Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Hiring process for new superintendent deserves tax payer input

by Nancy Porter

RSU9 will be starting their hiring process for a new Superintendent within the 
next couple of months and the towns of the District are at the mercy of the
 Selection Committee, who are members of the Board of Directors. After the
 last couple of years of budget proposals, and the continued increases in those 
budgets, most supported by the present Board of Directors, I’m not sure I have 
faith in the Board to make good decisions.

We have 10 towns in our district. Most struggle to pay their district’s assessment. 
Perhaps if the Selection Committee had a representative from each town involved 
in the process, there could be some town input instead of just the board’s input in
making a decision. That would spread the responsibility of hiring a new Superintendent
on to the folks who likely are closer to the finances of each town than just the Board 

From observation, it appears our present board members are blind to the 
needs of the communities they serve.

 I can hear all the objections now. What do town’s people know? Why are they qualified
 to make a decision?

Well, each town has some pretty smart people who have been involved
in business, town finances and professional level jobs of all kinds. Why are they less qualified
 to make a decision that will impact all of us than the present Board of Directors?

I don’t 
think they are. In fact, they may bring some totally different insight into the discussion.
 And that’s not a bad thing. 

Do you think you would like to be involved?

Contact your School Board member, and ask to be put on the list of possible town representatives. Or contact the Superintendent. It’s time 
people who pay the taxes to support our district had some influence on the selection of the people who are running the show.

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30 Responses »

  1. You are absolutely right that there are qualified people in each town that could provide valuable input in the selection process. In New Sharon I'm one of them. My qualifications would be my professional business experience, my Masters degree in Finance, and my three kids who've been in RSU9. The problem I see with this idea is that the board is comprised of "elected" people to represent our interests. I'm qualified to have input but I am not elected.

  2. The last hiring committee was open to the public. They put out a request in the Daily Bulldog and I volunteered to join just as a local parent. There were some board members but it was mostly educators in the district (all or almost all of the principals were there among others) and just one or two others like myself who were neither a board member or a district employee. The committee was huge, probably around two dozen. Not the most efficient way to get things done but everyone that wanted to be a part of it could be. I suggest that you volunteer to be on the committee. It really isn't the conspiracy that you're describing though I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to have a hiring committee filled with people who will be your subordinates. We don't do that where I work. Who wouldn't want a sweet and caring boss?

  3. I don't believe this letter to the editor is a fair or accurate representation of the RSU 9 School Boards Superintendent hiring process. I'm unsure if it's author doesn't have all the facts, or chooses to provide misinformation.
    On January 16, 2018 the Maine School Management Association will be providing the School Board with a workshop that is open to the public. One of the topics that will be discussed is the hiring of the new superintendent. Nancy, you were at the last school board meeting in which this was mentioned along with the fact that this is open to the public.
    A few other points of inaccuracy in your comments:
    There has been no discussion about limiting public input. As mentioned from 'Wilton Mom', the selection committee usually contains local residents that wish to participate.
    The entire school board will be part of the hiring committee. The School board members are Residential Representatives for each of the 10 towns. So, I'm not sure why you don't feel the towns are represented when you say, "Perhaps if the Selection Committee had a representative from each town involved 
in the process, there could be some town input instead of just the board’s input in
making a decision."
    I have never, in my years upon the board, heard a school board member say, "What do town’s people know? Why are they qualified
 to make a decision?" I also doubt that was ever said, and do wish comments were factual and not attempting to incite division where it truly is not needed.
    The members of the school board are voted in by the residents of their hometowns. It may be my delicate 'snowflake' sensibilities speaking, but it is rather offensive to imply that the School Board members, who devote hours, days, weeks, months of their time, to provide their neighbors, friends and family accurate representation, are somehow removed from being a caring resident. Or, that they are incapable of finding an appropriate Superintendent. If the residents of their towns felt that way, I don't think any of us would be elected into these seats.
    The only thing I believe was accurate in your letter is that residents are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your School Board Representative, or anyone else on the board you feel comfortable with. As always, I welcome productive discussions and I sincerely believe all the other board members do too.

  4. Nancy, you told two people at the budget meeting to basically shut up because they had questions about the budget. And,you who had launched an Email tyrade against board members,threatened to riot, seem to have a problem with anybody who leaves you out of the loop or votes in a manner other than you think they should vote. The only reason you have no faith in the board anymore, is because you are not on it any longer. you need to take your SJW rant to the backseat and let people do the job they were elected to do.

  5. @ Hrtlss Bstrd and Cherieann Harrison, I agree with you both. The bombast and bile of the one leveling unsubstantiated, scurrilous charges again in the Daily Bulldog helped to create the most derisive situations in our towns in years. Why would anyone listen to her advice on hiring practices? Why does anyone take her seriously? Why does the Bulldog publish her opinions she presents as fact? And why does the Bulldog continue to give her a public forum while censoring others who dissent with her? Is it because her comments generate clicks? (Fact: The Bulldog has moderated-by-not-publishing my own responses to her bombast.) Nancy, do us all a favor and please seek professional help. Bulldog, please moderate those who need moderating.

  6. This being the opinion section, Nancy and anyone else who desires may submit their opinion. The great thing about opinions is they don't necessarily need to be backed with fact. Here is my opinion- I believe if I lived in Wilton I would vote my school board representative out due to her condescending manner, and the way she always signs things as a school board member indicating that her opinion is shared by everyone in the town. I just hope it is remembered that the faction of the communities that repeatedly voted "no" to the last school budget are greater in number than those who have the time and gumption to show at the meetings.

  7. The taxpayers are represented in this process. All of the board members are tax payers. They are elected by their communities to REPRESENT them. You see, that's what we have- representative government. Some of us would seek a superintendent who would not levy ANY taxes. By the way, no education would be done, in that situation. The solution is to vote for different representatives or leave the republic to live in anarchy. There are certain prices to pay for civilization.

  8. The school board is full of representatives of their fact, they are elected to serve by them! This is democracy at work, my friends. Same goes for Congress, the Maine Legislature, etc.

  9. I think you are in the uPSidE DoWn.

  10. Look at this attempt to shoot down anyone who opposes the powers that be...
    Thank you for your courage Nancy.
    It is admirable.

    The wagons are circled in solidarity by the board as usual ...
    No biggie.
    Watch democracy in action.

  11. @Cynic

    I do not know Ms. Harrison, but I believe she signs her post as a school member to establish her credibility. It is very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. When you are actually on the board, sitting in the seat, things are much different than the keyboard warriors try to make them out to be. In her letter Ms. Porter tries to make it sound like the public will not be involved in the process and that school board members do not care or are incapable. Ms. Harrison, who is actually a board member, is trying to clarify those inaccuracies. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but they are not entitled to spew misinformation as a means of getting the public rallied up and frustrated over something that isn't even true. That's undemocratic. Take a deep breath, ask questions politely and don't make enemies of people who are your allies. Best of luck to the search committee, I know you will do an excellent job.

  12. Yeah, I've watched Democracy in action with representation, elected officials. That's why our school system, our state, and our country are in such a great state of affairs and are doing so fine financially! Other districts are including citizens on selection committees. Maranacook has administrators, teachers, other staff, and community members on the committee to search and hire a new supt. Ms Porter has touched upon the FACT that this current board has much to be desired, not all members but some! An equal number of school personnel and an equal number of citizens should comprise said committee.Ms Harrison needs to exercise more care and sympathy to parents and their complaints about their children and less time in protecting and condoning the incompetence of some. A NEW BOARD AND A NEW SUPERINTENDENT would be ideal!

  13. Got your attention, didn't I? Democracy in action? Nope. Lopsided spending rubber-stamped by all by two or three on the board.
    Hey, Heartless Bstd, meet me face to face. I want to know who is dispensing the crap you tout. Oh, and bring Stan Jonathan with you. I know who he is. Let's do this in public. Not behind closed doors.
    As far as me being "left out"....okay, that would be wonderful if i WAS left out paying the ridiculous taxes the school district piles on me.
    My phone number is in the book. Call me. We'll meet.

  14. Nancy,
    Meet me face to face? Let's do this in public? It sounds like you are challenging them to a duel. Can you not tolerate people whose opinions differ from yours without inviting a confrontation with its implied threats?? I think if I were Stan Jonathan or Heartless Bstd. I'd be watching my back.

  15. Just saying....Want to come along, too? You guys who spit crap should be identified instead of hiding behind

  16. Nancy Porter, The word is Pseudonym. I figured the Fmr. school board director and secretary would know how to spell.

  17. Isn't some of the hate and discontent about school budgets the result of decreased State funding?
    It seems to me that some of the constant back and forth here should also be directed at our representatives in Augusta, otherwise you're just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  18. When anger blinds the eyes, truth disappears... Danish proverb. The only message I see in the opinion letter is that this person is asking to be a part of the process of hiring a new super but not really understanding or acknowledging that they, or anyone else, were never left out of the process in the first place. . . Followed by defensive angry words to conceal the focus on the fact that they are intentionally misleading. Then the stuff that follows that is just fake news reality t.v. host fingerprinting smoke and mirrors kind of stuff that we all know is entertaining to watch on t.v. but just looks like dysfunctional and erratic behavior when it's in public life.

  19. The thought comes to mind that there may be, or have been, some qualified potential superintendent applicants who might be or have been “scared” off from expressing an interest in the position at RSU9 because of the overt “politicization” due in part to Ms Porter’s ostensible (intended or not) advocacy

    It might be helpful if Ms Porter outlined what her ideal candidate’s qualifications might be that might dull the anti education animus she “seems” to exhibit from time to time

  20. Thank you Nancy

  21. Great courage and strength Nancy. I applaud your continued efforts of trying to keep taxes down. I believe there will be many applicants and hopefully we will pick a fiscally conservative one. Also remember the BOD has to be conservative as well. That’s more of your problem.

  22. Hopefully the new Superintendent and new board members won't be met with the bullying and harassment that has been seen in the past. It isn't a good sign that this District has lost teachers, principals, school board members, and an Assistant Superintendent in the past year all due to continued intimidation and abuse from certain individuals in our community.

  23. It is not due to bullying and intimidation by community members that brought about resignations from administrators and teachers! Each one had his/her own reason for leaving RSU9. Please do your research before making such blanket remarks. However, with so many leaving, it does certainly indicate that somethings wrong. AND needs fixin!

  24. That's one board member. Who are the others?

  25. It has been suggested that the School Board Supt's Evaluation committee screen applicants for the position of superintendent. Now, let's take a look at who these committee members are AND what towns they represent. Would this narrowing down of applicants be fair if only 2 towns are represented? Why not have an equal number of citizens on the same committee? Or all the board members? Those 5 on the committee sure would have "more control."

  26. Woodsman: Scott Erb said it best when Mr. Stickney suggested that one representative form each town be on the search committee. Basically he stated: Farmington has more populous and students than any other town, so they should have more say. It is absurd to give the little towns the same voice.

  27. Do you really believe that the current system is good? The weighted vote gives Farminton and Wilton a control over the other 8 towns in the disrtict. NOT GOOD and it has caused dissention from its onset. NOW, you say this should apply to the selection committee? Let the Farmington board members screen for the superintedent? Are you out of your mind?

  28. There are few things I object to in your statement Woodsman.
    1. Farmington residents are not half bad. Their Schoolboard Directors are pretty good too.
    2. The process for the new hiring of MBRSU #9s Superintendent has not been finalized.
    3. Even after using weighted votes, combining Wilton and Farmington Director votes does not give a majority on the board. The weighted votes are just a way to have a proportionate representation to citizen population.
    4. The Directors in Farmington and Wilton are intelligent, independent, compassionate, hard working, contributing members of their communities that all have the capability of forming their own opinions. The only time that they would all vote together on a subject, is if they all agreed it was the right thing to do.
    5. Nothing, in any discussion, has rested the fate of the Superintendent screening solely on the Farmington Directors.
    6. The discussion about letting community members join the selection committee proportionate to population was to be inclusive of everyone. That includes Ms. Porter as a possibility for Farmington. I believe most of your earlier statements show that you are in agreement with Ms. Porter. So, who knows you may find more commonality with Farmington residents than you thought before.

    Looking forward to having a productive coming year with you, the board, and the communities in RSU 9.

  29. Adding the total votes for the 8 small towns comes to 359. Adding Farmingtons total comes to420 and Wiltons comes to222, That is642. Now take 1 vote away from Farmington and give it to the359 and you have 443. That still leaves 558 total for 7 directors voting from Wilton and Farmington. That doesn;t win?