Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What to do with the school board in Portsmouth

If you've followed this blog for any time, you've likely encountered a posting about our schools and our school board here in our fair city of Portsmouth. Not that I have any strong opinions about either, mind you... ;-)

From the paper yesterday, a note that maybe it is time to return to the years of yesterday... let's appoint our board...
After nearly 10 years, one court case and too many arguments to count, some Portsmouth residents are ready to surrender their right to vote for a school board.

And they’re trying to encourage other voters to do the same.

Petitions to put a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to return to an appointed – not elected – school board are making their way around town.

“You need to go to a system that works,” said Doug Eames, who is leading the drive to collect the more than 5,600 signatures necessary to put the issue to voters.
At first, I was thinking this was a step backward... and then I read this:
Appointed members may have an extra incentive to behave – they can be ousted by only four City Council members instead of thousands of voters...
Oh, yes, now I agree. The City Council seems to have their heads in one place -- more than we can say for the School Board. Perhaps if they served at the request of just seven members -- and not as a reward for a city-wide electoral (and expensive) contest -- they'd be more responsive.

While the Board is racially divided, the Council (3 black men, 2 white men, one black woman and one white woman) is racially diverse but not racially divided. I wonder what makes the Board so dysfunctional.

Note in the interest of full disclosure: Doug Eames, a former (and unsuccessful) candidate for the Portsmouth School Board, is a Commander in the Coast Guard Reserve.

And, yes, I, too, am a former & unsuccessful candidate for the Portsmouth School Board and a long-time member of the Coast Guard Reserve.

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