Culture of Obfuscation:
Boyertown Essentials Newsletter costs the School District $50,000 annually:
24:30 minute line
The Policy Committee Meeting 08-16-2016,
The former Board President, stated in her manifesto of Governance, how she agreed with the Superintendent and how there are certain Board Directors who do not agree with the direction of the School District or the agenda that she, and the Superintendent set up. She stated that she “didn’t want to create a policy that would tie the hands of the Superintendent in terms of his doing some things that he wants to do for the district moving forward”.
She went on to explain how this newsletter, the Boyertown Essentials was ushered in during the Spring of 2015.
She described the public relation dilemma of the School District. She stated that the Superintendent wanted to hire a full time School District Public Relation person to solve this problem.
She stated that she, who was the Vice President at the time and the Board President of 2015, collaborated with the Superintendent to solve this problem by hiring a public relation firm to assemble and publish the Boyertown Essentials and having the Boyertown Essentials published and distributed to the community 4 times per year for “just” $50,000.
She described in essence their collaborative “strategy” for using Obfuscation (Coney Island Shell Game) to disguise this, and keeping the details from the BOD, in order to get this past the Board with no discussion.
The strategy was explained this way:
* She clearly stated that is was decided to “leave the Boyertown Essentials off the agenda. She stated that she “thought it was O.K and a good idea”.
* She then stated how they planned on only mentioning the Newsletter in the weekly information update to the Board. Their plan was to leave out the details of the cost and distribution details.
She stated that the cost and distribution details would not be brought up and discussed, unless someone asked. The further stated that “if any Board Member would have asked any questions about the cost and distribution details, then those details would have been discussed”
*Their plan was to mask the fiscal impact on the community and the School District. They understood that by putting this information on the weekly information packet without listing the cost of $50,000, or the distribution details, this whole thing would seem innocuous, and no one would ask about it. Without discussion this newsletter would then be approved. DONE! PUSH THE EASY BUTTON!
Well their plan worked! The Newsletter was approved without discussion. There was no deliberation! Ever! Their strategy worked precisely as they planned. No Board Director, other than the Board Leadership knew what the price tag was before the first edition went out.
Transparency is not masking intent and using countermeasures “The coney island shell game” to get something past unsuspecting Board Directors. This is the culture that some on this Board want to continue. However, I and some others on this Board oppose this deceit.
Here we are today with this discretionary spending item being brought up to the Board again. This time we know the annual cost ($50,000) and scope of work. Let us ask ourselves: Can we give our students a valuable experience by letting our students put this quarterly newspaper together and have this put on the website for free.
This was brought to a vote on the 04-12-2016 Board Meeting and defeated by the spending checklist group 5-4.