"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scottsboro Board of Education Work Session April 20, 2017 - Staffing Issues and Superintendent Selection

Scottsboro Schools, Page Administration Center 
Photo by Scottsboro Schools, Fair-Use rights for non-profit news and commentary

Thursday was a work session for the Scottsboro Board of Education. Similar to the Boards other work sessions they can be long, this one was approximately 3 hours. Important issues were covered such as Superintendent selection discussion, the current Superintendent Dr.Sandra Spivey, will be leaving in a couple of months, and schools staffing requirements. Related article from the Clarion, April 12, 2017: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10916:sboe-to-search-for-new-superintendent-&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142

Dr. Spivey commented that the Scottsboro Schools system has been loosing student enrollments at approximately 50 per year and that this has been ongoing for several years. The loss in enrollment will result in a teacher loss within the school system in the upcoming year. 

The below videos will speak for themselves. During the Staffing segment there was a heated discussion about issues which I elaborate on in a short video. Regarding the superintendent selection process, there appears to be a transparency issue regarding the publishing of all candidates for the superintendent position. I inquired to Mrs Thompson, School Board President about the issue after the meeting. Currently there is no intention to release all applicants for the job to the public. There is also a question of whether the final selectees will be interviewed in public prior to the boards choice. 

Another concern is the organizational process regarding the agenda. The Superintendent of Scottsboro's Schools is not a school board member and should not be establishing the agenda, that is a job for the School Board President. The President and the Superintendent should discuss matters which would be placed on the board's agenda, but never should the Superintendent establish the Agenda, in my opinion, as this compromises the purpose of the School Board's President and the organization function of the board as to checks and balances function of the governmental entity. 

UPDATE 8-25-17: After further consideration and thought, this writer thinks it is important to offer forth my further thoughts and information gained on this matter based on my leadership experiences,  training, political involvement in community,and discussions with knowledgeable individuals about Alabama school boards within this state and area

The problems and their solutions involving the Scottsboro Board of Education are the sole responsibility of the Scottsboro Board of Education; they, the School Board, are the RESPONSIBLE authority as to school board matters, the buck stops with the school board regarding Scottsboro Schools as to policy, budget and rules of the school board. The electorate is responsible to be knowledgeable about the character and experience of those they elect to school board office.

It is unfair to the Scottsboro Schools Superintendent for the school board's to attempt to PASS OFF its RESPONSIBILITY onto the school's superintendent. It is important to remember, RESPONSIBILITY may not be delegated. Dr. Sandra Spivey has demonstrated a strong leadership style which local citizens I think are not familiar, personally I am impressed with her leadership style and capabilities. Further, because of a lack of leadership training and experience many on the school board, past and present, are ill equipped to deal with her very capable leadership abilities. The Scottsboro Schools Superintendent is accountable to the Scottsboro School Board. The problem and question, is the school board capable of managing and leading the school system as to budget, policy and the superintendent? The superintendent is responsible for the day to day operations of the schools and reporting to the school board, which includes keeping the board informed on all issues which may affect the schools operations. This includes advising and making recommendations to the school board on important issues

AASB, Alabama Association of School Boards - Hidden Agendas
In discussions with individuals and a lack of past replies from the AASB on issues, there appears to be a problem with their facilitation of transparency and the conduct of meetings to include citizen input. It was good to see the long standing citizen input session was brought back into the process of the Scottsboro School Board, no thanks to the AASB's bureaucratic position. There is a concern that the AASB's influence is a direct threat to transparency, open elections and the operation of the Scottsboro School Board for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama.

My recommendation is that the school board, its President, and the superintendent should think twice before allowing an inordinate amount of influence from the AASB and their hidden/secret agendas. Examples: facilitating squashing of  transparency, no citizen input to the school board, elected board officials replaced by appointed officials, and the AASB's facilitation of regional legal support of school boards by large corporate law practices.

 On the AASB web site there ( http://www.alabamaschoolboards.org/ ) is the appearance of nothing but support, I'm sure they facilitate this support function. However, when there is an effort to remove citizen input, squash transparency, remove elected officials via supporting appointed school board members, along with supporting corporate regional legal services instead of local attorneys, there appears to be a degree of inordinate influences via a hidden agenda within the political mechanisms of the AASB. It is my opinion they are not supportive of the community, but embrace the position of a political action committee supporting no accountability to the electorate in regards to school boards. 

After considerable thought, observations and discussions the over reliance on the AASB's hidden agenda regarding school board management is creating problems for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama as to schools management.

Click on image for an expanded view.


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