Editorial: New board warrants new expectations

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The Beverly Hills Board of Education, as discussed in a past editorial, was crippled with mismanagement and infighting, stunting the growth of the community. Come Dec. 11, incumbent members of the Board of Education, Lisa Korbatov and Howard Goldstein, will be leaving their seats to the newly elected board members Rachelle Marcus and Tristen Walker-Shuman. The Editorial Board hopes the two will not dabble in the empty promises and stalling that the old board so frequently practiced.

The Board of Education is by no means completely new. We take into account that three members of the old board, Mel Spitz, Isabel Hacker and Noah Margo, still hold their seats. However, we refer to the induction of Walker-Shuman and Marcus as the “new board” with hope for an auspicious start. Despite fallbacks in the past year, the board now has the chance to take advantage of a proverbial clean slate. We expect that the new members will not take a backseat role when dealing with issues that heavily impact the community, such as the highly-anticipated reconfiguration project that has been under discussion for the past two school years.

The harried vote on reconfiguration a mere week before the election was irresponsible on the old board’s behalf. Ignoring the community’s requests to put off the vote, the old board hastily placed their votes on Oct. 30, just days prior to the Nov. 6 election. This was a crafty and disingenuous move on the part of the old board.Why should they decide the future of such an impactful leap for families in the community, if two voters would be stepping down before reconfiguration would even take place? Marcus and Walker-Shuman should have voted, given that they would be forerunners throughout the reconfiguration process.

The execution of the old board’s decisions, whether it was the actions taken when approaching reconfiguration or the actions taken regarding the impasse, was one of the few times the community saw a united front. It is unfortunate that more often than not, the united front was forged in defense to the community’s criticism. It was only when members of the board were feeling “attacked,” as proclaimed by Korbatov, that the group as a whole was synergistic. For example, when facing pleas regarding the teachers’ salary, the board remained collaborative. However, aside from these few moments, they were at odds with one another. We hope that the board maintains a cooperative disposition, not just when running counter to the community, but at all times.

To do so, the board must first conduct themselves in a more positive manner. After a year of seemingly endless conflict both intrinsically within the board and when interacting with community members, this district is in dire need of cooperation. The board must begin to mend what for so long has been broken. If this district continues down the trajectory of infighting and pettiness, it will fail to uphold the standards on which it prides itself. The remedy comes with the realization that every board member holds his/her voluntary position with one goal: to improve the district. The board must remember that we, all members of the community, share this goal of betterment, and they, as our representatives, must help us work toward achieving it.

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