Unpopular choices often bring silence

Just like with any other government meeting, if a controversial issue is not at the forefront a Board of Education meeting is likely to seem inconsequential.

Sure, there are bills, appointments and tenures to be approved. But controversy usually comes when it involves a personnel issue.

Rarely, in these cases, will board members say anything. Legally, they almost cannot.

So when district residents headed to recent Fredonia school board meetings seeking answers on a former principal’s status they came away frustrated. It is unfortunate for those who care, but it is standard practice for a school board — not just here but across the region and state.

Public comment, in fact, does not need to be a part of the meeting. It is privilege most municipal and school boards allow for to hear from residents.

That does not mean that those who speak are often doing so respectfully. Some come loaded for bear, wanting immediate answers. Others show up just to voice a concern.

Fredonia school board President Michael Bobseine addressed the issue as best he could in a meeting on Jan. 9: “There’s things that we cannot discuss. There’s things that we cannot share. They’re personnel matters,” he said. “If they involved students, that’s not available to us. There’s things that we cannot respond to that we will not respond to. I apologize for that, but that is how the law is. That’s how this board runs and that’s the way it works.”

Some community members may believe they can do a better job if elected overseeing district. We say go for it.

All too often these seats — like so many other elected positions — go unopposed. There’s no pay for your work, and it comes with plenty of headaches. Those in the public eye — and others behind the scenes.