I would like to read a petition that is written as a letter to the Board of Education for the Beacon City School District.
The title of the Petition is,
Let Us In: Beacon stakeholders call for a seat at the table with School District
Its purpose is:
TO: CREATE A COMMITTEE OF COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS FOR THE SAKE OF OUR KIDS, OUR SCHOOLS, OUR TEACHERS AND OUR COMMUNITY
We, the undersigned, care about our schools, our kids, our teachers and our community.
We urge the Board of Education to adopt a way of moving forward that engages the community and creates a culture of transparency and cooperation between the board and community stakeholders.
We support the creation of a committee of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, which, along with BOE members will be empowered to conduct a candidate search for a new superintendent of the Beacon School District.
As of now, this petition has _____216______ signatures and is growing rapidly.
I will remind the BOE of the words that I spoke for ABS at the Feb 22 BOE meeting: ‘What is called for now is true stakeholder involvement and a shared comprehensive vision for our district. The stakeholders are here and we are ready to cultivate that vision. “
Although we have heard general agreement with this premise from the current BOE, the latest actions of our elected Board Members speak louder and are very concerning to us. In the March 28th issue of Plilipstown.info , the current BOE President, Ms. Thompson is quoted as saying, “We have so many invested stakeholders right now, and we’ve spent so many years trying to improve,” she said. “But we’re not where we want to be. We need to get this search underway quickly.”
In the same article, the BOE states that it intends to give the district’s attorney, Mr. Michael Lambert, the go-ahead to find a professional search firm to identify candidates for the job. The board is expected to give Lambert the feedback he needs on March 28, to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to find a search firm.
So, the essential question from Advocates for Beacon Schools is, What’s the rush? And why is one individual, who is associated with the controversies of the former superintendent, and whose contract is also up for renewal, along with 3 seats on the Board, being given the job of drafting this RFP? If you really want to harness those invested stakeholders, wouldn’t it make sense to establish a stakeholder group to identify the overarching needs and VISION of our District in order to include this Vision in the RFP? In fact, one Board Member, Mr. White has been voicing this request since January, when our former Superintendent resigned.
In looking for a possible solution, Spakenkill School District, also in the process of finding a new Superintendent of Schools, has posted on their District Website, a 9 month timeline for their current Superintendent search, for all to see. This website also includes a “SurveyMonkey” for the purpose of gathering community input early on in the process. Both the District’s Mission Statement and Vision Statement are included in their brochure inviting applicants to apply for the job.
I would like to quote ABS member, Kristan Flynn from the same Philipstown article, which speaks to the process of community involvement. “If you ask people [in the community], they actually have something to say and share,” she said. “But they have to be encouraged — that you want to hear it, and that something might come of it.”
216 signatures and growing - Let us in!
Before the end of this meeting tonight, we hope to see a concrete move toward a truly collaborative effort moving forward.
Thank you for your time.