by Doug Smith
Pulaski County School District teachers, patrons and students are circulating a petition calling for the immediate resignation of four members of the Pulaski County School Board. They'd obtained 578 e-signatures by mid-afternoon Tuesday.
The petition expresses "no confidence" in Tim Clark, Charlie Wood, Danny Gilliland and Mildred Tatum and says that they have "consistently and systematically violated provisions of the Board's own Code of Ethics and principles of shared governance. Rather than encouraging civil discussions and engaging in creative problem-solving benefitting the children in this
district, these board members instead resort to bullying those who disagree with them and doing whatever they want by whatever means they want."
The board members in question constitute the four-member majority that has twice voted to end recognition of the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers as the bargaining agent for the district's teachers. Circuit Judge Tim Fox nullified both votes and has ordered the board and PACT to enter mediation on a new teachers'
The text of the petition is on the jump,
with signatures so far (signatures didn't copy properly). The petition (with signatures) itself is here.
To: PCSSD Board of Directors
We, the undersigned parents, guardians, teachers, employees, patrons and students in the Pulaski County Special School District, sign this Petition to express a “no confidence” vote in, and demand an immediate resignation of, PCSSD board members Tim Clark, Charlie Wood, Danny Gililland and Mildred Tatum (the “Board of Four”), for the following reasons: In recent actions involving the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers (“PACT”) and other important matters, the Board of Four has consistently and systematically violated many provisions of the Board’s own Code of Ethics and principles of shared governance. Rather than encouraging civil discussions and engaging in creative problem-solving benefiting the children in this district, these board members instead resort to bullying those who disagree with them and doing whatever they want by whatever means they want. Many of their decisions appear to have been made on the basis of personal agendas and relationships rather than professional merit, and also appear to have been decided prior to, and outside of, properly-held board meetings, and are thus in violation of ethical and professional standards of Arkansas school board members. The members of the Board of Four have consistently demonstrated that they are not qualified to make decisions based on the best interest of the children in the PCSSD. They have also shown that they are not prepared to listen to teachers and parents whose views do not coincide with their own. These board members have allowed their personal agendas and need for complete control to take priority over what is best for the district in the long term. The members of the Board of Four have also created a hostile working environment for educators exercising their right, under both contract and First Amendment freedom of speech principles, to disagree with the board’s actions and policies. Making statements such as “Go ahead, make my day”, the Board of Four has made it clear that teachers may not express disagreement without the threat of retaliation. By its actions and behavior, the Board of Four has alienated the district’s teachers-the very professionals who interact with our children and whom we trust to guide and teach our children. Our schools cannot function without these educators, and they need our support-not a threatening and hostile working environment. The Board of Four has demonstrated a complete failure to objectively and thoughtfully consider every issue that comes before the board, and to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of our children and schools, in direct violation of the School Board Code of Ethics. Instead of remaining objective, the actions of these four members are based in personal animosity toward the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers and its teacher-members, to the detriment of PCSSD students. Because the members of the Board of Four constitute a majority in all board decisions, and due to their failure to ethically and professionally fulfill their duties, the progress of the PCSSD has been brought to a screeching halt by their personal agendas and animosity toward PACT. We, the undersigned parents, guardians, teachers, employees, patrons and students in the Pulaski
County Special School District, in seeking to protect our school system and children from irreparable harm, we sign this petition to demonstrate our complete lack of confidence in PCSSD board members Tim Clark, Charlie Wood, Danny Gililland and Mildred Tatum. We request that the board positions currently occupied by these four members be vacated immediately and that a special election be called to fill these positions in order to properly oversee the education and care of the students of the PCSSD, to properly represent the views, ideals and goals of the parents of the PCSSD, and to provide a positive work environment for our teachers free of threats, worry and the personal agendas of these board members.