School Board Meeting
I went to the Hanover school board meeting and learned one important thing – I dislike school board meetings now as much as I did when I had to cover them as a reporter.
OK, that’s not all I learned. So let’s go to the bullets:
- The music and drama program have, for all intents and purposes, been rolled back to past, except for the pep band replacing the marching band at the high school. Why the district didn’t work with parents and administrators before releasing the “proposals” that would have made significant changes which spurred the reaction which led to the rolling back is beyond me. Communication can work wonders.
- Board member Darlene Funk won’t vote to approve job candidates who don’t have their child abuse clearances even though district policy (and probably state law) forbids the hiring to go through without those documents. There are some exceptions (the state allows 90 days from hiring to get the clearances), but personnel director B.J. Frock told the board last night that that doesn’t happen in Hanover, at least not for athletic positions. No clearances, no work for coaches, she said. So if you want people to get clearances BEFORE they come in front of the board, propose that as a new rule instead of voting against people for not doing something they will have to do in order to actually start the job.
- Even though she didn’t address it at the meeting, I have to credit board president Lindy Lingg for her apology in the newspaper regarding the camera situation at the Andrew Samuelson demotion hearing recently. And when a citizen upbraided Lingg and Superintendet Al Moyer, they just let her vent instead of playing tit for tat. I may not agree with them on some things, but that showed a lot of maturity to me.
- I have concerns with things happening in the district like anyone else, but the meme that no one wants their kids to go to Hanover is just silly. In fact, the board approved two new elementary teaching positions last night because enrollment in kindergarten and second grade have gone up drastically. I really enjoyed seeing the board vote to approve these without trying to jury rig a solution.
- I appreciated athletic director Jeremy Flores explaining to the board that they do keep some assistant coaching positions unfilled if the numbers don’t warrant a coach. However, the board and top administration should have pointed facts like this out as they complained about needing to cut money from the music and drama budgets. Again, communication does wonders.
- Heather Wagaman did a great job talking about the Summer Reading Academy. I’m biased since she taught my daughter Kindergarten and was beyond amazing in the classroom. However, it’s important for people to know the quality of teachers we have in the district.
- The board showed some great foresight in planning to raise salaries and reimburse summer workers for clearances beginning in 2013. Apparently, they have had trouble getting and keeping people in these positions. Better to plan ahead than continue to bang your head against the wall.
- A lot of parents came out. I hope that keeps going on.
So while I will continue to make fun of school board meetings – and that has nothing to do with the people sitting at the table – I also feel better seeing the process in action. Now let’s see if I can manage to put myself through this once or twice a month.