Lee County schools board members earn bad grades on their report cards

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Seal of the School District of Lee County. Photo via WINK News.
Seal of the School District of Lee County. Credit: WINK News.

The grades are in, but they are not for students. It is for the adults on the board of the School District of Lee County and the grades are not good at all.

Nicole Fitzpatrick is a mother of seven children. All of her kids are going through the School District of Lee Count now or in the future.

“I have absolutely no faith in the school district right now,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick has been following the school board closely. She has recently seen them try to fire the superintendent and watch them bicker on many issues at meetings.

Fitzpatrick was troubled by what she perceives as a lack of emphasis on what to do for the kids’ education and their safety.

Now, the seven-person board evaluated themselves and the grades are terrible. At their workshop Thursday, almost every board member spoke about the lack of teamwork.

School Board Self-Evaluation [PDF download]

“There’s I, not we, I and me, not us,” Cathleen Morgan said. “This perpetuates the problem that we have.”

Fitzpatrick hates that mentality.

“There is no ‘the’ board,” Fitzpatrick said. “There is the old way of thinking about things and a new way of thinking about things.”

On top of that, personal attacks between members have been on the rise since three new members were elected last November.

“Bad mouthing and undermining the districts work and the school board,” said Betsy Vaughn, a School District of Lee County board member. “I have not spoken to the media. I have not spoken to the media or in public meetings, mention boy members names in a public meeting, saying well ‘she is very unprofessional.'”

Fitzpatrick said she and many of her friends who are parents want the pettiness to stop. They want the school board to focus more on their children.

“When you were running, you were running because you had your heart invested in the children,” Fitzpatrick said. “You had your heart invested in the community. Maybe we need to go back to the basics. Why did you want this position?”

“I’m not sure that we as a board have come to an agreement,” said Mary Fischer, a School District of Lee County board member, “about what are our priorities and what are our goals.”

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