Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Board Votes to Hold Off on Cutting Security Guards at the High School

At Monday's board meeting, the school board listened and came to the conclusion that the best decision was to table the Security Guard issue for its Tuesday May 26, 2009 meeting. We appreciate the votes of Jill Camber-Davidson, Caren Diedrich, Al Slane, David Stackhouse, and John Whalen to table the issue. Jim McCourt and Terry Shimek voted against tabling the decision. Do we detect a change in board philosophy? If so, we like what we're seeing! It's not about voting to support or slam what any citizen presents. It's about listening to what's being presented and asking if it makes sense. Then it simply defaults to doing what's right for the community.

To recap, the root issue here was buried underneath the innocuous agenda title, "Youth Advocates Job Description and FTE". [SP-EYE: C'mon....did ANYONE without fore knowledge read this agenda item and realize that it meant no more security guards at the troubled SPHS???] It sure seemed like Administration was playing a clever game of bait and switch wanting us to believe that the agenda item SOLELY involved approving the job description, allowing HR head Annette Mikula to formally negotiate salary with the Local 60 union. David Stackhouse, however, correctly pointed out that never has he seen a case where once a job description was approved, administration did not immediately move to hire.

And that brings us up to the "ulterior motive" behind this agenda item.....remember ulterior motives, Dr. Culver? You should, since you accused a citizen of operating similarly last fall. What could NOT be gleaned from the agenda item was that behind this proposal is the idea to discontinue the employment of two contractor security guards at the high school. Instead, the district plan is to hire two "Youth Advocates" whose role will be more of a counseling, supporting, advising, rapport- development one. Call them walking social workers. It's a Dr. FeelGood, kinder gentler approach. We're just not sure how the emphasis on "Non-violent Crisis Intervention" strategy plays out when one of the frequent "altercations" breaks out at the high school.

Youth Advocate: "Excuse me, kids? Could you please stop altercating?"

Sure...this MIGHT work (emphasis on MIGHT)...but the community has been very concerned about safety at the high school; and, from our conversations, most folks are a little leery about the prospect of success for this change. So...community members...if you care...
...mark your calendars for Tuesday May 26. Please attend the school board meeting and have your vice be heard. If you cant attend, please phone or e-mail (at right) board members with your comments/concerns.

Once again...THANK YOU, school board members (well...the five of you) for seeing the logic in delaying any decision for two weeks. It does no harm to sit back for 2 weeks and think this through carefully before proceeding. The proposal certainly isn't cost neutral...but delaying action doesn't cost you a thing and quite likely buys back a notch or two of community trust and support.