Board should trust leaders
May 14, 2020
I’d like to address the nearly six-minute diatribe by a board member at the April 30 meeting.
It was inappropriate. This time is set aside for public comment. Trustee Stough was speaking as a trustee because he referenced “we the board” over a dozen times. He should’ve never been acknowledged by Board Chair Pafford to give his rant. However, history has shown that this chair disregards rules when its favorable to him.
It really became inappropriate (and should’ve been shut down by the chair) when the trustee called out a teacher by name. The board chair’s reaction? Crickets. The board chair is well aware that it is against both board policy and the Montana Open Meeting law to single out an individual by name.
Secondly, I admit that it has been a long time since I owned a business with nearly 20 employees, and even longer since I took a labor law class at Gonzaga, but I do know that it is against the law for an employer to attack a union member because that member made an endorsement the employer didn’t like.
This board member wants you to believe that everything is great – that everyone is on the same page. If it is, why did the board disagree with the superintendent? If the board had confidence in the superintendent, why would they question his judgment and not take his recommendation to rehire the science teacher and counselor? During that meeting, and since their decision, it’s obvious that not only did these two have the superintendent’s support, but also that of the students, parents and community.
Let’s be honest. We can all see this for what it is: a petty, vindictive stunt to get back at the teachers.
I find it laughable that he invoked the pandemic for a reason to not change the makeup of the school board. This from the guy who was instrumental in upending two family’s lives during what he calls a “global state of emergency.”
If morale was low before, it is now glaringly on display for everyone to see.
I’m hopeful the science teacher and counselor re-apply for their positions. I hope the superintendent again recommends hire. And I hope the board will trust the superintendent to make good choices and approve the hires. I have had several members of the community approach me signaling that any future levy approval will not happen if the board continues to micromanage.
I want to finish by saying this particular board member is running for county commissioner. I for one will be voting to reelect his opponent. I know that Commissioner Cox is in it to serve the best interests of the west end of our county and wouldn’t dream of putting two families out on the street during a pandemic.