WCASD Board Appoints New Member
Today's post will examine the events surrounding the board appointment and tomorrow we'll examine what the board could have done differently to make the process more transparent.
There were 3 meetings on Monday night March 20, 2023, the first one beginning at 6pm. If you were there in person, you would have noticed that one board member arrived approximately 10 minutes early and sat down to wait for the other board members. As the clock neared 7pm, none of the other board members had appeared. It looked to this author (seated in the audience) that 7 of the board members were meeting behind closed doors, while 1 board member was not. If this is the case, then this meeting would have been an "Executive Session" (when the board meets behind closed doors. Even so, Executive Session is supposed to include ALL board members.) Executive Sessions are required by law to be announced in advance --or immediately after the session. No meeting was announced so the public is left wondering what was happening behind closed doors that included 7 of 8 board members?
This meeting appears to have been when the board discussed which candidate to appoint because the school board president stated here that ' . . . many of the board members commented that they wish that all the candidates were running for school board . . .' Was the board discussing the candidates behind closed doors, at the exclusion of one school board member? (The board secretary had previously stated that all discussion of the candidates for appointment would be public. Yet another example of the board contradicting themselves.)
The meeting to appoint a new board member began with public comment. (View my comment here.) I asked why the board had not released the resumes and answers to the questions of the candidates who for the applied for the vacancy. I asked why the candidates were not being given an opportunity to present their skillset to the public at the meeting. I asked why the board did not use a rubric to score the candidates. I finished with this statement:
Lastly, if you appoint a candidate tonight who is on the ballot for the November election, you are essentially fast-tracking that candidate to the board and circumventing the will of the voters. Thus, the public deserves for this process to be transparent. We deserve to see resumes. We deserve to see the answers to the application questions. And we deserve to see how and why you are choosing one candidate over all others.
Spoiler alert: the board did not answer my questions.
The board did not make the resumes or answers public prior to the meeting.
The board did not use a rubric.
However, the board DID fast track one candidate, appointing him to the board with a vote of 7-1.
The 7 people who voted FOR the new board member were the 7 who were behind closed doors prior to the start of the meeting. The board member who voted against the new board member was the one who was excluded from the meeting. Which makes it appear that the closed door meeting was designed to have all 7 members vote in alignment, resulting in a 7-1 vote.
Not only is this a violation of the Sunshine Law, this is a gross abuse of power. The behavior of the WCASD school board demonstrates their disregard for the public (not sharing the documents), their disdain for Democracy (by appearing to vote independently when it's very clear that there was collusion behind the scenes), and their utter contempt for transparency.
If you didn't attend or watch the meeting, please do so in order to get a better understanding of the disregard, disdain, and contempt that this board holds for you, me, and anyone else who is not 100% aligned with their agenda.