Letter: Who’s the boss?

| March 10, 2020 9:19 PM

Who is the boss at the Othello School District? If you think that it’s the taxpayers via their duly elected representatives, think again. Our school district uses a system called Policy Governance. In practice, what that means here in Othello is that the school board once upon a time decided to shirk their delegated authority, and shove it off their shoulders onto the shoulders of the superintendent.

Paul Harvey, the old radio news host a lot of us grew up listening to, was fond of saying, “If power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This was a nod to human nature, illustrating how even the best intentioned person, when given power, will have their character twisted and changed if they hold too much power. Absolute power creates tyrants and despots, the type of behavior our founding fathers despised and threw off nearly 250 years ago.

In practice, you might expect to be able to ask your favorite school board member a question, and have them get back to you. Not with Policy Governance. With Policy Governance, you ask your representative, who asks the president of the school board, who asks the superintendent, and then the whole process is reversed to produce an answer to your query.

Does this sound like what you expect of your representatives, to have to play “telephone” with your concerns as a taxpayer and get a straight answer?

It is un-American; it is absentee landlording at best, and a betrayal of the public trust at worst.

I voted for smart, savvy business owners and managers, college-educated persons who I had faith would do a quality job of representing my best interests. I voted for them to represent me because they asked for the privilege of serving. I didn’t vote for the superintendent.

Sean Bates