Lex/Rich 5 using Tax Dollars Against Residents
Why should superintendent evaluations be done in secret? Taxpayers fund these positions, and are extremely vested in how well superintendents perform, but Lexington-Richland District 5 is jumping through all kinds of costly hoops to make sure the evaluation of Superintendent Stephen Hefner stays behind closed doors.
William Rogers of the SC Press Association took to the pages of the Lexington County Chronicle to upbraid the District 5 School Board for their obvious desire to avoid a transparent evaluation process. Rogers paints a clear picture of the "accountable" process: First, school board attorneys call all the board members individually to see what they have to say about the superintendent's performance. Then, the attorneys make a presentation in executive session about what they talked about with each board member. Sounds logical and open, right?
Not to Rogers, who sums up the situation nicely in his letter to the editor. " Why pay a high-dollar law firm to do employee evaluations when it could be done internally. Oh, I forgot to mention that if the attorney does it, the board can claim attorney-client privilege and refuse to release the results. Believe me, that will happen." Instead of elected board members making difficult decisions out in the open, everything goes through the costly filter of district attorneys. It's no wonder Rogers points out, "So when the board is asked to give the superintendent a raise, there will be no objective study of performance to base their vote on."
It's sad (but no longer surprising) to see elected officials so openly using taxpayer resources to finangle around their responsibility of openness with the community. In regard to the significant cost of the keeping the public in the dark about superintendent evaluations, consider that districts who complain about not having funds to provide a "high quality education" are regularly able to find money for this kind of behavior.
While there is no shortage on this kind of activity in school districts around the state, there is also no shortage of people who will call you a "foe of public education" for pointing it out. It's all for the kids, right?