The atmosphere surrounding our upcoming Manatee County school board election appears not to be about "the equal education of all our children" but a battle over power between the "Easties and the Westies."
State statutes and Manatee school policies state that our board members have to live in the districts they want to represent, but once elected them must represent all the citizens in the county equally.
In my last 15 months in being a Manatee County school board watcher, I attended all board meetings and all but one of their training sessions, workshops, and some committee meetings. My observations:
1. This battle is very much alive with our present board members.
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2. They don't conduct themselves as a team to solve our district problems.
3. They stipulate that the reason they are all there because it's "all about the children" when it's all about power and micromanagement by some members.
4. Our new superintendent, Rick Mills, and his staff are bringing the necessary leadership and vision and policies that are needed to ensure all our children have equal opportunity for good education. Plus all employees are held accountable and our money is correctly and wisely spent.
5. Our school district or any other consists of two parts, governing and management, and each have their role. All of our current members don't appear to understand what their role is and they don't want to discuss their individual understanding so they can be an effective team.
This Westie/Eastie battle looks just like the ongoing battle in Iraq between the Shiites and the Sunnis, only they took the next step and decided that the only way to settle this is to kill each other. I hope we the county citizens don't let this happen here.
Norman E. Nelson