
whether or not he had followed Board direction and implemented
its policies, or met the goals the Board had set for him the
I am surprised that the same people raising this argument aren't
up in arms each time a school board approves a negotiated labor
agreement. In almost all cases, the agreement runs for three
years and obligates future boards to pay for it, with costs often
in the millions of dollars. If we had just negotiated a hard-fought
three-year deal with the teachers union and it happened to come
to a vote during a September meeting I can't believe that anyone
would be making any deal of it at all. Where was all the hoopla
on the 13th when we approved a three-year deal with the KLO?.
Unfortunately, I think this is more about personality than protocal.
Sorry folks, no conspiracy here. Just seven public servants
trying to follow the policy and protocal you all seem to be so
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: "School Board President
& Ketchikan resident"
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