Letter to the Editor
May 24, 2012 Open letter to incoming BISD Superintendent Timothy Chargois
I want to thank you for taking the time to visit (me) yesterday morning, (May 23). I think our meeting was productive and I hope you were left with a sense that it is our mutual and earnest desire to see BISD truly become one of the best school districts in the United States. Having vendors buy advertisements with companies or filling our surveys for newspapers in a shameless attempt at self-promotion or hanging banners on the administration building proclaiming that BISD is currently one of the best school districts in the country is intellectually dishonest, does not fool anyone and actually does more harm than good.
In a similar vein, the issue regarding the inclusion of your automatic raise provision in your newly signed contract as superintendent-elect does tremendous harm to your efforts to bring a fresh start to this school district. The community is aware that the Board of Trustees had a stated position prior to contract negotiations that the new superintendent would not have an automatic raise provision in his or her contract. The first draft of a contract that went out to the members of the board on March 28, 2012, specifically stated, “This contract contains no provision for an automatic salary increase.” How the final contract that was executed between yourself and the board managed to include the automatic salary provision is obviously a point of great conjecture and has only deepened and increased the distrust that much of the community has with regard to BISD administration and the BISD Board of Trustees.
You have the opportunity to restore a great deal of that trust!
As I mentioned to you, if you were to indicate to the Board of Trustees in an open board meeting that you were willing to rescind the offensive language in your contract that contains the automatic raise provision, you would make great strides in demonstrating to the community that you are a man of integrity and that you want to facilitate the mission of BISD, part of which is “to be the unifying force in the community.”
Even if the majority of the Board is now taking the position that you should keep the automatic raise provision in your contract (which I am told they are), just by making the offer to rescind the provision, you will elevate yourself in the eyes of much of this community. There is no downside for you if you make the offer to rescind the provision. If the board accepts your offer, then the language can be taken out of the contract and you can rest assured that the Board of Trustees will compensate you appropriately in accordance with your performance as provided by the remainder of the language in your contract. If you make the offer to take the language out of your contract and the majority of the Board of Trustees refuses to accept your offer and insists that the language requiring the automatic raise provision be left in your contract, it will speak more to their motives and leave them under a cloud of distrust and disgust, but you will be above the fray.
On the other hand, if you stand mute and do nothing or continue to take the position that you are subject to the will of the Board, then you will be viewed in the same position that much of the community currently views the Board of Trustees — with distrust and disgust. You certainly do not want to begin your administration under those circumstances.
Tom Neild and Mike Neil advocated hiring you because they said you were a man of integrity. It is always the right time to do the right thing. Your time to do the right thing is now. If you want to help take steps to start the mending process in BISD, you need to act. If you do nothing, then you will be facing an uphill struggle for the rest of your administration.
I am not going to release this letter publicly anytime soon because I want you to have the opportunity to talk to your advisors and family and whomever else you need to as you consider this important decision. However, if you take no action between now and the conclusion of the next board meeting, this letter will probably find its way into the public domain.
Michael D. Getz