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  • Writer's pictureBen Avey

Nay.

Minutes after taking my oath of office, in my first official act as a school board trustee, I voted nay – no in parliamentary speak. The vote was in Closed Session, so I’m not permitted to share details, but it was 6-1 and I was in the minority.


Shortly thereafter, I was nominated to be the board’s Vice President but lost 3-4 on a rollcall vote. My colleague was elected to the position 7-0 on the second ballot. At the end of the meeting, the board tabled a motion to approve the Governance Handbook after a substantive conversation. In our last act of the night, a board majority requested a presentation from staff on a matter brought forward by parents.


It was good governance, plain and simple. Kind of boring, actually.


It was notable though. Contrary to the past, the votes were not unanimous. The outcomes were not preordained. Our opinions differed with votes as a receipt.


But it was civil, contrary to the whispers promulgated throughout the campaign. Parents are not the anarchists or obstructionists they warned you about. We just want to be heard and have a voice in the discussion making process.


I’d like to win some votes, of course. There are issues I care about and I’ll have to earn the trust of my colleagues to move them forward. But if I don’t have the votes, that’s ok too. Democracy relies on a loyal opposition - the righteous dissent - respectful discussion. If that’s my role, so be it.


No matter what, I’ll be a voice for parents and advocate for kids. If I stay true to that, yea or nay, then I will have done my duty and met my oath of office.

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