A Conservative Board? Not hardly…

fiscal conservativesDefinition of a Conservative (per Merriam Webster):

Believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society” …
a:  tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional
b:  marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate>

c:  marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners

My oh my… has this so-called conservative board moved far away from the traditionally defined conservative!

The media continually refers to the new school board majority as conservative, but I have a hard time seeing how they are conservative.  To me their agenda and their handling of financial matters seems RADICAL, not conservative.  It seems like a lot of time-honored traditions, prudent, conservative fiscal measures, and general accounting principals went out the window… and with it the public’s trust.

Please, tell me how WNW’s actions are conservative?

First, we saw a long term superintendent forced out early leaving 85,000 students and 14,000 employees without a leader for 5 months, then we saw loans extended to two charter schools with questionable finances, and finally we saw the new board majority take it upon themselves to make changes to the already finalized and voter approved 3A/3B ballot initiative without the voters consent.

Additionally, the new board has been increasingly aggressive and antagonistic in its handling of the teacher contracts.  How can we expect good performance from our employees when they are being treated so abrasively?  Employees are not only supposed to be accountable for their performance, they must also be treated fairly by their employers, or the organization risks a high turnover.

True conservatives would have managed the district more prudently:

  1. Prudent, conservatively run organizations do not drive off a senior executive who was still legally and formally in charge.  They would have waited out the term till the senior executive’s retirement, learning everything they could from that person.  If they simply could not tolerate the person that long, then they would have appointed an interim executive.  A six-month leadership vacuum in a billion dollar organization is far too risky.  In fact, it was reckless.  And recklessness is abhorrent to conservatives.  The fact that nothing really bad happened is due far more to good luck than good, conservative management.
  2. A conservative bank or lending institution would have required more documentation, business planning scenarios, and most certainly would have charged interest for extending the loans made to the Mountain Phoenix and Collegiate Academy charter schools.  A risk-analysis would have been required, as well as having a ‘what happens if they can’t pay it back or fail’ plan ready.  They would not just give a check to the troubled organizations.
  3. A conservative organization knows that it’s reputation for keeping promises is it’s most vital asset.  Doing so builds trust the organization relies on. Upon that trust rides its ability to raise needed capital in the bond and capital markets.  Reneging on the promises made in the last bond election would horrify conservative management and would have only been the absolute last resort of an organization on the verge of bankruptcy.  Not one where it’s bond rating is higher than its peers and still has cash reserves.  Conservatives know that trust is built very slowly but can be thrown away by a single broken promise.
  4. A conservative board knows that its employees are its only real productive asset, and moves to keep their confidence, trust, and morale.  It does not ignore, disregard, much less mock its employees concerns and berate them in the public media.  It does not move to adopt failed management practices from twenty years ago.  It knows the wisdom of the phrase “do not bind up the mouths of the kind that tread the grain”.

I think the definition of a conservative has become substantially warped over time in our country.  I personally would welcome a return to more conservative practices that we all could live with.

2 thoughts on “A Conservative Board? Not hardly…

  1. How we define conservation and liberal anymore is not necessarily if you spend money, but on what. Pitting conservative vs liberal distracts us from the real problem which is the disturbing actions of this board. What is their agenda? Is there money from outside the state involved in their election? Why?

    • Agreed, Ellen. However, many voters in Jeffco voted for WNW believing them to be fiscal conservatives who would guard, rather than wildly spend, taxpayer dollars. We are pointing out WNW are not what they claimed to be during their campaigns.

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