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How Do You Spell Lobotomy?
by Brad Taylor

HughLet's pretend you are on the Board of Directors of a well-known company--a company with troubles. Your company is on a death spiral towards bankruptcy, since you have no source of additional funds to offset the deficit spending. To make matters worse, your only product is failing all of your quality tests--including the minimum testing standards of your competitors. Given this situation, you decide to forget your company's strategic plan and hope for the future. Instead, you decide to push through a scheme to pay $19.5 million to terminate the CEO who recently developed a new strategic plan.

In the real world, angry shareholders would immediately demand the resignation of any members of the board responsible for these careless actions. Rather than accept responsibility for their mismanagement, the board decided to use this opportunity to get rid of a CEO they disliked and to cement their power base. You may find it difficult to imagine such irresponsible behavior in today's market place. However, the Huntsville City School Board is facing the same situation. The school budget is facing a deficit spending crisis with no hope of recovery. Many of our city schools are failing the standardized tests that dictate the minimum standards necessary to prepare our students for college or for life.

Instead of addressing the problems facing our schools, the board members have used this situation to buy out the remaining eleven months of Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Gene Thompson for $195,000. They are doing this for a simple reason--some members of the Huntsville Education Association do not like him. There remains a single hero in this debacle, School Board Member Steve Shaw. He fought this fraudulent use of our taxes even though he was overpowered by the liberals that control our city's educational system.

Apparently, three of the five school board members hatched a scheme behind the scenes to enact this buyout of Thompson's contract. How these three members could have possibly achieved this without violating Alabama's Sunshine Law, which dictates the rules against secret meetings, is impossible to discern. Over the protests of parents, PTA officials, and board member Shaw, these three members rammed through a measure that robs our school system of badly needed funds.

Some may argue that our school system is only paying an additional $21,000, with a portion going to the now-promoted deputy superintendent. However, Huntsville has been paying for a superintendent, one deputy, and two assistant superintendents. Why? Has Huntsville been wasting money or will they find it necessary to hire another deputy superintendent? We either need all four positions, or we should have fired some people long ago. In any case, the Huntsville City Schools have plainly wasted money, also known as our tax dollars.

Given the recent actions of the School Board, which no sane citizen of Huntsville could have imagined, one must conclude they will now try to hand pick Thompson's successor before two of these three members face elections in August. These three members; Ann Fee, James Dawson, and Scott Irwin; have chosen to further their political agenda and to grab power for the Huntsville Education Association at the expense of our children. Shame on them.

We should demand the immediate resignation of these School Board Members for the injustice they have lumped on our school system. They should be carefully and thoroughly investigated for what seems to be a flagrant violation of our State's Sunshine Laws. At a minimum, we should all work together to make sure Fee and Dawson are given an early retirement in August.


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