Levy & co. continue to surrender power to unelected bureaucrats

We had such high hopes for the current Moore County Board of Education.  Two years ago, we elected a 6-1 conservative majority pledging to be a check-and-balance on the county schools central office and the eyes-and-ears of the taxpayers.  In just two years, that promising scenario has dissolved into a cult-of-personality every bit the hot mess the board we threw out was.

If you really want to understand what’s happening on the county board of education, watch the meetings on YouTube.  The Pilot will simply not tell you the truth.  The wife of editor John Nagy is a former school system employee who had political and personal disagreements with conservative board member David Hensley.  The school board coverage you get in The Pilot is powered by a desire to address Mrs. Nagy’s grudge against Hensley.  It’s so much easier to distort the truth on newsprint than it is with live-and-in-living color unedited digital video. 

How did the 6-1 conservative majority fall apart?  It’s all about some kind of crazy dynamic between Levy and Hensley.  Initially, Levy and Hensley orchestrated the conservative takeover.  Levy got elected chairman, while Hensley was vice chairman.  Hensley is a smooth, polished founder and CEO of two multi-million dollar international companies.  He knows finance inside-and-out.  That makes him a valuable player in the world of school funding.  People began to sit up and take notice of Hensley’s polish and smarts, and that’s where the relationship with Levy began to sour.

A whispering campaign started against Hensley in the community, on social media, and in the pages of The Pilot.  A wedge was driven between Hensley and Levy.  So, Levy — not as numbers savvy as Hensley – threw himself into the welcoming arms of superintendent Tim Locklair.   (Somebody had to prop him up as chairman.)

We soon were exposed to a coup against Hensley.  He was kicked out of his vice chairman position and removed from his committees.  What HAD been a body devoted to checks-and-balances turned into a cheerleader and passionate partner to the public schools bureaucracy.   No longer were proposals by the bureaucrats questioned. They were rammed through via dictates by chairman Levy or 6-1 or 5-2 board votes.

We might as well not even have an elected school board.  Superintendent Tim Locklair calls the shots and runs the show in Carthage.

Things descended from the sublime to the ridiculous during Monday’s school board meeting.  Starting at the 2:31:40 mark, there is a discussion of the proposed school system budget.  Hensley dominates the discussion with some Powerpoint charts he prepared and some pointed questions for Locklair and other school system staff.

This clearly annoys Levy, who complains about the fact that Hensley’s charts were not shared with him or Locklair prior to the meeting.  Interestingly, at the 3:43:28 mark of the video, Levy presents a proposed policy change to the board:

Hmmm.  What’s the definition of “substantive”?  (I bet that is in “the eye of the beholder.”  You know it when you see it.) So, unelected bureaucrats will have the final say on what our elected officials can say at board meetings?  Is that what we voted for two years ago?

It gets worse.  Levy introduced yet another policy change (near the 3:31:00 mark) for the board to consider:

Apparently, Hensley has been audio recording closed sessions.  Hensley defended himself – noting it is no different from many other board members taking “copious” notes during the sessions.  Noting the propensity for details of closed sessions to be leaked to The Pilot, Hensley said he felt it was important to ensure he was protected.

One more flashpoint occurred during the meeting around the 3:24:00 mark.  Levy was attempting to get the board to approve a “second reading” of some policy changes recommended by the NC School Board Association.  Hensley asked  that the list of changes be posted on the room’s video screen for review by all assembled.  Levy adamantly refused to post the changes and called for a vote. Amazingly, six of the seven board members voted to approve a list Levy would not publicly reveal. 

I guarantee that – within days — John Nagy will editorialize in the pages of The Pilot about what a HUGE problem David Hensley is.

If it weren’t for Hensley, we’d be even more in the dark than we were during the Libby CarterEd Dennison era.