EDITORIAL: Failure to launch

The local school board seems to suffer from a debilitating dysfunction: failure to launch.

Whether it's straight talk about school closures, passing a strategic plan or selecting a new superintendent, this group of elected trustees just can't seem to pull the trigger.

They say they want to get it right. Doing things in a timely fashion should be part of getting it right.

The selection of a superintendent — or lack thereof — is a good example. They have what seems, from our view, a perfect candidate right before their eyes — acting superintendent Rollie Koop.

Here's a long-time resident of the area who has not only raised children in the system, but has been an educator, principal and has held a host of other positions in the district's administration offices.

He's paid his dues, come up through the ranks and knows the people and issues of the region. He did put his name forward when the superintendent's office was vacated about one year ago, but this failure-to-launch board decided to stall the proceedings after a couple of candidates pulled out of the race and all that was left was Koop and one other applicant.

Koop isn't lobbying for the job. And from the little we've learned about his character, he won't be too pleased we've singled him out here. He hasn't called us asking for any personal publicity. And it's possible the board is holding off on the hiring of a superintendent in another attempt to save money, but there has been no indication of that in a time when the district has been very public about its savings efforts.

The most recent public board meeting lasted more than four hours, and there was much left on the table undecided. They even had a recess in the middle of the meeting. A recess? What's this, elementary school?

This board needs to show leadership and do the business of the district in both a proper and timely fashion. Right now it moves at a bureaucratic, make-work pace favoured by those who would rather study than act. Like everything else in life, there should be balance.

Is this school board seemingly stuck in neutral because its members are afraid to offend? Whether they like it not, these trustees were elected to make decisions, and sometimes those decisions aren't popular with one faction or another. Such is life in politics.

— Editorial by John Harding

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