Sanderson asserted: "The process of approving a system calendar in February 2011 was legal, but did not represent the spirit of effective governance." He said the board was "hasty in raising the issue and voting to replace a three-year calendar that had been approved by a prior board, and had been in effect only five months."
Although he conceded that the newly elected board members campaigned on changing the calendar (to a more traditional, later start date), he said they "should have recognized their first priority on being sworn in was to become acclimated to and informed about district operations and trained in the basics of school board leadership and effective governance."
Bottom line: Sanderson blames the new school board majority for taking immediate action to change the calendar - restoring a later start date that had been in effect before the previous board, thanks to two flip-floppers, voted 4-3 for the early start.
The most ironic part of this misguided SACS inquiry is that it shifts the focus from Sanderson, the real issue, to the board majority for doing the job it was elected to do. Under Sanderson's "love it or lump it" policy, he has made decisions without informing the board. For example, he changed the grade for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills from eighth to seventh grade without a word of debate or discussion by the board in 2009.
His policy has been to not tell the board of such changes but instead post them on the district's web site and send word to the schools. Ditto his decision to introduce the "standards-based" 3-2-1 grading system in kindergarten and first and second grades without a vote by the school board.
Now Sanderson and other proponents of the "balanced calendar" like to cite a district website poll showing overwhelming support for it. However, after the 3-2-1 decision came to light, it was learned that Sanderson deceptively kept under wraps for six months a survey showing overwhelming opposition to the change. That came on the heels of the disclosure of a longstanding policy of closed-door board meetings in violation of state law.
The root of the problem in this SACS thing is that the board minority and the proponents of the "balanced calendar" cannot stand not having their way. The result is all manner of complaints to the SACS, aimed at making the board majority pay for the calendar vote.
It's not the school board that needs fixing. If members fail to do their job, they will face the voters in the next election. This thing is backward. Instead of the board answering to the superintendent, it's supposed to be the other way around, SACS or no SACS.