Roy Exum: School Board Folly

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

My friend and classmate Todd Gardenhire is sadly off base when he lobbies for doubling the pay of the school board. I don’t know which worm has gotten into him, but the fact is the school board doesn’t do anything to merit over $2,000 a month, must less exist. We could do away with the school board and not skip a beat and that's the truth. Please … all the school board does is hire a superintendent. That’s all.

Oh, there are some fine people on the Hamilton County School Board, and some are super-stars in their daily worries why public education has gotten so sour. But there is a world of difference between the County Commission and School Board.

To begin, the school board has no money. The school board directs one person – the superintendent – and each school board member works in tandem with the commissioner of their district.

Let’s face it, the County Commission could easily hire a superintendent. They do for every other department in county government, but because education is so vitally crucial to every county, the school board is far more hands-on in working with the superintendent. That’s right … just one guy.

Next year we’ll add two more county commissioners after district boundaries were redrawn to make things appear more equitable. And despite the childish protests by the sitting school board, the citizens in the two new districts will have equal representation with two new members elected to the school board,

That will give us 11 commissioners and 11 school board representatives. Yes, after next year’s election the school board will cost the taxpayers about $12,000 a month with no raise. We’ll also have a new superintendent after the most outrageous sham of a selection process in Hamilton County history. Time and money have been completely wasted as smart people have dilly-danced their way towards approval of Justin Robertson as the new head of our public schools.

Try as hard as Mr. Gardenhire may, there is no comparison between the load a county commissioner must bear and what a school board member does. The commission meets every week, the school board once or twice a month. County commissioners make decisions. School board members make requests.

A daily poll on Chattanoogan.com showed 70 percent of responders are opposed to doubling the salaries of school board members from a commonsense standpoint. The commission has a more urgent need for the unnecessary cost of a salary increase.

Todd and our other representatives in Nashville do noble work, but to double school board pay statewide would be a costly mistake that, once done, can’t be taken back.

* * *

WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT

NOTE: A reader shared this and it’s special. The author is unknown:

Life isn't about keeping score. It's not about how many friends you have. Or how many people call you. Or how accepted or unaccepted you are. Not about if you have planned this weekend. Or if you're alone. It isn't about who you're dating, who you use to date, how many people you've dated, or if you haven't been with anyone at all. It isn't about who you have kissed. It's not about sex. It isn't about who your family is or how much money they have. Or what kind of car you drive. Or where you're sent to school.

It's not about how beautiful or ugly you are. Or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on, or what kind of music you listen to. It's not about if your hair is blonde, red, black, brown, or green. Or if your skin is too light or too dark.

It's not about what grades you get, how smart you are, how smart everyone else thinks you are, or how smart standardized tests say you are. Or if this teacher likes you, or if this guy/girl likes you. Or what clubs you're in, or how good you are at "your" sport. It's not about representing your whole being on a piece of paper and seeing who will "accept the written you".

But life is about who you love and who you hurt. It's about who you make happy or unhappy purposefully. It's about keeping or betraying trust. It's about friendship, used as sanctity, or as a weapon. It's about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening. About starting rumors and contributing to petty gossip. It's about what judgments you pass and why. And who your judgments are spread to.

It's about who you've ignored with full control and intention. It's about jealousy, fear, pain, ignorance, and revenge. It's about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow and spreading it.

But most of all, it's about using your life to touch or poison other people's hearts in such a way that could never have occurred alone. Only you choose the way these hearts are affected, and those choices are what life is all about.

royexum@aol.com


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