The Manatee County School Board is on the wrong side of the law again. Whether pushing the envelope on a school prayer issue, upon which the courts had already ruled, or holding a de facto meeting in violation of the Sunshine Law, our gang can’t shoot straight but certainly can generate legal bills. Beset by budget woes growing steadily worse, the board must abandon its litigious ways.
Our board members could earn their modest salaries simply by dummying up. If we had five in office who had done that for the last three years, we would have saved enough money to hire several teachers. Because stifling board members for even a short time is impossible, let’s consider an alternative.
Since they are in the education business, how about giving our board members an annual block of legal training, for say eight hours? Each would then have to pass a final exam, demonstrating a grasp of current legal matters.
The board attorney, acting as trainer, would prepare the exam. He should be able to work this responsibility into his work week, being by far the district’s highest paid employee.
We are in the era of accountability. If board members continue to snag us in legal quagmires, they would be docked pay or fired. So, too, the board attorney would be held accountable if he failed as trainer, and docked pay or fired.
I am sure that the board’s attorney and its members would argue that accountability is for the little people. I wonder how many citizens would agree.
I would like to be a fly on the wall during the “How To Fire The Board Attorney” training segment, irony of the highest order.
Something must be done. Our board members’ legal pratfalls, though occasionally amusing, have become too expensive!
Richard J. Jackson