The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 6, 2014

Changing misconceptions

For The Daily Item

— Following a two-week propaganda blitz in The Daily Item, the Downtown Dragons group was decisively exposed by the Lewisburg superintendent as basing its assertions on 17 fundamental misconceptions. Now, in another “My Turn” piece, they have regrouped and are disseminating their additional misconceptions about how public school boards work by demanding that the Lewisburg school board abdicate its responsibility and authority in the building of a new high school. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) has prepared a brief and incisive statement of “How Pennsylvania Public School Boards Work,” which is available free online.

Here are a few key points that are relevant to the recent misconceptions of the Downtown Dragons: “The nine members of the school board operate as a group and make decisions as a board. Individual board members do not have the authority to make decisions regarding school district policies or operations without express approval from the entire school board. …One of the primary responsibilities of a school board is to adopt policies that govern how school districts operate. … School boards are the chief advocates for public education in the community. … While it is the school board that sets policy, it is the responsibility of the school district administration to develop regulations that implement those policies.”

There is no provision here for a self-appointed group such as the Downtown Dragons to usurp the Board’s or the superintendent’s authority or for the Board to abdicate in favor of referendum-based decision making.

Instead, the established format of board meetings always allows for community input.

Michael Payne,