An open airing of complaints three members of the Salt Lake Board of Education have with Superintendent John W. Bennion's administration will be healthy because these particular issues "cry out for resolution. the board's vice president says.
"I think it's healthy to discuss complaints to see what we can do to remedy them. That's why I'm anxious to have this discussion," said Stephen G. Boyden.
And the board's president said the issues raised are of concern to the entire seven-member board, not just the three who delivered a memo to the superintendent Thursday.
But President Keith Stepan said he hadn't seen a copy of the memo, so he couldn't comment on specifics.
Boyden and two other board members, Carolyn Kump and Lorna Matheson, met Thursday with Bennion to give him a memo outlining their concerns with his administration. He told them he would read the memo and then respond.
Bennion later told the Deseret News that the issues will be included on the April 5 board agenda.
Because those who signed the memo were the three dissenters in the district high school boundary decision earlier this year, Boyden said he knows some people may miconstrue the memo as an indication of a deepening split among board members.
"I would hope that it doesn't come down to a 4-3 note on everything that comes along," Boyden said.
The memo said the three believe the district's procress of shared governance "has been circumvented, critically affecting teacher morale and trust of the central administration." Shared governance, a policy initiated by former Superintendent M. Donald Thomas, allows parents and teachers to participate in making decisions that affect them.
Boyden said an examination of shared governance was an issue raised by the Salt Lake Teachers Association in late February when it issued a vote of "no confidence" in Bennion. Since then, teachers have met with Bennion and the board behind closed doors several times.
"There is a perception that we have gone from shared governance to a more autocratic, top to bottom, management style," Boyden said.
The memo also questioned a decision by district administration that appears to prevent two school patrons from fully researching, at the district office, public information on the district's 1974 voted leeway election. The leeway brings $10.4 million into school district coffers annually.
"We believe that it is in the best interest of our district to keep faith with the public's right to know," the memo said.
The last point raised by the members challenged the district's closed transfer policy, which makes a transfer virtually impossible without certification of mental, emotional or physical problems, "We fear that this policy discriminates agaisnt the student who cannot afford to pay consultation fees with a professional," the memo read.