Apr 3, 2008

breaking: Olympia School Board fails again

At 7:10 Thursday night, the Board reconvened out of executive session to once again publicly debate its choices for the District 2 seat, a debate that once again ended in a 2-2 deadlock.

Reading a prepared statement, Frank Wilson moved to select John Keeffe, citing his past Board experience and advocacy. Bob Shirley, saying "It's time to give someone else a turn," voted against. Lehman reiterated his opposition as well.

Carolyn Barclift, also reading a prepared statement, described Lehman's previous denigration of Keeffe's experience as "conjecture, based on a lack of knowledge." She spent several minutes outlining Keeffe's contributions during his 12-year tenure. She also cited the will of the voters, noting that her constituents far and away supported Keeffe as the best choice.

The motion failed, as the lines drawn at the last meeting held. Student representative Adam Buchholz noted that the decision was vital, and that experience wasn't the only indicator of future Board success.

Bob Shirley then moved to choose Paul Parker, his second choice. Lehman cited Parker's experience on the Budget Advisory Group. Wilson said he would vote no, since, compared to Parker, Keeffe would be able to "hit the ground running." The motion failed.

Lehman then moved for his second choice, Theresa Tsou, Shirley's first choice, again noting that adding her would diversify the Board, and strengthen its approach to important issues in math and science. Wilson noted that if he were voting in an election, he'd have only one choice, and again voted no; Barclift followed, motion failed.

Barclift wondered if the Board would like to meet again in a special session; Shirley said that he'd be willing, but didn't see how going over the qualifications again would change his mind. Wilson echoed this sentiment, as did Buchholz and Barclift. Lehman said that it's still worth one more meeting, "In the off chance that someone will change their mind."

That said, the Board decided to meet once more at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 6.

Earlier this evening, applicants Keeffe, Theresa Tsou, and Paul Parker had come by at 6:30, only to hear that the Board, in an unsurprising move, would move to executive session for a half hour.

Carolyn Barclift came down first, at 7:07, alone. "I figured I'd come down and give you a start," she said, as her tiny audience laughed. For a moment, this blogger hoped, even minutely, that a decision had been reached. Alas.

1 comment:

Beth Flynn said...

Thanks, once again, for an accurate blog of the meeting tonight.

I'd like to point out that Carolyn also stated John Keefe won three elections and then mentioned the "will of the voters" in electing Keefe. I wondered (most likely whispered loudly in my friend's ear) if Keefe had ever had an opponent in an election.

I asked John in the parking lot if he had been opposed in any of his races and he said the first and third terms he ran unopposed and he had an opponent the second term. As we all know, unless imcumbents do something terribly wrong while in office, they have a huge advantage in races. So . . . in 2/3 of his races, the voters didn't have any choice but to vote for John.

By the way, as you'll recall, Carolyn voted AGAINST over 700 of her constituents on the middle school math curriculum last year. I happen to know she doesn't care about the "will" of the community--her math vote last year proves that point.

Carolyn also stated that John Keefe was responsible for the district using data to make curriculum decisions. Well . . . the district's own CMP2 pilot data showed that students using CMP2 did worse on the WASL than students using the old Glencoe curriculum. That is something the district never gave to the Board--I gave it to them after a public records request (nor did the district give that information to the curriculum adoption committee).

Carolyn stated when she voted for CMP2 that she wanted to see test results to evaluate whether CMP2 was doing an effective job of helping students pass the WASL. I attend almost every Board meeting and I have not seen her request that information from the district nor has the district provided that information. Hmmm . . . I assume the "data" still shows that CMP2 is ineffective and actually worse for students' WASL pass rates than the old Glencoe textbooks.

My last comment regarding both Carolyn's and Frank's comments about John's "experience" is that neither one of them had experience when they were elected to their positions, in fact I never saw Frank at ANY board meetings until several months AFTER he announced his candidacy. Is he claiming he isn't a good Board member because he doesn't have any experience? Carolyn has a lot of experience but couldn't even call for a vote correctly tonight--Bill had to correct her. Both Paul and Theresa have a lot of experience in both local school committees and on district committees. Both have also attended many Board meetings.

In case you were wondering, all five of the parents who sat in the front of the room tonight (the only people attending who were not district staff, a reporter or the candidates all want Theresa or Paul to be appointed).