Guest Column: Comments for the Board of Education

By Douglas Clayburg

Dear Members of the Board of Education:

I had anticipated speaking during the communication and petition portion of tonight’s school board meeting. Unfortunately, a  family emergency prevented my attending tonight’s meeting.

I still wanted to share with you the comments I had planned to speak about regarding a recent experience I had with the Rockford Public Schools.

The magician says “there is nothing up my sleeve,” the con man says, “trust me,” and the politician says, “my dealings are transparent.” Whenever I hear one of those phrases, I don’t know about you, but I take notice.

We have been told several times in these meetings by [Superintendent] Dr. [LaVonne] Sheffield about her transparent operations. When I recently asked [Chief Communications Officer] Mark Bonne for the names of the newly-formed budget committee, I was informed I would need to request that information via the Freedom of Information Act. I guess Mark did not get the message.

Transparency is simple to accomplish. It is implemented by a set of policies, practices and procedures that allow the community to have access to information, an understanding of processes taking place, and one’s intentions.

If it is truly the district’s goal to correct this deficit budget and ensure solvency of the Rockford Public Schools going forward, this claim of transparency under a cloak of red tape will stop.

If you, Dr. Sheffield, truly have the best interest of our children at heart, stop talking about transparency and let your actions speak for you.

There really is no reason for you to mention that word again in this room. If your actions are transparent, to pun a word, it will be clear to all.

Respectfully, Doug Clayburg

Douglas Clayburg is a resident of Rockford.

From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue

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