Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2000

Board’s decision on Bloom should not have been ego driven

March 16, 2000

It's naive to think ego never plays a part in the decision-making process of elected officials, or that personality clashes don't determine the fate of a school district.

The truth is these traits, while having no relevance, have played far too significant a role in the Eudora Board of Education's ouster of longtime superintendent Dan Bloom.

Bloom served the Eudora School District and served it well for 17 years. He admittedly isn't a patient man. He aggressively went after what he not only wanted, but what he believed was in the best interest of the school district.

And, along the way, he ruffled some feathers.

Perhaps Bloom could have been more diplomatic in his approach, but it's hard to criticize a man whose passion for education is so evident.

The school board should have been able to put these hurt feelings aside and let Bloom's track record be its guiding light. Instead, it chose to do just the opposite. It stopped listening to Bloom.

While it's true the school board is ultimately in charge of a school district, it's the superintendent who should be directing the board. After all, this person is a professional educator. This person has made a career of making decisions that are in the best interest of the children in the school district.

With no disrespect to the board members, professional educators they are not.

Their reasons for serving the community are admirable. We don't expect them to rubber stamp every wish or recommendation of a superintendent. We want them to question these issues and vote in the interest of the district and the students, not themselves.

However, ego or personality conflicts should never play in these decisions.

If it did in this case, then shame on the school board. It let a man with a proven track record of success get away. And, it did so without allowing him the grace and dignity of an amicable departure.

If the school board did, in fact, decide against allowing Bloom two years to groom a successor, then shame on it again. If Bloom had agreed on a two-year transition period to get someone in the district ready to take over, the board should have jumped on that offer.

As it stands, the board not only allowed Bloom to leave, it did so without a contingency plan in place.

Let's hope the school board didn't cut off its nose to spite its face.

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