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School board dissent is OK

Letters to the Editor

It's clear the relationship between Forest Grove School District, the school board and our community needs healing.

This is not accomplished by further stifling our board members, as will the proposed operating agreement between the district and the board.

There is much talk of the role of the board. The fundamental role of the board is to represent the community as the employer of the superintendent.

The community elects representatives we believe share our values and will vote as we would. Representation does not work on faith. This is why board meetings are held in public.

Our board members are as diverse as our community; we don't expect 5-0 votes on every issue. We do expect open discussion, healthy debate and accountability.

Board members demonstrate due-diligence and community values by use of their microphone and media time. Some board members may choose to use their spotlight to self-aggrandize, lecture their constituents, or simply provide no comment.

Those board members wishing to heal the friction in our community will use the privilege of public attention to explain how their vote is acting in the best interest of the community.

Board members who dissent from the majority are entitled to a public discourse about the reasons for dissension - before and after a vote. The proposed operating agreement prevents this critical exchange. Even the Supreme Court of the United States publishes dissenting opinions. Respectful disagreement is essential to building trust.

I urge the community to support our board members in rejecting any agreements preventing them from adequately reporting to we whom they serve.

Kari Fitzgerald

Forest Grove