- Kathryn Patterson
ECP: In Defense of David Banks
As the debate over the school calendar continues, I constantly hear comments about how our school board representative, David Banks, “flip-flopped” from campaigning on a traditional school calendar stance to voting for the balanced calendar. These comments quote his campaign website, imply that Mr. Banks’ take on the calendar was the sole contributing factor to his election win, and generally rake Mr. Banks over the coals for betraying his constituents by voting for the balanced calendar. As someone who lives in Mr. Banks’ post, I can tell you that these allegations are only true on one point, and far from the truth otherwise. The only truth is that Mr. Banks did say he thought that the school calendar had too many non-instructional days, and that by removing those days he thought that the school calendar could run from after Labor Day to just before Memorial Day. But the school calendar is listed as the last entry on his Issues page, with SPLOST III and traditional/block scheduling taking up the lion’s share of the page. As for the other allegations? First, let me share some background information. After Mr. Banks won the position to represent Post 5 on the school board, he started sending out newsletters, titled “The Latest From David’s Grapevine”. At the top of each newsletter, Mr. Banks states: Help me spread the news by forwarding your copy of this Grapevine letter to your friends and neighbors and ask them to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add them to the email list or use the options available at the end. I have xxxx email addresses currently and I would like to grow this number to the point I am reaching most of the Post 5 community. If you sent an email to Mr. Banks, he automatically added you to his newsletter distribution list. If you called him, he asked for your email address so he could add you to his newsletter distribution list. Whenever and however you interacted with Mr. Banks, he asked to add you to the list. Mr. Banks put substantial effort into growing his newsletter distribution list, because he wanted (and still wants) to be able to communicate with the people of Post 5. On November 9, 2009, Mr. Banks sent out volume 7 of his newsletter. The newsletter contained a summary of the school calendar poll that had been conducted earlier, which showed a majority of the people in Cobb County wanted a balanced calendar. Mr. Banks stated eleven reasons why a balanced calendar had potential benefits over a traditional calendar, then he goes to to make three significant statements:
I have received a number of emails on this matter, which tends to align with the above results.
The number of emails received so far is a small percentage of the Post 5 community which leads me to believe that 90% of the Post 5 families are okay with whichever calendar is adopted.
The Board will vote and adopt at the November 11th meeting a calendar, so I hope you will email me soon with your opinion if you have not already done so. These statements show that Mr. Banks listened to everyone who bothered to communicate with him, either in email, paper mail, or phone calls. Mr. Banks assumed that those who did not bother to communicate did not have strong opinions one way or the other. And Mr. Banks encouraged people to communicate with him before the school board meeting. I’m sorry if you did not like his vote, but what Mr. Banks did was not flip-flopping. Listening to your constituents and voting the way they want you to vote is what a representative does!!! The Board itself advertises that the first priority under “Stakeholder Involvement” is “Utilizing community in decision making”. Translated to common English, that means asking the people in your post what they think about the current issues, and listening to the answers. That means if a majority of the people in your post feel one way, the representative will vote that way. It’s how this whole “representative” thing works, folks. So not only did Mr. Banks not “flip-flop”, he did his job. He choose what the people of Post 5 wanted, and he did not arrogantly hold his personal opinion above others. In doing so, Mr. Banks voted for the balanced calendar. As for the allegation that people voted for him based on the school calendar issue? Seriously, where did these people get mind reading machines? What gives them the right to claim absolute knowledge as to why people voted for David Banks? Personally, I voted for him despite his support of the traditional calender. So to all the David Bank bashers out there, please stop making allegations about the man. Your ignorance is showing.