Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shootin' the Shit with Blair 

President George W. Bush discusses his complex assessement of the current Mideast crisis over lunch with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia yesterday. "See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll. ..."

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Haas Weighs In 

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 00:38:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bill Haas
Subject: Letter To the Editor or Op Ed: Recent SLPS Matters, the perspective of a former (1997-2005) Board Member
To: letters postdispatch ,

I will not judge the decision to remove Floyd Irons as basketball coach because I was not there for the discussions, nor privy to all information.

I will say that I, like others, have great respect for all Mr. Irons is and has done, and wish there had been a way to let him serve out the rest of his career, and retiree with grace and dignity.
And I, like all others, I'm sure, including the School Board, am sad that that didn't happen.

I have some knowledge of some of the factors that may have gone into the decision, partly because I was on the Board when some of this took place, but I don't think it my place to speculate or judge at this point, especially as the decision has been made.

On the other hand, it is just my opinion that if everything could be done over again, some of those involved may have chosen to do it differently, but hind-sight is always 20-20.
Nor am I 100% convinced that the entire matter is completely played out. And if I do have any input to give, it would be behind the scenes.

As for the resignation of Superintendent Creg Williams, it is impossible for the Board to speak about it candidly if at all because, as I understand, not speaking publicly about it was part of the legal conditions of the resignation agreement.
I am not bound by that agreement, however.

On the other hand, I was not in the meetings where it was discussed, nor privy to all of the persons' thinking.
But I do have first and second hand knowledge of some of the factors which in my opinion may have entered into the Board's decision to encourage or accept his resignation:

1. First let it be known that I was on the Board when he was hired. I voted enthusiastically for him. I was excited for him and for us. I was still on the Board when he took over, and no one wanted him to succeed more than I.
2. As is always the case, he turned out somewhat differently than he interviewed. Very differently.
3. From Day 1, he treated Veronica O'Brien and Bill Purdy with extreme disrespect, if not complete neglect, as he didn't need them because he had the backing of the Board majority.
4. When the new members were elected, he seemed to still treat all 4 (O'Brien, Purdy, Downs, Jones) with disrespect and neglect, and from what I understand, bad-mouthed them publicly and privately, even though they now constituted the Board majority.
5. So if there was a fight, he asked for it, not they.
6. It appears he continued to follow the directives of City Hall even though their representatives on the Board were no longer in charge. And from what I hear, even what he was trying to do he wasn't doing very well. The district, I'm told, is in chaos, and that's his doing and responsibility not the Board's.
7. He had an obligation to work with the Board, especially the new Board majority, to work out goals,and means to implement them.
They're his boss. If he's not going to work with them, you don't need them or you don't need him. They were elected. He was hired. The choice is clear.
8. When the Board wants to go in one direction, and the Superintendent's not listening and is trying to go in another, it's only a matter of time until they part. The time seems to have been this week.
9. I am convinced beyond any doubt that the Board majority did not set out to sabotage or get rid of Creg Williams, for some obvious reasons (the fallout that has occurred), and some more complex, but and would much have much preferred to work together. Many of them told me that personally! He made that impossible, not them.
10. So when divorce is inevitable, the sooner you cut your losses and move on, the better, and that's what they Board did and it's to their credit.
11. And more to their credit, they have a plan in place with the new Interim Superintendent to move forward with nary a missed step. I'm very excited about Dr. Bourisaw and the team I understand she's put together.
12. And to those who say that the Board majority had planned this for a while, I say that if they saw that possibility coming, it was only prudent to plan for it even if at the same time they were trying their best, and hoping, to avoid it.
13. I'm more optimistic about the future of the District than I've ever been. We gave the Mayor's Board three years to bring the community together behind a cohesive educational plan. They never did. This Board majority has been in place barely three months. They were elected overwhelming by the people, especially those who care most about the District, after being outspent in the election a billion to one.
We owe them the same respect and courtesy and trust to find their voice and to find their way to making this the District we all want it to be. We owe them the chance. I'm betting they will.

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