Precinct 333

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Who runs the schools, if not the board?

This article about the schools in Dupo, Illinois caught my eye, since it is also from my old neck of the woods. Now I don't really have a dog in this fight, because I'm a long way away and am ambivalent about out-sourcing support services.

Then why am I writing about it? Well, it is because of two little nuggets, packed right together in the middle of the article:

School Board President Brian Thompson confirmed that the board had gone out for a bid, but he was not allowed to provide any more details on the subject. He also stated that seeking a bid was not the board's wish, but he would not comment on where that decision came from.

Really, Mr. Thompson? The elected board of the district didn't want to seek bids, but they are being sought anyway? Whose idea was it? Who authorized it? Why didn't the board stop it if seeking such bids is not in line with the wishes of the board? And why can't you provide any further details? You are the elected president of the board -- one of the people who is responsible for running the district! Who is running the show in the district ifnot you and your fellow board members?

"Everything's in negotiations and there is a media blackout on negotiations. When everything has been negotiated then everyone will get to vote, including them, on a settlement," said Superintendent Michael Koebel, as he motioned toward the protesting crowd.

Hold on. A media blackout? By whose orders? And what exactly is being negotiated? I thought you were only seeking bids. Sounds to me like you are already setting up a contract, and that a decision has already been made to let the contract. Is that the case? If so, who made that decision? And what kind of settlement are we talking about here? With whom? We've gone from bids to negotiations to settlements. And by the way -- since when do the voters of the district get to vote on contracts let by the district. Last time I checked, they only got to vote on bond issues, not day-to-day operational decisions.

Sounds to me like there is a fast one being pulled on the people of the Dupo School District. I hope they keep up the good work, and hold these folks accountable.


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