LETTER: 'A clear choice'
The point of educating kids is to give them the tools they need to be highly functioning adults. We know that the high school diploma does not carry the weight it once did as far as preparing our youngsters for the workforce, so now, more than ever, college readiness should be a major standard by which we look at how well our districts are carrying out their mission.
Vague labels like ‘A Rated school district’ as assigned by
The data is telling when comparing the average 'college readiness' scores of the districts that appoint versus elect their superintendents. There are 25
Notable scores, if you don't visit the website: Walton 18, Okaloosa 35.8 and Bay 21.3. Alachua and
It is quite clear from this data designed to evaluate outcomes rather than provide cover for underperforming districts, as the state has done, that appointed superintendents, rather than those that are popularly elected, are more competent at meeting the mission of their systems.
On Aug. 26 we have a clear choice. We can continue to accept mediocre performance as acceptable given the gilding of Walton's school district with a meaningless ‘A’ grade or we can do what we all know is beneficial to the majority, rather than a select few politicians who have nobody’s best interest in mind other than their own, and vote 'YES' on the referendum to change the selection of a superintendent from one that is popularly elected to one selected by our elected school board!
Patrick A. Ferry M.D.
LETTER: 'The art of misdirection'
Any football coach will tell you that misdirection is part of a successful game plan. Get your opponent to think the play is going to the right, then run to the left. In other words, fake ‘em out.
The folks who are promoting vote “YES” on the upcoming school referendum have mastered the art of misdirection. Make everyone think the campaign to appoint a school superintendent is about putting “kids above politics” when it’s really about control of the school system.
The North Walton Republican Club recently held a candidate forum that included a brief presentation of the “YES” and “NO” positions. The speaker for the “NO” position was a former school board member with a long record of public service in
We hear some school board members say, “I’m only one vote. You need three votes to get anything done.” The implication is school board members have little power to affect change.
Florida Statutes are specific about the responsibilities of school boards and superintendents.
Title XLVII, Chapter 1001: “Duties and responsibilities of district school superintendent . . . shall perform all tasks necessary to make sound recommendations, nominations, proposals and reports required by law to be enacted upon by the district school board. . . It shall be presumed that . . . the recommendations, nominations, and proposals required of the district superintendent were not contrary to the action taken by the district school board in such matters.”
In this four page statute, the word recommend (or recommendation) appears 26 times.
Look at what the statutes say about school boards.
“The School Board shall require . . .
(1) minutes and records to be kept . . .
(2) control property . . .
(3) adopt school programs . . .
(4) adopt and provide for the execution of plans for the establishment, organization and operation of the schools of the district . . .
--(h) provide for the establishment and maintenance of career schools. . .
--(k) may adopt rules for planning time for teachers . . .
--(l)) provide for exceptional students . . .
(5) Personnel: designate which positions to be filled, and provide for the appointment, compensation, promotion, suspension and dismissal of employees, subject to the requirements of chapter 1012.
(6) Adopt policies establishing standards of ethical conduct for instructional personnel and school administrators, as defined in s.1012.01.
(11) School Plant: Approve plans for locating, planning, constructing, sanitating, insuring, maintaining, protecting, and condemning school property as described in chapter 1013.
(a) provide for all public schools to operate 180 days.
(b) cause to be prepared, adopt, and have submitted to the Department of Education as required by law . . . the annual school budget . . .
(d) school funds – require that an accurate account is kept of all funds . . .
(g) implement a system of accounts and budgetary control to ensure that payments do not exceed amount budgeted, as required by law; make available all records for proper audit by state officials or independent certified public accountants . . . (emphasis added!)
(l) may employ an internal auditor to perform ongoing financial verification of the financial records of the school district . . .”
So, who has the power — the Superintendent or the School Board?
The “kids before politics” slogan is clever misdirection to get you to think that budgetary shortfalls, questionable administrator compensation, and teacher grievances are due to the actions of our elected School Superintendent, Ms. Carlene Anderson.
These same “YES” people believe that giving more authority to the School Board will restore the universe to its proper balance. Our school board doesn’t use the power it has now. Why reward them by giving them power to select the next school superintendent?
The superintendent selection process, a referendum item on the Aug. 26th
In the case of
The appointment argument that the superintendent position should be searched for from among candidates with a higher education degree and experience in the field of education is a fallacious one. State Senator and Senate President Don Gaetz never would have made the cut in
Consider that a school board position (elected) requires no more than a high school degree and county residence. It is somewhat incongruous that appointment pushers would have this elected body develop a superintendent’s job description and launch what could be an expensive and time consuming nationwide search to recruit and appoint a superintendent.
Recall that a nationwide search for our county administrator position was undertaken not so long ago. This resulted in contracts with three county administrators in four years, one contract that required a buy-out and a position that was ultimately filled by Larry Jones from our very own
The arrogance of the “yes” crowd cannot be overstated. They want to eliminate the superintendent as an elected position because they think
Free elections allow candidates from all backgrounds to run for office. Voters decide who is qualified for the job. This process has worked since our country was founded and it has worked in
Just vote NO on August 26th.