Letter to the editor: ACSD search lacks transparency
For the sake of transparency with the public, it would have been better for the Addison Central School District board to release the names of the interim superintendent search candidates prior to announcing the hiring decision. The board’s plan had originally been not to release the names until both finalists had been interviewed. However, the original plan also included an online community forum with the candidates, once those interviews had taken place. Once the forum cancellation altered the original plan, a corresponding change could also have been made at least to let the public know who the finalists were before the hiring decision was made.
During the permanent search, the board did not release information about the Twin Valley candidate to stakeholders or the broader public, regarding U.S. Department of Justice findings that incidents of racial harassment, and a broader hostile environment, had not been adequately addressed. Although the board was aware of this information, it came to light to the public only through the independent research and due diligence of the parent stakeholder committee. For the interim process, knowing the names of the interim candidates before the hiring decision was made would have allowed stakeholders to conduct similar independent research in order to flag any significant issues for the board.
There is no doubt that the board has been under time pressure to bring on new district leadership. Nevertheless, transparency with the public is paramount. Not providing important information to stakeholders during the permanent search process, and not finding at least some way to engage the public to the degree possible in the interim search, undermines that transparency. The board should more seriously prioritize public transparency when the permanent search resumes.
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