Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trustees ignore opposition to Barber contract

It boggles my mind that the Blaine County School District trustees claim that the evaluation of Superintendent Barber’s job performance produced “all positive” findings.

Before the regular school board meeting on Tuesday, March 12, Barber still had two more years of contracted employment; the trustee’s unanimous vote during the meeting extended Barber’s contract an additional year. Trustee Nurge’s concession that “there is always room for improvement” was the only not-quite-positive comment made.

How is it, then, that an email straw poll conducted by Holmes Lundt and the “No on Barber” campaign produced well over 100 “don’t extend Barber’s contract” comments in little more than 24 hours? Why such a huge disconnect between the trustees and the residents who vote them into office?

When residents are happy with the job performance of a public employee, no one embarks on such a campaign. And if a campaign started anyway, very few would bother to respond to it. Here in Blaine County, residents responded immediately and with passion.

Events have occurred to alienate many residents and School District employees from the Barber administration. In spite of that alienation, the trustees claim that the evaluation process revealed an atmosphere of “collaboration, community and family” within our school district and then proceeded to vote unanimously in favor of the contract extension. I wonder how many district employees and residents rolled their eyes in unison. And I also wonder if any trustee’s arm was twisted to ensure a unanimous vote.

Glowing, positive comments and a unanimous vote could indicate that the superintendent is performing phenomenally. Then why were several respected residents willing to risk community censure by speaking publicly, demanding “nay” votes?

All this Pollyanna positiveness and “unity” looks rather like a false front. What’s hiding behind it?

Ellen Mandeville



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