At Wednesday’s school board meeting I spoke to the board when president Dawn Adams asked for communication from the community. I stated that some Kennewick residents are disappointed and puzzled by the appointment of a school board candidate to fill the vacated board position. The complaint is that this appointment appears to be based on politics and not on merit. My request was to meet with school board members to help me understand their decision so I could report facts, not speculation to people who read this blog.
Adams responded immediately saying she has heard no complaints about their appointment. She explained that the board had made no requirement limiting applicants to non-school board candidates. So the board went into executive session and made their decision.
This answer did not bring clarity to the selection criteria or speak to the issues of impartiality or fairness. Other observers have questioned the merit of this appointment in light of the qualifications of the other applicants. I believe the board had to know people in this community would question their motivation to appoint a school board candidate. People I spoke with after the board meeting expressed their belief that Adams, Lynn Fielding and Heather Kintzley made this appointment “because they can”.
While this is true, there must be more to this decision. Brian Brooks can’t simply be a man off the street who, through serendipity, fell into a position of advantage. The facts of this appointment need to be made available to the community.
There is speculation of a special relationship as neighbors, friends or church associates which might be sufficient to bias board decision making. What is known is Brooks loves the reading goal, favors the 5% reserve fund, is comfortable with data and is willing to learn. His platform mirrors that of the board majority.
In school board matters, fairness or impartiality are not required. Kennewick voters have given Adams, Fielding and Kintzley the authority to make decisions; therefore they do. Sometimes, it appears, because they can influence the outcome of an election.