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How Business Gets Done Now?

How Business Gets Done Now?

[box type=”1″ align=”left”] EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesdays at RCM are an opportunity for local parents to share their thoughts and ideas about education in our city. Do you have something to say? Email and join the conversation.
[/box]The board has gotten remarkable efficient at closing schools. No public hearings. No public comments. No public discussion to slow things down. No public questions that might prove difficult to answer.

It would seem that Dr. Wardynski has learned well from the public hearing meetings that happened in June. And the board is so excited to close schools that they “moved to approve” the recommendation with a second (thanks Dr. Robinson and Mr. Blair) without even hearing the recommendation first.

Just call your first ever Saturday board meeting at the last minute, fill the board room with new principals and their friends and families who will support whatever decision you make (they are after all just happy to have a job), make sure the meeting is a “Special Called” meeting (because for whatever reason, special called meetings don’t allow citizen comments), then suddenly you free to do whatever you would like to do without fear that someone might take three minutes (or is it four again) to make you face your actions.

Is our new superintendent so afraid of negative feedback that he intentionally hides from it by orchestrating meetings specifically designed to shield him from even public questions? While I certainly hope this isn’t the case, I have little reason to believe otherwise.

Let’s get something clear: the school board, the employees of the central office, the employees at the schools in our system and, yes, the superintendent all work for us, the public, the citizens. They are our employees, and they have a responsibility to listen to us.

Funny, I remember writing exactly the same thing to Dr. Richardson and Dr. Moore just a few of months ago.

The more things change . . .

Saturday Board Meeting

I don’t know if the plan to move Providence 6th graders to Williams Middle in a couple of weeks is a good one or a bad one. It may, actually, be the best possible solution. I would like to hear from the parents and teachers of those students affected before making an evaluation, and so should Dr. Wardynski. Overcrowding at Providence is an old problem. There has been ample time to seek out their input.

What I do know is this: making the decision to do this at the board’s first ever Saturday meeting and refusing to allow any public input into this plan is a bad idea.

Even though I did not support Dr. Wardynski for the superintendent position, even though I do not support him making $55,000 above the minimum salary, I still earnestly hope that he is the savior of our schools that Dr. Robinson and many others have painted him to be.

My children are just starting out in the system, and I fully expect them to graduate from Grissom High with honors in 11-13 years. I do not want spend every second Thursday (with the odd Saturday thrown in whenever they want to discuss something difficult) attending Board meetings and then writing about it. I much prefer writing about my kids and dreams.

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I would love to never write another posting about the school board ever again.

But the reasons that I started writing about them back in April (wow, it’s only been four months) are still exactly the same.

  • The School Board under the direction of the Superintendent is still making decisions without public input.
  • The School Board under the direction of the Superintendent is still approving the expansion of the Central Office while cutting out teachers and aides.
  • The School Board under the direction of the Superintendent is now actually closing schools rather than merely talking about it.
  • The School Board under the direction of the seemingly unaccountable Superintendent is still refusing to put their plans in writing for public review.
  • When I told Dr. Richardson, Dr. Moore, Dr. Wilson, and the board members who were present at the second school closing meeting at Grissom High on June 9th that I had lost faith in their leadership, all of the reasons that I listed for why are still unaddressed.

I’m aware that Dr. Wardynski hasn’t been here two weeks yet. I’m not asking for a miracle. But it doesn’t take a miracle to listen to the stakeholders before you make a decision of this magnitude.

I sincerely hope that the approach that Dr. Wardynski and the board took in voting to close Providence Middle School on Saturday, July 17th at 4:00pm, is not going to be their standard operating procedure, but I would be foolish to believe otherwise until they take action to demonstrate that they are now operating differently from the previous ten years.

Please, Dr. Wardynski, Mr. Birney, Mrs. McCaulley, Mr. Blair, Dr. Robinson, and Mrs. Morrison, prove me wrong. I, just like everyone else in this town, want to be able to trust the leadership of our schools.

Only those who have something to hide, hide from the public response to their actions.


View Comments (4)
  • We also can’t overlook the fact that we are not only overpaying Dr W, but also Ann Roy Moore as well! She shouldn’t be getting a check, and of all people who knows how bad things are financially, she should feel like crap. Also, I agree with poor leadership. After all, Dr. Robinson supports censorship!

  • Deb,

    Thanks for reading! I agree that Dr. Moore should not be receiving a check right now. Yes, she is still on the payroll until the end of the calendar year. (Her contract for the year was written in such a way that she, not the board or anyone else, gets to decide when she no longer gets paid. It explicitly states that if she wishes to receive her salary through the end of the calendar year, she may do so. So yeah, she’s getting approximately $99,000 between now and December 31st.) While I’m sure that was a compromise that the board reached with her to get her to resign without a court battle, it’s vexing. It does make one wonder what it would take to get the board to offer something other than a glowing evaluation to someone, doesn’t it?

    Honestly, there’s often so much to write about in regards to the system that it’s hard to choose.

  • This fall will be my second grade twin daughters’ first year at a Huntsville City Schools location. They are excited to go to the big school after two years at the Montessori School of Huntsville (due to the inflexibility of the cutoff date for school ages in the public schools – their birthday is in October). I am also excited for them, but reading things like this makes me worry about what future years will bring for kids under the authoritarian control of the HCS folks. My girls will be at Hampton Cove Elementary, which will hopefully remain a stable zone to live in, but who knows?!?!? Thanks, Russell, for this very informative article with so many links.

    • Barbara,

      Thanks for reading! The only advice that I have for you concerning our schools is this: Our teachers are excellent, but they are overworked and in need of help and support.

      Hampton Cove Elementary is, from what I have heard, one of the better schools in the system (it’s no Mt. Gap or Challenger, but I’m biased! :))

      But you are absolutely right to be concerned. The board on Saturday closed a good school. The board, back in March, implemented a plan to segregate our special needs students into just two schools: AAA and Challenger (we’re heard mixed reports that Hampton Cove might also receive a resource room, but as the board has never published their plan, it’s hard to know for certain.)

      I love Huntsville and I believe that the teachers in our schools are as dedicated to the education of children as any group of teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. But the system is being run by people who seemingly don’t believe in education (well, public education anyway). And they are systematically tearing it apart.

      Again, thanks for reading! If you want to follow other stuff I write about the schools and my family, take a look at

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