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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Retiring School Board President Challenges Board and Singles Out Individuals

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Retiring school board president, Dr. Mike Walker, gave parting remarks at the KISD Board meeting Thursday, May 16.
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The first part of his remarks, were the traditional expressions of appreciation and good wishes for the board and the district. It was the last part that acknowledged the past year?s tensions that have arisen and were exacerbated by the recent elections.
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He challenged the Board to work to prevent a repeat of the ?divisive? nature that existed. But, he went on to directly issue public challenges to KISD Board member, Julie Green, and to Kennedale City Mayor, John Clark, who was in attendance. Indicating that they had some individual responsibility to improve conditions that have existed this past year, he asked for their help and efforts. {{more}}
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The following are his full remarks to the Board. You can also see the full video of the May 16 board meeting at?http://www.kennedale.net/Page/5409
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?I want to take just a moment at the end of this [school board meeting] and take some time to make a few remarks since this will be my last regular board meeting in at least as a board member.”
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“It has been a pleasure to serve the district and to be on this board. I cannot express adequately the appreciation that I have for our teachers, our administrators, the people that I know that I have grown so close to this past nine years. It has been a joy to work with you. It has been a joy to work with Mr. Dugger and the rest of this Board.”
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“It is kind of interesting sometimes that people have talked to this board almost like we were too close. And yet, for those of you who have not been around all this time, it did not start out that way when many of us got on. I know that when I got on the board nine years ago, I knew Joe, Eddie and some them better than others. I didn?t know Janet at all and didn?t know what I was missing. I didn?t know Rhonda and, in fact, Rhonda didn?t even support me. She was supporting two other people. But I do know that one of the things that the night of the election I remember that Rhonda, calling me and leaving me a message congratulating me.”
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“And I think that has been one of the blessings that I have or that I have experienced here getting to know people and working close with people through the years and developing close working relationships with people that I didn?t know that well before we started. Same thing with Lori, I knew who Lori was but I didn?t know you that well. And that has been a blessing and I really appreciate the public for electing me three times to this position and I appreciate the board for electing me board president over the last eight years.”
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“There are two things, I guess as I leave here, that I almost feel like are kind of unfinished business, that I want to kind of touch on tonight.
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“And one those things, I had hoped that we would do at some point, is to be able to honor those of some our past giants of our district with names on some of our new buildings and stuff like that.
For whatever reason, that has not been something that we have not been able to do. I know this last year, I didn?t feel to be honest that the atmosphere was conductive to that here. But, I would hope in the future that maybe the Board could do that, either through the board taking some action, or appointing a committee of citizens to take nominations and review things. Because, I do think that we got people here that have put a lot more time than I have in making the district successful and what it is. And it would be good if we could honor them.”
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“The second part of this is, and I started not to say anything about this, but I am going ahead and say it. I mean the worst thing that can happen is that I can be fired.”
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“I think one the things that is kind of a shame that I really have [concerns] about, is that this past year has been one of the most divisive and has been the most divisive in my nine years on the board. And that is a shame. And, I really think as a district we need to look at that. We just had an election and to some extent where we go from this election, this point forward, is going to determine what our next year is like. Or, we simply going to retool and start another election cycle, which is kind of what I feel like is what we did last year. Or, we going to sit back and try to all work together and make this really a focus on educating our kids. I hope we will do the latter, but I think we really need to put some thought into that, and consciously make some decisions.”
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“I think as a board we got to real careful that we don?t develop kind of a bunker mentality, and I think that kind of started this last year. It makes sense as to why it has, but if we are not careful we can get in this ?us against them? kind of atmosphere. And, I think that is something that we really got to guard against. I think the things we?ve accomplished in my nine years here were not accomplished with that atmosphere. It was an atmosphere that we were willing to risk some and do some things what we thought was good in the community and as a result the community reciprocated and backed us up those things.”
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“I think that it is imperative that this board learn to work together.”
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“Julie [Green], I hope that you can learn to work with this board. I think the board will be a better board if you are in on it and if you are working on it. I think the public elected you to your position but now you got to work on working to gain the trust and respect of the board. That doesn?t come automatically with an election. I think if you will do that you can add significantly to this board to what this board can accomplish. And I think the board, we need, y?all need, to be open to that and put bygones in the background and look at a new start here, if we want this thing to go through and be better.”
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“And you know Mr. Mayor [John Clark], up there [referring to where he was sitting in the audience], I hope that you will take the lead in kind of working with our elected city officials to develop a better closer relationship between the district and the city. I think there is not been anything that has been done over the past year, year and a half, that has been wrong. But I think that it is basically some of the partisan stuff that has gone on and some of the partisan stuff that has gone on from some of our city officials has definitely contributed to the divisive nature we?ve had.”
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“And as leader of the city, I think that you are the guy that kind of leads that half of it, at least, into a better place. And the board here needs to reciprocate with that. We are a small community, a small district. And what we have experience this last year and I know some people have said that well what we have gone through in the election is good for the community. Well, I disagree I don?t think that it has really been good for this community.”
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“But I have appreciated the work and effort that people have put into this.”
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“You know, I have people before ask me why, on earth, would you want to be a school board member. You don?t get paid for it. It is highly scrutinized. It takes up a lot of time. And I think the best answer that I have, is that you know there are very few things in life that you can do that will down the road when you are gone are going to have influenced people and will continue influencing. And maybe things that you do at church might and things that you do with your kids hopefully will, but very few things outside of that. And being on this board and working with this district, I feel like is something that does enable us to do that. I appreciate it, and I appreciate being able too.”
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“I look forward to what the board, as it goes through this next school year, is going to accomplish.?

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