Before this week's board meeting, I was approached by Mr. Hovey, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel. He asked me why I thought he wasn't being up front about the increased compensation for the assistant superintendents. I explained to him that when I compared the new contracts with the old ones that it was obvious that the step increases and retirement reimbursements were not in the old contracts but that they are in the new ones and I hadn't heard anyone address the reimbursement of the retirement benefits. He told me that the step increases and retirement reimbursements have been part of their contract since at least 2008 and that the new contracts only extended their current compensation structure 2 years. I told him I would send him copies of the old contracts I received from the district. After Mr. Hovey was able to see the contracts on which I was basing my comments, he explained that he had never seen or signed these contracts. He asked me if I wanted him to send me a copy of the contract that he did sign.
I told him that I wanted to publicly set the record straight but that I wanted to get copies from the district. I told him I regretted making comments on false information and bringing my credibility into question but that I trusted that the district would provide accurate information in response to my request. I told him I needed to reestablish my credibility and asked him to have the district send me the right contracts along with an acknowledgement or explanation that I had received the wrong contracts. I also asked him why the district continues to refuse to satisfy Title I regulations and update the district policy regarding parent involvement. I told him I believed misunderstandings like this could be avoided if there was better communication between parents and the administration.
I believe that the district should come together with parents on an annual basis to review a parent involvement policy and put in place a plan. This plan could set up a process to proactively provide parents with information about upcoming board issues. Parents would have a voice and could proactively provide input . Parental input, before an item is on the board agenda, would eliminate scenes like the one we had over the assistant superintendent's contracts last month. Parents wouldn't feel a need to come to the board meeting and address the board and the board members wouldn't feel they were being unfairly criticized and think they need to "correct parents" with their clarifying questions.
I did receive the correct (I think) contracts but there was no message from the administration regarding the mix up and no response to my question about why the district will not update their 4 year old parent involvement policy. Mr. Hovey was correct, the new contracts appear to only extend the current benefits 2 years. I regret my comments but wish I had been able to rely on the information I was getting from the district.
I want to thank Mr. Hovey for coming forward and addressing this issue. All along I have been asking for someone to educate me if I had my facts wrong and finally Mr. Hovey did. I want to apologize to Mr. Hovey, Mrs. Kakish and Dr. Latham but I hope they understand why I made the comments I did. Maybe after being unfairly criticized as a result of the poor relationship the district has with parents, one of the assistant superintendents might be motivated to urge the superintendent and board members to work with parents to update their parent involvement policy. My requests and concerns about improving the relationship are obviously being ignored.