Thursday, March 21, 2013

School Board Togetherness

INTERESTING HOW PEOPLE running for Quincy's school board have a tendency to run in groups.

Running on a "ticket" with one or two other people causes reservation. A school board candidate should have their own ideas and issues to talk about. What if they get elected with their buddies and have different views on an issue? It might lead them to say, "Well, we ran together, so now we have to vote together."

Then again, unity is a big part of being on school board. The last few years have been interesting, to say the least, for Quincy Public Schools, and I have a lot of respect for board members who have endured a "Just Say No To Everything" member and some very difficult financial times.

It takes somebody special to be a school board member, because I wouldn't do it in a million years. Most of them in Quincy are good people who work hard, and they have my admiration and respect.

A few years back I had to cover a school board meeting for The Whig. It was awful. There was a newer board member who loved to hear himself talk and who dragged the meeting on forever. Mr. No was so obviously incompetent and clueless it was laughable. At one point, the superintendent, Tom Leahy, stood up and chided the board members for being split and fractured on key issues. Another board member spent 10 minutes during the meeting blasting me for a story I'd written about a finance committee meeting, a story that was accurate and fair. Ironically, this board member was one of the better ones and actually had a clue about things.

Back to the group ticket issue. I can see the advantages if like-minded candidates run together - saves on signs, advertising, etc. But it can backfire, because a recent candidate recently warbled on Facebook about how great her signs looked with another candidate's name on the back, and that's not what I'm looking for in a candidate. You should tell me all you want about how you have the children's best interest at heart, how you want to work with teachers and staff, etc. Then tell me how you will deal with state finances screwing our kids, and what your stand is on curriculum changes and how to deal with the upcoming teacher negotiations. I don't really care how nice your sign looks.

And good luck, once you get elected. You'll need it.

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