Editorial: Change at schools may start with the ballot

  • Friday, April 12, 2019 5:44pm
  • Opinion

When parents and other community members join together to tell school district leaders there’s something wrong, chances are there’s something wrong.

Board members for the South Whidbey School District listened during a public discussion that lasted more than two hours Wednesday night, but it’s unclear if they took the concerns seriously enough to do something meaningful.

Those wanting to see real change may have to step up to the plate. Three seats on the five-member school board will be on the November ballot; change may only come with new leadership.

People in the community initially asked for the meeting in order to talk about the substantial raises the board recently handed to three top school administrators, including Superintendent Jo Moccia. Some said they believe the raises are excessive.

The meeting, however, quickly focused on other problems, such as cyber- and in-person bullying between students. One man described a girl who was harassed because of her race; he claimed administrators knew about it, but didn’t tell the parents right away.

The sentiments shared by many is that the school administration is overly concerned about public perception to the detriment of students.

It’s natural that a school board would become cozy with a superintendent, especially in a small district.

They spend a lot of time together, and the board relies on her heavily.

Linda Racicot, board chairwoman, is right that the board’s role is to set policy and not get involved in everyday operations. But the board’s own “key functions” document makes it clear that the elected leaders are supposed to set policy based on what the community wants and direct the superintendent to follow that, not the other way around.

Candidate filing week is May 13-17.

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