Re: District must guard privacy, THE RECORD, Mar. 26, 2008.
The ink fish, when it senses danger, releases a cloud of ink, in which it hides until a later time, so that it can emerge when safer conditions prevail.
The series of news articles and letters in the RECORD, culminating with the above referenced letter from School Board Chair Michael Ewen, provide us with a view of actions by Ewen that mirror those of the ink fish when its alarms go off. Ewen would have us believe that the matter facing the Royal City Education foundation is one of the District guarding the privacy of scholarship and bursary winners. The fact that the winners’ names are published in the community newspapers and that they are also announced at convocation exercises shows the utter absurdity of this argument. It is the cloud of the ink fish.
The real issue, as it always is at
Many people in this community question as to how the School Board could reach such a dysfunctional and deplorable state.
The account of the Mar. 11 School Board meeting by reporter Niki Hope gives us some insights to the question.
First, how is it that the School Board deals with substantive issues with only four of its members present? Although quorum requirements are met, this is no way to conduct business.
Second, the lack of professional approach in acquiring legal opinions is extraordinary. Questions of law should be presented to legal counsel, in written form and answers should also be supplied, in written form, to all members of the board. To have this all done verbally by the chair is a recipe for disaster. It leads errors, is an abuse of process, and indeed, that night resulted in the bullying, by the chair, of a dissenting board member. That Trustees Watt and Bennett voted with the Ewen on this issue ( incidentally, they are members of the same political slate), speaks to their lack of judgment, ethics and their sense of decorum.
Third, the board deals on a verbal basis on almost all matters brought before it. Often, there are no written reports distributed in advance to interested parties. Much of the discussion and decision- making that should take place at open meetings is done in closed meetings. Again, we see a huge deficit in transparency and accountability. It is no wonder then, that except for a very few dedicated people or for crisis situations, public participation in board matters is almost negligible.
The public committee meetings Ewen once boasted about have ground to a halt.
The time has come for a complete forensic audit, of both finance and process, at