If enough signatures are collected in the next week, three members of the Scarborough School Board will face a recall election within the next couple months. Not since 2013 — when aggrieved dog owners led the successful overturn of an overly-broad animal control ordinance — have Town residents risen up like this against elected officials.
As outlined in the last blog entry, there have been three identifiable causes:
- Major adjustments to the start time of the school day for most kids.
- Adoption of a revised grading system that many see as detrimental to students’ college admission prospects.
- Forced resignation of the immensely popular high school principal.
While these have been the specific reasons articulated for the recall, the broader issues seem to be a general dissatisfaction with Superintendent Kukenberger’s management approach and the School Board’s unwillingness to respond to community concerns about that. For long periods, the Board went underground, only to pop up infrequently to say that “the lawyers” wouldn’t let them say anything. And the frustration of many parents finally boiled over into the recall effort.
After the recall was initiated, the Superintendent and School Board relented somewhat on a couple of the issues. But the damage was done and confidence was lost. Once lost, it doesn’t return.
Why is it important for all Scarborough residents to be concerned with the current meltdown of the schools? Well, remember that 68% of your tax dollars are spent on the schools. So having transparent, responsive and effective school administration and governance is kind of important. If the current Superintendent and School Board are unable to keep the basic operation of the schools on an even keel, do we really want to trust them with $42.5 million of our tax dollars?
Your Help Is Needed Now!
There’s about a week left in the signature-gathering period for the recall effort. About 2,600 signatures need to be gathered by March 26 in order to trigger the recall election. It looks like it will be close. So the recall supporters need your help now!
Here’s how you can sign the recall petition:
- Sign the petition in front of Town Hall between 9am and 4pm every day.
- Sign the petition at The Study Hall at 27 Gorham Road on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoon between 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm. (Phone 883-9707.)
- Get signing information on FaceBook at Road to Renewal.
- Send an email to Road2Renewal@gmail.com to make other arrangements… including “we’ll-bring-the-petition-to-you.” Now that’s what we call service!
Is Superintendent Kukenberger bruschetta?
We believe that Julie Kukenberger is a very intelligent and caring individual. And she’s motivated by what she believes is best for the kids of Scarborough. She is also a committed social justice warrior, perhaps a three-star general in the Social Justice Army (SJA).
Not that there’s anything wrong with social justice advocacy. It’s just that often these social justice warriors are so certain of their views that they think nothing of imposing them on others in the community. There can be a “my way or the highway” attitude due to the warrior’s moral certitude of his or her position. Perhaps that’s just the attitude that caused the grading system, start time and principal dismissal issues – a failure to adequately consider the views of the community on these controversies.
Speaking of community views: It has been widely reported that Scarborough High School teachers indicated no-confidence in Superintendent Kukenberger by a vote 83 to 1. It has also been reported that the reason the Superintendent gave High School Principal Creech for the non-renewal of his contract was that he was “no longer a good fit” in the school district. Wait a minute… the Superintendent has 83 of 84 high school teachers indicating no confidence in her and yet Principal Creech “isn’t a good fit?” Reality check: who’s really not a good fit?
If the shoe fits… Or, perhaps in this case, if the shoe doesn’t fit…
Front page news… not
We freely concede we know nothing about the newspaper biz. But after reading newspapers for a few years, some of the basic conventions sort of become apparent to even the most casual reader. One of those basic conventions – put the important stuff (or, “the lead story,” as Clark Kent would have called it) on the front page.
Leave it to our beloved Scarborough Leader, however, to flaunt convention. The recall of three School Board members is arguably the biggest local story of the last five years. And yet the front page of last Friday’s paper had an article about evolving storm water regulations above the fold and a human interest story filling out the rest of the front page. The recall story was on page two. It’s almost like someone didn’t want to call attention to the story, isn’t it?
Clark: Well, Jimmy, that cat rescue story you did was great. It deserved to be on the front page!