By Bruce Calabrese
Besides our great people, one of Carmel’s finest assets is our public school system. People and companies do come to Carmel for our schools. On Nov. 6 there is a crucial election for two seats on our school board. That election will greatly impact our schools and, of course, our property values in Carmel.
There is nothing broken with our schools. Despite being one of the lowest in funding from the state, our schools excel in all aspects because we have great teachers, students, parents, administrators and taxpayers. I hear teachers have become frustrated with the new state mandate for the collective bargaining process and teacher evaluation system. I hear the teachers union would rather fight than negotiate in good faith to take advantage of incentives that are available for reaching a negotiated, non-arbitrated contract. I hear teachers are saying the new evaluation system makes extra work taking time away from their job, teaching our children.
The teacher’s union, of which only approximately 38 percent of Carmel teachers are members, is using these issues as a wedge instead of trying to work together to solve problems. The union has recruited a former teacher’s union president to run for the school board. There is already a former teacher’s union president serving on the board.
A good teacher or former union president does not necessarily make a good school board member. Board members set the direction of our schools by providing vision and leadership for the future of our schools. They need to be objective, forward-thinking and able to represent all the stakeholders for what is in the best interest of our public schools. The board needs to be made up of members with different skills that work together as a team. The current Carmel teacher’s union leadership would rather fight than work collaboratively to solve problems. If a system has unreasonable burdens or problems, then our school board needs to work with teachers, the administration, state legislators and any other qualified groups for the continuation of our educational successes.
I ask that you make an effort to educate yourself on the candidates and take the time to vote for school board on Nov. 6.