After the Huntsville City Schools board met today for three and a half hours to discuss the Proposed Consent Order, after countless hours of executive sessions and repeatedly claiming that they cannot speak because of the gag order placed upon them by Judge Haikala, they ended up exactly where everyone knew they would: approving Dr. Wardynski’s recommendation unanimously. Here’s how they ended their part of the process:
McCaulley: Last question, uh, can this proposed consent decree be voted in parts?
Brooks: Well I, eh, not and provide any effective result, I mean, if it, if you adopt the assignment part but not some other part, it won’t serve any useful purpose, uh.
McCaulley: So it’s, uh, all one pac . . .
Brooks: Yes, this is provided. It was negotiated as a package. It is presented as a package.
McCaulley: Ok. That concludes the termination [sic], and before the consideration of the vote proposed in front of us, I’ve been asked, by your fellow board members to remind you of the Model Code of Conduct for local school boards of education. And I’m not gonna read all these affirmations. I just circled three and not as many as some others had suggested. [Laughs] First one, is to take actions that reflects [sic] that the first and foremost concern is for the educational welfare of all students attending the schools, attending the school system. Number two, refrain from using the position of a school board member for personal or political gains or to benefit any person or entity over the interests of the entire school system. Number three, honor and protect the confidentiality of all discussions during executive sessions of the board. And number four, and the last one I’m going to read, y’all can reference back yourself, abide by and support all the majority decisions of the board. Those are the affirmations that you signed when you were elected to uphold.
McCaulley: So I’m going to read the recommendation from the superintendent. (Reads) “I recommend that the Huntsville City Board of Education join the United States Department of Justice in submitting for approval by the United States District Court the proposed consent order in the case of Hereford and United States vs. Huntsville City Board of Education as revised on February 17, 2015. And that the superintendent be authorized to take necessary administrative and personnel actions to effectuate the consent order.” Do I have a . . .
McCaulley: All . . . Any more discussion? All in favor say, “Aye.”
Wilder, Culbreath, McGinnis, and Ferrell: Aye.
McCaulley: Those opposed say, “Nay.” And it is unanimous, and we are adjourned.
And with that, the board washed their hands of the process and made sure to get their lawyer (the person actually in charge today) to order them to stay silent. Thus, any hope that the public might have had that their voices would be heard during this process just flew into the brick wall of a board of bureaucrats seeking nothing more than to protect their own personal and political futures, you know, the very thing they “affirmed” they wouldn’t do.
This Proposed Consent Order was written in secret, revised (because they couldn’t proofread before releasing it) in secret, and approved without any concern for the public, the teachers, the communities, nor the students whose lives will be disrupted by this plan.
For example, one of the loudest issues raised with the board was the proposed plan to decimate the Dance Program at Grissom high. Their only response to this concern was to restate what they had already been proposed, namely: “This will include, as necessary, limiting dance programming at the other schools.” They are under the mistaken impression that they can promote the arts at one school by limiting them at another showing, once again, a fundamental lack of understanding of the Arts, education, life, the universe, and everything.
(If you would like to add your voice in support of the Dance Program at Grissom, please read and consider signing this petition started by Grissom students.)
Thanks, Board, for doing such an excellent job of listening to and representing the public. No wonder you need your own personal public relations firm working for you at our expense.
Judge Haikala should send the parties back to the drawing board on this one and tell them that the public needs to be represented at the table because clearly our Board of Education is more concerned with explaining why they can’t address public concerns than they are actually, you know, representing the public that elected them.
You cannot unify the community without involving them in the process. Attempting to do so is like destroying the village to save it. Only a Colonel would think it an “historic moment.”