To the Editor:
At the Oct. 24 Board of Education Meeting, Chairman Phil Dwyer would not allow the public to thank John Llewellyn, Eileen McCormick and Donna Karnal during public comment for their four years of service on the BOE. Many have chosen to thank them in writing for asking tough questions to make informed decisions about education programs, finances, by-laws, policies, regulations, and so much more.
Although their proposed motions rarely passed, usually stalling at a 6-3 vote, they continued to bring their judicious ideas and knowledgeable perspectives to the table for discussion - with no rubber stamping a vote. We remember when they negated the false accusations of having a sole purpose of cutting the Budget and eliminating programs when they proposed a motion to increase the Budget to restore recently cut programs, only to be unsupported by the majority. As they soon came to realize, politics, at the board table and behind the scenes through social media and deliberate idle gossip, dramatically influences educational outcomes. Of course, this made their duties as board members more challenging, but it did not deter them.
They always attempted to represent the interest of the larger community- asking for the budget in excel format for better transparency, asking for “third party teacher exit interviews” to better understand the growing number of teachers departed 2010-2015, and asking for an accelerated review of the elementary ELA and Math curriculum and science to confirm we were on track for higher performance results, only to be unsupported by the majority.
Through it all, they remained staunch advocates of high quality public education for all students, carrying out their respective roles with the highest level of professionalism, honesty and integrity while leveraging their diverse backgrounds and professional skill sets. But, it was their ethical compass and independent thinking that served as their core strength, helping deliberate issues objectively and with common sense.
The monthly televised BOE Fair TV “show” will never be as lively and entertaining again without you guys! Thank you for courageously jumping in when there was a need. We know your efforts will be rewarded with a stronger district for our town.