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Schools are doing just fine
The various disputes that have dominated our coverage of the Baker School Board the past several months do not, as the saying goes, constitute a good thing.
But neither is it a terrible thing.
This dysfunction has resulted in board member Kyle Knight being censured by three of his colleagues, in Knight considering filing a civil lawsuit, and in a campaign to recall board members Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson.
But what hasn’t happened is more important than any of those things: The core purpose of the Baker School District, which is to give every student the chance to attain a quality education, has not been diminished.
Whatever else transpires this summer, we’re confident that come late August, when classes reconvene, teachers will be in their rooms.
Buses will deliver students to their schools.
Kids will scamper outside at the recess bell, and eat their lunches (or not, as the case may be).
These scenes of utter normalcy shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Because here’s the thing: Despite its squabbling over these many months, the school board has continued to perform the essential functions for which its five members were elected.
On Tuesday the board adopted a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Superintendent Walt Wegener, the school principals and other administrative staff are preparing for the new year.
Simply put, the rancor that has plagued the board has not spread, in any material way, to the classroom.
And as we said, no one should expect that it would.
The board, after all, doesn’t “run the district” — at least not in the direct sense that term implies.
Rather, the board oversees the superintendent and, indirectly, the other administrators who are paid to handle the day-to-day chores of operating the district.
The district staff makes sure competent teachers are educating your children, that qualified employees are on hand to drive kids where they need to be, to ensure their classrooms are warm and that tasks as prosaic as replacing paper towels in the restrooms are accomplished.
We’ve seen no evidence to suggest any of those functions — the ones parents value most — has been harmed.
Nor do we have any reason to believe that any will be harmed, come what may with recalls and lawsuits.
Ideally, these matters would not join the more appropriate school board topics such as curriculum and test scores.
But these things are not mutually exclusive — a school board needn’t choose between pursuing its own internal grievances, and helping to provide the foundation for a sound education for students.
And the Baker School Board, fortunately, has not made such a choice.