Despite the district’s attempts to tamp down their bungled effort at trying to build a sports field/complex/stadium/facility at CdM High, they still don’t understand the fundamental problem that they alone are responsible for creating: Their communication is horrible. A failure. F.

And it doesn’t help matters when school board club president Dana Black tells this week’s parade of upset Eastbluff residents that they are going to wait until certain third party recommendations come in before they decide what to do.

First, as we now know, the CdM High stadium cart was placed before the horse a long time ago. What the district is doing now is what they should have done in the first place and no amount of community input sessions or sorrowful looks from the dais will change the fact their credibility is at an all-time low. You can ask Eastbluff residents, residents around Adams El, or the parents at CM High, where a sufficient rodent population shut down (part of?) the school last month and they were given no notice whatsoever.

So, according to Black, every decision is on hold until the magical recommendations come in. No plan B, no nothing. Just a pat on the head for each speaker.

All of which begs the question I’ve asked before. After three more rubber-stamping 7-0 votes and now the statement that stadium decisions will be based on these forthcoming recommendations, why do we need a school board? All they ever do is approve everything that is set before them so what is the point of all these meetings and study sessions and bureaucratic rigamarole?

Yes, the state says we have to have a school board, but that’s not what I’m talking about. We are mandated to have a school board – or in our case, a school board club whose personality and structure is virtually guaranteed thanks to the discrimanatory election process – but when I attend these ridiculous meetings, it is clear to me that their only concern is the preservation of the status quo. One example of this attitude is the part of each meeting known as “Board member reports.” This is the time when each school board club member tells the other members about the “pheonomenal” conference they just attended (the word used twice in two minutes by club member Charlene Metoyer). As they give these “reports,” the club members rarely look at the residents in attendance, choosing instead to address their fellow club members up and down the dais. They rarely adjust their microphones so that the audience can hear them because they don’t care if the audience hears them. In fact, they don’t care much about what the audience or anyone else thinks, as evidenced by the recent string of poor communication from the district office.

These may seem like small, anecdotal examples, but they are not. They are important signs of a larger, overall arrogance and a disinterest in the public’s input.

Want more? How about all of those phony community input meetings we attended in which we put those little stickers on the various flip charts to indicate our preferred priorities? What happened to those flip charts? Here’s what: They sat in someone’s office for a few weeks, then they were thrown out, that’s what.

How about the input that was requested to pick a new principal for Estancia High not long ago? Before the community had a chance to say anything, the new principal was nominated and approved.

There’s so much more.

Why does this happen? Here’s why… Last night after the awards were handed out, I’m not sure if there were 10 residents left. Everyone else missed the unanimous approval of item 15a on the Resolution Consent Calendar – an oopsie that covers their tracks. Read it here: http://newportmesa.agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=47&MeetingID=28786&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

They don’t care because we don’t care.

Oh, and where has the superintendent been during the CdM High stadium controversy? Can’t say where he has been, but I’ll tell you where he has NOT been: he has not been out in front of this, communicating with residents, acting as a liaison, and otherwise doing the things that leaders do.

Business as usual.

Do we need a school board? Yes. But we need one with a spine – one that is not afraid to challenge the recommendations that are given to them, not afraid to hold the administration accountable, and not afraid to rub fellow club members the wrong way if it means doing the right thing.

Good luck with that.

Steve Smith

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