When Mr. Bobay left for Texas, we knew that the school board would be challenged to fill his shoes. But who could know that the challenges would begin with the appointment process? Certainly, the inexperience of the board, and to some extent, leadership, has played into this controversy. As I observed this process, it was clear to me that while some mistakes were made and the process was not ideal, there were no obvious issues with integrity. So, for me, the decision should stand and the district needs to move forward.
However, there are those who would want to pursue a correction with a special election. Pursuing the path of a special election is not in the best interest of the district or its students. Here’s why:
- Cost of the special election. The required $100,000 or so can go to programs for our students instead of the election.
- Value of the special election: This special election would put someone on the board for approximately seven to eight months before the general election in November.
- The selected board member would have to run a second election within 8 months for the seat
- Unless the winner is someone with board experience, this new member would then still be learning
- The board is already inexperienced ad needs time to learn how a district operates to make good decisions that support our kids
- Disruptive to the work that needs to be done
- Having this election would be disruptive to the work the board needs to focus on (bond projects, improving outcomes for students, managing a tight budget, etc.)
- Does not correct the process problem
A better outcome would be to establish an appointment process with community input, one that is transparent, inclusive, and would clearly select a single candidate. Such will ensure that this doesn’t happen again, and in the meantime families would have a better understanding of this process.
The appointment process that was used was flawed:
- Having two independent selection criteria causes confusion. Questions will arise such as:
- Which one has more weight?
- Does the process really identify a candidate that is a good fit for the board?
- Does the selection process yield one candidate with only four voting members?
- Having a discussion on how to proceed in open session doesn’t instill confidence in the public
- Having a discussion about the candidates in front of them is less than ideal in the selection process (and I do understand the constraints of the Brown Act)
Having been a hiring manager and a member behind the dais, I understand a lot of the proccess’s constraints. However, I believe that we can come up with an appointment process that:
- Allows the public to be involved (e.g., public roundtable for questions)
- Is transparent (process is published)
- Ensures that only one candidate is selected by four voting members
- Allows the voting members to score the written application as well as the interview
- …And we can train all the voting members behind the process beforehand so that everyone who is scoring the candidates is clear on what they need to do, and using the same scale
In the spirit of the Culture of We, we face now an opportunity to come together and work together to make this process an effective, transparent, and fair one. I encourage all those involved to join me to come together and call for building a better process, rather than pursuing a costly special election.