The Washington County Insider has a couple of stories (story one and story two) up about the West Bend School Board meeting last night in which they rammed through appointments for the new high school principals. She has a lot of video so you can see for yourself what transpired. I found this part very interesting:
Decorah Elementary School Principal Nan Lustig also addressed the board during the meeting.
-“I have some questions about what this is. I didn’t realize the positions were already filled.”
-Lustig talks about transparency. “None of us knew that any of these meetings were going to take place. You asked for input from a wider audience and open meetings that were videotaped but I couldn’t find those things.”
-Lustig talked about her memories of a two-principal system and said she the system works and she had not issue with that. Her questions were about the hiring practice. “I was confused at less than 24 hours for such a huge meeting. I’m wondering why we didn’t gather more input from a wider audience. We got a lot of questions and concerns about ethical hiring practices.”
-“We went from a practice where we openly posted positions, we checked references, we asked the same list of questions to all references, we completed the documentation and we sent that to HR where we forwarded the contract.”
-“Did we post it internally? … Did we ask who else was interested?”
-“We’ve always been told as administrators when we come before the board we need a plan, a process and a financial impact of a decision. I didn’t read any of those things in the paper. I want us to be concerned and as a taxpayer I wonder what the answer to those things are.”
So an existing principal in the school district didn’t have any notice that this was going on. Looking at her comments and the comments of others, it does not appear that the school board made any effort to ask interested employees to put their name up for consideration or post anything internally. It looks like the school board had their two people chosen and slammed them into the jobs. The school board didn’t bother with interviews, applications, discussions, or anything else.
So the question is, why these two people? What makes them so much more qualified than other district employees like existing principals or other assistant principals? Why were they the only two even considered? Hmmmm…
Former school board members Rick Parks and Randy Marquardt also admonished the board for their process. Parks, a person whom I respect but did not originally support for the office, was very direct.
Those of you who only weeks ago campaigned on a platform to be transparent and inclusive have let us down.
Indeed. The hubris of this board is astounding.