The Epilogue…still no response from the BOE

October 30, 2015

I was in attendance at the October 19 Board Meeting to face those, the Board of Education members that I have been fielding multiple questions to over the past few weeks and received virtually no response.  I posed those very same questions at the Board meeting as well as my purpose in asking those questions.  Again, the Board issued no response.

On the way in to the Board meeting, one Board member questioned why I did not approach them personally/privately with my series of questions/concerns.  The response I would have to that question, would be that the decisions/actions or lack of decisions/actions taken by the Board, were the collective action of the Board, not one particular Board member.

I would like to wish Mr. Filmore the very best when he meets with the different bargaining groups–the teachers, the teacher assistants, the maintenance and custodial staff, and bus drivers for negotiations.  He and the Board will have a difficult time arriving at a “win, win” outcome with these different groups due to the School District’s very minimal projected 6% fund balance.  The lack of fiscal prudency and responsibility by this current Board will have a very negative impact on this year’s negotiations and most likely future negotiations.

Who will pay the price for the lack of a substantial fund balance, the recommended 15%-20%?   Will the custodians be further penalized for the Boards’ lack of fiscal responsibility?   Will the Board decide to reduce those employee’s hours even further.  They are now limited in most cases to (30) hours a week .  They were also stripped of their benefits.  How does one expect these individuals to care for a family working a (30) hour work week with no benefits?

By the way, during my watch, that group, the custodians and maintenance staff always came to the table with very realistic expectations.  It was the custodians who offered to allow the Board to replace any retiring custodian with part time, five hour employees to save the school district money.  It appears that was not enough of a concession or the Board simply forgot about their graciousness.

As alluded to in earlier communications, my hopes for the future of Clare Public Schools is that the parents of the students, within the school district, become more involved in the governance of the district by attending monthly Board meetings and asking thoughtful questions to hold the Board, this “public body” accountable.

We also need parents to run for School Board seats when available.  We need individuals on the School Board that have ownership in the school district, children in the system, a desire to serve and assist the employees and management of the school district in its continued pursuit for excellence.
I would also like to thank Mr. Filmore for utilizing a committee of individuals, including a parent, to interview and hire the new elementary principal.   This was a job well done.

Lastly, it is my hope that the Board will do a much more thorough job, this time around in the employment of the next CPS superintendent.  The Board needs to involve the school community, including teacher representatives, building administrators, and the acting superintendent on the interview committee.  Superintendent search organizations, such as the Michigan School Board Association, typically only utilize the Board members.  These superintendent search organizations are all about profit and advocating their favorites.   The Board needs to involve those that will be truly affected by the next CEO, the superintendent of the school district, in the selection process.

Greg McMillan

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