Reopen school nominations

Published 7:43 am Friday, May 25, 2012

We mean no disrespect to the five people, including three sitting members, who were nominated this month for seats on the Franklin School Board, but the City Council needs to reopen the nomination process, aggressively recruit more candidates, and give itself some choices to evaluate for these critically important positions.

The first round of nominations produced just one nominee for each of the five seats up for appointment this month. That’s insufficient.

In the current chapter of our city’s evolution, the City Council has no more important job than that of appointing the board that will oversee – and hopefully reverse the course of – Franklin’s floundering public school system.

The council’s effort in the first round of nominations was simply to publish the legally required fine-print notice in this newspaper and see who showed up. Indeed, just one person was nominated for each seat. In fact, the council needs to beat the bushes in search of the very best and brightest and most concerned people this community has to offer, ask them to consider sacrificial service on the school board, and have an in-depth conversation with each about their philosophies on public education and their vision for Franklin Public Schools.

Such a move is not unprecedented. The council reopened nominations three years ago after being unsatisfied with original nominations for the Ward 1, Ward 2 and at-large school board seats.

The five current nominees should be in the mix. Each brings strengths to the table and, importantly, a willingness to serve. It might well be that, after a thorough nomination and vetting process, the same five nominees are deemed to be the best choices. So be it. They will have earned election. However, they shouldn’t be simply anointed because they are the council’s only choices.

The City Council owes the citizenry a more careful process. Improvement in Franklin’s public schools is essential to the community’s economic well-being. It’s time for the council to take more seriously the job of appointing school board members.