School system needs transparency
To the Editor,
Over a month and a half ago, our community started to be deeply concerned about the unprecedented situation which is going on with the superintendent.
In these stressful and uncertain times, board members should act quickly. Delaying the decision will do nothing but to create more confusion in the community regarding the roles and responsibilities at the top of Hancock Schools.
Tim Woodward was a bad choice for superintendent from the very beginning and it is the BOE’s fault. They ran the whole process of selection of the superintendent in a total disregard for their own rules, behind closed doors, on a private location far away from public eyes.
The applicants were interviewed during two special meetings, held at the Weirton office of Hancock County Savings Bank.
Was that a school location? No, it was a bank location.
Was it in Hancock County? No, it was in Brooke.
What was the special reason to hold the interviews outside school grounds?
Per BOE Policy File BEA/BEB “…meetings will be held in the IMC of the John D. Rockefeller, IV Career Center or may, at the discretion of the Board of Education, be scheduled in various school locations within the attendance boundaries of Hancock County Schools.”
However, the public didn’t receive any information about the selection process, the names, and the comparative qualifications of the applicants.
Even now, after almost two years, everything remains shrouded in secrecy. The BOE didn’t release the names of the 11 candidates or the two finalists. The only information given to the public was this: “We had 11 who applied,” Hinerman said, explaining the field was narrowed to six for a first round of interviews, before two finalists were selected.
The BOE decided to not even bother to interview all 11 applicants, so they started with six. Then, they selected two finalists.
It seems that during the process, the majority aggressively promoted their predetermined choice.
When I asked the BOE to publish the list of the applicants along with the two finalists, Tim Woodward and the BOE president said that under the Freedom of Information Act, they are not allowed to make this information public. Really, Mr. Woodward?
Under FOIA, all records are public unless exempted by specific statute.
There is no exemption for applicants for the job of school superintendent or comparable positions in other local governments.
The Hancock County BOE used to take a course of action that allowed public scrutiny of the superintendent selection process, building more confidence in the public education system.
During the past two years, some of the BOE members forgot that the school system is owned by its citizens and openness should be expected while serving in office. We expect honesty, transparency, respect, professionalism, and kindness from them, not arrogance and lecturing of the tax payers.
We need a new superintendent with moral values, leadership and management skills who will work for the best interests of the students and the community.
Tim Woodward dishonored these values and must go!