A few people have asked me personally why I was among the School Board Members around the State who felt a need to start the Florida Coalition of School Board Members when there was already a long-established organization providing services to School Board Members around the state.
Some jumped to conclusions and assumed that there was some vast conspiracy at work and we are put up by the folks fighting the lawsuit by the FSBA. A reporter in our first press conference directly asked the question if we received seed money from the organization. Of course we didn't. We are self-funded, the founding members donated our time and resources to bring this important organization into being for a few simple reasons.
What follows are my (Shawn Frost's) reasons alone and may or may not reflect those of the founding members of the coalition.
1. The training currently available for us was expensive, time consuming, and a variable expense - we can do better
2. The lawsuit hurts children and is counter to my values.
3. The role of School Board Member is waning because of the lack of values congruence of the current organization and the leadership in Tallahassee.
I will take it point by point:
1. My son took numerous courses online to get his driver's learning permit. Learning online is now the norm because of its convenience and cost-savings. We don't need to go stay at nice hotels and eat on the backs of the taxpayers. We can do online or blended learning that will save money, time, and allow us to be well educated and stay in the district working for our children.
2. Using taxpayer money to sue the taxpayers is just wrong, but is especially so when it will return 68,000 children (70% of whom are minority) to schools that weren't working for them. Those suing the State are putting money first, not the best interests of the students.
3. While some question the validity of my comments about the current organization being largely irrelevant in Tallahassee, I will point you to their OWN report on their legislative priorities for 2014.
Only one item is considered successful, and candidly it's technology which is a very obvious need and would be funded if it were proposed by the devil himself. It passed in spite of their involvement, not because of it.
These anemic results occurred BEFORE THEY SUED THE STATE. It is reasonable to conclude that their reception is even cooler now that they are suing the State of Florida.
I am being very polite in not sharing the opinions voiced by decisionmakers in Tallahassee regarding the FSBA. School Board Members need an AUDIBLE voice in Tallahassee, and the FCSBM will fill that role.
The FCSBM received a warm welcome in Tallahassee and has been encouraged to appear before the legislative bodies as soon as we feel ready.
I'm excited to be part of the founding executive board of the FCSBM and hope some of you will consider joining as "Friends of the Coalition" as we are a self-funded grassroots organization.