Monday, May 16, 2016

To Tell the Truth

If you want something done right, they say, do it yourself.

I've been waiting for someone, anyone, to fact check the Howard County Times article about the Board of Education meeting Thursday night. I've read the comments. I've looked for a correction to the article itself. Nothing.

Here is the statement, from Superintendent of Schools ReneƩ Foose, that bears additional scrutiny:

"Optimistically, we will have to make decisions that honor the contracts. We've never suggested we weren't going to do that."

Wait a minute. Back up the truck.

"We've never suggested we weren't going to" honor the contracts? As I said the other day, these words do more than strain credulity.

Exhibit A: The "Cut or Keep" survey pushed out to parents, teachers, and staff, which included salaries in the list of things to cut or keep.
Exhibit B: The list of Talking Points given to administrators to disseminate through emergency "stand-up" meetings which clearly states:
       If salaries and/or benefits were renegotiated it would impact all employees.

Neither of these things depends on a he said/she said sort of verification. Both are documented in writing. Did the school system suggest they weren't going to honor the contracts? Absolutely.

Now, about that word, "optimistically." Some responses from parents:
  • So, looks like if you just say "optimistically" in front of ANYTHING, it can be completely untrue.
  • I "optimistically" want to win the Mega Millons or Powerball this weekend but the likelihood of that being TRUE is slim to none.
Why is all of this important? Well, there are a variety of reasons: honoring negotiated agreements, how one treats employees, how one communicates to the public through the press, to name a few. But the single most important reason to consider tonight, as the County Council considers testimony on the school budget, is this: when the head of the school system submits a budget to the County, you want to believe that this is a person who tells the truth.

If that fact is in question, then so is everything else.

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