As we head into another school board election, I am struck by the one thing all of my neighbors, regardless of party affiliation can agree on, and that is the lack of accountability of the current school board. This is of particular importance to me as I am the owner of a company in Plainfield focused on healthcare compliance. I am always surprised by our need to hold people accountable in the provision of healthcare services, particularly those paid for with tax dollars, yet when we look at our school board that accountability somehow dissipates like morning mist.
It is so much easier to blame teachers, parents and students for failing schools and forget it is the school board that serves as the corporate body responsible for budgets, hiring the superintendent, properties, legal matters and community engagement, all of which define the parameters teachers, students and parents work and learn in.
The best example of this truth is the board’s abject lack of transparency in the dealings and hiring of superintendents. The last interim superintendent who proposed several improvements for the district that the community supported found himself in an intolerable working condition and was apparently pressured to resign, and when asked if he could return to provide a smooth transition, a group of board members known to vote as a block in order to have the majority voted against it. The hiring of the current superintendent included inaccurate and incomplete job postings, meetings closed to the public, lack of linguistically competent information and an overall incompetent search process, led by the same company that had already failed in the previous hiring.
Today Business Insider released its list of the 50 most miserable cities, and Plainfield was number 30. We are all responsible to make our city better, and that starts with voting in every election including for our school board. Our schools are our wealth, and on November 5th we need to hold our school board members accountable for the job they have done. This election I am voting for accountability: Mack Rice, Carmencita Pile and Lynn Anderson-Person.