- Written by George Dougherty
- Category: Current Board Issues
1. Board politics
The board votes, 3-2, along ideological lines on issues such as the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards, commonly referred to as Common Core.
2. Aggressive leaders
Colvin is by no means shy about voicing his opinions, and some residents have called for his resignation for his social-media posts. Most recently, he called fellow board member Jill Humpherys a Marxist-Leninist, among other things, on Facebook. He defended his posts, saying he was merely expressing his personal opinion.
3. Common Core
Many residents are tired of hearing the board majority bemoan and pass resolutions against the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards, which were implemented by the state. Some instead want a more productive discussion on issues actually controlled by the school board.
4. Biology textbooks
One part of the community is concerned that the biology textbooks deal with sex education. Others are frustrated that it has become an issue.
5. Absent board president
While Colvin is the acting board president, Staci Burk still officially remains board president. She does not attend meetings in person because of medical issues. She's in California for testing. Some audience and board members groan or roll their eyes when Burk's voice on the speaker cuts in at board meetings and takes discussions in whole new directions.
Five candidates are vying for two seats on the school board in this fall's election. The outcome will determine if residents support the conservative board majority or reshape it. Some are concerned that teachers are posting political signs supporting school-board candidates on vehicles in school parking lots.
7. Setting the agenda
The superintendent used to set the agenda in consultation with the board president, but that was changed in June to give the board president the final say. Some people complain that items expected to be discussed or voted upon are removed without explanation. This week, the acting board president removed the recommended hiring of a special-education teacher without comment. Colvin would not comment on the incident, citing the teacher's privacy rights.
8. Lack of preparation
Meetings often drag on and measures get tabled when school-board members ask for clarification on points the audience believes they should already know. The district's involvement in the federal free- and reduced-cost lunch program was tabled to answer a school-board member's questions. This week's meeting ran more than four hours.
9. Staff appreciation
Many residents point out they moved to Gilbert for the great public schools. Now, they complain that teachers are fleeing because of unfair treatment and minimal salary increases. From January through March, 56 certified personnel, which includes teachers, coaches, counselors, principals, coordinators, directors and administrators, resigned. Even more retired.
Questions brought up in public comment can go unanswered. Colvin at times does not answer questions asked at meetings, including when a fellow board member asked him who wrote a resolution to denounce Common Core. Colvin said he would not name the contributors because they had not given him permission before the meeting to do so.