We received this open letter to the Board from parent and former Trustee Dale Rutstein.


From: "Rutstein Rutstein"
To: info@ismstakeholders.com
Date: 05 Sep 2006, 10:40:55 PM
Subject: Open Letter to the International School Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Board:

The current Board is not competent and should resign today for the following four reasons:

1. The last two elections were tainted by bullying of patrons, distortions of facts, unauthorized use of private information and unduly aggressive campaigning tactics that were out-of-keeping with the core values of the ISM mission statement. These tactics were most likely orchestrated by current members of the Board. The current proxy voting system has been badly abused.

2. The Board has manifestly and irretrievably lost the confidence of the entire administration, faculty and a growing number of parents. The leadership team has resigned from the Education Committee in protest, outlining numerous statements and actions of Board members which are out of keeping with good governance practices. The leadership team has refused to work with certain Board members. Two Board members have resigned in protest from the Board and several members are clearly unprepared to serve the broader interests of the entire school.

3. The Board has failed in its duty to communicate and act according to the values of transparency, honesty, decency and decorum. The Superintendent was summarily and prejudicially terminated and thrown out of the school during class hours in front of pupils. The Board has consistently misrepresented and dissimulated facts. To cite just one example: the Board president has repeatedly sought to explain the resignations of Board members Burke Fishburn and Rowina Tan-Saban as for personal reasons when these were clearly in protest. They have tried to block the email traffic of teachers and administrators and issued deliberately false statements.

4. There are strong signs that the Board does not understand its proper governance role and function. Worse, it sees itself as a top layer of management. It is a gross distortion of the patron's right to participate in school governance to take the view that election to the Board of Trustees implies involvement in day-to-day running of the school. The Board has repeatedly stated that David Toze was terminated because he did not serve as a proper channel of communication from the Board to the Faculty - an assertion which is totally inconsistent with best practice in school governance. Superintendents are properly supposed to implement Board policies but are in no way expected to issue statements to or pass on Board communications to faculty. The Board has issued summary orders to administrators and fostered an adversarial tone in relationships with the whole community which have caused the entire body of teachers to have grave doubts about the future direction of the school. All this has occurred with only 2 formal meetings of the Board and less than four weeks of the school year. I shudder to think where we will be by mid-year.

In light of the foregoing I conclude that this Board is incompetent and has failed in its most important duty: to foster the growth and development of our children. The only sensible thing for the Board to do is to voluntarily resign so that we can bring normalcy back to our school and chart a new course. I urge the ISM Board to heed this call, and that of many, many others and do the right thing by stepping down.

Sincerely,

Dale Rutstein
Former ISM Board of Trustees Member