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Herald-Mail Forums

April 30, 2007

Last week's question:

W. Edward Forrest of the Washington County School Board has resigned to take another job. What kind of person should replace him?

· Someone who has the time to devote to this position, and is not rsum padding. Someone dedicated to make our school system better, not someone using this as a stepping stone for their own political career by gaining name recognition to run for another more prestigious office later.

· A person who puts the public before him or herself and won't keep quiet about shortcomings of the board for fear of not getting re-elected - like county commissioners keeping quiet about excise tax shortfalls a month prior to the general election. Someone truly honest, moral and unselfishly trustworthy.

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· Tim Rowland

· My immediate answer was "no one" because the BOE does not need another rubber-stamper for the superintendent's expensive ideas. I do agree with the first two comments above and I also think that Mr. Rowland would be an excellent choice. My preference is to eliminate the BOE and let the County Commissioners take over the schools. They are giving the schools more than $90 million next year and they don't even seem to care how our money is spent.

· Perhaps a really good civil litigation attorney would be interested in taking this on. I figure they're good at what they do because they can persuade - as in persuade the rest of the board to use the sense they were born with and start running the education system with some sense of purpose. The county commissioners can't manage to handle the job they have - giving the schools completely over to them is just asking for trouble.

· Quite honestly, someone like me (I'll remain anonymous). I have children in the school system, am well-educated and have management experience in the private sector. Of most importance, I am willing to listen to ideas and improvement suggestions. However, I would also bring a frugal outlook to the table when reviewing such ideas (e.g., do we need a Cadillac when a Chevy will get us where we need to go?)

· We need someone with an open mind who can think for themselves instead of following the desires of the superintendent. The board that exists right now serves absolutely no purpose other than to pass whatever is put in front of them. They provide no meaningful oversight. We need serious change on the board, and bringing back one of the two who lost in the last election would be a big mistake. The voters obviously thought so.

· The board needs to be a board again and not just a figurehead for our superintendent to get whatever she wants. It's a fiduciary position; you are entrusted with the educational welfare and safety of our students. That needs to be taken seriously and if that means saying "no" every once in awhile, then that needs to happen.

· How do you apply?

· I am surprised that one poster is willing to have Tim Rowland, who has often been complimentary of the accomplishments of Elizabeth Morgan - who for some is public enemy No. 1. I have lived in enough places to note this common opinion: The superintendent of schools, the local hospital and the county-level board of governance are all a bunch of idiots in general opinion ... whereas the same bunch just down the road is perceived as brilliant!

· I am glad that someone is reading my comments. My daddy always said: "You get what you pay for." In this county, the BOE and the County Commissioners get part-time pay and have to depend on appointed full-time employees to give them guidance to run the schools and the county. I am not satisfied with WCPS or with the county government and I have tried to improve both of them. At least Tim Rowland's presence on the BOE should guarantee that more people will watch the telecasts of the BOE meetings and see how useless those rubber-stampers really are.

· Part-time pay? A county commissioner gets $30,000 a year with benefits to meet once a week. There is no annual performance review. Give the folks a little refund on their property taxes in an election year - plus stay mum about the excise tax shortfall and the big debt the county faces - and get re-elected and you're back in for eight hours a week, giving you plenty of time for your full-time job ... if you need one.

· Someone who understands the separation of church and state. That is, the difference between allowing students and staff to express their personal religious beliefs and requiring them to participate in religious observations. And the difference between teaching religion and teaching "about" religion. Someone who would include life skills in the curriculum - how to balance a checkbook, how a mortgage works, how to shop for a car, etc.

· They should clearly state what the expectations of the position really are. It would appear that with a budget of more than $200 million, the person representing the citizens of Washington County should have have a significant business background.

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