Believe it or not, I am a pretty regular reader of the schoolinforsystems website. I find it to be an excellent opportunity to read about other viewpoints and opinions that I dont hear about in newspapers, radio, television and other media outlets. While I dont always agree with everything that a prospective writer is saying, I do respect their point of view. At times the commentary makes me think a little harder or perhaps look at a situation a little differently. Maybe it makes me think more outside the box. However, I do want to caution that posting on the website should not detract from developing the relationships needed to have further discussion with the elected school board members. It also should not be used to circumvent the democratic processes.
Last spring, website developer Jim Zellmer reached out to me as a candidate for Madison school board. I was very impressed by him, his wife and children. His efforts allowed others who might not have known about me, to have this opportunity. Mr. Zellmer is truly a professional. His hard work and efforts are much appreciated by me. Even if a majority of people posting on the website are critical of the school district, I dont believe it is a reflection of how a writer feels about education. I believe we can all agree on how education is important to our students and to our community. I dont take the commentary personally just like I dont take the voting outcomes personally from my colleagues. I have much respect for them, too. But just so you know, I dont always agree with them either!
School board members are elected by the community to represent their views and interests. With seven elected members, it is conceivable that the each member can have their own views and interests. Can the Madison Metropolitan School District go in seven different directions? No! No matter how hard we try! This is why its so important to build the relationships necessary with other board members because when it comes down to it, four board members (or a majority) will make a decision. The majority is not always the same people, either. It changes by the topic or agenda item. When discussing particular issues, a motion needs a second. A second is followed by discussion. Like it or not, this is the democratic process used by the school board and many other committees and legislative bodies.
In closing, I want to say to those who might be critical of the school district keep posting and Ill keep reading. This school board member might agree with you and I might not. I respect your rights but please dont let your posts become the only discussion. Board meetings are every Monday night and open to the public. You are more than welcome to come to share your views with the entire board and administration. But remember board meetings will not become discussions or debates. School board members can discuss all night long but eventually one of the elected officials is going to call the question. Thats what you elect us to do. I look forward to working with you.
Johnny Winston, Jr.
Member of the Board of Education
Chair of the Partnership Committee