As citizens, we vote for local officials to represent our perspectives because as individuals we are not always able to represent ourselves. When community members run for public office, they vow to represent all of our perspectives, not just those of their closest associates or fundraisers. They make this promise to us, their communities when they are elected.
According to state statute, the Beloit Board of Education’s duties include “...control and management of the property and affairs of the school district” and to “...exercise general supervision over such schools” [Wis 120.12 (1) (2)].
It is the board’s responsibility, with recommendations from administrators and staff, to make governance decisions for the district. Thus, deciding when district schools will reopen, return to in-person instruction, or remain closed and for how long, are decisions for the board, not the superintendent. Operationalizing this decision, that is, how buildings will reopen or move to in-person instruction, or how they remain closed are decisions for the superintendent. Relinquishing this decision to the superintendent indicates that board members are unaware of their responsibilities, which unnecessarily burdens the superintendent. Being clear about roles does not cast aspersions onto the Interim Superintendent, rather it demonstrates board competence which increases trust among Beloit communities.
Voters deserve to know why you abdicated this responsibility. Your responsibilities often demand difficult decisions and in these uncertain times, your leadership is required. Stop hiding behind the superintendent. Communities in Beloit are watching and will hold you accountable.
(Lisa Anderson-Levy is a former member of the Beloit Board of Education. -- WRB)