Leadership change called for
To the editor:
Why am I not surprised that the ConVal School Board was deadlocked in choosing their next chairperson? Frustrated? Yes. Thankful for the tie? Absolutely, but not surprised. This is a reflection of the angst of our times. There is a clear need for change, but there is an equal amount of fear of change.
I have lived in this community for seven years now, and this is the first school budget that didn’t pass — and I say it’s about time. In Peterborough, only 12.2 percent of the registered voters (580 out of 4,750) voted. The 349 of us who voted Yes for the 2014-15 ConVal School District budget may have been 61 percent of the total Peterborough vote that day, but in actuality this number only represented 7.3 percent of registered voters in our town. Thank God those 7.3 percent didn’t get to determine the future of our entire district.
In my personal opinion, now is the time for a change in board leadership. I would refer you to an article I wrote for the paper’s viewpoint section, printed on Sept. 26, 2013, regarding the ConVal School Board meeting and their budget discussions: “ConVal School Board must stay within its means.”
At one of the board meetings I attended last fall, I recall that Mr. Myron Steere alluded to “zero-based” budgeting, but there was no significant discussion by other board members, including the recent past chair, Butch Estey. Mr. Steere has been a refreshing voice of fiduciary responsibility on a board that appears to employ a rather common and popular “tax and spend” policy year after year.
The next meeting of the ConVal School Board is tonight at 7 p.m. in the SAU offices. I hope all members of the board are finally elected and will be in attendance at this meeting. Their individual votes for board chairperson will be a crucial factor in whether this board is finally led out of fear-based, stay-the-course decision-making and into a tumultuous time of necessary transition. An effective leader encourages and expects “out-of-the-box” thinking from its members, and is not afraid to make the hard choices their constituency expects of them.