Disagreement is healthy for a school board, but it must happen within a professional and respectful atmosphere, District 86 Board of Education President Claudia Manley said Monday night.
Manley made a statement regarding board member civility during a board meeting at Hinsdale Central more than five months after a heated April election and in the midst of a stretch that has included tense discussions related to facilities, the resignation of Superintendent Nicholas Wahl, and one board member accusing another of acting on certain items despite an “inherent conflict of interest.”
“Ultimately I believe we all have the same goal, which is to extend the tradition of excellence in District 86 by providing students with a superior education that prepares them for successful futures and addresses shortcomings when necessary,” Manley said, but board members may differ on how to achieve that goal.
She said that respectful discussion is a sign of strength for any school board, and she believes that all her colleagues would agree.
“We believe it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable, to make a point without pointing, and to speak without speaking down to or about another in an unfavorable light,” Manley said.
She said board members must be role models for the students they serve.
“They deserve from us what we expect from them: professional behavior conducted in a respectful environment,” Manley said.
She acknowledged that the current District 86 board and past boards might have “fallen short” of that goal in the past, and it is important that it be achieved going forward.
“It is only through this sincere effort that we can become the high-performing board of education that we all know we can and should be,” Manley said.