While I am not typically compelled to respond to editorials that challenge my own personal opinions, in all due respect, I believe The News-Times editorial on June 18, Its simple: Let voters pick chairman should be responded to.
The members of the task force and its leadership deserve more respect, especially since they were asked to serve on this study group. I assure you that this task force took their assignment very seriously, and I for one am thankful that they were more interested in the education of students in our county than they were appealing to a very unclear political agenda. In fact, if there was a cloud keeping trustees and the task force from seeing clearly it was caused by political noise from the straw poll.
I also was disappointed with state Rep. Ben Harbins comments, accusing the task force of not studying anything and just sitting around and talking. The report presented by chairman Don Thornhill and the task force certainly had more points of conclusive study than have been presented by the political wishers.
Until the task force findings were released, no reasons or arguments were given to support that an elected school board chairperson would add value to the process of administering educational programs for our students.
Since only 17 of 183 counties have elected Chairpersons, this lazy task force concluded that our educational leaders could be spending their time on issues that continue to improve the quality of education in our county.
School Board member Lee Muns stated in a March 6, 2002 letter to the editor that a countywide chairman brings too much politics to the table. Muns went on to say, Lets keep politics out of our educational system. We just need our representatives to work on the funding shortfalls, joining us in ensuring academic success for all students and putting prayer back in schools.
When the clouds clear and the appropriate people have the opportunity to openly consider the recommendations that were actually made, they may find that the task force was not quite as ineffective as the citizens have been led to believe.
(Gary Holley was a member of the task force appointed to study the issue of a countywide elected school board chairman.)
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