School Board represents community not education bureaucracy

We were hoping for some original thinking and new ideas from our newest School Board member, James Kelly, but my wife and I were disappointed by “Positive Outcomes” (March 4, Stu News).

Instead of enlarging the community/school’s narrative he’s seemingly fallen lockstep with the same old shrill chorus trying to silence open and fair discussion that addresses both strengths and weaknesses, positives and negatives, in School Board governance practices.

Those of us who went to school here, whose children and grandchildren attend local schools, don’t need to be told our public education system is excellent. We’re tired of apologists for the Board hiding behind the success of teachers, students, and parents while pontificating against those who know the Board can do even better for students.

We put students first by advocating more competent oversight representing our town’s diversity. The Board should not practice denial about serious District policy and program failures.

Mr. Kelly insists he’s seen nothing but civility, good morale. He needs to take off his apparent education bureaucracy blinders and spend enough time in Laguna to know a lot of parents with kids in school won’t even come to Board meetings or speak in public about school experiences for fear of retaliation.

Unfortunately, there’s more. Kelly was less than candid claiming “I was not sworn in as a board member until January and therefore did not attend the organizing meeting at which the board president was chosen.

He did not need to defend himself, but when he chose to it was wrong to use “therefore” to reverse actual cause and effect of his absence. His inauspicious choice of words seemingly mean he was precluded from attending December’s organizing meeting and voting on election of the President because he was not sworn in.

An accurate statement would candidly inform the public he didn’t attend the December meeting where he would have been sworn in and voted on election of the President, and “therefore” wasn’t sworn in until attending his first meeting in January.  

Not trust-engendering and a bad example for students expected not to make excuses for skipping class, to me. Claiming prior business commitment with more than a month of notice about an official meeting also reflects unwillingness to adjust priorities to meet responsibilities he asked to be entrusted to him, I believe.

Since he was a no-show for the election of presiding officers, his vote on the repeal of the equal Board member participation rule, broken for purposes of exclusion rather than inclusion it seems, will show Kelly’s true colors.

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach