The Curry Coastal Pilot

The Brookings-Harbor School Board missed an opportunity last week to complete an honest evaluation of it's sole employee, Superintendent Brian Hodge.

Instead of following established policy and evaluation format, at least three board members based their critique on their own ambiguous criteria and goals.

The lackluster evaluation neither provided Hodge with the guidance he needs to fulfill the board's goals, nor did it hold Hodge accountable for his recent missteps or his inability to elevate test scores, improve graduation rates and lift overall morale in the schools.

This is not to say that an evaluation should be an indictment of Hodge, or a trial of the district's shortcomings. But the board's decision to make light of or ignore these shortcomings is a disservice to the community's children.

An evaluation of the superintendent and, by extension, the board itself, should have addressed - and emphasized -- at least the following:

andbull;Improve graduation rates. Last year showed a slight improvement, but our schools are still far below the average in Oregon, a state with the second-worst graduation rate in the country.

andbull;Take bullying seriously. The state's current investigation into alleged bullying on the high school girls basketball team revealed that Hodge and the board need to take this issue more seriously. To do anything less is unacceptable.

andbull;Improve relationships between Hodge and the board, administration and staff. Some board members, staff and even parents are growing increasingly frustrated with Hodge, whose management style is more often "I'm the professional and you're not."

The board members often seem to forget that the superintendent answers to them, not the other way around.

And why would the board even consider Hodge's request to strike from his contract a clause that allows them to terminate his employment without cause?

The contract, as is, has been fine for the last five years.

Let's keep it that way.