Sunday, April 26, 2015
The 3-3 Joplin School Board split and the arrogance of the Joplin Globe
On Friday's opinion page, the Globe's Editorial Board let readers know it was keeping a watchful eye on the Joplin R-8 Board of Education.
The editorial board was disgusted that there appears to be a 3-3 split on the board. "How did this happen only weeks after the election?" the writer moaned. "Not only is it unacceptable, but it is a slap in the face to taxpayers who expect more from our elected officials. It is an insult to our students who have had to endure losing loved ones, losing their homes and moving from school to school."
Let me see if I understand this. The same newspaper that two days before the election told us that former Board President Anne Sharp was virtually assured of election because Lane Roberts said he would not serve if elected, is now telling us that a 3-3 split on the board is horrible and just like C. J. Huff, invoking the tornado to let us know how awful it is that people can't agree.
What the Globe fails to understand is that the voters knew they were going to be getting a 3-3 split and they overwhelmingly voted in favor of it. The people who cast ballots for Jeff Koch, Jennifer Martucci, and Lane Roberts were not insulting those who lost loved ones and those who had to travel from school to school, and only an out-of-touch elitist writer would phrase it in that fashion.
The next thing we will hear from the Globe is that Koch, Martucci, and Debbie Fort are forming a voting bloc, the same accusation the newspaper leveled at five Joplin City Council members (the majority, I might add) who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, who could do no wrong in Editor Carol Stark's eyes.
In another segment of the editorial, the writer offers the following:
"We expect well-run schools, improved test scores, improved graduation rates, and fiscal responsibility."
The Globe must have been happy to have managed with one out of four during the past seven years because it is has done almost nothing to serve as the public's watchdog as far as the Joplin R-8 School District is concerned.
Even the one thing that C. J. Huff has accomplished, the improved graduation rate, is marred by some serious concerns about the educational shortcuts that have been used to achieve that success.
At the end of the editorial, the writer or writers use the imperious "we" by stating, "So far, we are not impressed."
Oddly enough, that is the same feeling I have whenever I have finished reading a Joplin Globe editorial. The Globe abdicated its responsibility to report the news to Joplin R-8 taxpayers as it became a public relations tool for the C. J. Huff Administration.
When a newspaper that has sat comfortably on the sidelines and watched as hundreds of people have left the school district, as test scores have decreased every year since C. J. Huff has arrived, and as the district has been driven into a crippled financial state suddenly says "we are not impressed," it has a certain empty ring to it.
The changes that are taking place in the school district appear to be beyond the Globe's comprehension. Everything has been done without the area's newspaper of record.
The people voted out Anne Sharp after the Globe assured her of re-election.
People were incensed about the use of taxpayer-financed facilities and district teachers to make a campaign video, but they never read a word about it in the Globe. They had to rely on KZRG and the Turner Report for that information.
When CFO Paul Barr talked about $8 million of "might-as-well" spending, the Globe reporter totally ignored the phrase, The public didn't.
The Globe had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the story of how the Huff Administration planned on slipping $100,000 to replace wrong-colored gymnasium seats through by putting it on the consent agenda. It was well-reported here and on KZRG beforehand.
So when the Globe says "we are not impressed," we don't care.