Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rube Goldberg Governance

A "mayoral academy" is required to have as the chair of its board the mayor or "elected town administrator" (which appears to have a specific meaning in RI, which is, essentially, "mayor-like office by another name," but I Am Not A Lawyer) of one of the involved towns. The rest of the board is to be comprised of "representatives from each included city or town." RIMA is apparently interpreting this to mean "yadda yadda nothing" because the Achivement First proposal just says:

Achievement First Mayoral Academies will be governed by a Chair, Vice Chair, and Board of Directors consisting of between seven (7) and nine (9) members. As with all mayoral academies, the board will be chaired by a mayor of one enrolling city/town. Mayor Allan Fung of Cranston will chair the proposed mayoral academy program. The remaining board members will represent various professional skill areas including academic, legal, financial, and the interests of the school and its community. The Board will provide strong academic and fiscal oversight for the mayoral academies. To maintain continuity in implementing the AF model, Achievement First Directors and staff will have significant input into board development. In addition, the board will include at least one parent of an Achievement First Mayoral Academies scholar. (...)

The board of RIMA, the mayoral academy’s non-profit parent organization, will assemble a nominating committee to appoint members to the Achievement First Mayoral Academies board. In practice, board appointments will be made based on the guidance and recommendations from both Mayor Fung and Achievement First. This strategy will ensure that all appointees understand and will uphold the mission of the school, represent the enrolling communities of the school, and provide the crucial support needed for the school to succeed and the Board to perform its duties.

So... Providence -- which they project as providing 3/4 of the student body of the school -- will be represented by people recommended by the Mayor of Cranston and a Connecticut CMO and approved by another RIMA, whose board includes no representatives of Providence or any Providence-based constituency?

Contrast that with Achievement First's treatment -- and they're a contractor in this relationship.

But that isn't even where I was going with this. Going forward, one of two people has to be chair of the board -- the mayor of Cranston or the mayor of Providence. If that doesn't happen, it's charter is invalid, right? And we've got one city that a) already has mayoral control of its own school district -- the mayor picks the board and b) was completely excluded from the planning of the school; and another city where a) only provide 25% of the students in the school (as projected by AF), b) has schools that aren't exactly urban hellholes to send kids back to and c) the new mayor may have just beaten the mayor who founded the school. And in both cases the mayoral academy is a steady and ongoing drain on the (perennially barely solvent) city budget.

If both mayors simply say "I would prefer not to," then what? Both can blame the other or their predecessors. No vote has to be taken; no specific action at all.

What a bunch of idiocy.

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