Extremists, Radicals, and Fanatics – Oh My

Extremists, radicals, fanatics!  Sounds like a scary Halloween tale. Add in the words “tea party” and that’s supposed to make it a true horror story.  Unfortunately, this is where some in our community have taken the dialog surrounding our school board and the upcoming election. It’s time for Toto to pull back the curtain and for us to elevate the conversation.

For the record, I do believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. I also believe that a free society requires virtuous people and that children need to learn these concepts.  How confusing it must be for them to watch the behavior of adults and the tenor of the debate around our schools.

What has the school board done to invite this wrath? We are trying to change things in a few areas and the system would rather not change.  Just like in Washington, opponents to change assign their targets what they believe are derogatory labels – “tea party”, “extremist”, “fanatic”.  However, if you were to ask what has been done that is “fanatical”, you’ll get nothing more than generalities that have little basis in fact and are distorted to sound extreme.

If you asked me about the school board’s record over the last two years I would tell you about holding people accountable, uncovering embezzlement that had gone on for years, raising academic standards, increasing ACT scores, advocating for kids to take classes for college credit, restoring salary increases, controlling runaway medical insurance costs, balancing the budget (and giving the excess back), providing services for gifted students, reducing pay-to-play fees and increasing student participation, upgrading technology for online learning, instituting bring your own technology, reinstating high school busing, reinstating textbook purchases, reinstating a building maintenance program, and correcting numerous other deficiencies from years of administrative neglect.

You might recognize these things are good and are already implemented in other districts and ask why has it taken so long to address them in Springboro?  I don’t know, but compared to the lethargic past, this has been a pretty “radical” two years.  And to do all this while lowering taxes you would have to conclude these two years have been “fanatically” amazing and “extremely” successful.

At this point you might ask what this has to do with the upcoming school board election.  This election will set a direction, backward or forward.  The supporters of Malone and Stuckey tell you the current board is too “extreme”.  Compared to the stagnation they are accustomed to, that is understandable.  The other candidates are David Bitner and Kolton Vaughn.  They are parents with young children enrolled in the district who are motivated to encourage our schools to continue to innovate, to offer more opportunities, and to keep children the board’s first priority.

On November 5th, we will make a decision.  Will we choose based on the record, or the labels?


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