At last Tuesday’s Iowa City Community School District’s Board of Directors meeting, Superintendent Steve Murley asked the board to approve $103,000 from the district’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) fund to buy trust in district leadership. Yes, folks, I’m not kidding. This money is for an amazing new software package which “combines a software-driven online process with facilitation services in an unprecedented way to engage stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue, which in turn creates trust in the district.”
Wow. You mean Superintendent Murley and the board can buy the community’s full faith and trust in our administration for $103,000? And people say money can’t buy everything.
Some board members are fully on board with this snake oil treatment. If we’d only known that district trust isn’t created here by district leaders but comes in a $103,000 box from Spokane, Washington, we might have bought it sooner. There’s probably a cheaper version offered by “WHAM-O” or the “ACME” Company.
Remember, this is a limited time offer, so act now and you will get school board “trust-in-a-box” that will instill trust and virtue in elected officials who pay for contractors’ mistakes, redundancies of services, and allow administration to cut curriculum for students without taking any meaningful cuts of their own.
A superintendent who asks for the public’s trust before the Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) vote and days later applies for a job in Nebraska has not earned our trust, no matter how much money is spent. Administration has to spend the personal capital of time and character. Then the community will judge their actions to see if they deserve our trust. No, Virginia (district administration and board), you can’t buy trust in a box at any price. Trust is free to those who have earned it.