[LCSD] Narratives & other news

I said this:

Possible narratives if the recall effort fails

1.  “This just validates our belief that the community wants Robinson gone.”

From the DH story about the recall:


Wineteer said he believes the recall was not about his or Alexander’s actions, but about support for Superintendent Jim Robinson.

I’m shocked.  Really, I am.  Also, I think Tre’ Kennedy gets this right:

The recall was meant to be about specific actions taken by two people, Kennedy said. “In my mind, it was never about Jim Robinson, but they were successful in convincing the community that it was.”

CARES was rather notably unsuccessful in challenging that framing.

There’s also this matter:

Wineteer said recall petitioners also accused the board members of favoring Sand Ridge Charter School with extra state money, but never pointed out that the proposed contract – now being renegotiated – actually cut the charter school’s budget by limiting its population. “That’s very disingenuous,” he said.

I believe the CARES complaint on this matter stemmed from the list of conditions under item #10 of Wineteer’s amendments that would have increased the funding to the charter school past previous levels.  As well, the enrollment cap – someone correct me if I am wrong – was actually suggested by Shimmin as a compromise, not the the DO staff or anyone from CARES.

Oh, and the contract isn’t finalized yet? Seriously?  Five months later?  Can I observe that it would have been done a long time ago if Wineteer hadn’t decided to bypass the entire process (a move on his part that helped lead to the enrollment cap for PIE, btw) and, with the support of Alexander and Shimmin, push something through the board?  Three months really isn’t that long to negotiate a contract; Wineteer got tired after that long, and it’s now been eight months since they started negotiating.  Smooth.  Heck, I hope that’s a mistake in Moody’s story, but I doubt it.

Alexander and Wineteer are saying really nice things; of course, not only can they afford to, but we’ve yet to see if their actions will match their rhetoric.  I don’t want to discount the fact that it’s possible, but I am skeptical of Alexander’s ability to be even a decent board member, and frankly, Wineteer has a long way to go before he’s half the board chair Sprenger was.  He clearly doesn’t get or care about the difference between a board chair and member.

Remember, for me, this is about open, transparent, and deliberative decisionmaking processes.  It’s also about facing the future of education.  Increasingly, it’s becoming about acknowledging learned expertise.  I’ve seen little inclination from some parts of the current board that they’re interested in any of these things.

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20 Comments on “[LCSD] Narratives & other news”

  1. Timmah Says:

    Dennis, you are truly misguided if you believe “Wineteer isn’t half the board member Sherrie was”. How many board meetings since he became chair have disintegrated into bickering, and unproductive clamoring? Answer: ZERO. How often did that occur with Sherrie as the chair? Answer: almost every meeting. Do you really believe her inability to control a meeting was a show of leadership? Do you really believe her antagonizing of those behaviors was the proper behavior of a chair? Second issue is your sighting of the Sand Ridge contract. Has it occurred to you negotiations have been silent for several months? That maybe that is why there currently is not an extended contact? I realize these points don’t further the views of those thinking Wineteer and Alexander are the devil, but they are true. And lastly, I have really grown weary of the continual rhetoric of all the “poor decisions” and “broken board policies”, “illegal activities”, and “violated contracts”, yet I have NEVER seen a specific example where a single policy, law or contract was violated. You can say over and over again they were, but simply saying it doesn’t mean it happened. Your inability to show ANY evidence these activities occurred is the reason the recall failed. Not because the public believes it’s about Robinson, not because people think the ends justify the means, it’s because CARES ran a smear campaign, which appeared on every level to be nothing more than that. If you tried to analyze what CARES was claiming, in the end CARES had nothing, and that’s why they failed.

  2. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    Sprenger required that board and audience members follow board policies and Robert’s Rules of Order as much as possible. Wineteer is much more lax.

    As well, since Josh took over, I’ve seen two differences: a) He wants respect from the crowd, and he knows as board chair he won’t get it the same way he did before; and b) there was a lot more scrutiny of the board, and of Wineteer, during the recall petition and election process.

    Lots of people disliked Sprenger, clearly. But it’s also clear that there are other factors influencing the behavior of the board besides her absence.

    If the public didn’t think the recall was about Robinson, why did Wineteer say it? Why did the letters in the local papers say it? Why did anonymous commenters on the blogs say it?

    Some portion of public, at least, believed that the recall was about Robinson. Some did not. I don’ think we can make a blanket statement here.

  3. anonymous Says:

    Rick and Josh were much more antagonistic to S. Sprenger.
    There was a constant power play going on behind the scenes while she was the chair.
    They often brought items to the meetings that were not on the agenda that they obviously had discussed with each other and some people in the crowd.
    J. Winteer is not more adept at handling the meetings.
    He is in agreement with R. Alexander on most issues so that takes care of the disagreements with the chair.
    When S. Sprenger was on the Board they did not want to follow the chain of command and process for bringing things to the Board and community’s attention.
    Since J. Wineteer has been chair they have still done it that way–but there has not been someone pointing out those issues each time.
    That is the main difference.

  4. Timmah Says:

    Dennis, a couple points. First Sherrie had been under the same level of pressure for several months since she was appointed in Salem, but she still allowed the meeting to disintegrate. She didn’t participate in the derogitory behavior nearly as often after her appointment, and I am sure that is a result of her wanting to personify a better image, but the facts remain, she was a poor board chair, and meetings lasting until 1:00am in the morning is a perfect example of that. Do you think Sherrie berating the audiance was a sign of good leadership? People need the oportunity to express how they feel, and being told to sit down and be quiet is not conducive of that. But your second point is much more intersting. Perhaps Mr. Wineteer bought into the rhetoric being perpetuated by his followers, the same way people following CARES have bought into the rhetoric Mr. Alexander and Mr. Wineteer have been violating laws and policies. The CARES campaign unraveled once people started challenging their assertions. Its a shame people such as yourself continue to perpetuate these inaccuracies.

  5. anonymous Says:

    The reason the Board had to make a capitulation to the severance package of J. Robinson is precisely because they were not legal in their actions of trying to break his contract (which he had because of Lebanon history of booting out Superintendents).
    They would have fired him without any compensation if they could have.
    R. Alexander and J. Wineteer said so in meetings.
    The tried to get an attorney–any attorney–to go along with their agenda.
    They couldn’t find one who would do so because they all knew they would have been personally liable. and no attorney wanted to deal with that.
    They WERE illegal in putting him on leave.
    They WERE violating Board Policy by meeting outside of the Board Meetings.
    They WERE violating Board Policy by voting in conflict of interest cases.
    They were negligent in working with PIE without the District lawyer–not in the best interest of the WHOLE District.
    They were negligent in giving PIE excuses for STATE violations–violations the WHOLE District was penalized for.
    There are many, many, instances.
    All you have to do is read the minutes of all the Board meetings.
    For anyone to say this wasn’t about a vendetta and that vendetta being the reason why those two were NOT recalled is completely ignoring the facts.

  6. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    To the person who submitted the comment at 2:38 PM: Why in the world would I publish that?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    From anon 2:38,

    Why would you publish the B/S that 1:20 is dishing out?

  8. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    Because it wasn’t rude or a personal attack. There’s only one thing in the referenced comment that I’m not sure is true – clearly we’ll disagree about that – but it’s critical of the actions of the board members, not them personally. Your comment was personal.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    If the comments of 1:20 are true, why doesn’t someone provide proof, and hold those in violation accountable.The comments are speculation, at best, based on rumor, and hearsay, and until those who are making these accusations are held to the standard of proof they should stop being published. Otherwise our problems in this community will continue.

    I (and I’m sure many others) am tired of hearing it. I appologize for the personal attact, it was intended for the group (implied due to the fact that we hear this from so many different sources) that the person is speaking for, but I did a poor job communicating that. It is getting very frustrating to hear the same thing over and over. I feel that our community has spoken by defeating the recall. If the non CARES side is truly sincere in the belief that Robinson was the problem we should be able to start resolving issues together.

    Let’s give it a chance to work. By rehashing the past it will be difficult to move forward.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    In moving forward we will be watching to be sure the Board follows Board Policy.
    That is not bring up old stuff but dealing with actions as they occur.
    If a person had an affair, went to counseling with their spouse and they jointly agreed to give the relationship another chance, the offended spouse may be willing to let go of past behavior, but are under no thinking person’s obligation to ignore current behavior.
    To say to that offended spouse you just need to forget the past and give me lots of chances to get it right now–without corresponding good action–is unreasonable and not going to happen unless you are dealing with a co-dependently abusive relationship.

  11. artistinoregon Says:

    What I don’t understand now and will probably never understand is WHY IN THE WORLD did we hire Robinson in the first place? He had a history of very serious problems from two other districts prior to being hired by Lebanon. We simply bought someone else’s problem and now look what it’s costing us. And, Mr. Fisher’s carrying on at the school board about the ‘cost of this decision to the tax-payers’ –did he forget that his previous vote to continue Robinson’s contract was instrumental in putting us in this position? That was unbelievable.

    And, Sherrie Sprenger is no leader, that was always clear.

  12. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    And, Mr. Fisher’s carrying on at the school board about the ‘cost of this decision to the tax-payers’ –did he forget that his previous vote to continue Robinson’s contract was instrumental in putting us in this position?

    That’s a bit out there. It treats the buyout as an act of the divine, when it was an action taken by the majority of the board. Fisher was consistent – he did not want to go along with the buyout, nor did he vote against the nonrenewal.

    Suggesting that the board was not the actor here, or that the board was forced into the settlement really mischaracterizes what happened. The board pursued the buyout – it certainly wasn’t anyone else’s idea.

  13. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    And, Sherrie Sprenger is no leader, that was always clear.

    Frankly – and I don’t know if this is a compliment or insult – I can’t picture Alexander following anyone.

    I don’t think Sprenger ever tried to lead the board anywhere. She saw her role as a facilitator for the other board members; well, that and as an enforcer of board rules and policies.

    If you thinks she should have cracked a few skulls, I think we might disagree on what constitutes a good leader.

  14. Fact checker Says:

    To Artistinoregon:

    Check your facts, Mr. Fisher did not vote against the non-renewal. You might try and go to board meetings you might then get your facts straight. He was consistent with making sure the Board does not spend the money that is for Children to pay for attorneys fees or for giving it away to the superintendent without working.

    You should try and find out how much the Board had already spent this year in Attorneys fees before you draw your conclusion. It is easy said because it is not your money that the Board plays with.

  15. anonymous Says:

    “And, Mr. Fisher’s carrying on at the school board about the ‘cost of this decision to the tax-payers”

    My recollection of Mr Fisher at board meetings is that he is always objecting to something. Now granted, looking out for the taxpayers dollars is a good thing, but what positive contribution has he made as a board member. Has he stepped up and suggested anything better?

    At the school board meeting when the Math problem was brought up and it was suggested to have a meeting of those concerned and have the board in attendance, he was dragging his feet arguing that the meeting had to be planned for and conducted in the right manner. Parents were there and they were willing to give of there time to work out a better solution and in my mind he just about killed the desire.

  16. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    Anon @ 2:31…. so you oppose thoughtful, deliberative decision-making by the board?

    I saw Mr. Fisher point out – often in vain – that what was being proposed was in violation of a law or policy the school board was supposed to be following. I don’t really think that counts as obstructionist.

    In other words, objecting to things that one thinks are a bad idea does not make the act of objecting a bad thing. I’d think it was the opposite.

  17. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    Fact Checker…. I don’t know what you were trying to say, but Chris Fisher voted for the renewal of Robinson’s contract.

  18. artistinoregon Says:

    Rhetoricalwasteland, are you saying you agree or disagree with my statement concerning Mr. Fisher? He DID vote to continue Robinson’s contract, which DID help to continue his employment at this district longer than it should have.

    Yes, the action was taken by the majority of the board, and in my opinion, YEARS too late.

    No one, including you, has answered the question I posed: why was he hired in the first place, when it was known about his past? Does that seem like good judgement to anyone?

  19. rhetoricalwasteland Says:

    I can’t answer that last question – I was, what, 15 at the time it happened?

    I agree that Mr. Fisher’s actions helped continue Mr. Robinson’s employment in the district.

    I disagree that Robinson had to go, so I don’t see Mr. Fisher’s actions as much of a problem.

    The way the statement was phrased implies that removing Robinson was a goal shared by *everyone*, when that was clearly not the case. Implying that Fisher made an error is something I have a problem with – it’s only a mistake on Fisher’s part if Fisher wanted Robinson gone. Otherwise it’s just a difference of opinion. Fisher voted the way believed was right.

  20. A. Says:

    Robinson was hired with a vote in favor of him from 4 out of the 5 Board members. Doug Libby voted no and later said he was wrong. He was hired because he had a history of improving student achievement and excellent financial management. At the time Lebanon’s scores were in ( I think ) the lower 5% or 10% of the state, we desperately needed to pass a bond and were not in good shape financially. He also had a history of staying in one job multiple years, ( 12 in his first, 5 in his second ) another quality the board was looking for. The Board has changed since then and now the Superintendent will change. Personally, I don’t see the community healing until we have another new board. There’s still 2,000 people that wanted Rick and Josh recalled. Not a majority of the voters but not just a few people either.


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