Still a long way to go

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another part of the process is behind us and it passed with little more than a whisper.

The deadline for applications for the position of superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools this week and now the school board members will begin their process of either narrowing down the applicants to finalists or starting all over again.

There was no information released on the number of applicants or the breakdown between those who applied from within the system or those from outside the system. But, what we hope will be released in the coming weeks is a list of those finalists so the weight of public scrutiny can be fully applied to those wanting our city’s top education position.

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Closed sessions are at times necessary among governmental bodies. In times of good name and character and even in times of negotiating the purchase of property, the idea of a closed session is a good one.

But, when the decision of who will be the next leader of our school system, any discussion made behind closed doors only goes to limit the public access to what, in many cases, is the most powerful unelected position within the city.

This person will control millions in appropriated funds, make key personnel decisions and set forth their direction for education that could have years of residual impact.

We believe the school board has the best intentions of Suffolk school children in this process and we hope any political grandstanding and outside influence will be kept to a minimum, even in this election year.

As we have said before, the next superintendent of education in Suffolk has a job that many may not ever want. There are financial challenges, growing school populations and a ongoing battle with the city council on who’s really in charge when it comes to education.

The next superintendent of education will not only have to be well-educated but now how to navigate in a system that is growing far too political and have tough skin to deal with those who try to meddle in areas they do not belong.

Just another step in the process of selecting the next superintendent of education is behind us, but the hard work still remains.