If you told someone from, say, Des Moines, Iowa that your school district drained a high school swimming pool in anticipation of repairs, only to discover that they could not afford it, she wouldn’t believe you. “Why didn’t they secure the funding first?” you would be asked.

If you told that person that for years, the district has been posting meeting videos without closed captioning for the deaf in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, she wouldn’t believe you. “That law has been around for years. Why wasn’t it followed?” you would be asked.

And if you told that same person that the ALL OF THE ARCHIVED MEETING VIDEOS had been pulled from the district website because they did not comply and the district could not afford to update them, she wouldn’t believe you. By that time, you would have also told her about the outrageous bonus given to a mediocre superintendent and the high salaries to the pencil-pushing bureaucrats, she would say, “No wonder they don’t have money to fix the pool or close-caption the videos – they’re giving it away to people who don’t deserve it.”

In response, you would say, “These things happened because we have a rudderless ship. Because what passes for leadership is not really leadership, it’s situational decision-making.”

There was no policy on a prom draft until it became national news. There was no attempt to fix the Area voting situation until the district was threatened by a lawsuit. There was no plan to stop rats from their presence in classrooms until they started appearing in them. There was no attempt to fix the Estancia stink until it became so bad that it disabled a teacher. There was no intention of dumping Swun Math until the hue and cry became so great the district had no choice. There was no investigation into the Mariners Gold Ribbon application until the union brought it up. And much more.

This is not leadership, this is bungling. And now. thanks to the bungling of Title II of the ADA, residents do not have the ease of reviewing meetings online.

Someone’s head should roll as a result of this, but that won’t happen, that is, unless there is a repeat of the Mariners Gold Ribbon scandal in which one person was thrown under the bus, even though the super’s signature is on the application as having approved it.

So, who is responsible? The superintendent is responsible. Ultimately, everything that happens in the district is his responsibility. That responsibility comes with the office, the salary, the nice bonuses, and the title and if one is not ready to accept that responsibility, one should not be the superintendent. I have zero respect for anyone who wants only the glory.

President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” There is no truth to the rumor that the superintendent has a sign on his desk that reads, “The buck stops with Harry Truman.”

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD