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Board throws yet another promise out the window

July 03, 2002

It probably was too much to expect the Burbank Unified School

District board of directors to keep its word about any promises made

over the past few months, particularly given its abundant shenanigans

when David Aponik was terminated as superintendent in February.

This is, after all, the same school board whose members, by

conferring with one another outside of an announced public session,

essentially met secretly (read: illegally) to determine Aponik's

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fate, then denied any such thing had happened.

It's the same school board that gave Aponik regular pay increases

over the course of two years, then dismissed him without so much as a

formal performance review any time during the same period.

And it's the same school board that announces a board agenda with

major policy decisions at 5 p.m. the Friday before a Monday emergency

meeting, knowing full well that people often can't change plans

quickly to make a meeting on short notice, even one about a big

issue.

Even so, with Greg Bowman's appointment on Monday as the

district's permanent superintendent, the board has reached a new

level of cynicism about its responsibilities, blatantly ignoring its

promise to the public to conduct an exhaustive search for a new

superintendent and include input from parents, teachers and other

community members in establishing criteria for a new school chief.

In doing so, the board -- not for the first time -- sent this

message: Go away, Burbank citizens. We don't care what you think, and

we'll do our jobs whatever way we see fit. So there.

This is not a knock on Bowman, who from all reports is a respected

administrator with a solid track record in the Glendale and Burbank

school districts, and who has scored points during his (very brief)

stint as interim BUSD superintendent by helping the board and its

budget committee make some tough decisions and get the 2002-03 budget

balanced.

Bowman seems like such a capable leader and decent guy, in fact,

that one almost wants to warn him off working for the Burbank school

board. But he wants to stay, something made apparent by the fact that

Bowman, after going ahead with initial interviews, withdrew his name

from consideration for other superintendent jobs in the region.

His hiring as a permanent replacement for Aponik -- who has gone

back to work for the district as a psychologist but who plans to sue

the district over his dismissal, according to his attorney -- follows

the same modus operandi of too many other board moves:

fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants desperation.

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