Elected board has flaws too

Published 7:58 pm Thursday, September 17, 2020

Adams County residents can learn a lesson from recent events on the Concordia Parish School Board.

The lesson?

An elected school board is not the cure for all of a school district’s ills.

Elected school boards come with their own set of challenges.

Call it whatever you will — a simple non-renewal of a contract or a calculated move on the part of some board members — Concordia Parish Superintendent Whest Shirley will no longer lead the Miss-Lou’s second-largest school district in 2021.

In a 5-4 vote last month, the Concordia Parish School Board voted down an effort to extend Shirley’s contract for another six months.

What is most unfortunate about the action taken on Aug. 24 is not the vote, but the response from some board members, who refused to offer little explanation for why they voted against extending Shirley’s contract. Board President Fred Butcher declined to comment about the matter calling the decision a personnel matter. Board member Raymond Riley offered few specifics, saying the district was not heading in the right direction.

Concordia Parish students, teachers and parents deserve more from their elected representatives than what amounts to generalities and a shrug of the shoulders. Shirley, who is well respected in the community and the school district, also deserves more.

We hope that school board members are making decisions in the best interest of the entire school district. But without a sufficient explanation, how are residents to know for sure?

As a political body, elected school board members are ultimately accountable to their constituents and may not always do what is best for the district. Did this happen on Aug. 24? It is hard to know for sure.

Even still, it offers a good lesson for those who think elected school boards are the answer.