THE LANDMARK VIEW
Riverside-Brookfield High School has been without a permanent superintendent since June 2009, almost two full years. Things were, to put it mildly, in flux. Jack Baldermann was gone and there was a shake up on the school board- three new board members, a new board president.
Since that time, the school board has been trying to decide how to replace Baldermann and with whom. They bought time by hiring David Bonnette, the longtime Riverside elementary schools chief, as an interim solution, and they are now in the final stages of a hiring process, two years in the making.
Now some are asking the board to slow things down. To what end exactly?
The last thing Riverside-Brookfield High School needs right now is to scuttle a superintendent search so political candidates can get involved in the process or to hold off on making a decision until after the election.
Doing so would result in the district likely losing out on its top choices and might lead to re-starting the entire process with another board, the majority of whom could be newcomers. It would be a waste of money, time and effort.
Including seven board candidates – three of whom will not win election – in a search process they know close to nothing about would sow chaos. If you want to inject politics into a superintendent search, the guaranteed way to do it is to insert an election campaign into the effort. That is a patently bad idea.
There is also an implication in this suggestion that duly elected school board members are somehow incapable of making an intelligent decision on whom to hire – or will hire someone in opposition to some agenda that may be enacted in the future.
The board exists in part to hire an education professional to lead the district in accordance with policies set by the board. This board is more than capable of doing that, and to suggest that they should be out of office before that decision can be made is an insult.
There will never be a “perfect” time to make such a hire. There are always elections, and there are always differences of opinions. Would everyone in the community like to have input on which specific candidate to select? Sure, but it’s not realistic.
When it comes to the openness of the search, this board is no different from scores of school boards in the area. Names are kept confidential because these candidates have jobs they would like to keep if they are not named to the RB post. That’s a concession to reality.
You can’t have a referendum on every important decision. That’s why you elect people to represent the community on the school board. They’re elected to terms of four full years and have to deal with whatever confronts them during that time. What confronts them now is the need to hire a leader for the district.
Let the board do its job.