Transparency

Transparency in government should be priority number one of any elected official. From a Member of the School Board to the President of the United States a transparent government is paramount.

I had plans to release vignettes of issues over the coming days and weeks to provide insight to voters on my views on issues the School Board faces. One was going to be transparency, because, frankly, over the last four years the School Board has turned out the lights on transparency. There are many examples of how transparency has been reduced with regards to the School Board.

However, tonight, we have been presented a perfect example of the failures of School Board and School Division in service to the citizens of Stafford County. Student transportation has been a disaster since the beginning of the school year. Failures of transportation started with a lack of transparency, honesty and integrity from the senior division administrators, with little question from the School Board. Tonight news has trickled out on Facebook groups and finally word official word in the form of email and robo call from the school division, that, in an effort to mitigate the delays in transportation the division is going to adjust school start and end times.

While it is great they are trying something, the struggle for parents is the School Board had a meeting just last night and not a word was spoken of this plan that has just been released to parents. How does the administration make such a drastic change without informing the School Board? How does the School Board sit there and allow it to happen?

The time changes are not massive changes, but parents trying to balance work schedules, bus schedules, child care, etc. it can be a significant change for families. In our own household, a 10 minute change to a bus schedule, may mean a change in how we ensure our child gets on the bus.

A victim of lack of transparency is communication. Communication from a school division is an important factor in decision making. How you communicate a decision can make or break the end result of the decision. With this, the division has done a very poor job in communicating. Apparently a few schools informed teachers, or at least the rumor mill was informed. Parents learned first from social media and alas a lengthy robo call to inform parents of the pending change.

Members of the School Board are the link between the school division and parents. They need to establish their role and ensure they are well informed of actions of such so they can provide parents with answers and direction. They should have been informed at last night’s meeting and since they weren’t they need to be asking why! Who is control of our school division? The School Board who represent the citizens, voters and parents or the school administration?

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