Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1: Broward Grand Jury Wrong On Two School Board Ideas

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The outrage presented by the grand jury that examined the corruption and incompetence of the Broward School Board and the district's administration is right.

What's not right is a pair of proposals by the grand jury: Five school board members and an elected superintendent.

Currently, the board has seven members elected in single-member districts and two at-large, or countywide, representatives. The system was put in place in 1998. The idea is that at-large representatives, looking out for the entire county, are a check on single-member district representatives, who might put their own area first.

Broward County's population is approaching 2 million. Five school board members wouldn't be nearly enough to deal with the challenges of that population.

If the school board setup needs a tweak, it would be in the direction of more at-large representatives - maybe four to the seven district members.

Totally unacceptable is the idea of an elected superintendent, which would politicize a position that shouldn't be politicized. Just ask the residents of Monroe County, who voted last fall to switch the school superintendent from elected to appointed after a major scandal.

Broward had a top-notch professional educator - Frank Till -as superintendent until not-so-reform-minded board members threw him out and replaced him with yes-man Jim Notter.

There are now a number of new Broward School Board members. They have said they are interested in cleaning things up. They should be given the chance to do so - starting with replacing the incompetent Notter with a stellar education professional. Cleaning up the current system will be far more effective than overturning it.


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Happy Reading!

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