Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

Communication in the school district

August 11, 2005

We applaud the Baldwin School Board's decision to conduct a telephone survey of school district patrons in September.

It's hard to make decisions regarding the education of our young people and the spending of taxpayer's money without knowing what a community wants and expects.

The board has been making noise for several years about better communication between it and its patrons. To this point, that's mostly been lip service.

The first real glimmer of improved communication came in February when the district advertised for a public relations person. The theory there was to improve PR, which was sadly needed.

However, that sunny chapter didn't last long. In fact, it never got off the ground. There had been no communication within the district about the PR job and it caused outrage among many who saw it as hiring another administrator while still not taking care of teachers and other staff.

Although the PR person wasn't an addition to the staff, but merely a new job description for a secretary, the whole thing never flew. The PR person only lasted a few months and the position reverted back to a secretary. No communication gain there, by a long shot.

Let's hope that the phone survey, tentatively scheduled for September, produces better luck. Let's hope the right questions are asked and that district administrators and school board members will listen to what's learned.

One of the possible questions discussed at Monday's meeting involved drug and alcohol usage. After the revealing drug and alcohol survey completed at BHS in the spring, it only makes sense that a question or questions be asked regarding that, including whether a proposal for drug testing those in extracurricular activities at the high school should be implemented.

We'd suggest a question regarding the School Resource Officer be asked as well. The position has returned to the high school, thankfully, but there still seems to be some problems. The city is paying for the officer, while it isn't costing the district a dime. The district wants to control the officer, even though he is not their employee. It's a problem and it needs to be worked out for the betterment of our entire community.

Other easy questions for the survey regard the proposed building of a long-talked about auditorium on the BHS campus. It would impact the ballfields, another good survey topic, currently to the north of BHS. Do the people of the Baldwin School District want these improvements or not?

All the way around for the district, let's ask and let's listen. That would be that first step toward better communication.

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