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October 3 work session: One of the weirdest school board meetings ever

By Bertis Downs

And on the third day, I finally finished watching this surreal marathon of a BOE Work Session– check out these highlights, if you can call anything here a highlight. Maybe somebody needs to do a 30 minute cut of some of the really “entertaining” parts like these:

-- The parts (in the video linked below) from about 1:00- 1:20 on multiple “challenges” like the AdvancED (accreditation) formal complaint and the BOE response;

-- The as-yet-unnamed attorney to represent the board;

— A misfired complaint that is evidently still loaded (and all of it’s “coded);”

-- ThenBOE’s sole employee evaluation;

-- The PSC ethics complaint that the BOE will have to decide “at some point,” but there’s evidently no real hurry it seems.

-- The part (in the video) from about 2:50 – 3:30 on the “cancellation but actually a last gasp Hail Mary on life support” for the dead-end proposal for a kinda-small but real-pricey building with a real nice address: 394 South Milledge– but hey, now we can get an appraisal. Wow, great idea! (and BTW it’s the only time in his career that Superintendent Means has made a proposal that he didn’t believe in (in his own dramatic words, at 2:51));

-- D. Means at 3:33-34: “We need to be very careful with our language and what we are saying and what we are trying to do….” (priceless)

-- T. Mattox at 3:34-35: “This bullying and intimidation have to stop….it’s ridiculous.”

I so admire and appreciate the board members who have to sit there and endure this for hour after hour. And I so hope and pray this local crisis on education, which by and large has not hit our schools full force (yet) passes like a bad storm. There are many great and real-life things going on day by day in our schools, thanks to the dedicated educators making it happen every day. But the leadership vacuum, an inevitable result of the low and declining lack of trust in the ranks, will obviously do some real harm sooner than later. And yes it will definitely affect the children, which is who all of us care about.

Watch in all it’s gory if you’re retired, or just tired, or just bored:

Suggested soundtrack for this one:  the Governance is the Hardest Part:

Bertis Downs is an Athens attorney and public education advocate.

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