Board Duty, Is It Worth It? Yes! School Board at Adams Central? I’m Not Sure!

I often get asked the question, “why do you spend so much time serving on boards?”  The simple answer is that I feel all should serve their community in some way.  Whether that is in your school, church, fire department, town council, 4-H, MOPS or any other service to the greater good of others, I see it as a positive investment in the future.

My wife would say I over extend myself time-wise, and I respectfully agree with her!  At the current time I am serving on Congressman Smith’s Ag Advisory Committee, Chairing the Prairie Loft Center Board, Chairing the Development Committee on that board, serving on the Nebraska Rural Radio Association Board of Directors, serving on a training committee for the AgChat Foundation, serving on the Adams County Farm Bureau Board, and my wife and I recently completed a stint on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher Committee.

Every single one of those committees serves my chosen occupation of Agriculture in one way or another and that is the reason I chose to put my time and effort into supporting those organizations and people.  As, I look forward to the end of my term on the Prairie Loft Board this month I might choose to focus my energy more toward things that benefit the community as a whole and not just agriculture or even mostly agriculture. School Board is one of the things I am considering along with some other opportunities.  Is school board something I have always had my mind set on doing?  No, and in fact I would say the opposite!  Is it an incredibly rewarding position?  No, it is a thankless job!

Why even consider it then?  I believe the one thing good to come out of our school district voting down a school bond twice in the last 18 months is that people have come to the realization that we need high quality individuals with the ability to make decisions based on a certain amount of business acumen balanced with common sense leading our district!  This district needs to come together and do something now.  Our district has been fractured and pitted against each other in this battle for the vision of a select few.  I spent a lot of time on the phone putting together a diverse group of approximately twenty people to try to come to an agreement on how to proceed.  We met with some Administrative staff and came together with another group in the district that had been formed by some other patrons in our district (bringing our numbers to over forty) and had discussions.

I said before the second attempt at a bond that we needed to throw the people strongly for and the people strongly against in a room, lock the doors and tell them to come up with a solution.  The board chose not to do that, but to instead rely on a mail survey with a 22% response rate (recycling it for toilet paper comes to mind here). We, as patrons put those people in a room and it took 40 minutes to come up with a viable plan to move the district forward!  So, here we are, two failed bonds later, a district divided that is generally looked on as one of the best in the state, and extreme distrust in our school board.  Our united group of citizens that are representative of both sides of the failed bonds come to the board with a proposal that we are willing to get behind and help with and we already have a board member out working against the plan saying he is going to shoot holes in it.

I do not claim to be a genius, but after getting my butt handed to me on two different, but not so different bonds that were certain to pass I would operate with a little bit of humility and try to work with people, but that’s just me.

“When things go wrong, great leaders look in the mirror for the person responsible.”  -Doug Henley

Maybe our biggest issue lies in Leadership, not in facilities?

“Successful leaders listen. They use a lot of common sense in their decision
making…and they listen. Leaders use their intuition along with moral and
spiritual values…and they listen. Leaders communicate clearly and directly…and
they listen.”-Doug Henley

It might be time for a change in our district!  Not sure how I want to be a part of that yet, but the wheels are turning!!!

What is your idea for change in our District?  Keep it respectful, keep names out of it and let’s have a discussion.  I will be approving all postings, and anything deemed offensive or inappropriate will not be approved.  Pleas avoid personal attacks also as they will not be approved.

Adams Central School Bond 2.0 (no updates from version 1.0)

Most school districts would salivate at having a modern, updated school such as ours, but our district wants to throw it away for a new model! K-6 with great class size, modern computer lab, library, gym, and cafeteria.

This is what the Adams Central School Board voted to try to take away from us last night along with other great schools! I would hope that you all would fight to bring some common sense to this process. The Juniata Elementary School is only three years older than the high school and was completely brought up to code in 2003.

The board has stated they need three pods to efficiently operate the school system. Why we cannot add a north pod to Juniata, expand the kitchen, take advantage of the central gym, computer lab, and library, add a multipurpose space to district 60 along with a kitchen and move forward is beyond me! This would come in at a fraction of the cost and preserve buildings that are already there, along with not taking a school away from a community.

We all know there needs to be something done with districts 15 and district 33, but why take away my choice to send my children to Juniata and others right to send their children to a smaller school to satisfy 1/3 or less of the population in the district. I am not against doing something, but I am against the one school concept. A two school proposal would pass easlily in the AC district!

I also found it ironic that the board was laughing about a pickup almost being hit during the traffic study they are currently conducting on Hwy 6. I find nothing funny about putting more children on the intersection at Hwy 6 or 12th street. Would it have been as funny if it was a minivan full of kids? I realize the laughter was because they can get nothing done with the department of roads, but reality is they are not going to inconvenience people 22.5 hours a day for 1.5 hours of congestion.  Failing to recognize this reality is much the same as recognizing that we voted down this exact same proposal once already!

I strongly urge a vote against the bond for many reasons, but just the fact that our board is ignoring a vote of the people and basing their decision on 13% of the voting public(see voice of the people on page 4) is enough for me to not have to consider any other reasons. That’s right, they had a 22% response rate to their survey and 60% of those favor a one site proposal.  Hardly enough response to say the general public surely supports one site statistically, especially with the obvious slant of the survey and threats received via local media by our school board.  We voted this down once and should not have to do it again. A vote of the people usually effects change. The only change with this proposal is the Calendar. Their plan B whatever it is cannot be worse than this blunt ignorance of the vote of the people 15 months ago.

I realize there are people that disagree with this, and I respect your position also. You all have a vote just like me, so please use it!