This WPSD Board is accomplishing what they promised during their campaign:
- Cancel the District’s mask mandate
- Address the many voiced issues with Summit Learning Platform, including possibly removing the program altogether (currently tasked to the Superintendent)
- Provide parents a choice and reverse the prior board’s controversial denial of Merit Academy
- Support a historic raise for District staff, and
- Improve District transparency with attention to informing parents of class curriculum
All of these things have been completed or are in the works, as promised and for which they were elected. These accomplishments are well within the Board powers and responsibilities as espoused by Colorado Statutes.
Yet, there seems to be misunderstanding of school board governance. Board Directors are tasked by the State with powers, duties, and responsibilities for District oversight. The list of powers and duties within Statutes is long. Overall, governance is the enactment of policies that also reflect the vision of the Board, upon which they were elected. Administrative policies also not only point to the Board’s vision and their District Purpose Statement, but also abide by State law.
According to Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), “Policy governance is a system of interrelated principles that uses policies to express board values and perspectives in all areas.” Policies are the roadmap by which the Board chooses to manage the district.
It seems the general community has question about policies vs law. Policies, unless required by Statute, are not law, but they must not conflict with law. They can be changed.
In fact, a CASB representative presented to a prior WPSD Board (upon which I was a member) and advised that new Boards schedule a retreat to review the prior Board’s policies and change, adopt, add, or delete those policies to coincide with the new Board’s Purpose Statement and vision.
If there is conflict between policies and the new Board’s vision, then policies need to change. If there is difference of opinion or desired policy among Board members, the majority rules and, thus, is the Board’s One Voice.
It seems this newly elected Board was not advised of this sage practice to review/change policies. The review and adjustment of policies is overdue. It is common practice that individual Board members, or a pair of Board members, write (or change) policies and bring them back to the whole board for discussion, changes, and adoption or denial. It’s critical for the health of District governance.
Boards across the state have one superintendent (most common) or they have multiple executive officers who report directly to the Board, or the Board completes much of the minutia themselves (not advised). Again, that operational decision falls in the powers and duties of the Board. The Board must collaborate to ensure the (new/changed/current) policies reflect the level of governance the Board wishes to implement.
It seems there is some dissonance between the new Board and the prior Board’s policies. As CASB has advised in the past, the Board doesn’t change its vision or End Statement to match policy, the policies change to match the Board’s vision, for which they were elected.
The “Never-This-Board” folks are working on a recall of the newly elected Board members, using policy-noncompliance as their reason. In fact, the County Clerk’s office was called ONE WEEK after the newly elected board members took office, asking how to begin a recall of these new board members.
I support the Board based on promises made, promises kept. The environment with which they have worked has been hostile. They acted upon advice they’ve received from experienced Admin and others, which in hindsight seem questionable. Agenda have been scrutinized, yet historically, the meeting agenda have been written by the (new) Board President and the (seasoned) Superintendent, not the entire Board. It seems the new Board members were not advised by their experienced board member or Superintendent, as they should have been, to review/change the policies to match the vision on which they campaigned and for which they were elected.
Change policies. Keep promises. Support, not recall, this Board.
Dr. Gwynne Pekron
Woodland Park Resident