Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

Chris Rickert:

Like the rest of the board, both also voted to approve the 304-page employee handbook that replaced union contracts beginning in summer 2016.

District legal counsel Dylan Pauly pointed to two board policies that include provisions related to managing conflicts of interest among board members.

One says board members should “avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest,” including those set forth in a state law that prohibits “any official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official, a member of his or her immediate family, or an organization with which the official is associated has a substantial financial interest.”

In such cases the board member should refrain from participating in discussions about or voting on such matters in work groups and regular board meetings, and can even choose to leave the room, according to the policy.

Pauly told me Tuesday that she was “not going to address any specific issue or question regarding conflicts of interest for any particular board member.” (She wouldn’t say if it’s district taxpayers, the media or this particular member of the media who can’t get an opinion on the behavior of taxpayer-paid, publicly elected board members from the taxpayer-paid lawyer for the school district.)

But two years ago she pointed to a 1997 opinion from the old state Ethics Board as reason why board members with close personal relations employed by the school district can vote, in some capacity, on policies that affect those close personal relations.

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Preparatory IB Charter School and the more recent Montessori pseudo Charter School.

This, despite spending more than most, now nearly $20,0000 per student and tolerating long term, disastrous reading results.

An emphasis on adult employment, and what’s different this time.