Tuesday, October 11, 2011
School Board Decisions..
I have been reading some discussions on the local blogs and forums concerning the GCCS School Board and their decisions. Some have been favorable, others, not so favorable. Lately, the discussion has been about the budget, cutting expenses, unnecessary trips, etc. Although I believe some of the comments have some merit, I feel that some venues make it impossible for the public to hear both sides.
I honestly wanted to hear from someone on the Board and get their take on where the Board stands on certain issues. I emailed Mark Pavey, which everyone obviously knows he is my brother-in-law and asked him if he would mind dicussing some of these issues. Here is Mark's response:
I'm not sure representing the School Board's side is really necessary. We were elected to represent the public and our decisions will always be scrutinized by some element of the public. The reality is we have a 4M deficit and there are going to be some really difficult decisions before the Board in the coming months. As you can imagine, there will be many special interest groups emailing, calling and lobbying us to not cut their individual interests. There will also be many resident experts on blogs and in the media second guessing our choices. Unfortunately that just goes with the territory and is part of being a public official. I understand and accept this responsibility.
While I welcome feedback (positive or negative), at the end of the day those decisions come down to seven people entrusted by the public and the Department of Education to do what's best for our students and employees. I don't take that responsibility lightly and will continue to question and seek to understand all the facts before making decisions. The important point to remember is the Board usually has information the general public does not and therefore may make decisions which will be questioned. Many times the information is confidential and should not be discussed.
Concerning the budget situation, at the last Board meeting we asked the CFO to pretend the state asked for 10M in cuts and begin to formulate what would be cut if this scenario actually happened. This forces the administration to put some choices on the table we would not have seen if the cuts were for the 4M we actually have to find. Since we have not yet received the information, I can't comment on what those may be even though there are already lots of rumors and speculation. Contrary to what is being written, the Board has not made any decisions about cuts other than authorizing the CFO to explore the cost savings for outsourcing custodians. In my opinion, there is nothing off the table including admin cuts, benefits, selling buildings we no longer occupy and coaches salaries to name a few. It should make for an interesting next few months.
I hope that helps.
p.s. Mark, thank you for taking the time to respond to my email so quickly.