October 7, 2013

Dolan: 'Same-old-same-old' thwarted voters' will

Republican Board of Education member Genard Dolan sent along the statement he read during last week's Board of Education meeting as well as a comment about today's story on the school board's split and its impact on the mayoral race.

Here is his response to the story today:
Candidate Wilson was technically correct regarding the partisanship of the board in 2011. Wilson loaded the most important committees with his holdover cronies from the old Democratic board from Supt. Streifer's day.  Therefore the will of the voters was subjugated to the same-old-same-old of the previous board.  Since then there has been no partisan activity of the board.  Most if not all of the decisions of the board have been unanimous. 
The board split over the cafeteria issue simply because of the economics of the losses to food service.
This was an issue that was not going to go away. There were some savings to the city with the new contract, but not significant enough to stop the bleeding. It amounted to kicking the can down the road.  
We felt that this was as good a time as ever to resolve the issue.  
My comment that Wilson should have resigned when he decided to run for mayor was based uponhis tenure as Chairman of the Board of Ed making him a target for his opponent.  That caused everyone with an opinion of the board mostly based upon partisanship to rant.  
I have not voiced any criticism of Wilson's actions on the board or his credentials to be mayor.  I have, as have all of the other Republican members of the board intentionally refrained from publicly getting involved in the race for mayor.  Several of us have supported privately our preferences.  I for one,and I'm not authorized to speak
for the other Republicans on the board,feel that the BOE should stay above the fray.  Our mission is to advocate for the process of educating our children.  Two years from now we will have to answer to the voters for our actions.
Some will approve and some will not.

And here's the statement he read last week:
The members did not know at that time the loss was so great.  The minority has felt it necessary to politicize their positions on the BOE in the blogs, and because of the misinformation by uninformed people, there is much confusion in the minds of the of voters.  Therefore I wish to clarify the position of the majority members of the BOE.
I wish to address the negative vote by the full board regarding the proposed contract with Local 2267. The suggestion was made by one of the minority members of the board to investigate privatizing the food service because of the continuing losses being sustained every year.  At that time the estimated loss was $285 K.  By year end that loss became $330K. The members did not know at that time the loss was so great.   The cumulative loss over the years was over $1,000,000.  The only issue before us was “Do we have the right to privatize our food service?”  The old contract was expiring, but held a clause prohibiting the BOE from privatizing.  
A committee was formed to study the matter.  The committee sampled lunches in several schools in nearby districts serviced by several vendors.  One vendor stood out and was selected from five applicants.  Their lunches served were tasty and nutritious, and the students seemed to enjoy the food.   The ensuing negotiation resulted in a surprising disclosure that this vendor would not only eliminate our losses, but would pay us $225 K to boot.   As it turned out that was a potential swing of $555 K.  It should be noted that the net savings would be slightly less because we still would have some minimal expense.  Plus where we thought because of our 40% free and reduced lunch students were causing our losses, it turned out that the district sampled had about 80% free and reduced lunch students.  So at this point it was a no brainer.  

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