Let’s do a BreakDown of Tuesday night’s Danville School Board meeting. SouthsideCentral will be covering Danville’s school board meetings now and it was our first time doing it LIVE! – so let’s see what happens, what happened and our thoughts about why it happened.
Here’s the BreakDown Big Board for us…
- School Board meetings are quite unlike City Council meetings. There are a lot more staff members present and clearly fewer members of the public come to watch.
- Steven Gould and Sharon Dones had already taken their oath of office earlier and that was strange. I’d expected the formal ceremony to have been done in front of the public and media.
- I’d have also expected seating arrangements to have been drawn at random to mix things up some but that didn’t happen either. Steven Gould was in George Wilson’s old seat and Sharon Dones took over Rebecca Bolton’s position.
- Ed Polhamus is a very good chairman so I’m not surprised that he seems to have all of the school board’s support. He seems a bit uncomfortable with SouthsideCentral’s style of being critical and reporting things on a LIVE! basis, but I think he’ll come around to it.
- Hoo boy. Lets get to the vice-chairman position. The position really doesn’t mean much except for ceremonial titles, but it’s still semi-important. Renee Hughes has the most experience of the other school board members and Philip Campbell nominated her for vice-chairman and I thought that was a fair thing. Steven Gould made his first power move only 10 minutes into his first meeting by nominating Terri Hall for vice-chairman and I found that interesting. We know that Hughes was a Ed Newsome supporter and Terri Hall was the one who directly called Newsome out for going against what the school board directed. The other Newsome supporter was Philip Campbell and he voted for Hughes, along with Sharon Dones. The other board members, Cheryl Bryant and Ed Polhamus, went for Terri Hall and she got the vice-chair on a 4-3 vote.
- Yep. The vote was on racial lines, but I don’t want to think nor do I think it was a race-based vote. I want to think and I sorta think it was payback for the support of Newsome. Ed Polhamus, Cheryl Bryant and Terri Hall herself sure didn’t look surprised when Gould nominated Hall for the vice-chair position so I’m sure that they had discussed the matter before the meeting. Once it was clear what was going to happen, Renee Hughes had her nice bemused look on her face knowing that she was going to get ran over, Philip Campbell looked quite perturbed and Sharon Dones had a look on her face that was deadly. School Board Politics. Serious Business. Both Renee Hughes and Terri Hall were qualified for the vice-chair position. Politics won.
- I’m not surprised that the “N-word” wasn’t spoken all night during the meeting. I meant “Newsome”, you people!
- Acting superintendent Kathy Osborne sure has hit the ground running. She delivered her presentations perfectly and clearly. If she applies for the job, she’d be a great candidate for the permanent superintendent’s position. (Can we use the words “permanent” and “superintendent” in the same sentence in the Southside region?)
- By the way, SouthsideCentral hearts Juliet Jennings. For someone who handles the personnel side of operations, she’s happy, friendly and always has a smile on her face.
- Back to business… the board thankfully changed the time of the “work sessions” from Friday morning at 7 AM (what the hell were they thinking?) and made it a lot more public friendly to Thursday nights at 6 PM. We’ll have two school board meeting a month now, 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 6 PM. That’s quite doable for the public (and SouthsideCentral). They’ll also have closed session student disciplinary meetings during the month, with those times to be figured out.
- The school system has the most overblown job titles for their senior staff that I’ve ever heard. It’s also quite amusing to look at the senior staff sitting on the front row of the gallery like they’re in school themselves.
- Bonus points for Steven Gould pinning down Kathy Osborne on some dollar amount savings on the job consolidations. Osborne’s original answer was non-responsive as she was caught by surprise at his question. Gould would make a good lawyer. Wait, what?
- Cheryl Bryant, you need to loosen up. She has that stone face and that constipated look. Everybody else on the board is perky and smiling.
- Even if you don’t like certain people and policies at the central office, Kathy Osborne was right in saying that summertime isn’t downtime for the educational system.
- The idea of a new website to recruit teachers is an awesome idea and didn’t cost much money. http://www.teachindanville.com or http://www.teachindanville.org are the sites and the school system is smart enough to support those sites with Google’s AdWords advertising.
- I’m still quite amazed that a decent and working sound system mysteriously appeared last night. Hmm. That being said, is there any reason that the school board can’t move their meetings into the Danville City Council chambers? It’s 100% ADA compliant.
- Last night’s public comment session: Nothing. I was going to speak to ask for opening up Wi-Fi so that we could provide better coverage, but Kathy Osborne agreed to that before the meeting so I had no need to speak. As for the rest of the Public No-Comment session: I’m not surprised. the promised “outrage from the black community” never has happened and it’s not going to. The lack of the returning crowd of “interested people” at last night’s meeting proved that they weren’t in it “for the kids”. They were in it for Ed Newsome. Now that he’s toast, screw it and on to their next cause.
- I’ve been wrong on endorsements before and I’ve confessed my errors. I’ll say it again here. I was wrong in not endorsing Sharon Dones in this year’s school board election. I like her. I like her style. I’m sure that she’s going to do a great job and I’m glad that she got elected.
- Although I’m sure that the process is underway, I’d like to know that the search for a new superintendent has started.
- Number of city council members at last night’s school board meeting: Zero – Number of school board members at the last city council meeting: Zero. Do you see where I’m going with this? Exactly.
All righty. That’s a BreakDown and some observations about last night’s Danville School Board meeting. That comment box is there for you.
More coming up on SouthsideCentral!