Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Superintendent search: Who cares?

The good news is that turnout at Day 2 of the public forum to guide the search firm helping recruit the next Dubuque schools superintendent jumped 14 percent compared to the Day 1 attendance.

The bad news is that the 14 percent increase represented one person.

Just shows how one may accurately report statistics but mask the real facts.

The fact is that seven people attended the first evening's program, on Monday. Even with a story in the next day's paper, reminding that Day 2 would be that night, turnout zoomed up to eight.

To the shock and horror of the Telegraph Herald reporter covering the event, I was one of the seven. I'll confess that I probably would not have made it had I not received a separate letter inviting me -- they had the idea that I am a community leader -- to participate.

The turnout contrasted greatly with the overflow crowds that showed up earlier this year when the superintendent (John Burgart, who is retiring at the end of the school year) and school board wrestled with redistricting, proposed closure of a pre-school program and closure of the alternative high school.

Maybe organizers of this week's listening sessions should have stated the meeting would be about raising taxes or closing their neighborhood school. People care about that. The next superintendent? Who cares? Nobody -- until an issue that upsets them emerges.

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