Saturday, October 18, 2008

Malignant cells quickly invade the healthy tissue.

It is a sad day in our district. After identifying a problem and expressing concerns to the Board and Gary Noble, the District decided to ignore plain, simple words and instead, picked up the phone to engage a team of lawyers. A frantic search was launched, looking for any shred of information that may give the illusion that Gary Noble’s conflict of interest was just a misunderstanding. For those of us that can read, there was no misunderstanding.

Since the Board would not act to correct the problem (or revise board policies prior to the election of November 2007), we had no other choice than to seek the opinion of the Washington State Auditor. Of course, the Auditor was probably bewildered as to how a group of five English-speaking adults could not understand a rather simple board policy. After consulting with the Washington State Attorney General, the State Auditor’s Office reached a conclusion on April 23, 2008 – follow board policies or revise them.

If the Board wasn’t wrong, why would they have to revise their own policies? Have we elected a group of imbeciles? Like many others, I am starting to wonder just who is making the meaningful decisions about the educational needs of our community’s children.

Even more troubling is the fact the State Auditor waited from April 23, 2008 until October 6, 2008 before responding to the concerned citizen. What purpose could that delay have achieved other than to allow the District enough time to revise their plain, simply-worded policies? Not only did the State Auditor wait until after the revisions occurred, they also shifted the burden for responding to the core issue by claiming the County Auditor makes the determination regarding candidate qualifications.

In communicating with the County Auditor, it was made abundantly clear that the Board is responsible for monitoring their own compliance. What happened to checks and balances? What happened to accountability? The public elected citizens to serve on the Board with the understanding that board policies would be followed. Why else would we have board policies?

If board policies don’t mean anything, why would staff be terminated for violating them? Why would students be expelled for violating them? If this isn’t a double standard, I don’t know what would be.

Why would the Board allow Bruce Williams to resign? Didn’t anyone bother to tell him that board policies don’t actually matter?

Since board policies don’t actually matter, why have them at all? Why not add a statement right at the beginning of every policy that provides a disclaimer: The following policy is entirely optional and may or may not be followed, depending upon how the board feels at the time. Such a disclaimer would eliminate any confusion and prevent the public from developing any expectations.

It is no big mystery why no one attends board meetings. If board policies don’t matter, the board doesn’t matter. If the board doesn’t matter, what hope would a community member have in expressing interest in a topic or an opinion regarding our educational objectives?

To the Edmonds School District Board of Directors, you have my heartfelt congratulations. I have demonstrated on paper just why there are so few people that attend your meetings. Clearly, our community views your existence like something akin to a terminal illness. Try as we might to correct a condition, the remaining malignant cells quickly invade the remaining healthy tissue and hasten the demise of the organism.


Anonymous said...

Well written article; once again, Mark, you amaze me with your excellent journalism expertise, which includes the facts, carefully explored, and your dedication to the BLOG. I am not certain if the School Board even CARES if anyone attends "their" meetings! Well done, Mark.

Rick Jorgensen said...

Since the County Auditor has made it clear that the School Board alone and by itself is accountable for its actions, then the Board has a specific obligation to personally and directly explain why he chose to ignore the issue of a conflict of interest when he was specifically informed of such a situation.

Director Noble should do the right thing and provide a statement that explains his rationale for ignoring the conflict of interest and perusing his candidacy. If not, he should be held accountable to the voters at the next election.

It also appears that the County Auditor is an organization without teeth. If all they do is "make recommendations", then we should question their value in these difficult economic times and perhaps reduce their budget to more support more valuable operations. said...

Anyone can read this blog entry at the next board meeting.

By "anyone", I mean anyone without a career at stake.

Anonymous said...

...and Powerful Partners, Tutors, Parasites is still not paying rent.

Anonymous said...

This is how our collective bargaining agreements are treated. The Edmonds School District can be in complete and total violation of the signed contract, and the district simply has to claim management rights. Usually though, that article and paragragh are pointed out by that strong union we have representing us. That would be local 925. They don't want administration to stress too bad on any violations, so they are quick to intervene and threaten the covered employee with that language. Hey Matt Wood..... What is the point of signing a contract if only your team has an obligation? It would appear that you are more interested in protecting and representing the opposing party. What would the stats look like in the grievances won column? Have any been won on your watch? I mean employee wins, vs. the district. Is it cozy over there on the first floor as long as you continue to subdue the groups you should be representing? I'm probably not too far off base if I was to guess that 925 will find a new home for you soon. We are at least three deep since your local's takeover of the Edmonds School District. Tara gone. Brandon gone. Both of them took that black cloud with them. Nice track record. To this point I might add, that you are no more popular or effective amongst the working class. Debby Carter must love you. She has another partner in crime. Cheat, steal and lie. How fun. And the district can sure hold their heads high for not caring about the condition of their troops let alone their students. You know it really is facinating that there is this whole different level of ignore, that I never saw when I was growing up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this very revealing piece of investigative research. It makes sense how Nick and Marla get away with so much.

There's a flock of chickens guarding the foxhouse.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers money at work, defending Gary & his wife.

Anonymous said...


I know you've written about the issue for a while now, but has anyone ever stood in front of the school board and directly asked Noble to resign? said...

That would be a comment that would be personally targeted and therefore not allowed under board policies. But then again, what do board policies actually mean anyway?

Short answer: I don't believe so.

Anonymous said...

Gary just go! We don't need this sh*t anymore.