Letter: Writer suggests another option for Burke situation
To the editor,
Farmington School District residents should view the actual segments of the Nov. 8 school board meeting and come to their own conclusions on the board vs. Tim Burke situation. If you have a computer, the easiest way to do so is to use these links for direct viewing of these segments: vimeo.com/16737305 for the motion to investigate and board discussion and vimeo.com/1673436 for public comment on the situation at the beginning of the meeting. If you don't have a computer but have cable TV, watch one of the many replays on Charter channel 10. Watch the citizen comments at the beginning of the meeting and then the motion to investigate and discussion about two hours into the meeting.
I believe there is a better way to deal with this than the investigation aimed at only one person. Without going into details, it is fair to say that all parties involved, Mr. Burke, the rest of the board and administration have had a part in developing this situation. Even the code of conduct established by the board years ago needs to be reviewed, amended and improved. Therefore, here is my suggestion to the district:
1. Schedule an all day work session in mid-January after three new board members take their positions. Use a casual setting in the new high school or off site.
2. Select a facilitator to conduct the session. A professional facilitator would cost a fraction of the cost an attorney will charge to conduct the one-person investigation. If he will agree, they should consider asking Mr. Craig Davis to facilitate this meeting. Mr. Davis is only filling in on the board until Jan. 1. He always demonstrates a high degree of integrity, plus he has a good degree of knowledge of the situation.
3. Respectfully, allow all parties to air their grievances that have led to the current situation. No rebuttals or debate, just individual perceptions.
4. Review, item by item, the code of conduct documents and develop a list of changes, deletions and additions to that code.
This would be an opportunity for new board members to become totally familiar with the code of conduct and take part in amending it if necessary. The board, carryover members and new ones, and administration could move forward with a common understanding of how they should operate. The current investigation will only further divide the board and administration while costing a lot of money (Ms. Walter suggest the possibility of $10,000 although no budget was set.) It will also be incomplete since it only looks at a single aspect of the problem. Farmington School District residents should expect the new board to return their focus to the classrooms, teachers, students and results. Board members have a tough job and they shouldn't expect it t be a cozy little "yes" club. Discussion and some disagreement should be expected.