By Kathi Bliss
It has been a good, long while since I looked forward to a weekend as much as I’m looking forward to this one. In the adult world, weekends don’t mean as much as they did when we were children. After all, instead of resting and playing, our weekends now are filled with housecleaning, yard work, and essentially keeping up on the things that we don’t have time to do during the week.
I guess the reason I’m looking forward to this weekend more than others, though, is that come Saturday evening, we will have a seventh member on the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees, and with any luck at all, we can put all of this behind us and get back to the business of educating our children.
The process of filling this seat on the board has been difficult; it’s been difficult for the Trustees to engage in, it’s been difficult for the candidates to navigate, and – quite frankly – it’s been difficult for the public to watch. In a lot of ways, the failed appointment process and the election that followed have brought out some unattractive qualities in the people that call themselves our leaders. More than that, it’s brought out some unattractive qualities in us as a community.
And when it’s over on Saturday, I hope we can turn the page on this chapter, put our eyes back on the ball and get back to thinking about what really matters…
I hope that our new trustee, whoever he or she turns out to be, will take seriously the task which all the candidates have promised us: ending the toxic division on the board and bringing our District’s leadership back to a place where they are worried about progress, rather than personalities. I hope our new trustee will bring a stabilizing influence to the dais and remind his or her colleagues of the reasons why we elected the seven of them in the first place.
We elected them, after all, to represent the interests of our children – all of our children. We elected them to be stewards of the community – the entire community.
We did not elect them to serve personal agendas, to be beholden to their own interests or to favor any one group of children, families, neighborhoods or concerns over any other.
This process has made it abundantly clear that some of our community’s so-called leaders are more interested in gaining power, or preserving power, than in serving the community. I hope that when this is over, they can remember the real reason they were elected. I hope that our new trustee will remind them. And I hope that we can move forward from here.
Of course, this process hasn’t been all bad, and I’d be lying if I said that it had been. It has brought with it some good things; when this is over, I hope those good things stick around.
Throughout this process, the Board has attracted a lot of attention, and with it, a good deal of scrutiny from the community. That is as it should be, and it is as it always should have been. We, as a community, should have always been paying this much attention. We should have always cared this much what our board members are doing and saying.
We have been warned, time and time again, that if we don’t pay attention to what our trustees are doing, they are likely to do things that displease us. When we aren’t watching them and telling them what they want, we leave the door open for them to do whatever they wish.
And, when push comes right to shove, this is our children’s educations we’re talking about. It’s our tax dollars we’re talking about. It’s important enough that we should all be paying attention, and we should all KEEP paying attention.
So come Saturday night, when this election is over, let’s start a new chapter. Let’s put the bad things behind us and start bringing this community back together. Let’s start paying attention to what our kids need, and what’s best for them – for all of them. But let’s also remember what we’ve learned, and use it to make our community better.
Because when it’s over, it’s over. And when it’s over, it’s time for a new beginning.