The Frank Plan: Plausible or grandiose dream?
October 12, 2005 - To the editor:
The Frank Plan or hot-dogging?
While an interesting read, with some in-teresting concepts, is Karl Frank Jr.'s article a plausible plan or a grandiose dream?
Its seven priorities, three action steps and 10 long-range goals ramble along with no cohesiveness. Maybe it would be understandable if the priorities laid the foundation for the three action steps and the 10 long-range goals, but they don't.
Looking at the priorities:
1. All parents of school age children know and understand that the classroom teachers are the foundation of our district and any district would be foolish to not seek out the best applicants and compensate them fairly.
2. Safe up-to-date facilities are what we want and currently support.
3. Books, while yes I would bet they are outdated in many classrooms, aren't we all seeing our kids taught in more imaginative and creative ways other than textbooks? Hasn't teaching changed to some degree, and other resources now available, most notably use of the Internet.
4. The basics, simply said my three kids — elementary, middle and high school — are focused on reading, writing and arithmetic and all at the appropriate levels.
5. The community — there are no fences around our schools, it's obvious that our schools are a part of our community. We the parents make up a large portion of this community and we are from all walks of life, religions and careers, including your sub-groups. What are we missing here? Public relations. OK, maybe a little less defensive at times would help.
6. The administration, how much slimmer do you want it Karl? Our district is a $100 million business; we just need to ensure that the executives are well supported, trained and equipped to manage our investments — our kids and their education.
7. The buck does stop with the Board of Education; we do expect you to carry out the business of the district to the best of your abilities.
Basically, your seven priorities are nothing new; I believe they have been priorities of the district long before you took office. How are your three action steps any different than the mission of the Long Range Planning Committee?
We obviously need to brainstorm and strategize for the future improved success of the Mehlville School District, and yes the community was encouraged to participate and continue to be as they are solicited for the task force study groups that will formulate future budgets. As far as the agenda of board meetings restricting communication, it may appear that way for the meetings, but I have never had a problem contacting an administrator or board member of this district with my concerns.
I have also spoken out publicly at board meetings. It is a forum to be heard but it must maintain decorum and procedure or it will become the private club that Mr. Anthony thinks it is.
Finally your goals, while they are certainly lofty and commendable, you need to take a look at the intricacies of attaining them. I agree we should always aim the highest, but these do come at a cost with some definite negotiable items brought on by the economy, environment and changing society.
Instead of making motions to dissolve the district's Long Range Planning Com-mittee, make realistic recommendations, assist them where needed, listen intently to these members of the community and be open minded with visions that have direction.
Paul B. Anderson