As a personal friend of the Sabine ISD school board’s “Majority of Four” I am compelled to tell, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
Martha Wright and Patty Pickle, retired school teachers who both worked under the current school district administration; Rusty Taylor and John Kenna, both businessmen were each duly elected by the people of the Sabine ISD.
For the most part they think alike. In doing so, they represent the first time in more than a decade that the school superintendent did not control the board majority. That is what this election is all about: control of the majority who now appear to be independent thinkers.
The vitriol began last year when the four voted against adding a new IT director for the elementary school. A normal administration would have accepted the defeat and made a follow-up proposal to add a position in the next school budget, explaining and defending the new expense. Instead, those on the losing end of the vote were incensed.
“Tell us no? I don’t think so!” was the reaction. “What’s going on? This has never happened before!”
After that first independent-minded “No” vote from the four, they subsequently refused to extend the superintendent’s three-year contract; declined to give him a pay raise greater than the raise built into his contract; asked for a risk assessment which was recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards and finally approved paying for a Fraud Audit, suspicious by that time that the constant overreaction to everything they did indicated something might be rotten in Denmark.
People like to make this out as being about the expense of the fraud audit but the truth is the four were under fire from the first moment they voted against the recommendations of the administration. Having a different view is not seen as the right to dissent but rather as an offense.
The truth is school superintendents come and go everywhere. Nobody is guaranteed a job for life. At least school superintendents have contracts. Most people do not. If any superintendent’s contract is terminated or allowed to expire, he or she can get another job.
Nobody is irreplaceable in any capacity anywhere and no one party – locally, statewide or nationally-- holds onto the majority forever. It’s called democracy.