I deeply regret I was unable to attend last Thursday's School Board meeting. Bearing in mind that Board trustees are unpaid, they seem to be dedicated to proving the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”
In particular, there was a list of summer projects to get done at Central presented by Asst. Superintendent Jeff Bright. It caught my eye because after the defeat of the bond, I had, in an online reply to a gosanangelo article, suggested nearly the exact list of obviously needed, and very doable tasks at Central as a possible demonstration that someone in SAISD understands the word “maintenance”. No rocket science here, things like fix some broken plumbing, chip rust and repaint, take care of a few ADA access problems. Basically the sort of projects Hi from the comics might find in Lois' Job Jar.
In truth, every project on the list should have been taken care of years ago. As has been mentioned here and elsewhere by many others, the fact that SAISD has been so poor a custodian of that which we have already bought them helped many voters decide not to give them another gob of money until we had some assurance they could take better care of the toys they already have. In truth, Bright's list of jobs should have been given a unanimous “go” the first meeting after the bond went down. By last meeting it really should have been a no-brainer, and instead it failed 6- 1. There was doubt expressed that local contractors might not have been given a fair shot, or there was not enough time to complete all the jobs by school opening. By putting off the possible start date until late July, Board has guaranteed the latter concern.
Quibbles, details, draffsack and havers! This was one time the need to get something done and possibly convince some voters that maintenance matters outweighed the ever-so-cautious dotting of “i's”. By failing to gather their collective courage and make so basic a decision, the Board has in essence made a decision, a decision to accomplish nothing this summer. That seems to be the thing they do best, that is dither until it is too late, then do the wrong thing for no better reason than an unavoidable deadline. The bond itself was a prime example, not until the final meeting before the legal deadline did Board approve placing the bond on the ballot, then publicly drove a stake through it by spending two hours wrangling over the Crockett site and alienating their own task force. Considering I have been told Board had really wanted the bond on the Nov. '06 ballot, that's not exactly warp speed.
Shortly after the May defeat of the bond I met with Superintendent Bonds. I came away well impressed, in fact she made the point that maintenance was high on her list of priorities. Dr. Bonds is not free to do anything she desires, by design, she is charged with implementing policy passed by the Board. So long as the Board insists on punting the ball on first down, Dr. Bonds' options are somewhat limited.
I cannot read minds, I do not know whether Board thinks some electoral miracle will pass the bond we recently thumped come November. Matters not, even if they are that delusional, under any circumstances the Central campus will be in use for several years to come if nothing else serving during new construction. The $500,000 in overdue projects would have directly improved the campus for student and teacher alike. Looking back at the last couple meetings the word “postponed” comes up on more agenda items than not. If this is the best this lot can do, we the voters need to start thinking of new faces to put in those seats.