Concerns about trustee’s endorsement

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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Free speech comes with responsibility and accountability, especially from our public officials. After I read Wade Watson’s letter to the editor (“Do homework, vote” in April 27 issue), I called him to get a better understanding why he wrote it when he is just weeks away from stepping down as a school board trustee. Mr. Watson restated his opinion of our superintendent and that he thought the majority of the board was corrupt in their support of her.

I asked him why he was publicly endorsing any candidates when this type of support is frowned upon by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). In TASB’s 2019 Guide for School Board Candidates, it states “an endorsement should not be made or solicited without carefully considering the negative effects on the board or the board-superintendent relationship. A board member’s endorsement of a candidate could create tension and division.”

Watson’s actions in the past year, including his vote last June, suggests he would like to terminate the superintendent. This brings into question his endorsements.

On TASB’s website, there is a section called “Ethics for School Board members.” One of the sections, “Honor and Conduct” lists four principles, one of which is “I will respect the majority decision as the decision of the board.”

In May 2018, the board’s president and the vice president at that time made a decision – without the consent or input of the rest of the board – to fire the superintendent. The rest of the board only became aware of their actions at a special meeting held in June. At a subsequent meeting in July, the majority of the board voted to replace the president and vice president because they didn’t feel existing board leadership would be able to work with the superintendent. This is what started the current tension and division on the board.

I’m writing this to point out what I think is questionable behavior. We should look to our school board trustees to follow procedures and etiquette so that we as a district and a community can heal and move forward.

Stan Shults

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