Friday, June 17, 2011

Board makes tough call

Every time school board elections are coming up, I see all the signs for people wanting to serve on the school board.

I wonder if these people are crazy. I served on the school board at Heavener a few years ago. I even served as president of the school board for one year. While the first year of being on the board was okay, during my term as president it seemed like there was constant controversy.

No, it was not because of anything I did. I hope that it was just poor timing. We had to replace a superintendent and make other decisions that make the position a difficult one. I had phone calls and visits to work and home from people (many of them friends and people I had known my whole life) telling me why I should do this or not do that.

It isn’t fun, that’s for sure. Every decision you make upsets some people and makes others happy.

I always tried to do what was best for the students and the school. And sometimes I voted against what my friends wanted me to do, or against the majority.

In case you didn't know, school board members don’t get paid to administer the school and there are no fringe benefits.

Poteau’s school board made one of those difficult decisions during a school board meeting on Tuesday.

By a 3-2 vote, the board voted to rescind the offer it made earlier to Hank Harris to serve as the next superintendent of Poteau schools.

Board president Chris Fenton and members Beth Buchanan and Crystal Walker voted to rescind the offer to Harris. Board vice president Jay Sommers and clerk Adrian Sconyers voted no.

The reason why the board took this action was not disclosed and don’t expect any statement as to why this happened. That would violate every privacy law out there and bring a flock of lawsuits.

There are plenty of rumors and hearsay floating around. No, I won’t get into it because it is rumors and hearsay. 

I did attempt to get some information from one board member as to why the board addressed the issue, but got the “no comment” reaction.

I can understand that. If I was in the board member’s position, that is what I would have done.

Harris has served Poteau schools for a long time and has a lot of support. He was the logical person to replace current superintendent Dr. Alice Smith, who is retiring on June 30. Naturally, there are a lot of people upset with the decision.

I can certainly understand that. But again, this was not an easy thing for the board to do. Hopefully, this was not done because of some axe to grind or because it was personal.

Instead, I hope it was because the three people who voted yes were doing so because they thought it was in the best interests of the students and the school.

Was this the right decision? Only time will tell.

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