If you follow my blog, you may realize that over the past three years I have had some “voice” issues with certain topics due to be an elected board of education member. My term is now done and I know longer feel those restrictions, although there are still certain topics I cannot discuss in public.
During my tenure – a word and concept I hate when used in the arena of education – on the board, I had many people – both district employees and parents and taxpayers – ask me if I could bring up a specific issue as they were afraid of retaliation if they brought it up. I had never seen such happen but was always more than welcome to give voice to concerns that would make education better in the district. Now I may have a different view on this.
In the last two years, I voted, with other members of the Board of Education, to layoff many people. I did so in what I felt was the best interest of the district as a whole. Many of these people were my friends and, I hope, still are but I am not positive on that any longer.
One person who was laid off under my term on the board has recently become employed in another district where I know many of the administrators. Upon learning this, I was very happy for the person as I knew that this position was a perfect fit and would benefit both the person and the district. I have been very happy as those who were let go have found employment elsewhere but also very sad to see us lose such quality people.
Back to this particular person, when a friend of mine told him (in an attempt for brevity, I am using the male pronoun but not saying the person is a male or a female – some habits of not discussing personnel in public die hard) hello, he made some comment. The comment has had me thinking all morning. He basically implied that he was annoyed I had not voted to keep his position, even though we were eliminating his department basically, as he had written a recommendation letter for one of my children.
Now, to be honest, I have no idea who my kids ask to write letters for them. I certainly suggest certain people, and not just people from school, but I have no control over who they finally ask and if they use these letters. To this day, I cannot tell you if this letter was used in the application process to college or not.
What I am getting from all the conversations I have had today is that I should have voted against what was in the best interest of a school district that was facing a $3.8 million dollar deficit because one person had written a recommendation letter for one of my six children.
This all leads me believing that quid pro quo may be the status quo, not the oddity I originally thought.
What would you think in this case? I’m a bit perturbed about this issue.