2011-06-11 / News

Bowman resigns from Lakewood board

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Lakewood School Board member Joe Bowman Jr. tendered his resignation from the board June 7.

He said in a statement, “Effective immediately, I, Joseph V. Bowman IV tender my resignation as a member of the Lakewood Board of Education. Due to irreconcilable differences with board and administrative decisions that I cannot support or be associated with, it has been made clear to me that I can no longer be effective as a school board member for this school district. I am very proud of what I was able to learn about our school system over the years. It is certainly a challenging opportunity, and I am proud of my contributions as well. Anything that I focused on was for the betterment of the students. This is the only reason that any public school district exists.

It is very unfortunate that due to several years of evolution that there is more focus on adults and financial gain as opposed to the kids. There are numerous adults that are doing the right thing and have a great passion for what they are doing, but unfortunately they become embroiled in battles about finances or funds that simply are not there.”

Bowman continued, “Times like these call for tough decisions from board members and administrators. The school district budget must be balanced throughout the five-year forecast before any monies can be distributed to employees or the purchase of items for the district. It is my opinion that all contract negotiations should be handled by outside professionals who do it for a living so the district may assure the community the contracts are in the school district and taxpayers’ best interest.

Furthermore, all administrative, superintendent, and treasurer contracts should be reviewed by an outside professional in order to assure these are done in the best interest of the school district and taxpayers. All students should have programs in place for them to excel, not just the gifted kids and kids who are on IEPs.

Customer satisfaction surveys within the district should be conducted on an annual basis and include students, employees, and parents. This information should be handled by an independent organization and the information should be made available to the public. This would be the true measurement of how the district is doing.

Bowman said, “Unfortunately, based on my experience, it is my opinion that the current board and administration are not able to consistently align their decision making with the future needs of our students, parents, and community members. I would like to apologize to all of the voters who put faith in me to perform my role as a board member. For several years, I have offered my ideas and recommendations. As a Lakewood graduate, I wanted nothing more than for Lakewood to emerge as a viable and successful educational entity. Since that did not happen, and is not in sight, I want you to know that this resignation appears to be the most effective influence that I can contribute to the Lakewood School District at this time.”

“We wish him well,” said board President Judy White. “He’s given years of dedicated service and I’m sure he supports Lakewood in any way he can. We thank him for his service.”

Bowman was in his second term with about 30 months left in that term. His now vacant position will be advertised and the board will accept applications from interested candidates. The board has 30 days to make an appointment. The new member will have to run in this November’s election to serve the remaining two years of his term.

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